Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Greta gets tricky

Wait a minute.  Does or does it not mean to fart out loud?  I thought that was the moral to this poem or whatever.  I'm confused.  Can I have some extra credit?

From College Misery, December 4, 2012

early december, late monday night, bad haiku

"what does confluence
mean?" for a moment, i am
unable to speak,

unable to grasp
that in the fourteenth week of
any semester

anyone could ask:
"what does confluence mean?" first,
i cannot breathe. i

will the breath into
and out of my lungs in ways
that save both me and

the student, both much
closer to dangerous
territory than

one of us knows, then
remember that my face is--

visible. for one
moment, i pause to compose
my face, my answer,

my fate and hers. "did
you look it up? confluence?"
no need to lie when

no one calls you out
for it.  ever.  she shakes her
head, mouths the word "no,"

and i know that i
have been given a perfect
moment. "confluence,"

i say, "confluence ...
means anything you want it
to mean. ancient greek

for magic, it means ...
to fly without the aid of
machinery or

fear; or to bring to
life a thought which has died; to
hear the last leaves of

autumn rustling; to
comfort the unrequited;
to bake sourdough bread

with no oven; to
find lost keys, to mint new coins,
to pet three cats at

once, to dance a jig,
pepper a sandwich, fart out
loud, finagle a

sum, remember to
shut the front door and--sometimes--
to bring together

fragments to make a
whole." the look that crept across
her young face--a mix

of bald-faced anger
and total confusion--was
almost rewarding.

almost.  "you're lying,"
she said, and i was--called out
deliciously for

both of us, for it
gave me what i needed most,
the chance to say what

needed to be said.
"how do you know?" i said. "you
didn't bother to

look it up, didn't
care enough. you forfeit this
word. Confluence is

mine, is what i say
it is until you find out
otherwise."  she sat,

as did the others
in the room, silently.  not
one eye could meet mine.

if only, i thought,
she or any one of them
had been taking notes.


  1. This is my absolute favorite Greta poem, and I love all the Greta poems. But this one takes the cake. We should totally, with Greta's permission of course, put together a chapbook of her poems and make it available on amazon or lulu or something.

  2. This one is, indeed, wonderful. I'd love to see a CM chapbook, with lots of Greta poems, and perhaps some by others (Dick Tingle had some pretty good ones, if I remember correctly, and of course Yaro is a prose poet) and Sam Folkchurch illustrations. One can dream. . . .