Georgia Popoff’s The Agnostic Acknowledges the Food Chain and Name Inconsequential

This Talk About Poetry is about two poems by Georgia Popoff, The Agnostic Acknowledges the Food Chain and Name Inconsequential.

Georgia A. Popoff, of Syracuse, NY, is an educator, arts-in-education specialist, Comstock Review managing editor, Downtown Writer’s Center Workshops Coordinator and faculty member with  two poetry collections and coauthored a book for teachers on poetry in the K-12 classroom. Her fourth book is forthcoming from Tiger Bark Press in 2015, The Agnostic’s Book of Common Curiosities.

Participants in the discussion are: Phil Memmer, Executive Director of the Syracuse YMCA Downtown Writer’s Center (DWC); Georgia Popoff (of course), a Community Poet in Syracuse and teacher at the DWC, Stephen Kuusisto, Director of the Syracuse University Honors Program / Professor of Disability Studies for the Center on Human Policy, Law, and Disability Studies in the School of Education, and me, Bob  Herz, founder & editor of Nine Mile Magazine, and publisher-editor of the W.D. Hoffstadt & Sons press.

Our talk is here.

The poems:

The Agnostic Acknowledges the Food Chain

A wasp flits about the stacked lawn chairs
on the front porch, searching for a hole.
For years, wasps return to these tubes
to hide and sleep, to gather their spoils.

Joy is reading on the glider, early,
before the other humans muss up the day
with their buzzing. She sees the trophy folded
in the clutches of the wasp, electric green

mantis or young grasshopper. Overhead
the birds trade their codes. The wasp stumbles
under its burden, lost and confounded.
The purple finch poised in the privet

observes and grows silent.
In a mere moment, she swoops
under the railing to snatch the bug
from the wasp and zooms

to the telephone wire, swallowing
the meal whole. The wasp is dazed
and exhausted. The cardinals flit to the back
yard. The garbage truck grumbles by.

Name: Inconsequential

(Reuters) – A meteorite streaked across the sky and exploded over central Russia on Friday, raining fireballs over a vast area and causing a shock wave that smashed windows, damaged buildings and injured 1,200 people.

All the clever waiting, this standby life.

A blank face just beyond a terror curtain;
an undefined skittish cloak, thick as oatmeal,
invisible womb for meteors shuttling
in a chaotic tumble, a palpable and futile electricity.

The tenacity to await the Leonids for a year
and then be tricked again, by the fickle
neglect of weather.

Wood is resistant, unlike the boundary of skin.
Wood is inert. Wood holds silent things
together in small boxes and terse cupboards.

What is this notion of future? A stalled execution?
Tattered sweaters and lone sneakers, the lost wife
of a glove, ceiling bulbs dangling frayed strings,
flypaper spotted and brittle with death.

Surely there is a wizened face behind that confounded
curtain? Surely there is a tongue spewing answers.
If not, meteors have no value and trees bend for nothing.

This is my hammer heart pounding courage into wood,
joining strangers, an arranged marriage of right angles,
flaunting a disregard for the open space of love.

Surely these are the corners in which ghosts
whisper tender threats to the living.

Soon we will be together.
Soon you will understand.

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