• Thomas Dorsett

Thomas Dorsett, two poems


What Did That Self-Help Guru Say?

“Simply subtract your age from 65

and that’s how many good years you have left.”

That makes mine fewer than minus three!

Once vim is reduced to a negative toddler,

is it O.K. to sit and forget half your French?

It is not. Instead, before I’m minus four,

I shall sing and descant upon love

in a language I as yet don’t understand.

Perhaps I’ll send him a postcard from Kandahar;

perhaps I’ll send him an elephant tusk

made out of marzipan

by a lovely, crazy German living in Irkutsk;

he apparently thinks old age is the time

to stare like a cow while a fly

navigates a bulbous nose. Should I rage?

No, rages are unseemly after minus three;

having outgrown my terrible minus twos

I’m ready for a raucous minus youth,

and if I find a tarantula in La Descubierta,

I promise I won’t send him a fanged memento mori

in a silver candy box, crawling on blue cheese.

"Don’t Take Jesters Into Outer Space”

----Wislawa Szymborska

One day they’ll be laughing on Enceladus.

Clowns on a tightrope from Deimos to Mars!

(Meanwhile, Sunyatta, the black bear, expands.)

Truth is, perfect worlds don’t happen.

Truth is, clowns will build space towns

that look like Detroit.

Don’t worry, Shakespeare will be translated

into dialects spoken on Titan

where they’ll be stored at absolute Kelvin

beneath New New Jersey’s methane lakes.

Don’t worry, one December 38th, Wislawa

Szymborska will rise from a wormhole

and take us to poems light-years beyond

abandoned tents and motionless flags.

Thomas Dorsett’s poetry has appeared widely over the past three decades, including in the journals Confrontation, North Carolina Review, The Texas Review, Stand, Verse, Poetry Salzburg , and Southern Poetry Review. He is the author of four collections of poetry, two of which are translations. His most recent book is a translation of letters by an Austrian musician, who died at age 27 at the onset of World War l.


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