Four poems by Alexandria Peary
Analysis of A Poem on the Tablecloth
I.e.: Cezanne apples, Botero oranges, Roy Lichtenstein grapes,
Williams plums, a Gertrude Stein carafe in a poem on the tablecloth.
Re: A bowl of poems, color modulated melody
and objects avoiding personification,
the dish celestial blue and the oranges obese,
the plums lecherous and the apples suffering vertigo
b/c of the tablecloth, the slopes of the fabric
like a terrain windblown, rocky, with a survey of clouds,
lavender growing at the base, a tablecloth made from freewriting.
C/o fruit drawn in with a Bic ballpoint, fruit mentioned near a Mont Blanc
punctuated by clouds: % lemon and pewter ampersand, commas
on either side of the cobalt water pitcher,
blind copied and in the subject line
& all the other writing that exists alongside, between, near,
before, after, above, under, inside, around a finished poem,
those white bands of sentences, but also a strip from a user’s agreement,
another from a romance novel, shiny, recycled, metallic, patterned, dented
aluminum sentences or lines with edges curling upward
from a grant application, a wedding announcement, a monograph on immigration policy.
Hills of Bureaucracy
In the event
that the engagement
shall be prevented
by reason of war,
Act of God, strike,
civic tumult, epidemic
or any other cause
beyond the control
of either agreeing party,
which is deemed
to be “force majeure,”
the agreed parties
shall be respectively
relieved of their obligations
contained herein and
return to the rolling hills
a deep green field
of barley, more hills
with hay bales, no sky:
an argyle of crops,
following emergency exits
and evacuation plans
to the long and winding
road that leads
to your door.
That would be 15 A
on the updated form,
the red door
with a mat and rack
for your shoes
of a cottage in the village.
Let the minutes state
you’ve had a tiresome
journey through various causes
on the lengthy lavender road
past blaze orange fields
that shall include revolutions,
riots, wars, acts of enemies,
national state local
floods, fires, epidemics,
or unusually severe weather,
and that we’re not responsible
or liable for any loss
or damage, for delays
or failure to perform.
The 10 point font path
has brought you to the Open Forum
where the committee
invites input from the whole
community about where
we are at and where
we should go,
which thatched houses
for which gas stations
in the settlements of
educational plans, mission
statements, internal hiring.
The designated spokesperson
from the institutional
advancement office is explaining:
This is a plan for all
of us. A family reunion
hosted by Human Resources
with Business Intelligence,
Focus on Core Academic Function,
so the member
at the back of the conference room
knitting wooly yarn clouds
as stress relief
should get a grip.
We’ve all stopped
our planting in favor
of administering to
attend this conference
on the administration of planting,
Cc: all: the assistant to, vice-,
associate, interim, acting,
chief, head of, associate director.
Staples for vineyards.
plans are in departmental
mail boxes. Approving
the minutes from yesterday,
let’s send the next presenter back
like a salmon stunned w/ frustration
who weeps with frustration
into the whirling vortex
of a policy about policy,
a few hay bales,
shade trees for cattle
or the sub-committee to
though Party 1 is not a fish
but a person who must drive
back in his rental Kia,
the application form
Next order of business:
those ornamental wild
last year for the parade,
tall, on the highway divide
on Route 2 South,
junction of JFK Boulevard
and South Main,
a deathtrap or death wish?
Not an Official Communication
the phish is served beside the spam,
the ham salad near the Jell-O mold near the deviled eggs,
Lobster Thermidor in a warmer,
a roast chicken with white bonnets on its leg bones,
a Pepto Bismol pink chiffon cake
on a platter, the foods from foreign lands
canapé, pu pu platter, bagels, guacamole (pronounced
Gwah-ka-mo-lay we are told), Italian pizza, Welsh Rabbit, Chicken à la King
dished up with a Bundt cake, shrimp cocktail, Watergate salad,
Cheeseburger pie, Baked Alaska, another helping of Watergate salad.
I’d prefer to eat the gleam off these items
from a 1960s Betty Crocker’s New Picture Cookbook,
the shiny parentheses, even the backspace.
Watch for common tricks:
the bowl of fruit that’s not really a bowl of fruit:
instead it’s scratch n’ sniff tutti frutti
partisan. Worse yet, the rot of authoritarian
slink under the pile. The messages often create
a sense of urgency or fear
by threatening to revoke account access
or pretending to be important notices
from payroll or human resources
such as it’s 6:21 at night and you’re still at work,
eating salad in Tupperware at your desk,
and your boss emails to say he’s in a meeting
and needs to speak with you immediately.
Turns out he needs you to run an errand for him,
buy Amazon gift cards for his son’s birthday party.
The recommended serving size changes according to the era.
For example, here’s a slice from before the 2016 election:
I was kidnapped. This elephant has been alone for 28 years. Want to get laid?
Ride a reindeer to work, Alexandria. Want to fight for wolves in court?
Another courtroom win for whales! Add your name if you’ll be watching tonight.
The next president of the United States. Let’s wing this thing. Let’s wipe out this killer.
This is a partisan witch hunt, Alexandria. Another trick to attack women’s health care.
For Feminist Friends. Don’t leave this until last minute. My brother has schizophrenia.
Alexandria, want to fly out to for the next debate. Let’s make history: Add your name.
It’s time to take back Congress. Rare wolves being hunted out of existence. STEM
is for boys and girls. Train wreck. The end for rhinos? This elephant has been alone
for 28 years. Be One of 30,000. Hi! Are you single. Flowers in Less Than 2 hours.
& a slice with green parsley asterisks from 2018-2019:
Giving Tuesday. Put down that wine bottle. You’re one of our biggest supporters. You are a winner. Winner N15887 Please Confirm. Business Deal for You. Work from Home. Progress doesn’t happen overnight. Make it One Term. 20% off and free shipping. Shhh Secret Sale inside. Stand out in a marshmallow world. Last Chance to Get Your Gifts. Should Congress stand up to the NRA? Smarter hiring. Trump’s Wall. Elect Women. Halfway to our Goal. You’re one of our biggest supporters. Investigation launched. Open this email. Insulin prices. Trump’s Twitter. Put down that wine bottle. Your donation record last year. Helpless whales trapped. Cold dogs. Cats Left Out in Cold. Chicken Slaughter. Coyote Whacking. Open this email. Longest Shutdown Ever. Want to run for office?
The same cloud passes overhead
above the subtitle of a sunrise
over a city made entirely from dots.
A standard cumulus but still imposing
yellow tower of thought
on the double spaced atmosphere
over the cliff face of a stanza,
hanging over an immense vault
of unused page space—
“The same cloud passes overhead”
over a torrent of leaves —Cloud crossing two time zones while carrying
and the blush of dawn. a stone arch—
Not the “docile clarity” of the cloud
from Francis Ponge’s “The Insignificant,”
—more as pastiche, appropriation, parody,
simulation, adaptation, recycling—
an emissary from Against Expression,
Unoriginal Genius, or Uncreative Writing.
By the end, the cloud occurs so often it becomes unfamiliar,
a could, a decrescendo
in white hallways to tomorrow,
zig zag sunset.
Alexandria Peary, MFA, MFA, PhD, serves as Poet Laureate of New Hampshire and is a 2020 recipient of an Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellowship in support of her mindful writing workshops for survivors of the opioid crisis in her state. More info about her initiatives can be found @NHPoetLaureate and https://newhampshirepoetlaureate.blogspot.com/ She is the author of seven books, including Control Bird Alt Delete (Iowa Poetry Prize); Prolific Moment: Theory and Practice of Mindfulness for Writing; and The Water Draft. Her poetry and creative nonfiction have appeared in the Yale Review, The New York Times, North American Review, web Conjunctions, Southern Humanities Review, Denver Quarterly, New American Writing, Gettysburg Review, and Painted Bride Quarterly. A professor at Salem State University, she specializes in mindful writing, the subject of her TEDx talk, “How Mindfulness Can Transform the Way You Write”