Thursday, June 14, 2012

Seaborn Jones to read this Saturday in Athens, GA

"The Red Horse"
Seaborn Jones

When the woman in the museum
looked at the Chagall, she said,
"But what does it mean?
I don't like art where the artist hides the meaning."

Flying fish, man with goat's head
offering a bouquet of fireworks
to an upside down bride.

Once I was pulled over by the police;
I had laryngitis and all I could do
was make a sound like a cross between
a goose and a fog-horn.

When I tried to write a note
explaining my condition, I realized
I couldn't spell laryngitis
and handed them a piece of paper that said,
"I have Larry."

They passed it back and forth
saying, "What does he mean;
what does it mean?"

Maybe I should have handed them
a drawing of a violinist with no head.

Or like the clerk in the store
when I asked the time, responded,
"I don't know; I'm just hired help."
Then presented me with a peacock feather.

What does it mean?

Maybe there's a way to tell time
by peacock feathers. Something buried

in the mythology of hired help.
Circle of children
pointing feathers toward the moon.

I feel about the woman in the museum
the way she feels about Chagall:
what does she mean
what does he mean?

The peacock spreads his fan of fireworks.

It is time.
"The Red Horse" by Seaborn Jones appears in his 1996 collection Lost Keys. Jones, of Lizella, Georgia, will be reading at 2011 Morton Road in Athens on Saturday, June 16th. A reception begins at 7 p.m., with a reading to follow. Donations are appreciated. Jones's collections include the just-published Going Farther into the Woods than the Woods Go (2012),  Drowning from the Inside Out (1982) and Getaway Car in Reverse (2006) as well as a CD called The Worlds of Seaborn Jones. As a biographical note, in 2011, Jones wrote:  I mailed several of my poems to Marc Chagall in 1965, which led to an invitation to visit him. On April 29, 1969, I arrived at his home in Saint-Paul-de-Vence on the French Riviera with my girlfriend, Barbara. Chagall greeted me with a big bear hug, took the bouquet of flowers I had brought, and presented them to his wife, Vava, who was chain-smoking Lucky Strikes while translating because I didn't speak French or Russian and Chagall didn't speak English. I was twenty-six; Chagall, eighty-two. When he thanked me for the invasion of Normandy, I hesitated, but a black butterfly flew through the garden and he pointed to it with such intensity that the conversation didn't require words.

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