Two Poems by David Jordan
A Good Poem

One of these days
I am going to write
a good poem. It won't
be about unfaithful
women or unrequited
love. It won't maunder
on about wet Oregon
weather. It will avoid
anger. Baseball,
movies and jokes
will be locked away
in the Trivia box. Childhood,
happy or unhappy,
will be edited out.

This poem won't dwell
on jealousy, on resentment
or remorse. Divorce
will be cast aside, along
with easy scenery. People
who dislike me or I dislike
will not be dissected. Lamenting
about aging will be verboten.

This poem will tell how much
I loved my daughter, dead
at seventeen, and how much
I loved
my grandmother, dead
at ninety-two. But it will deal
in affection and hope,
not grief.
It will shine light
on pleasant memories,
use bright reflections
of yesterday
to illuminate tomorrow.
A line of anguish
may be allowed in
now and then,
to provide variety,
but happiness
will anchor every stanza.

This poem will not camp
in its own backyard, build
a cardboard fort to pretend
adventure. This poem
will travel to Spain,
to Hawaii, to England.
This poem will walk the world.

You agree, don't you
I've collected
enough ideas for a really good
Now I need
to find a few good words.

Champagne on Strawberries
Walking Harvard Square
in cold, bright October
light, I find myself trailing
a tall woman
in a dress of blinding
red. Blonde hair
pours on shimmering shoulders
like champagne on strawberries.
She is angular, high-hipped, maybe
a Vogue model come to Boston
for a shoot, out to see
how the crimson live,
all dolled up in a dress
to suit the occasion.
Her black, patent-leather
pumps glisten as she
swivel-steps precisely
along the gritty sidewalk.
A traffic light stops her
and she cocks
her weight on one slim
leg, sweeps her hair
aside, gazes into a jewelry store
window. In profile, I see
she has an Adam's apple
the size of my fist, a wispy
goatee, a hard squint
like a spaghetti-western gunslinger
on a sunny day. So much
for champagne on strawberries.

David Jordan