Two poems by Scott Keeney

Cambial Mirror

New branches on an old tree, the reductive
conformity of seasons, of change. A parrot,
for instance, has a large, thick tongue
like somebody tell me what this totem means.
Just because love is arbitrary doesn’t mean
it’s not deep, as I imagine I must be inside
my catenary love. I am staring at the back
of a tree like a great horned owl with his head
turned around. Cambial mirror. A laugh of lilac
rubs against my nostril hair. I see what I’m saying
now, calcium carbonate and sucrose in citrus
colors with the theme song from Cheers stuck
in reverse in my head and my mouth crunching
the chewable grab anything wandering
around in the barbules of the trees and the tops
pointing thataway, west I guess, in the steadily rising,
Orphic wind. A nutshell falls, green helicopters
twirl, shoots and suckers mar the old growth
with hope, with pointed dreams, with new ideas
brandishing the blades of permanent change
as if that wouldn’t be exactly the same.


Hellacious Evergreen

or a poem beginning with a line by Lou Reed

“I’m not a young man anymore.” I’ve got nothing
on my grasshopper mind all the pollen time
like when I was young. I’m speeding along in
my black Civic remembering my trouser-brown Pinto
could barely make it up green seventies hills.
My heart is an eight-track. It’s A Star Is Born
every time you sunshine in, or out, the door.
The woman in the crow, that’s what you are,
Queen Bee. Lost inside Hellacious Acres,
crippled moon, I believe with one more “Watch
closely now” you’ll be the evergreen I turn to
when I look out the window in winter and think
reprise everything but The Black Angel’s
Death Song. Let me pull into the gravel driveway
of English muffins and eggs over hard. Let me
be your animal Droid auto-correcting its name
to Druid. Let “Shut up and respect me” be
our legacy as we writhe in our bed like bacon
and steam with an ecstasy like grasshopper ice cream.


Scott Keeney’s poems have appeared in Court Green, failbetter, NYQ, Poetry East, Shampoo, and elsewhere. A limited edition volume, Sappho Does Hay(na)ku, was published in 2008.


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