Poetry by Marilyn Kallet

Longest Night: Recital for Organ and Violin
St. Pierre, Auvillar

1.
Grey stone and freezing benches
after a day of
worrying
a blast of sound

sweeps me
to memory––
my young daughter on vibes
but now I’m solo

in this church surging
Led Zeppelin gone Bach
Uh oh the
music grows agitated

organ frenzied &
pounding—
villagers come in
& we need to

give them time
to be unfriendly
in a friendly
kind of way.

2.
A day trashed
by stress
my only words
a letter to David

Sedaris
penned at the salon
where Annie
angrily pulled my hair

& then I
overtipped her
(My right as
an American!)

Now the Franco-German society
lets go of Jews and guilt
for a mo,
shifts to

rock
pulverised
for violin
& orgue

Procol Harum?
Really?
Jesus is looking
down

on the violin.
I could pick up
an old person
tonight.

3.
Tous les enfants
sont
endormis—
sleeping

in the arms of
Schmaltz.
The villagers
seem puzzled

by A Whiter Shade of Pale.
Maybe if we could
slow-dance
With Jules Schwartz

before he got his
braces—but
this is church,
for God’s sake

not Oceanside
School #5.
Boring can be
transcendental.

But what if
I pass out
and fall off
the church bench

onto the stone floor?
Will Pink Floyd
go on?
You can tell

the violinist
would be great
if he was playing
actual music.

4.
Old guy staring at me––
is that foreplay?
Should I take up
with the Lesser Cheeseman?

These thoughts
descend
during
Stairway to Heaven.

Agnes wants to
sleep with Violin Man
because of his “perfect
intonation.”

Wait!
Is that Jesus
in a rowboat?
with dolphins?

Shine On You
Crazy Diamond.
Gerhard in
flipflops

the violinist
in Sixties jeans
Oy!
Your own concert

you couldn’t put on
a decent pair of pants?
Now it’s the
Sound of Silence

I wish!
Jesus up there
swaddled in
a giant baby

blanket
like a larva
cherubim
tug on him

his hands thrown
like
Nu, What did you
Expect?

Before we rush the exit
Marie-José
passes
the hat.

Garonne Love

I’ve come back to
you dear
fatal river
stirring
dreams &
memories je
reviens and
today you
don’t pretend
to be calm
Your surface trembles
shifting
skin––
how I love you
here
& here.

I like for you
to be absent, sure,
but present
once in awhile
would be sweet, too.
I could
show you a thing
or two, sir,
about trembling,
& flow.

Perfect
I like for you to be silent, it is as if you are gone.
(Pablo Neruda)

Really.
Don’t corrupt air with your lips.
Don’t punch perfect silence with a grunt.
Don’t demean lovely pronouns.
What snowman bitches to wrens?
What iceberg crashes its own gleam?
No! As if you are dead.
Why shatter the blank?
Don’t send a word. Don’t. Tightness
is a gift in an ass.
Don’t even fart. Save it for the official
ceremony for assholes.

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About Marilyn Kallet

Marilyn Kallet is the author of 16 books including The Love That Moves Me, poetry by Black Widow Press, 2013. She has also translated Paul Eluard’s Last Love Poems (Derniers poèmes d’amour) and Benjamin Péret’s The Big Game (Le grand jeu).  Kallet directs the Creative Writing Program at the University of Tennessee, where she is Nancy Moore Goslee Professor of English. Each spring she leads poetry workshops for the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts in Auvillar, France. She has been awarded the Tennessee Arts Commission Literary Fellowship in Poetry, and was inducted into the East Tennessee Literary Hall of Fame in Poetry, 2005.