Mid-1800s Czechoslovakia: My ancestors are still considering
birthing my grandparents; Friar Johann Gregor Mendel
experiments on his 28,000 edible pea plants.
Each develops their own theory of inheritance.
People, plants and the recombination of genes.
A day full of my stupid errors.
Wrong turns, forgotten items, an appointment missed.
Senior moments tick tocking into minutes, hours.
How many fond fools serve mad jealousy?
No comedy, no humor, no happy ending.
A curled strawberry crêpe, a fig’s scent
and tongue touch on this Sunday morning
has me in another café, another city.
These women who can speak some English,
and are charmed by my American accent.
It’s the 200th day of the year.
Not midway or halfway, not a season,
solstice or equinox. Just a weekend Saturday.
Again, the sun shines, the clouds pass.
Extraordinary, like every day past or coming.
The Wizard of Menlo Park, New Jersey,
from telegraph to telephone to gramophone,
thinking he could record the human voice.
Stylus-made impressions on strips of paraffin paper.
Letters (gramma) given a new voice (phone).
Thomas Edison with his second phonograph, photographed by Mathew Brady in Washington, April 1878 (LOC)
“Edison immediately tested the machine by speaking the nursery rhyme into the mouthpiece, ‘Mary had a little lamb.’ To his amazement, the machine played his words back to him.” from a History of the Edison Cylinder Phonograph from the Library of Congress
you thought that the I was me,
that you was you, we was us,
then was now, the home was ours.
If you assume that the poem’s future
is our present, there is no future.
In summer Jersey streets and narrow driveways
not urban enough for stickball, we played
kickball, freeze tag, dodgeball and wiffle ball.
I whiffed in many at-bats, happy strikeouts,
yellow plastic bat to curveballs, sinkers, risers.