Aunt Jeannie, in a mystery of smoke,
Sips brandy and ginger ale
(Hemingway poured one for her once,
Some little place on rue du Bac),
Puts snapshots in rows like solitaire.
That's her in Nice by a market stall,
Heaps of spices, cinnamon. Like Heaven.
Paris. Shakespeare and Company;
Slept there on the floor one night. It was late,
Anyway its a long story. There's Picasso!
Then a thin beauty in a long red dress,
Floppy hat, enormous shades,
Gazing at sailboats on blue, blue water.
Who's that, Aunt Jeannie? Some movie star?
You know, and she knows you know,
But she laughs. She was nineteen then:
St. Malo. Some college boy took that.
Girl in a red dress, looking at boats;
Old lady with pictures, brandy, Lucky Strikes.
You've had quite a life, Aunt Jeannie.
She answers, Yes, I did. I really did.
I gazed at myself in the Grand Museum,
Portrait, tude en rouge et bleu.
Not the self my neighbor knows:
Gent stooping for morning paper,
Man with coffee on patio.
Rather, a grid of gentle blue,
Robins-egg, lets say, not quite Sky,
Over which, one jagged scarlet slash,
Trailing to a curled thread of blood.
Oh, it is I, no doubt at all.
Behind the sad-kneed pantaloon
(My neighbor will not believe this),
Behind the solemn perusals of the Times,
My closeted shirts in proper rows,
My suburban passions seethe,
And silent cries rend my empty nights;
No one knows of those roiling flames.
Yes, I am that study in red and blue.
Paul D. McGlynn has had poems accepted by more than 215
journals in the U.S., Canada, Europe, and Australia, including
The Ledge, Bogg, The Wallace Stevens Journal, Chiron Review,
Poetry Motel, Clark Street Review, Sepia, Freexpression, and The
Brobdingnagian Times. My Chapbook, Magical Regression, was
published by AlphaBeat Press. He's had three poems nominated for
the Pushcart Prize.
He's a retired professor of literature and creative writing, but
he's not really an academic poet. The greatest influences on my
work have been the poems of William Blake, Allen Ginsberg, and
Wallace Stevens. Other influences have been art, travel, and
love (not necessarily in that order), plus growing up in