Dennis Caswell… To Fire

 

To Fire

O leaping catharsis of atomic libido,
you have us. You sold yourself as a god
who comes when he’s called, and now
we lick the sludge off the bottoms
of primeval vegetable drawers
so we’ll never need to leave home
without a tankful of you.
BANG! Remember that?
That was the cosmos beginning.
Back then, you were everywhere
and everything, but now you’ve grown older
and learned to calm down, though sometimes
us clots of you feel you still in there.
Heraclitus didn’t need Einstein to know, “All things are
an exchange for fire, and fire for all things.”
For instance, I can exchange 3500 bucks
for a lovely certificate entitling me
to build confidence and foster a sense of empowerment
by instructing seekers to walk on you.
A Viking circumambulates land
holding a gobbet of you,
and that proves he owns it
(the land, not you).
I can’t figure out if you’re a genius
for making yourself the go-to metaphor
for both terror and sex, or if
you’re as reckless and stupid
as an incurable virus that has no idea
it’s killing its dinner. You have us locked
inside Earth’s garage, with your many engines
running, and not even Vulcan,
Vesta, Nusku, Girru, Agni, Pele,
or Kagutsuchi can make a wish
and blow you away.

 

Dennis Caswell is the author of the poetry collection Phlogiston, published by Floating Bridge Press in 2012. His work has appeared in Raven Chronicles, Floating Bridge Review, Crab Creek Review, and assorted other journals and anthologies. He lives outside Woodinville, Washington and works in the aviation industry.

Copyright © 2015 by Dennis Caswell

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dennis Caswell… To Doll Houses

 

To Doll Houses

O bento boxes of freeze-dried domestic Elysium,
you nurse the injured birds of our yearnings,
expressing our deep and unshakable love for the family
we never had, the one in which everyone’s one twelfth our size
and mute, so when we announce, “I’ve always wanted
a camel-back wing chair. Wouldn’t you like a camel-
back wing chair” the subsequent silence clearly articulates,
“Yes! Yes! A camel-back wing chair is just
what we need!” O taxidermic dioramas
of what young girls’ lives won’t be as good as
and of the constraints within which those lives will fall short,
you are seldom designed by Frank Lloyd Wright
or Philip Johnson or anyone born after 1850,
the year The Scarlet Letter was published. Still,
O dishes of hand-cranked interior ice cream, we crave
your equilibrious visions, their faith
that in each life there is one moment
when all the dishes are put away,
when Mother is poised between chores like a monk between prayers,
Father is in his special chair, reading of how the world outside
is going to hell, and the children don’t mind being children,
and this moment must be found and pinned like a butterfly,
wings forced wide to show every marking, because,
while you can’t stop Father from planning to run off with Phyllis,
his new stenographer, or Mother from thinking of Father’s neck
whenever she slices potatoes, or Elsie and Winthrop from
plotting to raid the liquor closet
and finding out what’s underneath
each other’s sailor suits, you can stop time,
so they’ll never get the chance.

 

Dennis Caswell is the author of the poetry collection Phlogiston, published by Floating Bridge Press in 2012. His work has appeared in Raven Chronicles, Floating Bridge Review, Crab Creek Review, and assorted other journals and anthologies. He lives outside Woodinville, Washington and works in the aviation industry.

Copyright © 2015 by Dennis Caswell