Michael Collier’s Poem for the Season

michael_collier I don’t know what to say about Michael Collier‘s poetry. but I do know that if this particular poem belongs on our blog, today is the day.

Sinister, surreal, postmodern and  . . . conceptually funny. . . love it or hate it, that’s up to you!

Collier is the director of the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and teaches in the creative writing program at the University of Maryland. He is also the poetry editorial consultant for Houghton Mifflin (now Houghton Mifflin Harcourt).

In his own words, “I think poetry does have this ability to help us deal with things that aren’t black and white and make our thinking more subtle.”

Wishing you a Happy Mischief Night (October 30th), Halloween (October 31st), All Saint’s Day (November 1st) and All Soul’s Day (November 2nd)!

All Souls

A few of us—Hillary Clinton, Vlad Dracula,
Oprah Winfrey, and Trotsky—peer through
the kitchen window at a raccoon perched
outside on a picnic table where it picks

over chips, veggies, olives, and a chunk of pâte.
Behind us others crowd the hallway, many more
dance in the living room. Trotsky fusses with the bloody
screwdriver puttied to her forehead.

Hillary Clinton, whose voice is the rumble
of a bowling ball, whose hands are hairy
to the third knuckle, lifts his rubber chin to announce,
“What a perfect mask it has!” While the Count

whistling through his plastic fangs says, “Oh,
and a nose like a chef.” Then one by one
the other masks join in: “Tail of a gambler,”
“a swashbuckler’s hips,” “feet of a cat burglar.”

Trotsky scratches herself beneath her skirt
and Hillary, whose lederhosen are so tight they form a codpiece,
wraps his legs around Trotsky’s leg and humps like a dog.
Dracula and Oprah, the married hosts, hold hands

and then let go. Meanwhile the raccoon squats on
the gherkins, extracts pimentos from olives, and sniffs
abandoned cups of beer. A ghoul in the living room
turns the music up and the house becomes a drum.

The windows buzz. “Who do you love? Who do you love?”
the singer sings. Our feathered arms, our stockinged legs.
The intricate paws, the filleting tongue.
We love what we are; we love what we’ve become.

                                                                     — Michael Collier

Michael Collier, “All Souls” from The Ledge. Copyright © 2000 by Michael Collier.
Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

Advertisements

One response

  1. […] *Michael Collier’s “All Souls” […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: