Andy Powell is a Teaching Artist for DreamYard in the Bronx (New York, U.S.A.), has
poems out with Magma, PANK, Jerry, elsewhere, and took 3rd prize in Ambit's 2016
competition judged by Sarah Howe.
Connecticut As An Island Or A Nest Egg
What about the covetousness that comes with it.
Connecticut still won't give up its oceanview properties
or its proximity to oysters. I want the calm of a snow
softened winter, enough good land for vineyards and alpacas,
and the feeling of change when all that's changed
is my coat. It is late late night and my lights are all on,
and I left hours ago. I want to see my effects and I want
to be in the dark. Whether in love or sick of mahogany
and clawfoot tubs, whichever means a drunk ocean swim
is a lovewish or deathwish, neither knows where the rocks are.
To heal one must hurt, Connecticut,
and those closest to you will hurt you most.
The sky a rich blue. Slander arises
out of a fog of pearls and it's not exactly
incorrect. A personal favorite: Connecticut
as a big Parent Teacher Association meeting
having a hard time
acknowledging its possessiveness.
Even with too much time on your hands
you forget to revise the ease
and misogyny out of your boat names:
Summer Fling, Trust Fun, The Other Woman.
It is race night, but our waters are lighthearted
as none of us harbor a real need to win
with the good wind in our faces, salt in our eyes,
hands dipped in the speeding deep dark
we don't want to know that defines us.
We luff the sails out of boredom to hear the flap
and whip and stop when we feel
it condescend. The winners swallow
shallow victories, buy our Dark & Stormies,
chummily punch our shoulders.
There is hope: I was more dawdling
on your baseball diamonds as a kid than Mike
"the penguin," but I found my legs
when I left the town for good.
It's not all your fault that you get the worst
of New York, while their teachers haul sacks
of summers to Jersey where salt water
and endless come cheaper.
Connecticut, don't go floating off on me.
I know it's warm and you want more coastline,
but you've paid in advance for advertising
and will box out noncompetition
with a hot shrug. You're usually better
at acknowledging your privilege.
The heat has bruised your ego and grandeur —
come to the dinner table, Connecticut —
if you just shy away onto a soft bed with a sad eye
on the construction of teak sloops and saltwater pools
that will be put off till a cooler, cheaper day,
we won't be able to take you seriously.
You're a part of this even if you sent your kids
to boarding school. Did you really manage
to lazily buy up some of the less stable grocery stores
to plan makeup for losses once it is pleasant
for customers to go outside and shop again
while you couldn't lull into a nap?
Connecticut, won't you listen to your mother?
The name of my hipster restaurant
for postgame beer in Connecticut
will be Teak & Grain & it will hunker down
in a converted dugout & will serve guidelines
for baseball dads: dandelions
are cautiously beautiful
and occasionally mistaken for gold,
which makes them so.
Also: you don't have to curse out the umpire
when your boy won't swing.
The salt water clears
our heads, and eats
at our foundations.
of the waves
makes it hard to know
just what hurt
is healing and what
hurt is just hurt.
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