April 23, 2010

Lynne Thompson

A LOVER, REJECTED, REJECTS THE MYTH THAT IS BILLIE HOLIDAY—

knows she was an uncommon arroyo who understood
that blue on the quintile is a withering thing;

knows Billie lived in an upended Vermont and was
not unlike a nova or a seed in a scalawag’s belly;

figures that La Gardenia’s mistake was believing that
autumn in New York would make a satisfactory break

and that junk was the best horse she never saddled.
But I have learned to beware the tonsils of swivelhipped

conquerors whose lanolin cannot absorb
loneliness. I have gotten lost in the politics of

undressed mud and am no longer obliged to lie down
with fat cats. When I am too scared to dream,

I, my own bald-faced tympani, admonish my dismal pen
to publish the music that will alarm my arrogant judges.

from Rattle #22, Winter 2004

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Lynne Thompson: “’A Lover, Rejected’ was the chance to allow language to elope with some of my favorite concepts—sass, skepticism and Billie Holiday, with bon mots like ‘scalawag’ and ‘quintile’ in attendance.” (website)