“The Hummingbird” by Kenny Williams

Kenny Williams


Before they gave a concert
the Greeks would drop copper pots
on marble floors, so
you could hear the silence
reassembling itself, a blank space
for the flute. More like
what we’d call a kazoo.
And what’s with the hummingbird
planted in the mouth?
My mother used to fill a feeder
with water and sugar
and turn up her crooked but decidedly
feminine thumbs.
“The ones that come are this big,”
she would say, for those
of us who won’t rest without removing
our mothers’ hands
with precision saws,
who want to scream
but are afraid to shatter
the silence in which
we’ll have to bite our tongues and hand
their old hands back to them,
priceless pairs
of antique cups
they want to drink from
but can only drop.

from Rattle #39, Spring 2013
Tribute to Southern Poets


Kenny Williams (Virginia): “I hate it when poets pretend they don’t know anything about their own writing processes and get arty and mysterious when asked about it, claiming in a zillion different ways that they ‘receive’ their poems from the Beyond, or that the poems already exist in the abstract and that they, the poet, just ‘discover them,’ etc. I’ve been hearing a lot of this kind of thing lately. I think it comes in waves. The writing of poems remains, as ever, the manipulation of linguistic materials toward an artistic end residing in form. Never trust anyone who denies this or tries to talk around it. I live in Richmond, Virginia, hold an MFA from the Vermont College of Fine Arts, and have a website with pictures of dogs and cats on it.” (website)

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