Thursday May 23

BlevinsAdrian Adrian Blevins is the author of Appalachians Run Amok, winner of Two Sylvia Press’s Wilder Prize; Live from the Homesick Jamboree; The Brass Girl Brouhaha; the chapbooks Bloodline and The Man Who Went Out for Cigarettes; and a co-edited collection of essays, Walk Till the Dogs Get Mean: Meditations on the Forbidden from Contemporary Appalachia. She is the recipient of many awards and honors including a Kate Tufts Discovery Award and a Rona Jaffe Writer’s Foundation Award, among others. New poems have recently been published in The Baffler, Gettysburg Review, Greensboro Review, Southern Cultures, and other magazines. She teaches at Colby College in Waterville, Maine.


Love Poem for Leonardo da Vinci

I don’t miss the Winn Dixie or the dopey beauticians off the Lee highway
           but my hankering was a yacht in high school & I do miss riding it

out of the classroom & into the hall and down the hall & into the parking lot
           & through the lot into that plush & sultry biosphere

where there’d be hundreds of hummingbirds flittering around
           to sup the red-faced da Vinci feeders hovering like UFOs

on the vessel in the fugitive water-air of my mind in the lab or math room there
           where I’d sing to my sweet Leonardo the Jesus blasphemes my father taught

‘cause though Leonardo was long gone & long dead he took breath after breath
           low inside me down by the river by the high school there

like how the color red is so alive it throbs if it’s blood in your mouth
           & emits in the brain what we call the heart

when you’re just walking down the road after dinner in the fall in Maine at 53
           remembering what an insurrectionist you already were in 1978

in central VA in high school vis-à-vis not wanting the status quo
           of the space-time continuum to trap you in that old river valley

of math & church & cakewalks & doilies & football & date rape
           & the death of deer & cheerleading & date rape & other good American things

when you & your Leonardo could hop on one of his flying machines
           & crank it up   & head     for the love of God     the motherfuck     on out—

Status, Alas

I began to feel helpless & desperate in a familiar way
vis-à-vis time & space alas & where to put the hands

& feet & how not to talk to strangers & friends
& was raised American & kind of middle-class & watched

heaps of TV & got therefore an addictive personality
& a bad biochemistry & anyhow just wanted one day

to buy a few new blankets & quilts & pillows
& sheets. Plus a new rug & mugs & shirts & pants

though outside already was the beefy F150
waiting to haul my love & me to a cabin up north

where there’d be a tiny roadside store for bread & milk
though also in the driveway hovered figuratively alas, alas

a mortgage & insurance & car payments & a kid in college
& the need to eat more than bread & milk & an allergist

& a phlebotomist & the primary care physician
& lumberjack & plumber & such & such & such & such

& such. So where to put my shopping ache or whatever
as in how to stop it was really the problem like not having

Bee Balm to sniff was the problem & the fact of there being
an excellent greenhouse nearby was the problem. & though

a fox I could follow into the woods might help, the problem is
a breeder in Oklahoma selling fox puppies for $450 each

not including postage and handling & would I hold mine
& caress it like a child or set it loose is the problem

& how would I feed it or would it feed me
& what would we have to kill & how would we sleep

& can one even grow old in a hole of gnawed bones
& would I even fit & what kind of quilts would there be

           & pillows & blankets & sheets?

**The first line of this poem is borrowed from Mathew Klam’s Who is Rich?