The Poetry Door     

               —for P.D.

 

First, come into

the apartment: you’ll see it

down the long hall—

a vertical rectangle

full of rectangles

of extravagant colors

and varying sizes—with words

painted on these horizons.

  

No need to open it

and end up in the dark

of the closet—                                              

just read your way through.  

 

Blues, vine green, late-grape red,

burnt orange, Joss-paper gold . . .                      

Colorful words painted in colors—lines    

extracted from poems              

by self and others                                                                                               

blend into one                                                

work. People

 

cram the hallway

like a crowd on a train—the apartment                

door’s open, letting in more     

who yearn to be moved.

         

There’s little separation

between poet and audience—                  

all stand in the hallway

as we take turns reading

our poems excerpted             

on the Poetry Door,

while surrounded by friends and friends

of friends. And strangers—

 

when the reading is over

the “Pop-Up Poets”                  

who perform

in real subways appear,       

asking for nothing

but our attention                                   

to what they voice.

Their energy consumes us

as they read their poems,        

intertwining lines          

borrowed from the Poetry Door.

 

Refined and outspoken, dramatic or subtle,      

the poets are here,                     

except those who aren’t—

the dead and the living

comingle in words

painted on the Poetry Door.  

 

Blake sits, invisible,            

in a corner on the floor.

From the other side

I can almost hear Dickinson        

trying to listen.

                           

                —Laura Glenn