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House Party for Poetry (and a Bathtub Ode in Return!)

Sunday night my hosts at the amazing Cassilhaus in Chapel Hill will host a poetry party at the house.  This couple of dreamers--architect and filmmaker--have built a house that's a work of art in its own right, one Frank Lloyd Wright would have envied.  They are not rich people, except in talent and in supporting the arts.   When I saw the New York Times article about their house, about how they wanted to invite artists to live there for free, I emailed and asked if they would like to have a poet in residence.  I offered to write odes about the house.  I sent books.  And I was invited!

So now I'm here in this uplifting space, writing and translating, avoiding school.  But there's more.  On Sunday, my hosts have invited the creme de la creme of North Carolina literary society to a poetry party at the house.  I will perform poems for a bit (not long, as there won't be enough chairs for everyone!)  We'll eat, drink, schmooze.  I will put out a book or two and sell them if people ask me for them.  

Who said support of the arts is dead?  

As for the odes, the couple asked me for one on their "spoon tub"--a piece of sculpture, really.  So I am including here the latest draft of my "Ode to the Spoon Tub." 

Ode to the Spoon Tub

Agape has made you, for the love of God or Christ,

Or, in the case of Jewish me, for the love of Bath and Body—


O bride of Exmar, child of a sculptor’s hands,

Your spoon cups the body, in hot


Perfumed suds.  And for a moment, hell, for an hour,

All’s well.  Client’s have stopped whining,


Drafts lie still on Ellen’s desk.  Not Ellen though

Who voted for your paradise, your white embrace—


Bless Frank.  Now he soaks away the blues,

Sinks peacefully to his neck in suds.


He mulls over bathtub yoga, where the mind

Lolls like a lamb at play, floats


Like nothing else on earth.  Nothing is so white as

Your whiteness, not memory,


Not the unravished bride.  You invite Frank

And Ellen, and while they’re out of the house—me!


But no, my toe is unworthy of your blank slate!

It’s enough for me to adore your curves,


To know there’s a bath at Cassilhaus that

Opens the New World, if not the fountain of youth.


Come into me,

the spoon tub beckons,


Like Circe,

But cleaner.