Clockwork Ravens

The heat wave brings euphoria to some:
With no desire to hibernate, the lizard
Poised keen and energized, flashes his scissored
Tongue to assess the climate’s strange perfume.
Two yellow butterflies are being wed
And climb a shaft of sun to celebrate
The sudden opportunity to mate.
The gourd assortment teems with overfed
Fruit flies and sweaty mold, rotting with glee.
I pour a glass of iced verbena tea
Cut from the fragrant sprigs along the wall.
It feels more like midsummer than late fall.

Gwendolyn Brooks: The Early Work and the Problem of “Reaching Everyone in the World.”

On October 12, 1990, I heard Gwendolyn Brooks read her poems at the Los Angeles poetry venue, Beyond Baroque, in Venice, California. Her presence and her voice had a powerful effect on me, and I wrote a poem about it almost immediately afterward. I thought well enough of the poem to send it to her, and was promptly rewarded with a warm thank you note from Chicago, signed simply, “Gwen.”