“to practise in all things a certain nonchalance which conceals all artistry and makes whatever one says or does seem uncontrived and effortless.”
-Baldesar Castiglione. The Book of the Courtier.
Tr. George Bull, London 1967.
DiMaggio had it, so did Fred Astaire—
the dazzle of a sweet swing, the appealing
insouciance of a dancer on the ceiling—
the absent strain, the unassuming flair.
Since what we saw seemed natural as air,
the artistry that disallows revealing
bewitched us as we reveled in the feeling
that we could do it too, if we were there.
But elegance has shriveled into cool:
the fashion model pouting into space,
disdainful glances from the clique at school.
And accolades for apathy erase
the reverence for skill that was the rule,
while we sweep up the vestiges of grace.
Finalist, Howard Nemerov Sonnet Contest 2009.
Published in Measure, Vol. IV, Issue 1, Winter 2009
Dancing with Bare Feet, Kelsay Books, 2016
The Tooth Fairy
Our big boy’s lost a tooth, the family sings.
At night, he buries it beneath his pillow.
He sleeps and wakes, trying to peek at wings,
then finds, at morning sun, a dollar bill.
I, too, have lost a tooth, but no one sings.
I’ll need an implant or a bridge. My pillow
declines the ivory bribe—no fairy brings
me cash to help me pay the dentist’s bill.
Grandma Poems -- Not Too Sweet, Kelsay Books, 2017