karla huston | 3 poems

4 09 2009

PoetryDispatch No. 292 | September 4, 2009

3 Poems

Karla Huston brings today’s ‘feminine mystique’ front and center/in your face with great style, gusto, talent-galore plus ‘attitude’—the kind that makes men smile, damn near worship, wish the world were filled with more women alive in just this way, words rolling off their tongue…sharp, sassy, sexy…with just enough grace and gravitas to help you make it through another night, romance, rancor, or reflection.. Say it again, please, one more time…it sounds so right. –Norbert Blei



The girl from Ipanema has nothing
on this one walking a suburban street,
short shorts and tan legs which my husband
says go all the way up to her (perfect!) ass.
What catches his eye more than the Y
of cleavage peeking out of her white top?
Is it her hair, long and thick?
It moves like a surge, a breaker picking
up momentum, the curl of it washing
the immaculate shore of her shoulders.
And I know he’s thinking how her hair
would feel, its blonde chill, all silk and sweet
sheets, satiny cool against his thighs until
everything is the only thing,
the deep waves of it rolling in and out,
the dry taste of salt.

Fifties Women at Windows

They wait at windows
in aprons and house dresses,
cross-your-hearts, buckled
and pointed. They wait
at kitchen windows, soapy hands
plunged into Joy, a little
orange grease catching the edges
of their wrists. They wait for husbands
to get home, for children walking
down streets, for the delivery
with its boxes and butcher paper
wrapping what they can’t afford
this week. They wait at picture
windows while plows clear snow
into impossible rows. They wait
for neighbors and coffee,
the Jewel Tea man with his bag
of brushes and cleaners,
for the Avon lady to ding dong,
bring vials of To a Wild Rose,
tiny tubes of pastel pinks. They wait
for the knock of The Millionaire
offering a check to solve
what ails them. For once,
they want to be Queen for a Day—
or at least the idea of it. Not
the pitiful sobbing women
in the small window of the TV.
They wait for the window
of the world they knew to open
and take them back.

Love That Red

The mouths of their tubes open,
luscious tongues reaching.
I’m drawn to them – the thick
color embedded and shaped,
the sheen glistening,
the slanted tips fat with promise.
My mother wore Love That Red
and when she put it on, I knew
she was going further
than the clothesline
or the edge of our corner lot,
knew the way her lips pursed
that love it or not, red was her color,
the way it lit her brown eyes
and she was taking all of it with her.

[from AN INVENTORY OF LOST THINGS, Centennial Press, PO Box 170322, Milwaukee, WI, www.centennialpress.com]



4 responses

4 09 2009
Sharon Auberle

These poems are SO right on, especially the “Fifties Women” poem. They did spend most of their time waiting for, and waiting on, all those children and husbands surrounding them–living their active lives. Mostly, that Fifties Woman didn’t. Then there are those of us born on the cusp–in the Forties. We were half the old style woman and half the new…and never really fit in either place.
GREAT poems, Karla.

4 09 2009
Jean Casey

Good work! I enjoyed all three, but two has its problems from an attitude standpoint, the triteness of the much vaunted women’s movement of that era when I was raising three in three years and reading Betty Friedan (sp). Sure, I felt trapped, jailed, nailed to the house the yard and the front porch. But I could get competent baby sitters who didn’t cost the earth so my husband and I could go “out,” I didn’t have to go to a job leaving my kids at daycare, I didn’t need a vast wardrobe, my great thrill was the new clothes drier in the basement, and I couldn’t spoil my children with too many toys or trinkets or educational activities and dance classes, because they were either unavailable or unaffordable. Backyard free roaming play was it with neighbor kids, and in the summer, there were free swimming classes at the city pool and supervised playgrounds where they only occasionally got scrapes and bruises. Sure, I overwaxed the kitchen floor and craved and soaked up the sophisticated conversations on the Paar show while I did the late night bottle sterilizing, but after those brief years of captivity I’ve had years and years of the other life, the job, the freedom, and it aint all it was cracked up to be when I was trapped!

4 09 2009
Mike Koehler

I always liked her stuff.

8 09 2009
Barbara Vroman

I think Nobert’s admiring preface to Karla’s poetry was more stimulating than the
poetry itself. I tend not to care about poetry that whines. There is something faintly
degrading about the portrait she draws of ’50’s women. I was one of them and we
were more diversified and on the edge of breakthroughs than she portrays here.
If she wants to portray women as victims she should go back and write about the
pioneer women who went mad on the prairie. But everyone to their own vision.

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