Poetry of the Bosom
The toughest guy in Hollywood never
understood the poetry of the bosom.
Not only for decoration clothed
in metallic lingerie, but
girls skipping through the park
holding hands with children of their own
dressed still in white, blind skin thinner
than a Bible story written on papyrus,
perceptionless to the fruits of wisdom
carried red-tipped all their lives.
She said, Mother I am stupid to not fully
know the poetics of breasts.
to explain the poetry of the bosom.
How does one articulate such
genetics spread out in space like
dust circling a star?
Such art is not an imprecise Hollywood
imitation, but a philosophy, a mystery
by the names of countless maiden,
mother, crone, strewn behind like pearls
circling the sea.
And so she comes to dream herself the
possessor of the erotic, the birthed, the unknown,
possessed by the wind
weaving her veins,
cradling her tongue,
fueling her parted thighs with
the perfumed scent of what cannot be named.
Then she muses
until I find a name
I will not write on my skin
the poetry of the bosom, nor record in the
soul calculator, for
it is known that a man speaks unaware of the
not understanding the negative space
married to the positive.
How then should the poetry of the bosom be spoken?
As round, wet stones skimmed in moss
As a perfect Platonic archetype
cradled in Abraham’s bosom?
None suffice, all buried and unfathomable as
the Titanic rusting in sea-mud.
All must see things as they were
for the first time, even the wild once
young man for that is where the piercing
Women wonder as best they
can, walking clothed in bare white,
each step carving out one image after
The morning was imperfect, so
I made an inventory of things better
in an attempt to
ameliorate the deterioration
the way that Germany has
erased Berlin after 1945.
I would know the syntax & moods
of another language so that I
might unlearn yours
written now in firefly sparks
inked on a burning log.
Your face, in different seasons,
mask made of bronze & bone.
Your tongue, your words,
malicious dirty garments worn too long
as were your ideas of the eternal.
Still, the sparks from the fireplace log
remind me of you.
When I have eaten, how do I digest you?
The delineated districts vanished behind
like static poured down screens, just
Fiercest agonies have shortest reign
quiet and remote.
The sound of falling, falling
away from you, a psychotic karmic flow,
full to over feasting on unmitigated trials &
You have blown my life like
dirty glass in the manner of old black &
I have been witness to the terrible
scales descending without justice,
just clever forensics.
This hot lingering infests
like a lost boat hunting the mother
harbor, no clearer than the
fate of lipstick stained styrofoam cups
cast aside like the litter of immortal
The Greeks imagined their mindbuilt
eternals without halos, but even there
what is immortal unforgiveness like?
I was entranced by a burning inferior to yours.
Disintegrate in peace like the worm-limed
statues of those same gods.
None of the battles made history.
Your poisonous mouth months of
bitter corroded night.
Free of one another--
the fire burning inside, take inventory, no
longer crackles & pops.
42 years since we left high school.
Charlie Brown & Lucy moved in
color through a black & white world.
None of us are the same.
We have lived through a controlled
all bruised by god or something else
We would be one with something, know
not what it is.
As synaptic memories
they manifest one by one
from the darkness: a few friends,
some with historical
names: Andy Griffith, bumbled
Barney, John Wayne & Sophia Loren,
others that are not recognized.
As we reflect & pray & meditate
on their brutal deaths we like they
are human mirages
burned candle wicks.
Our original harmony must be somewhere:
in space, an island, ourselves
played by fingers on the keyboard
a misted million particles
untouchable like those girls
in the hallway ears rung by
a bell signaling classroom change,
heads full now by the ghosted years &
all the boys & men & children
Immortality must be somewhere
engaged in an eternal war while we
move as movie actors mouthing forgotten
or acting in one,
dependent upon a script to show us the way.
Hungry Enough by Christmas
My buddy quit his teaching job,
took to making designer knives
that he sold to chefs and on the
On the side he became a record
producer for local metal bands.
Hit the mosh pit with all the other
Dionysian crazies. Drank his fill
free & snorted coke off stripper’s
What a life, he said to me, better
than an adjunct’s pay. Don’t even
have to pay the devil coz the devil
pay me & if I
ain’t hungry enough by Christmas
I’ll just eat the tree.
That’s what the babbling people
tried to do—scrape the sky or at
least finger the firmament by
a mud ziggurat flung towering
up as a testament to god.
The same hubris exhibited by
any city skyscraper thrown up
as a bronze age surrogate festooned
with every arcane communication
gilded little godears to power &
money—from a global perspective,
Cities are as unnatural as a sharia
beheading, buildings crowded together
like blackened finger stumps that
turn men just as black.
But hey man, it’s the place to be.
Where you can get anything for
a price, any price—just call it a
waiting to suck you in like a
squid on a fish—
like a dry beach, Clorox in the
shower. Wash up
Bio: Ralph Monday is Professor of English at RSCC in Harriman, TN. Hundreds of poems published. Books: All American Girl and Other Poems, 2014. Empty Houses and American Renditions, 2015. Narcissus the Sorcerer, 2015. Bergman’s Island & Other Poems, 2021, and a humanities text, 2018. Twitter @RalphMonday Poets&Writers https://www.pw.org/directory/writers/ralph_monday