Dorothy Parker’s Tongue
“I can’t look you in the voice.”
—Dorothy Parker, in a telegram to her editor, Pascal Covici,
regarding her writer’s block.
Sometimes, all we can think to write about
Is the pang of having nothing to say.
When always words are within us and without,
The abandonment is undescribed dismay.
Young poets with brainy webs will capture
The flighty words that come after a tease,
While older poets write about a rapture
And scorn the life they loved and want release.
O, the young name-that-poet with her full plate,
Licking the edge of immortality
With a Dorothy Parker-tongue formality,
Ages from her gift turning apostate,
How she will bemoan her dried-up anointing,
And how she will fault the heavens, pointing.
Drinking with Li Bai
I observe you toasting
your friends, Moon and
Shadow, a pot of strong
wine among the flowerbeds,
your moonshine in the moonshine,
and I drink in your joyful
song and wince as you
lead Shadow in dance,
fearful you might fall,
then pause with you both
in our sudden shadowland
as jealous Moon turns her
face to the west, confounding
the earth, and you, somehow
sober, call into the black,
Drink with me, and the Braille of
night guides me to your poet’s voice.
Thomas Locicero is an award-winning poet, short story writer, essayist, playwright, and monologist. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Roanoke Review, Boston Literary Magazine, The Long Island Quarterly, Riverrun, Omnibus Arts & Literature Anthology, The Good Men Project, and Adelaide Literary Magazine. Originally from East Islip, Long Island, Thomas resides with his wife and their sons in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma.