the poetry that matters

Donavan Davidson

Donavon Davidson’s poems have appeared, or are soon to appear, in: FRiGG, The Rusty Nail, Moria, Thirteen Myna Birds, Eunoia Review, The Legendary, Spork, Softblow, decomP, The Salon, Barnstorm, The Fiddleback, Prick of the Spindle, Oak Bend Review, Juked, Pirene’s Fountain, The Montucky Review, 3:AM, Anti-, Arch, Anemone Sidecar, Pedestal, WordRiot, MiPOesias, Stirring, Evergreen Review, Barnwood International Poetry Magazine, Quay:  A Journal of the Arts, Holly Rose Review, and SNreview.  He received his MFA from Goddard College and currently teaches writing at the Community College of Vermont.

Excerpts from Hamlet, Act I

Scene I

Now that a piece of Horatio
                              has a strange eruption

the ceremony is about to begin
for reasons unforeseen
we know what it means to be human
years from now
singing in the shower
dying in some private way
as sure as I am standing here
under the big top
a light centers on a man in chains
with nothing to lose
I wish I could say
a stranger is needed
should everything be in its right place
where we meet to be ourselves
if by some strange coincidence
we know what it means to be human
I wish I could say
the strong man doesn't break a thing
that wasn't meant to be loved
in the still of the night
what follows isn't anything
you haven't seen before
I wish I could say
it's non-habit forming



Scene II

Now that Laertes is given leave
                               through laborsome repetition

this is no place for children
to imply the double negative
there's nothing nobody can do about it
way down in a hole
where the rain gets in
everyone drinks to their fill
to dissolve our relationship
I said I'm sorry you thought I said
you look like someone I once knew
a hundred pounds heavier
on consignment
we all have to go under the knife
to be in two places at the same time
I never saw nothing
call a spade a spade
in a fool's paradise
the living is aware of the living
that only robs Peter to pay Paul
who was last seen walking
in name only
with an almost human intelligence
I can't say you won't feel better
after I leave
say it was the best you ever had
that it hurt like hell
the body is a weapon
under ideal conditions
dead men tell no tales
just to be certain
you ain't seen nothing, yet


Scene III

Now that Hamlet steps out from under the clouds
                               and we hear him speak for the first time

yes, I too know why the caged bird sings
more time is needed to tell the truth
in one ear and out the other
to whom it may concern
the devil's in the details
not able to see the forest for the trees
spreading like wildfire
set in their ways
by the same token
if you break it you buy the farm
a son suffers the sins of his father
to tell the truth
beauty has nothing to do
with the beauty of it
going, going, gone
to the first and finest work song
everyone sang and was gaily poised
dying in some private way
to be martyred for their second childhood
a double standard
one for the money
two for the show
the magician knows every heart I draw
from the long sleeve of my wrist
he plays the one with a knife in his head
practicing to make perfect



Scene IV

Now that we find Hamlet contemplating frailty
                                the unweeded garden and the everlasting

I've got time to spare
the transpiring of events
with my patent pending
I am guaranteed reproductive rights
in the name of the father
who created the book of diffèrance
in the name of the son
who took things out of context
so he could say rebellion doesn't live
to change anything
it only survives if nothing changes
in the name of the Holy Ghost
we aborted
before we knew what it meant
to make it to third base
someone has to wave me in
by either saying hello or goodbye
it's left to me
to discern the merits of sink or swim
by the description of the water
through impressionistic techniques
the further back I am
the clearer it becomes
thus I can trace my history
to a race of ne'er-do-wells
who took the stillborn sparrow
out of its broken shell
to see what the dream of flying looks like



Scene V

Now that Horatio tries to convince Hamlet
                                 of an apparition

a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush
burning with the presence of God
where have you been all my life
why are you looking at me that way
the wild things look
when I walk away from you
I beg for guidance to beg
in other words no other god before
I promise an eye
for an eye in a needle
we can pass
without having to pretend
one of us is choking
the other with arms
all tied up in a knot
what's gotten into you
doesn't perform well under pressure
performing the Heimlich maneuver
in the words our father gave us
to refrain from his love song
I sleep with the fishes
to feed the hungry
the final act of lying
between a rock and a hard place
our bodies forming lips
around a word so red it feeds
the measure of our lives with spoons


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                                                                                                          March 19, 2013