Send Me a Telegram

Will you please?
and have it delivered like a pineapple today
not yesterday's pineapple but really I would prefer
a daily pineapple if you can arrange it I mean
with a telegram not always a telegram a yearly
one will be sure if it reaches me
if first it goes on an air land and later comes
to me by foot I will like it better than a telegram
read to me over a telephone I would like this
new and fresh telegram to arrive with an old-
fashioned person dressed in a delivery suit
the words will be so contemporary so avant-garde
it being you who shall send it but I can discard
that idea I should like an ordinary person to deliver
my telegram not necessarily in a delivery-suit one
must respect tastes and not parenthesize them as
telegrams do not risk punctuation and my joy in
receiving your words hardly needs embellishment
I almost forgot oh genuine you of delicious pineapples
thank you in advance as you have always wished.


--Barbara Guest

in The Blind See Only This World: Poems for John Weiners
[New York: Granary Books, 2000]

like many (3rd gen NYS, female) younger poets in California, I had the privilege of reading with Barbara Guest -- Andrew Maxwell gave me the opportunity

she has been a favorite of mine -- I've quoted her many times, return to her work frequently -- for quite some time

would that she, and her "foremother" (as the WOMPO list would have it) HD (Guest wrote HERSELF DEFINED) were better mothers, but couldn't have been a better poet...


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