Monday Morning

The complacency of this student, late
for the final, who chews her pen for an hour,
who sits in her sunny chair,
with a container of coffee and an orange,
a cockatoo swinging freely in her green mind
as if on some drug dissolved,
mingling to give her a wholly ancient rush.
She dreams a little and she fears the mark
she might well get—a catastrophe—
as a frown darkens the hauteur of her light brow.
The orange peels and her bright senior ring
make her think of some procession of classmates,
walking across the wide campus, without a sound,
stalled for the passing of her sneakered feet
over the lawn, to silent pals and steins,
dorm of nobody who would bother to pull an A or care.


3 responses to “Tuesday”

  1. In the first sentence, is “dissolved” the verb? If so, the punctuation is rather strange. If not, I’m not sure how to parse that first period. I think it must be, but the odd punctuation throws me off (I’m a fan of commas—the more the better, so far as I’m concerned, and I’m always troubled when a comma fails to appear where one is wanted). Of course, I can’t tell whether I would imply a comma after “mind” or after “drug”—and what, precisely, is mingling with what?

    On a more substantive level—why might orange peels make one think of her complacent peers uninterested in pulling As? Is this some quirky, private mental association completely inaccessible to an outsider like me, or is there something more? I can well imagine the thought of the mark she might receive might prompt some musings on her slacker classmates, but orange peels make me think of tea—which reinforces my own complacency, as it happens, so I think I’m going to go get me some. Ah, complacency.

    As it happens, I listened to “Tuesday Morning” by the Pogues and “Sun Comes Up, It’s Tuesday Morning” by the Cowboy Junkies right before I read this post. For what it’s worth, I recommend both highly.

  2. I agree, the initial punctuation is a bit confusing.

    The poem is a play on the first stanza of Wallace Steven’s poem, “Sunday Morning.” In that poem, the subject reflects on much bigger things such as religion and the meaning of life. I guess the joke is that on Monday you start thinking about your grades again. Either way, orange peels and cockatoos make people think of the larger context in which they reside. For my part, on Sunday I see fear in a handful of dust; on monday, I see Fannie Mae.

    Sunday Morning

    Complacencies of the peignoir, and late
    Coffee and oranges in a sunny chair,
    And the green freedom of a cockatoo
    Upon a rug, mingle to dissipate
    The holy hush of ancient sacrifice.
    She dreams a little, and she feels the dark
    Encroachment of that old catastrophe,
    As a calm darkens among water-lights.
    The pungent oranges and bright, green wings
    Seem things in some procession of the dead,
    Winding across wide water, without sound.
    The day is like wide water, without sound,
    Stilled for the passing of her dreaming feet
    Over the seas, to silent Palestine,
    Dominion of the blood and sepulchre.

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