I send along this poem because I remember that Florenz liked it — she thought it, I believe, rather mordantly funny, and asked me if Bernini’s orgiastic depiction of St. Theresa had inspired the last verse (yes, yes!). Florenz was a lovely woman — thoughtful, kind, quick to laughter. My experience with the production of my first book was first-rate from beginning to end, from the editorial side (Joan) to the design (Peter) to the dailiness of production, marketing, etc. (Florenz). I read at a fundraiser for CavanKerry with Jean Valentine and I remember watching Florenz’s face as she listened: so open to the enjoyment of image and idiom and phrasing, so ready to enter into the sensual experience of poetry. So alive to the community of readers and listeners. A true woman of letters.
It was a pleasure and a privilege to have known her.
Misconceptions of Childhood
from Soft Box
My father was a sidewise Jack,
always in profile, a hand on his rod.
His pack was a Destroyer, said my mother,
where he played ping-pong on
the deck, two fingers flat on his spade.
I saw his photo: a big-bellied dick
in a tailor-made sailor suit.
“Bye-Bye!” he waved, and out I
sprang, strong enough
to shove all the drawers shut.
My teeth took root. White
stalagmites, their stems sunk inward
and rotted. Biting strawberries,
they sheared unripe heads from
The leaves caused a rash.
My mouth’s toes, St. Theresa,
grind with your hips
when you close your eyes. Sex is
sacred, you say.
Leaving me, to prove it.