Red letters

chicken mushroom 2

Dear Dana,

I climbed the ridge to look for a poem
& came back with supper instead:
five pounds of chicken mushroom,
freshly sprouted from the end of a log
& dripping with moisture.

A couple of rove beetles scrambled
in & out of fissures as I began
breaking off hand-sized fans
& nestling the boneless yellow flesh
in a shopping bag. In this supermarket,

the shelves themselves are edible.
Red letters on the bag said
THANK YOU   THANK YOU
THANK YOU   THANK YOU
Have a Nice Day
.

Looking in at the bright crop, I felt as if
I’d raided the crayoned worlds of first graders
& lifted the sun from the top left
corner of every drawing.
I left a little behind for the beetles.
__________

The beginning of a planned correspondence in poems with Dana Guthrie Martin, my co-conspirator in the new Postal Poetry venture. If it goes O.K., we may branch out and correspond with other online poets this way, too. And we hope to inspire imitators. Weblogs seem like an ideal medium for this kind of exchange.

Dave Bonta (bio) crowd-sources his problems by following his gut, which he shares with 100 trillion of his closest microbial friends — a close-knit, symbiotic community comprising several thousand species of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. In a similarly collaborative fashion, all of Dave’s writing is available for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. For attribution in printed material, his name (Dave Bonta) will suffice, but for web use, please link back to the original. Contact him for permission to waive the “share alike” provision (e.g. for use in a conventionally copyrighted work).

11 Replies to “Red letters”

  1. I should probably be commenting on the poem and/or the concept of corresponding to others in that form, but I’m too fixated on that gorgeous mushroom.

  2. Beautiful photos of the fungi and moisture.
    Enjoyed the poem.
    The part about the “Thank you” reminded me of finding one of those “thank you” stickers (the ones they put on large objects at the check-outs of grocery stores) on the snow in the lane here at the farm on a very bad day. I gave the “thank you” an Elvis voice (Thank you, thank you very much) and it made me laugh right when I most needed that to happen.

  3. Wonderful poem and photo. I like the idea of a letter poem. Often, if I can’t fall asleep, I write imaginary letters in my head to different people I know. It’s nice to think about someone specific when you write, someone who you know would be enthralled by your words.

  4. Natalie – See my post from last year, Tastes Like Chicken.

    christine – Interesting comment, considering the subject of Dana’s poem in response.

    bev – We get a lot of balloons up here, and sometimes the messages on them strike me as funny in the same way – like ironic messages from on high. Especially when they say things like “congratulations on your retirement” or “happy birthday.”

    CGP – Cool. Yeah, I struggled for a way to describe the weird recurved abdomens of rove beetles, but in the end I thought the poem was getting too overloaded so I left that out.

    Jo – Thanks. It’s interesting to hear the range of reactions that photo provokes!

    Andre – Hey, thanks for stopping by. (And for getting to Dana to start blogging back in 2005 – she told me about that.)

    Peter – It will be interesting to see. For one thing, I expect that it will give me more practice in writing poetry in the past tense.

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