4 New Poems

Charles Simic, Former U.S. Poet Laureate

Black Cat

The hush of a summer morning
Bathed in the light of sunrise
Drew me to the open window
And the astounding beauty
Of every flower and tree in my yard,
Never did I suspect fraud,
Till I happen to see a black cat
Crossing the lawn in a hurry
And stopping to glance back
With mounting suspicion
Before fleeing my bit of paradise
That had given it the creeps.

In The Traffic

What if I were to ditch my car
And walk away without a glance back?
While drivers honk their horns
As I march toward the woods,

Determined, once and for all,
To swap this breed of lunatics
For a more benign kind who dwell
In trees long-haired and naked.

I’ll let the sun be my guide
As I roam the countryside, stopping to chat
With a flower or a butterfly,
Subsisting on edible plants I find,

Glad to share my meal with deer,
Or find a bear licking my face
As I wake up asking where am I?
Stuck in the traffic, Mister!

Golden Oldies

The sky is a lit juke box
In a roadside dive
Venus in a blonde wig
Snapping her fingers
And calling out requests
To a DJ on high
While stars stand spellbound
Watching the wax spin.

Somebody Stole My Gal

Do you remember Minnie the Moocher
And Cab Calloway who sang of her troubles
Fronting a big band in a white tuxedo?
And Dinah with her Dixie-eyes blazing

Bing Crosby told us how much we love
To sit and gaze at? Do you remember
Chloe whose lover looked for her in a swamp
Through the black of night? And Laura,

Whose face Sinatra glimpsed in misty light
On a train that was passing through,
And Irene everyone was saying goodnight to?
Of course you don’t, folks, but I do.

Fats Waller, at a piano, tipping us off
Lulu’s back in town and right behind her,
Sweet Sue, that every star above knows we love,
And the moon on high the reason why.

Charles Simic is a poet, essayist and translator. He was born in Yugoslavia in 1938 and immigrated to the United States in 1954. His first poems were published in 1959, when he was twenty-one. Since 1967, he has published numerous books of his own poetry, eight books of essays, a memoir, and many books of translations of French, Serbian, Croatian, Macedonian, and Slovenian poetry for which he has received literary awards, including the Pulitzer Prize, the Griffin Prize, the MacArthur Fellowship and Wallace Stevens Award from the Academy of American Poets. Simic is an Emeritus Professor at the University of New Hampshire where he has taught American Literature and Creative Writing since 1973 and the Distinguished Visiting Poet at New York University where he teaches every fall semester. Since 1999 he has been a regular contributor to The New York Review of Books. Simic was the Poet Laureate of the United States 2007-2008. Come Closer and Listen, his latest volume of poetry and The Life of Images, a book of his selected prose, are his most recent publications.
Featured Artwork in order of appearance:
1 – Sheila Sund from Salem, United States [CC BY 2.0]
2 – Mc Tobi [CC BY-SA 4.0 ]
3 – Paul van de Velde from Netherlands [CC BY 2.0]
4 – Maxim Beniashvili [CC BY-SA 4.0 ]
Bio – “Charles Simic.” www.poets.org/