Sunday, January 27, 2008

Jonathan London

For twenty years I’ve remembered two things about the Anthology of Magazine Verse 1980 -- that there’s a poem in it that uses imagery from The Wizard of Oz, and that there’s a poem in it by Jonathan London. I haven’t come across the Oz poem yet. But I will, I’m sure.

I remember the Jonathan London poem because Jonathan London was someone I knew. Not well, really. But he was a Sonoma County resident, west. I’d heard him read for the Russian River Writers Guild and he had a book, a small one. For a long time I owned the book; it had a lizard on the cover. I don’t remember the title.

When I began working for the Berkeley Public Library I would work at the North branch and, while at the circulation desk, would sometimes overhear the children’s librarian doing story hour. One of his favorites at the time seemed to be Froggy Gets Dressed. Little Froggy struggles with each piece of clothing and the librarian’s voice would accentuate the effort. I was pleased to learn the author and the Sonoma County poet were the same. London’s been making his living from his writing for years now. Good for him.

For those of you who haven’t read any of London’s poems, well, here’s the one that appears in Anthology of Magazine Verse 1980:

Batches of New Leaves

for Maureen

batches of new leaves
spurting green out the window
backyards filling up
with bird song
as i sit gazing
seeking snatches
of poetry
and then you come
swinging braids
running cold fingers
down my back
beneath my shirt
pressing crotch to my shoulder
dipping and encircling my nose
with lush warm lips
as the heat comes on and rises
from between the legs
of this desk straddling me
but
it’s just a tender moment
and you say goodbye
kid
as you swing away
leaving me
to fill my hands with
this poem for you

#

Read it to your kids, folks!

1 comment:

David Lee said...

He's got a lot of pages in Amazon.