Gilbert Sorrentino, The Orangery



Gilbert Sorrentino, from The Orangery


Variations 2

The pale moon sails out blank.
Green fruit in the trees and
in the green trees oranges.
They are limes they

are oranges. The n is a kind
of fly that lands on
nothing. The birds flash
in morning silver light.

      glitter and buzz of
      the transparent.
      flash of green.

      handful of silver coins
      caught by the girl the
      comedienne. Madame Mystère.


Imitation of the Chinese

Dry crackle of leaves
blown erratically over the rusty grass.
Ice thin and fine a crystal
luminous in the bleached sunlight.
The birds are gone save for the blue dazzle
of the jays.

Thin smoke white against azure.
The roof tiles blue and ochre
across the lake. I stand alone
shivering in the wind
sweeping from the mountains.
Where is she?

      Where is she who gave me the orange
      from Persia in summer long ago?



The harsh words ice and chaste
are good American, they sing
of death and winter, waste.

Frozen chics depart in haste
for Florida. (They don’t bring
the harsh words, ice and chaste.)

Sun dumb, they smell and taste
fluffy orange frappes, here’s nothing
of death and winter waste.

Cakes oozing with lime paste
yet in the news a chilling sting:
the harsh words Ice and Chaste.

These harsh words: “ICE AND CHASTE.”



Camille Martin

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