Sammie Morris: 5 Poems




Table for One

The star of the workshop,
I've earned a two-hour lunch,
So now I sit
In front of the World Trade Center
While an elderly man plays
"It Had to Be You" on the clarinet.
He brought his own chair.
Wonder how long he's been there.
The fries here are excellent.
For an encore, he plays "On Top of the World."
I sit in the sun,
Still cold from Encoded Archival Description.
Where does the sidewalk end and the street begin?
Even the buses ride on air.
Little clumps of beauty surround me
Ivy, exquisite grasses, petunias,
Is this why Yanks like summer?
The elderly man plays more
For himself than for me,
Tapping his foot,
Glad for any company.
That is what I wish to be,
Independent, content, and free.
Later, on the news,
The anchorman asks
If a kiss is still a kiss
If it's at a public baseball game
And between two women.





The lavender men in the tapestry ...

The lavender men in the tapestry
Have the greatest lives.
They never lose their ways,
Their winnings, or their wives.

In fact, they have no wives,
For wives could bring unease,
And theirs are tranquil lives
Of solitude and peace.

They play with silver bells,
And birds of paradise.
And we can never tell
Which ones of them are wise

And which ones of them are sad.
And we can never judge
Which is the richest man.
I guess that I could nudge

The fabric with my foot,
But every man would dance
Equally in the eyes
Of cotton circumstance.





On this checkerboard tile ...

On this checkerboard tile,
Is it your move or mine?
In the meantime, I'm doing just fine.
Though from time to time I forget
That this is just a game.

By the way,
Do the frozen faces
Of the spectators
Depict horror, or delight?

I once thought I'd fight
For us, but now I do
What the audience tells me to.
And the audience screams Win. Kill. Fame.

The audience chants my name.
While each move is calculated,
Divided just right,
Your bedspread a net cast far and wide-

That caught me before
I lost to the tide.
That caught me before
I learned how to hide.





Passion Is a Dangerous Thing with Wings

While we fought,
She concocted
A ballet of thoughts
In her head.

While the wind,
Angry at receiving
Mixed signals,
Pulled us in



Out of

Passion is a gangly cop
About to give.

Passion is a sudden spark
That wants to live.





Strange Dogs

What stands between us
And heaven?
Strange dogs.

Strange dogs
Feed on power and people,
And tell us to consume.

Strange dogs
With many names
Cast a lustful eye to fame.

Strange dogs
Hum at night,
But do not bark.

Strange dogs
Tell us what to watch,
What to read, who to be.

And when you pray,
You pray to them.
Strange dogs.


SAMMIE MORRIS is the archivist for the Dallas Museum of Art and the editor of the Museum Archivist for the Society of American Archivists. She resides in Dallas, Texas, with her wife of eight years. Although not formally schooled in creative writing, poetry is in her blood, and she writes whenever and wherever she finds the chance.

 Jared Brent  Timothy Ferine  Jeff Foster   Michael Stone Johnson  Joan Pond  Sundin Richards  Elizabeth Winder  Home