Three Poems by Linda Umans

Linda Umans

The following poems by Linda Umans were originally published in The Journal of Applied Poetics.

Grackles in the Parking Lot, West Texas

Tapping away out there between the Chevys
glossy they say fuck you    fuck it all
I'm dancing.

If you come out after
huevos mexicanos
and you see them
tapping    between    the     spaces
say fuck it all guys
who you backing for President 

and they will glossy answer you.

If you say fuck you glossy sweeties 
they will glossy answer you.

Useppa Island

It belonged to the crows
that hung in the banyan trees.

A dot off Florida’s Gulf Coast
I was privileged to visit when
“Private” did not apply,
a nature tour and week-end
stay in the beachfront cottages
of the very rich who were
happily elsewhere.

We walked along the Pink
Promenade as if we did this often.
I enjoyed the charade.
On the sides of the walkway,
gumbo limbo trees were peeling
their sun-red bark, the scent of
night-blooming jasmine ebbed
in the morning air, Bald Cypress
knees were digging in on the

I was the accidental bird.
The crows really owned it.

On one of these walks the thought
occurred, this could be a place
of subterfuge, of secrecy, of
covert acts. Maybe I was thinking
of the blind provided by the foliage,
the remote, hardly-accessible
location, the feeling of safety
where anything could hatch.

And so it happened, the CIA chose
paradise to train recruits preparing
to invade Cuba, the Bay of Pigs.
When I found out I was not surprised.

The crows were vocalizing, conferring,
unmistakably nuanced.

Black diamonds at the end of the day.

Star Turn

James Dean made me cry
at the Crown Theater in Brooklyn
circa 1955. I never recovered...
the Rebel in his obtuse and stupid family
the sweet loneliness of Sal Mineo
all that heady friendship
and the planetarium scene…well
I owe you, James.

Now so much later than the time
at the Crown Theater
I am in Marfa, Texas
at the Paisano Hotel which is about to be refurbished
for Giant re-appreciation
your DNA all over the place.
(Yours and Elizabeth’s on the stuccoed walls?)
(Yours and Rock’s on the sides of the concrete pool?)
(Yours alone on the original café table?)

James, my Marfa light, brood
and sparkle on.

Linda Umans taught for many years in the public school system of New York City where she lives, studies, writes. Recent publications include poems in SpillwaySpiral OrbComposite {Arts Magazine}DIALOGISTCarbon Culture ReviewThe Maine ReviewLIGHT - A Journal of Photography and Poetry, Gris-Gris2 Bridges Review, and pieces in Mr. Beller's Neighborhood. She can be found on Twitter as linhelen @SednaLin.