By Marc Meierkort
Parole is a movie
about a lady & her pencils.
Celebrating life 110 years she
(quit smoking at 107 too proud
to inquire of another a light)
surrenders to this story,
such a little story,
stenciled on cereal boxes
those pencils she sells
to Van Gogh. This lady working
in her father’s little store
are 3 pennies a dozen,
each point a sunflower,
each masterpiece half a cent.
She smiles when she tells,
this story keeping the listener
unsure of its authenticity,
keeping the hook dipped
like light’s invasion upon
time; she smiles when she
tells of his storied fingers
picking at the sharpest
lead, the strongest impression
of stroke across the page.
She smiles, the stencil & a little
swerve built into what the eyes
see & he fingers them
one at a time, one at a time.
When she smiles telling
this little story, these 100 years,
this time of dried paint,
secluded minds & the way
she smiles through her smoke smiles
at squirrels & children playing
with worms, the story of she, who,
smiles seeing each yellowed world
turn around to scrape the lead
from the tips, she smiles
of his divine fingers.
Van Gogh tells its time,
one at a time, one at a time,
keeping light’s invasion stenciled
& unsure. She surrenders the pencils,
the sharpest, the strongest
as Van Gogh tells time.
She smiles – Father’s little store,
dried these 100 years, storied
the listener. Like a movie. Like light.
The pencil stroke built his fingers,
eyes yellowed at the impression of divine
paint picking at 3 pennies,
a pencil’s little dozen,
sharpest at the lead,
strongest at the swerve.
Van Gogh smiles. A proud parole
hook-dipped the authenticity, working
to inquire of a “masterpiece” – she smiles –
from the tips, she tells a story
about little fingers & secluded pencils,
about the sharp and the strong,
about keeping Van Gogh unsure,
about sunflowers celebrating the divine.
The strongest impression
of eyes, this little story, yellowed in
the way of light’s picking at a sunflower
playing in his storied eyes, his fingers
celebrating with worms & authenticity.
Van Gogh unsure, keeping his hook dipped.
The lady – smiles – telling of his sharpest lead.
sells her father’s little store.
The cereal boxes.
The storied listeners.
Van Gogh sells.
The lady – smiles – through her smoke,
sees his fingers in a swerve of worms,
the hook dipped – she smiles –
one at a time, one at a time
like dried paint stenciled across
his secluded masterpiece.
About the Author
Marc Meierkort currently teaches English and Film Studies at Thornton Fractional North High School in Calumet City, IL, and has been a teacher for the past 19 years. He graduated from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale (B.S.) and National-Louis University (M.A.T.) and is currently living in the western suburbs of Chicago.