November 2001

Jacqueline Dee Parker


Jacqueline Dee Parker is a painter/poet who presently teaches in the English Department at Louisiana State University. Her poems have appeared in a variety of literary journals, including Poet & Critic, The Pittsburgh Quarterly, Louisiana Literature, The Little Magazine, and Appalachee Quarterly, among others; her mixed media paintings are regularly exhibited. Parker lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana with her husband and two children and big dog.

She finds you in the alphabet,
U for ukulele the turtle plays,
and points to a mouse-held violin.
The cello's with you in Santiago,
but still strings flourish here,
and so does facial hair, as
for example, the moustached moose
in a picture book: "Dada!"
And out of the house
any man we see, it seems, could do. Dada?
Cars passing, bicyclists, trees,
cashiers, a mannequin wrapped in silk
sarong, all Dada, dada, dada—how
she longs for you, our little thrush,
rushing you home again.



Buddha With A Promise Of Cool   

after "The Gift" by Louisiana painter Edward Pramuk

The painter holds a pitcher in the doorway,
a way-big Vermeer in pie-shaped sunlight,
he tilts the pale vermilion jug
to fill a mug, and swallows.

Still, he watched it long
before he juiced it—

He sits in the studio in a striped chair
and stares at the enormous melon
still-life balanced on a rectangle
of pinkish-red wool.
It's hot.
He thinks the fine etched lines in its hide
could be seams of a door for a little plane,
that he might fly
for a spell.
The fruit skin sweats under the clamp light,
beads pearling down the belly,
darkening the cloth beneath.
It's too hot
to remember anything but heat.

He gulps the last of the pulp
and jostles his brush in fresh water.

Stellar as "Café de la Nuit" in the after-dinner hour
in Arles, party of yellow light and amber glasses
on a deep azure square, or acres
of sunflowers bowing sun-ward
in a Provençal midday,
Pramuk's watermelon reigns—
a minty dirigible aloft in a hot-tempered sky,
a juicy Buddha with a promise of cool,
poised to carve a gift from the vermilion
hell of a deep south July.
We recognize deliverance as an arc of sour rind
and wet red meat with plenty of seeds
to spew at the humid dirt.

To paint a watermelon well, one
must bloody one's hands in its flesh,
grind it, rind and all,
and drink.



Jacqueline Dee Parker: Poetry
Copyright © 2001 The Cortland Review Issue 18The Cortland Review