Tracy Fuad’s “Terms of Syllogism” & Gregory Glenn’s “Big Bird Singing at his Father’s Funeral”

Terms of Syllogism
Tracy Fuad

I was sure that being in between meant being nowhere.
Certain there were scissors that could cut me off the grid.

I hoped there was a key, but was sure the void was serious,
virulent and spreading. I was sure alone, most of the time.

And surely, right on some accounts, a logic that left me
pounding. Was intimacy, by nature, grotesque?

Those intimate with me were divided. Where was I,
young and running with my mother in a drenching rain?

Sometimes all that’s left of what I’ve lived is cinema, kinetic
and anonymous, like it could have been anyone’s memory.

The ambulance carrying my father at three in the morning struck
and killed a black bear. The beast wore death’s fur in my father’s place,

had to be hauled off the ribbon of road before the vehicle
could pass. I know there is a door in the exact shape of my body.

That when I go through, I will know by how acutely it licks
my perimeter. On the phone, my mother tells me,

island. That is where I’ll go when I am gone. Be certain,
I tell myself, to be ready for the door when it opens.

Previously published by Tagvverk (May 7, 2018).
* Poet’s Writing Prompt: Choose a word that has multiple or contradictory meanings (like “last” or “bound” or “left”). Compose as many sentences as you can with it, choose your favorites, and use them to begin a poem. Leap to an image you’ve been meaning to put in a poem. Include a question that’s been pinging around in your mind lately. Include a conversation with a relative. End with a statement in future tense.
Big Bird Singing at his Father’s Funeral
Gregory Glenn

for Jack Glenn (September 1, 1950 – May 2, 2020)

Maybe you don’t know how to be like Big Bird
singing when he sang at Jim Henson’s funeral.
How to be so great big and yellow, and to hide the
obvious human inside of something obviously

very much more obvious; to suspend your
belief that I’m there; I’m here. How my inability
to understand can help others understand. How
my childishness could be put to use maybe.

I don’t know if I know how to teach or how
to entertain—Really, I don’t. I don’t know if
my green but growing handle on letters and
colors and counting could be put to use maybe.

Please don’t lose your patience with him. Try
and let him act it out, lay down and close his eyes,
make up a prayer, even if it’s silly and it rhymes,
even if it’s just crib talk: the kind of talk we talk

in secret with god, alone and in the dark, amidst
the fleeting out of adults, in our rooms at home
or anywhere there’s room for us really, until it
becomes some kind of song, but not the same

kind of song you hear Big Bird sing. Also,
I suppose I meant that you are him, just as well
as I hope that I am. Whatever is sad let it be
sad. Sometimes it feels like everything is just

sad. I know. Whatever you think you have, go
on and think you have it. Sometimes it’s really
hard to have something. I know. Whatever you
need to sing, go on and sing – you’re a great and

yellow thing. Sometimes it feels like you’re a
great a yellow thing. I know. It feels like you’re
just so huge and you can’t let them see you, up
there singing like that, and not understanding that

maybe he can’t hear you there singing like that.

Previously published in Drunk Monkeys (September 9, 2021).
* Mass Poetry Writing Prompt: Write your own version of Big Bird’s song, whatever that might mean for you. It can be an elegy or an ode, mournful or celebratory, whatever form you want. Just let it be what it needs to be, (as the poem puts it) “even if it’s silly and it rhymes, / even if it’s just crib talk: the kind of talk we talk / in secret with god, alone and in the dark…”

Tracy Fuad is the author of about:blank, chosen by Claudia Rankine as the 2020 winner of the AWP Donald Hall Prize, and published in October from the University of Pittsburgh Press. She is a graduate of the Rutgers-Newark MFA Program and a 2021-22 Poetry Fellow at the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center, and teaches poetry at the Berlin Writers’ Workshop.

Gregory Glenn is a writer and artist based in Massachusetts. He is the Beloved Editor Supreme at Unpopular Writer, and former poetry editor for Soundings East. His poetry has most recently been featured in Poetry Soup Magazine, and Drunk Monkeys, among others.