Oeuvre, Spirulina, Mugwomp

Oeuvre, Spirulina, Mugwomp

By Teresa Cader

(posted Wednesday, June 3, 1998)

To hear the poet read “Oeuvre, Spirulina, Mugwomp,” click here.


Play dates, player piano, playbill, Shakespeare’s plays,
my younger daughter can’t say play, only pay. So she pays
and pays with fervent concentration, while I work and work

and worry the day away. One does not work the piano,
or the violin. One does not create a body
of play. An oeuvre we call it, not her life’s play, not the drive


that kindled, or destroyed, or turned to gold the impulse,
threaded to the bone like a nerve path, that wild desire to let
the work play itself out, regardless of the price.


Spirulina, food of the sea, urchin-fodder, source,
photosynthetic blossom-leaf, dredged
from the deep cold waters where humpbacks

gully and sing, you surface beside the toothpaste
like an accusation at a funeral. Swallow you
and I will learn the secrets floating in those depths,

cell-derived, inscrutable intelligence, eons old,
evolving in fluid concupiscence, flesh of my flesh.


Mugwump, my older daughter announces from the back seat.
Or does she mean mugwomp? Bolter from the Republican
Party in 1884, independent in politics, or captain?

Mugwomp, she says clearly, I love the sound of mugwomp.
Swamp, hump, humpback, tug, slug, the pilfered sounds
roll in the wake of her tongue, slashed from their moorings.