Please note that the poems and essays on this site are copyright and may not be reproduced without the author's permission.

Friday, 27 July 2012

Lorenzo Thomas: The Leopard


Adult female Leopard (Panthera pardus), Vumbura Plains, Botswana: photo by Steve Jurvetson, 1 July 2011

The eyeballs on her behind are like fire
Leaping and annoying
The space they just passed
Just like fire would do

The ground have no mouth to complain
And the girl is not braver herself

She is beautiful in her spotted
Leopard ensemble. Heartless so

To keep her fashionable in New York
Leopards are dying

Crude comments flutter around her
At lunchtime. She sure look good
She remembers nine banishing speeches

More powerful than this is the seam
Of the leotard under her clothing

Her tail in the leotard is never still
The seam!
She feels it too familiar on her leg
As some crumb says something suggestive

The leopard embracing around her
Is too chic to leap and strike

Her thoughts fall back to last semester’s karate

Underneath, the leotard crouches up on her thigh
It is waiting for its terrible moment!

Lorenzo Thomas: The Leopard, from Chances are Few (Blue Wind Press, 1979)

File:Leopard walking.jpg

Female Leopard (Panthera pardus), hunting in the Sabi Sands, South Africa. Note the white spot on its tail, used for communicating with cubs while hunting or in long grass: photo by Lee Berger, July 2007

File:Leopard in Botswana.jpg

Leopard (Panthera pardus pardus), Botswana: photo by Michael Potts, 2 July 2011

File:Leopard on the tree.jpg

Leopard (Panthera pardus) relaxing on a tree: photographer unknown, n.d.; image by Bogdan, 26 November 2008 (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) 

File:Charging Leopard-001.JPG

Young leopard (Panthera pardus) charging, Rhino and Lion Park, Gauteng, South Africa: photo by Rute Martins, 25 February 2010

File:Leopard africa.jpg

Leopard (Panthera pardus pardus). Serengeti, Tanzania: photo by JanErkamp, 13 February 2007

File:Leopard standing in tree 2.jpg

Leopard (Panthera pardus) standing in a tree, central Serengeti: photo by Caelio, 29 September 2009

Leopard (Panthera pardus), Africa: photo by Rupert Taylor-Price, 16 September 2008

Leopard (Panthera pardus) in a tree: photo by David Berkowitz, 16 September 2008

File:Persian Leopard sitting.jpg

Persian Leopard (Panthera pardus ciscaucasica), Iran: photo by Tamar Assaf, 2 January 2010


TC said...

Lorenzo calls this poem "an imitation of bad translation of African poetry" in his extended, drily hilarious introduction to it here.

Also by this fine poet, gone too soon:

Downtown Boom

Back in the Day

And a remarkably interesting piece from The Independent (1994) on a book about the African Leopard:

The solitary felid, in strange, factual poetry: The African Leopard.

Susan Kay Anderson said...

Just relaxing in the tree of the possible. Except for my eyes. They are looking out from a different world. One you do not know but only sense. Even people far away want to wear me, to step on me, to imitate my pattern so simple so complicated. It was the one thing they remembered to paint in their caves. All those dots. Spots. All those points. Suns. Moons. Stars.

Susan Kay Anderson said...

The hottest place we went
when I was a teen
was Thermopolis
in our VW van
with the sliding door
not matching the rest
Forest Service green
they jacked it dad said.
I stayed within

at yet another hot springs
discovered all those dots
up on the ceiling.

A lady told me
that the heart chakra is not
really supposed to be green
like they say
but pink
wear pink
to soften things
for healing.

Hazen said...

There are some animals that just know how to belong. They don't work at it. They fit in even when they stand out, like the spotted leopard in the high grass. From these creatures we could learn a thing or two.

Thanks Tom, for all this.

vazambam (Vassilis Zambaras) said...


Oh my, that leopard
Up a tree—I was going

To say something
About its eyes but

It’s pointless now
That Susan has

Clearly seen it
Better than I.



"As some crumb says something suggestive"


light coming into fog against invisible
ridge, jay calling from branch in right
foreground, no sound of wave in channel

word because hand inscribed
what appears is, i.e.

calling it that, where else
did it start, that is

grey white of fog against top of ridge,
shadowed green pine on tip of sandspit


yes, what a great reading of the poem there in Miami ("here") !