2010 Poetry

Aaron Daughtery

 

She cried, the first time

I left an unfinished building

Littering the streets with garbage

 

 Monument

Tiers of earth formed under an arid sun

her stone rows shaping sandy palisades,

an ascending sculpture those brittle hands

made with bitty shovels and rake tines.

She sat solid in her stooped stature, content.

The figure of that woman at work,

her persistent passion staggering in the light

 

 

*                  *                  *

 

Passing by the red glow of that woman

who wailed as paramedics raced

past that man’s empty chair

 

bags in hand

that is all

that transpired

 

as I watched from behind a stop sign

waiting my turn to move on

 

*                  *                  *

 

 

Another pigeon in the freezer next door

ceramic angels on her coffee table end tables and walls

 

plastic lining the furniture

while she’s tending garden

behind a picket fence

 

I shit you not

 

he’s a lonely mind

new to every situation

twisting heads off tulips

 

in the front yard

the last figure of man

drifting away

 

*                  *                  *

 

“Should I call you Grandma or should I call you by name”

 

*                  *                  *

 

 

She said “the years rolled by swiftly”

pulling out letters her son wrote before

the war, giving her hand to a cowboy

 

She had written now and then

lead by emotions and a pen

 

I loved the way she wrote phantasy

 

in piles of notebooks and journals

begging me  “read them all”

 

*                  *                  *

Brick by brick unfinished

building

her stone rows

shaping sandy palisades

a kitten crawling along the rafters

she looked like it couldn’t get any worse.

 

tire tracks in the driveway “court fees penalties and bills”

 

the image of that woman

a ten foot tall snowman

on the wall melting

 

May

 

 

 

 

Gravity

 

 

apartment complex blotting

the mountain view

 

she said “I don’t believe in salvation”

 

busted vein on the roof

swaying crowds below

 

“he’s not going to jump”

“how could he”

wearing a cape and an ‘S’ on his chest

                                    the new age savior flailing his arms

 

from the rooftop several stories

to the floor

 

passing by

our window

 

that man’s   strange graffiti

on the sidewalk

 

 

I’m not sure about salvation, myself.


National Forests & Monuments

Alheli Harvey

When it comes down to it,

people only get pissed off at other campers because they have it

in the back of their heads that Smokey will ravage their campsite.

Truth is, Teddy Roosevelt is more likely to haunt them or

fuck with their can o’ beans

because

white people still can’t pitch a tent any better than they could before the zipper.

Only reason he did (Mr. Roosevelt that is)

was so that Navajo ghosts would let him sleep

after burning his marshmallows out on that

Federally protected range.


Dramma Giocoso

Bryant Million

Too bad your mother fell down a well. Too bad your milk went bad. Too bad. Too bad foxes got to the chickens, and all the king’s men came running down the mountain, swinging their sharp spears and shouting sickening sentences. Too bad you didn’t take care of that lingering library fee. Too bad it was so hot today. You found a coupon for a free sandwich, too bad you had to apply for a debit card to get your pastrami on rye, nothing is free, except for your new Bank of America t-shirt. Too bad it’s the wrong size. Too bad it’s the wrong night for November to be hanging around, selling discount cigarettes and little wooden carvings of giraffes, maybe even a zebra or two. Too bad your neighbor’s dog was run over, and too bad he blames it on you, shit, you just threw a frisbee in the street.

Too bad your coffee takes like mildew and motor oil, and too bad you even know what mildew and motor oil taste like. Too bad it takes so long for your shower to warm. Too bad you ruined the life of that poor child, taking his invisible dog on a leash. Too bad your neighbor wouldn’t accept it as able replacement for the dog he killed. Surely, the sheriff, the CIA, the secret service, and the neighborhood watch will be on to you soon, your licentious history a mock dramma giocoso. Too bad the Chinese restaurant serves Pepsi instead of Coke. Too bad the stars aren’t out tonight; you covered the town in cloud. Too bad.


Camilo Roldán (2)

June

Flash of lightning blown from cloud broken black

 

above the lake, a summer rain that swells

our river into yards, the flotsam bard’s

cathartic shout from nebulae that spells

 

his name on nature’s brow has flown like cards

we spread across the rug to read (the door

open they lifted out the window up

the way and into houses), flower store

 

of dim clapboard faces like a turnip

arose in the wake of circumstances.

Like wooden train bridges, trestles rotten

 

with lack of use, we forget synapsis

and white grain elevators, those ripe ten

 

floors or more, echo chambers like wind chimes

 

Innocent / Original

I am the men that make a leader:

so split down the middle with a mean streak

we are a road transporting, the length of a whip.

 

All those weak female roles

will never testify against me.

Impostor — I mouth it

watching her through a screen

playing with my balls. “I’m Kirk,”

I step out and say. “Give me brandy,

 

I am a thoughtless brutal animal

ready to eat and willing to gorge.

Now you stop your crying, you stop pretending —

the good boy’s been dead.

 

I’m not so different

just one more duplicate

lugging around my corpse.”


Carrie Tafoya (4)

Worship the Moon

Neil  stands in purple boxers
soaked to the skin, as slick as
a bathtub, watching birds stick
their heads in and out of Styrofoam
coffee cups, on his front porch.
In the basement there are sacks
of banana peels, turning from yellow
to black.  Neil Armstrong resents the birds
and punishes the peels for their color.
He painted the living room grey and
the bathroom purple and super glued
all of his large dinner plates to the roof.
Cement hangs in bulky chunks from the
rubber of his shoes, he has resigned his
belongs to a museum on the moon.
Enthralled by the washing machine,
and the swirl of purple underwear
he denounces the ocean into the
soap that foams with every twist, and
spins around cupping his hands against
heated air.

The myth of the moon has been replaced.
By the stoplight, Styrofoam, the neon, the
halogen, the hum of the refrigerator, and
gravity.  He is has become a mild
man in the glow that reflects off
concrete.   He crushes myth under
his thumb.

Division

I now live separately,
but his rage did not affect
my demeanor, it did not
affect the light that draws
the lines of fingers on my
face, but used my own body
to chase me into a crow, picking  at
wrappers in the parking lot, and I took flight
and spread my black wing
casting the light away from
my own face, reflecting it
back to where it came from,
and I move higher up to that source
searching for a rage to return  me
to my body.

The Uncovered

Sixty miles of creosote, mesquite, and rock
separated us from the civilized.  Five miles down the road
near a barbwire fence, my dad stretched his hands
smoothed river rocks, we found a 1913 Ford,
its skeleton rusted the dark red of the land.

This is where we dug up the story
of the woman who washed by the
river. Her hair dipped into the water like
a salt cedar bending over to wash the tips of its leaves.
Sucking the river bed dry.

She lived in the roofless house, its
walls now nearly melted away.  One room housing
a broken bed frame.  We dug her from the dirt.
An old locket with a faded face.  I wore her around
my neck until, as children we decided she must have been
crazy.

Breaking the decaying air he would tell us
the name of a dirt tank or a canyon creek.
Always named for someone who had died there,
for a long time breathed the air there.

The Creation of Jade

Ambiguous arms are open and bent stiffly at the elbow, hand ambivalent of one another are forced once again to forego freedom from one another to interpret thunder.  River water washes dirt from her dingy ankles, but leaves it in creases at her knees.  Longer days rise with the sun, and in the desert they stand with heads cocked back, mouths open, waiting for the rain.  Sunrays pose as rage smashing fist into the cracked mud of last month’s rain.

They come up from the ground dying, the curse of thirst, ridiculing her ridiculous knees, bending her to the ground, lacing her hands behind her back.  So she offers her skin as sacrifice to the ground.   Grinding, gripping, gapping, and frayed freedom lays broken and measured pound by pound. They button up her shirt to the collar and bend her over a broke-down worthless horse, and calling her and the horse by the same name they lead them through their desert to the place where she would be worked and worn. Wearily she engraved their name into green, green, green, gemstone.  Her hands are given freedom from one another and her name set in stone.  Self-made, senile, and savage she surrenders to her primitive placement.


Shaking my Fist at Robert Frost

Charity C. Tran

I was taken in
By the myth of roads taken
And untaken
As I traveled on roads
I thought
Were only taken by me.

But see,
Others have traveled –
Marked footprints in the sand –
Roads next to mine.

And I am the same
As any who has to decide:
Direction and road
Sane and safe

Insanity is only defined in an outcome

I shake my fist at you
Robert Frost
Your words deceived me for too long
In their charm of snowy rides
Horse drawn carriages
Sunny, grassy asides
I failed to sink deeper
Into the weave
The dark of your literal blanket
Finding gladness in roads
Both traveled and untaken
I left behind

Confronting me now
The miles I have been awake


Corey Andrew Bailey (2)

certainly: i am in the good graces of—

my body is not a temple      it is a tar pit
and a dumping
ground

for the dead
if i could point out                     a spot

on my body
that wasn’t scared
putrefying
or cold
it would be

the back
of my left knee

there the world is safe
from my follies

there                         trees for climbing
have not scraped me
there                                                 i am a clean cut god

 

the back of my left knee

my god! we have false teeth

we wake.
happiness

is a dominating sleep.

we cannot live with
comfort,
cannot dream with
bullets                                     flying
across the page.
the world won’t come
to an end without you. i

promise you won’t
miss a thing. we can hold             hands and watch
the oceans rise. we can smell                         the burning
from landing comets. we can copulate

until life stops being. we can rest                        next to the rain
and feel the shock-wave of droplets

until they stop breathing. run

until each and everything
in the world falls apart,

until the cells crawl off
our skin and we can com-muni-cate                         the heaven we have found;

unparalleled to smiling without teeth.


tanka

Esin Goldman

cold sunday
long-distance call
from a pastor

 

dad’s passing
while robins tarry
on the lawn

 

walking across
the old bridge
he built –
beams of wood
and moonlight

 

bittersweet
first plum blossom
on the tree

 

taking links
off her watchband
only three –
the number of months
since he went away


tranny transient talk

 Judy Isabel

eggplant stilettos
eye shadow in flashy mint
champagne glass in hand
rotting teeth exposed
his blanket and bourbon gripped
cerulean fleece
she wears curled gold wings
and neon cellophane bra
flings her cigarette
out into the street
where soot smoke speaks Spanish
he nabs the lit butt
apologetic
she hands him two Marlboros
a truck stops for her
Lima bean don’t go
with him! He doesn’t know what
you’ve got under there


The Engineer and The Poet

Julie Dyke Ford

Last night my husband dreamed of hummingbirds-

Well, just one really.
It was mid October and the rest of them had flown south

But this one lingered. Hungry, lonely, and wanting to be noticed.

Ephraim noticed.
He got out the 10 pound sugar bag from the pantry and the measuring cup

and followed the specifications from not so distant memory,

focused on the task of feeding this one loyal creature.

“You’re doing more damage than good,” I scolded.

“Disturbing the larger picture, upsetting their pattern.”

But in my way of being too efficient—too quick to look at the whole,

I forgot pictures are made up of many details,

patterns of intricate individual designs

And those designs have hearts.

Hearts that are hungry.

Hearts that beat 1400 times a minute.


Dirty

I tasted the dirt first

under my tongue,reaching

out from splits in our lips.

earth revealing grit in every crevice

our bodies, in every intoxicating beverage.
blisters on your feet, hard

dirt, rubbing up and down

my calves, so calming.
Fire lights burning our faces,

our hands frostbitten.
full-bodied laughter behind my cowgirl hat.

so much, my body ached ecstasy.
Everyone around, in their world

sharing ours. Our secret home,

expressed freely in front of strangers and friends alike.

 

Picking litter and twigs from our hair.

sleeping with Nimbo,

he stole your pillow and

trekking sand in our sheets.

It didn’t matter,

I wanted heat, his fur covered body.

 

He wanted that heat too: our bodies created.

Sunburned faces and skin, water-raw

Tangled hair and limbs. Heat exhaustion,

but we did not waste

 

a minute of the day. Hard work, hauling rocks,

split finger tips touching skin.


Language

Michael Harrell

silence came first

and every syllable spoken

grew

of its root.

we played with our alphabet blocks,

scattered them above our heads,

shot pyramids out our mouths—

some were made to climb on,

others, to step over,

some were built to admire,

others, to die in.

but all of the true lies (and false ones)

were absolutely, and delicately placed,

like the glue we use

to close our lips,

and the classic water

which opens them.


Michelle Granger(3)

Since They Took the Carousel from the Park

The Italian Cypress looks toward Spain,

clearing the skyline, Longing a sunset free from dust

water in rows reflecting the trees top clearance,

basket of fruit, ripe with flies in San Francisco fog,

tied to a parasail hanging on the bay.

 

I Want to Build a Boat from a Puzzle

 

I Want to Build a Boat from a Puzzle,

that will bring you back to the shore

where you can sleep again, where you can eat the olives again—

I am practicing for you in hills and under trees

but I cannot remember where we saw the man letting the horses go,

so I went to the place we found the birds but the cages were gone

and the bottles were empty.

I have emotions not because I am emotional but because there is a moon

and they tell me he has never slept in cages.

 

Neo-Realist’s Impression

 

You entered the hotel looking for your last pair of shoes,

stretching my breathe as far as I could; catching your attention,

laughing on the wall. Calcium and rust deposits on your throat;

said you slept for less than an hour.

 

The way that Italian films flat light,

catching colorless sunsets off the bridge,

the myth of Gold-coast dreams rarely seen.

Under street lights we catch up to ourselves.

I’m taking the price tag off your winter in Paris.


Naomi Ruth Estrada(3)

Meditation

beat buddha down

to a breath of enlightenment

with a case of clapping

sound to silence.

 

Serenity achieved during my back-as-if-in-a-brace meditation is dull and not at all like a lotus exploding with cosmic-color and radiant-rays of karmic webs ebbing through my body effortlessly connecting me to all that I have touched and not touched. I do, however feel the tension of my face dispel, and I wonder what it is about the day that can make a person feel like they are wound up so tight behind the eyes. I feel the coiled snakes of tension and venom relax and unravel, allowing me to view the world without a tint of suspicion.

 

denying the dignified self

so as to collaborate collective

as dharma dictates

we wait–

 

Levels of isolation are like sedimentary rock in which I magnify and observe the ages interrupted by squashed little bug-looking-la-pods, and crab-a-like-oh-dites. The sea-shells and funnel-sponge fossils of Hueco Tanks, Texas were deposited there when our ocean planet was split and tectonic plates served continents to the surface. At least that is was the bald ranger told me, and then pointed out, as an afterthought, the spiritual pictographs Native Americans had also left behind.

 

for all to earn allowances of

navigation to nirvana,

where bodhisattva boundaries

are ensured erasure.

 

There are maps of the world in stages. Maps from years ago when America was a coast and a blob, and Africa was a only a long horn, also when Germany was two places, and Catalonia, Siam and Ceylon were still what they were instead of what they are called now. The shifting means nothing to me, but the mapmakers have spent all of time erasing one line and marking out another. They can’t tell me where to go, or how to get there. They tell me that each degree traveled is four minutes, and in five degrees of the sun traveling towards the horizon I sigh at the sight of twenty minutes passing.

 

the key of kind

beings should ring

universally.

 

Someday I will Salute the Son without Slipping

I was warned not to use warrior pose if I had a heart condition.

As I leaned towards my knee and spread my arms wide my chest thundered pain.

I’d forgotten about my fractured pump, an emotional condition gone unchecked.

 

This sent me to my knees and I bow to the pain.

Aum. Aum. Aum.

But my breath is destruction

I serve myself water and motherwort, Leonurus Cardiaca.

Lion-hearted I am not these days, but if I take enough perhaps my pride will return

And reshape my heart that was broken by

talldarkhandsome.

 

My self-important German-Egyptian lover who shattered a good Hebrew name.

I should have known better.

My name and his superior genes dictate that I end up in bondage. And broken.

He was twice the villain against my nature. But I am no Jew.

I have no deliverance. No serpent-stick hero.

I want his denial to flow like blood.

The first born of Egyptian culprits are already dead.

I have no military men coming for me too late.

I am marked.

 

He was a pleasant companion once, but as a leader of assaulting words he had the strength

To break my open armed pose and leave my faults exposed to the world.

 

Call me Mara, though I never bore any sons, they are dead just the same.

 

Wet Commotion

The afternoon darkens

thunder speaks as I think its name.

Water beats my rooftop

like a massage of sound.

Larrup. Larrup.

The lightning flashes

and I feel I have been forced to blink.

Build up of nature.
Sexual.

 

Like me, it comes, without your help.


Noah Boswell(3)

Ever Ugly

In the clock, the clock with many gears,
the clock that is dependent on gravity and a zit
covered boy, is an owl.
Clearly, this clock is large.
Slow, silent, bug-eyed, and hungry
would describe both the owl and the boy.

And mercy, was that boy
ever ugly. The teeth of the gears
were better looking than his. And they, too, were hungry.
The ugly boy ran the clock tower, other than being a zit
on clean, dead society. His influence was not large,
not nearly as vital as the owl,

even. It’s day two and the boy is tired of the owl
already. Or maybe it’s the gears’ turning. The boy
doesn’t know why there is an owl in his large
clock. He doesn’t know why the large gears
are designed to accommodate the owl either. His biggest zit
begins to hurt. There is a hunger

in there somewhere. In the clock, a different hunger
is in the bent girders, bent around the bug-eyed owl.
It’s lonely for everyone in there. A hurting zit
is a companion. The owl is a boy,
a man, rather. He turns his wide eyes like gears
and affixes them on the only thing to see. Large

people use the clock every day. They drive large,
clean, dead cars and have large, clean, dead hungers.
–A start. A pipe has broken; steam fills the girder cage and gears
surrounding the boy. All he can see are the eyes of the owl.
All the eyes can see are the boy.
At that moment, the zit

pops. And this is it,
they are alone. The little pocked boy, and the two large
eyes. The boy
heard nothing, there was no sound but the slinking hunger,
moving below the steam. Nothing was done about the broken pipe. An owl,
a boy, a killer, and some steam, all contained in a cage of gears.

A dirty, lively society had a hunger
for what it needed most: a broken pipe. A boy
didn’t fix it, and two large eyes watched him get clean.

 

My Naughty Planet

If I threw a pail
of water into deep space,
this water would become a circle
in 2D,
a sphere
in 3D,
and a planet
in 4D.

And inside my wicked planet
would be a gold fish.
And this gold fish
would be motionless, but alive.

Yet surely my fish would eventually swim
to the crust of its planet
and swim out into space,
thus dying.

And then what of my naughty planet?

It would look like this

O
Entering the Basilica,
I shouldn’t be thinking
that this would make one hell
of a pool hall.

Thinking, this could hold
hundreds, thousands of tables
and sinners.

I shouldn’t be thinking
of “Rape Me” by
Nirvana either, but I am.

I shouldn’t be thinking
Of so much goddamned
Geometrics, and should
Focus on how the
Basilica reminds me of a ziggurat.

A ziggurat with pool tables.

 

Salty God

That little girl is wearing a bra.
The straps are showing on her shoulders,
they are intentional.

Driving through the mall parking lot is heavenly.
Gliding over the painted lines, knowing no-one
can stop me, is like gliding
over the Grand Canyon
in an Imax theater.

Her little comrades look so good.
You can see all the little bras
and all the sexual dominance in the boys.

I’m growing salt crystals now.
It’s day two and they’re doing fine.
The crystals grow together, but there are
little gaps, the surrounding liquid is caught
in these gaps. The liquid is preserved because
salt it a preservative.
Two-hundred-fifty-some million years ago,
six-thousand year-old God started growing
salt crystals, too.

Somehow it’s a competition.


Paul Dahlgren

Candle

You smell like a peach,
You do not taste like a peach,
You are full of lies.

 

The Last Piece of Candy

Hands quiver, silence,
Two people, one gummy bear,
There is much sadness.

Paul French

Running Across Walls

His words invent her confidence.
Theirs is a kinship haloed by the shared obsession
Of karate-talk and cartoon violence.
Bearded twenty year old and her with her
hemp vice talking in a landscape of
Tattered novels.

The wrecked hardback he knocks over
rested on a pillar of old old harlequins;
Once proud self-advertising gleamers
now dust-ridden.
Their throbbings and
forsakens and bursts and thrusts,
Their embossed gold
and shirtless wanderers, all
Haven’t met air since stacked.

And he’s describing the ease with which he can run across a brick wall,
Citing Newton’s laws with the lilt of a rehearsed tongue and not caring
For the sound of a falling book — gesturing ability,
The flight of hands.
“I’ll show you.”
And she giggles hoarsely.
Eddies of pipe smoke and shelves of books,
long shelves, pine hedgerows
passed by. Holding her hand, guiding her
outside — impulsive flight with no
thanks to the storekeeper for the ambience
Of dead books;

someday sold, looked over,
culled and left to rent space
in some dank corner, for they were not meant
for shelves. Their importance, immediate,
fleeting, a pretty thing to find and lose but never wonder at.
They laugh together in January wind
as he eyes brick.


R. Sam Chaney(2)

Words Then

And then,

There was the hard moment when I looked up

at Ross and noticed that the soil brown hair

he’d had since Mom met him was now soft, silvering;

When I noticed the quiet passing

of the gray and austere sheet of Maine fog,

in October, curtained behind him, behind

the preist, the pines, the bog, the procession.

He’d -did I?- given her the soil, to the soil,

Then crossed over to me, to my sister, and I only heard

The snap and hiss of frozen jackets

against each other when we sifted into

an inevitable hug in the gloaming.

The sound seemed -seems- to be stuck

in the silent mist, as it drifted out and veiled          -and veils and drifts

before ascending up into the odd-shaped clouds,

or rests in the roots, dirt, and rocks.

I don’t know

what kind (of) thing he might have said

-what were words then?

There was the drive from Denmark, Maine

Back to Wallingford for seven hours,

when I tried to string together carefully -carefully

the disembodied reflections on the inside

of Dad’s car windows in the back seat into

that time when my sister and I spilt ramen

all over Mom’s stove. The time when we stopped

the car to convince her we still loved her

even in Maine, in that Ford she named Faith.

That time that time that time and that time too.

But what were pictures then?

And Then,

it was raining in Springfield, it was in Hartford

And all I could still see was a window,

With some pitch pine oaks, three collies in a park,

Skulls, pumpkins, bats, webs in the Walgreens,

That she didn’t get chance to decorate the trailer with

Passing on and on in screaming shades of life.

Too many gorgeously dead leaves leaping

out of their hardscrabble trees and dancing

down into the dirt without words.

 

At Dick’s General

Same old, same old shit different day Murphy announces
In a smiled sigh across the seated counter
Every day of the week that ended in “y” in the
Mornings at Dick’s General. He was a clot of dirt-dusted
Carhartt and mustarded teeth and he’ll have another burnt cup
To go, like his wife might have another schmo in line.

Same old, same old shit different day, and Murph
Is pressing Brads into a thick-headed oak panel
outside with the overwet rain, water not heavy
but swollen under his skin like balloons and
ambivalent to the breeze. Like the carburetor’s wheezing
swan song and Shit he forgot the nail-gun anyway –
never worked to begin with.

The scent of grandmother’s basements and oil
tankers cling to him like the words, same old,
same old shit different day. And the day was never
different. Bobby, the pencil thin ass
for a son always needed his bail and booze,
and bail for the booze, and booze after that;
Julia, associated with both, did the same.

The third cousin to anyone’s niece knew Murph, S.o.S.o.

Dick turned the Closed sign over the last time,
And Murph saddled out to work without a sigh or moan,
And the sun’ glint suddenly looked less yellow than bronze
As it jabbed through his windshield on East Main.
Murph sits silent, and listens to a happy silence.
That might be all his own.


Sheila Black(3)

Meal

(for Annabelle)

So that each
is its own, now-each has fallen, blond stillness.
Carl Phillips

I once accidentally fed my baby
daughter a sliver of green apple,
which stuck in her craw so that I
struck wild blows between her
shoulders and finished by turning
her upside down, shaking it out of
her as she hollowed, crisp and
greening.  She still loves apples but
will not go near the bananas I used
to mash for her daily with a spoon
of sugar, fascinated how the starch
turned to sweetness, believing this
must be good.  In twilight, I call the
white plate with the blue rim a
bone-china and picture it as some-
thing which might bleed.  I blame
myself that so often my daughter
believes that what she eats is
poison, convinced she is allergic to
cochineal, strawberry, the wheat
in the slice of bread, to milk which
appears so white and silent in
the heavy glass cup beside the plate
of bone.  O hunger, how I have gifted
her with the dark fur of your leaves,
the orchard who-knows-where to
which I would lead her if I could.
A palace of peaches it would be, each
one fuzzed and drenched with a
light—an eating  in which there
was no distinguishing joy from danger.

 

Little Grief

I feed you warm milk from a dropper.  All night
whinge and moan.

You make a lousy guest—shred the furniture
piss on the rug.

The neighbors gaze at you askance, but I can’t
stop listening to you whistle, in and out,

like the conversation the river has with itself, as night
burbles on and on, song

that might almost be a silence—large as a gift, sparkly
as a tree in ice

(and why do I believe chill makes the world a glass?).

I resist believing in the accident of origin—the grain
in the shell around which a shimmering globe takes form,

but I can picture so clearly the mess of your birth,
the floor of straw, the slick around

a body. Why I clutch at you, my purse of pens,
my sack of ash.

Little Grief, little grief.  Who is ever cherished enough?

Drown

When the boy stoned me, the space of the girl
Who went under.

She chose the blue silent, the animals she
Would never have names for:

One-celled, tentacles with eyes on the end.
The deep sea giant octopus

Who blushes when strangers peer in.

Water has a density which is appealing to
Those who feel weightless.

The stone was a tear as the backdrop on a stage
Might be torn by a careless stagehand.

And the clouds are not clouds.
And the sky is only carelessly brushed blue pigment.

I ran out of the iron-work convent gates.
Past the chapel with its

Ruby-glass window.  The street people who caught
Me laughed.

It would take a PhD to adequately parse that
Sound.

I heard it as if they were standing on tiptoe,

Clutching their swollen and sore-infested and
Variously-ruined limbs and body-

Parts.  They were laughing because I was new
To this game.

It would be easy to say ‘cruel laughter’ but it
was not cruel.

They wanted me to know that I would need this skill.

This radical derangement.  They stood as if on tiptoes and
Pulled me all around

Pntil we were a whirl of bodies   back toward the gate.

Back inside, where they winked and waved.

Hooted and hollered, until they were the birds perched

on all the little trees in my mind,

calling:  Come up, come up.


Lonesome is someone we both know really well

Zeltzyn Rubi Sanchez Lozoya

Ill-favored woman

Uncomely your body

Plain your face

Shame on me for using you

Shame on you for letting me

 

In the dark I crawl to you for shelter

Between yours arms I picture another

You rise towards the window

And I feel cold already

You mistake my selfishness for romance

When I pull you closer

 

Because if she sees us together

For sure she’ll go

To wait patiently in a corner

She, the always willing mistress

Never jealous, forever patient.