Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Small-time Rapture

An Introduction to Devotion

Do you consider yourself adept? The face of

oh my and the body of a wish: this is the error

of sadness. Now you say, don 't implicate me.

Too late, sweetness. As in the Bonnie & Clyde dream . . .

Relentlessly acquisitive. As in, get ready

for us, God. This is small-time rapture. Soothe me.

Or else, I said to no one in particular. Back off—!

Copyright © 2006 Mary Ann Samyn All rights reserved
from The Laurel Review

Friday, November 24, 2006

I feel you Ivan

A Face with a View

A Map Of Love

Your face more than others' faces
Maps the half-remembered places
I have come to I while I slept—
Continents a dream had kept
Secret from all waking folk
Till to your face I awoke,
And remembered then the shore,
And the dark interior.

Donald Justice

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Against Elegies

What if we let you sing first?
What if we look for you with Mallarme’s
blank stare: birds round an empty dish,

stony limbs? To tell the history of our grief
we settle for an empty doorway
and a maple leaf

or a woman with neckcurls, named Jane,
changed by her poetry teacher’s love
to a wren wound in light. Shimmering anodyne.

Elegies so resolute in wood or wings
that we forget the truer
measurements of unfinished things:

the distance between two
disappearing habits; the echo
of a promise lodged in a warbler’s throat;

the length of a dreamy boy swinging
from his favorite limb; the ragged patch
below — our ground for spotting him.

If grieving is a way of working wood,
building thresholds, wrapping birds —
then hands will keep us tending things

too near. What if this June air
should circle, not fall on, our copper chimes
with the passiveness of prayer?

What if the breeze that would carry
a bird’s perfect sorrow were to kneel
at the base of an oak, and refuse to rise?

Copyright © 2004 M. B. McLatchey All rights reserved

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Someone is looking you up on a map, right now

If you were music,
I would listen to you ceaselessly
And my low spirits would brighten up.

If you were a star,
I would gaze by the window till dawn,
And peace would enter my soul.

-- Anna Akhmatova, From March Elegies
Not yet Thanksgiving and cafed in cold Cincinnati across from the coffee and comet-eyed.
The last leg of exam days and no turkey and no peace until they're over. Philadelphia is all kinds of perfect bird (Yia Sou Andras) or will be soon. I am neck-deep in Akhmatova, Stephen Spender and there are worse ways to go. Somewhere and someday: a stone house, light pouring across the kitchen, the certain mornings of tea kettle's whistling and the rustle of still-chilly newsprint. I won't take any of it for granted.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Sanguine Hummingbirds, All Manner Pretty Words by Kristy Bowen

& care of Simone Muench, author of The Air Lost in Breathing and Lampblack and Ash--two of the most beautiful books of poetry you'll ever lick off the page.
Speaking of licking, I give you

Not red, not exactly. More like dawn,
or the illusion of it. Hummingbirds, humidity.

Azaleas splitting in your palm. In Texas,

the nights sueded, starlit.
There is no language for the soft
of your hands, their thunderous Braille.
Bruises ripen on my wrists like plums.

Nevertheless, I am sly, scarlet-lipped.
Gathering light in the folds
of my dress. Crossing my sevens
polite and girlish. I still dream

of the desert, the woman you once kept
sleeping in the curve of your body.
She slices peaches, pulls the hair from her face.

She sweetened and full of rain.
Even the coyotes have lost the scent of her.

Friday, November 10, 2006

News to Dance To: The Book of Abe & Caleb's Whereabouts

Word has it that beloved Abraham Smith has a book forthcoming from Action Books.
More information as I get it.

And here is the promised shout-out to Caleb Adler. This shout-out appears as a reward to Caleb Adler for being near enough to shout at. "Hallelujah!"

my dream involves
clay balls placed
at serious intervals
on the woods and
hay mow floor
warm flour hair
love may I
make a bread
of how you run
real birds
soothed in
the soft rock
of your pocket cloth

Abraham Smith (of course!)
from The Diagram

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Bird, Bird, I Cannot Get You Close Enough

Ah, Millay... & ah, Ellen Gilchrist for Anna Hand: "I cannot get you close enough I said to him, pitiful as a child. And never can and never will..." and so on.
And ah, to the emuists with their tiny beds and the girls that do not forget them but sleep in the groove of their forms for years after that bird/bed have fled. Anna gets it: why the best girls will curl around the emuist and the memory of the emuist in a bed too tiny for most but a baby bear bed to the right girl. Anna & Edna & me agree: have heart, Sweet-Tart, your Goldilocks is out there.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Every Pencil in Pennsylvania Writes

you a limerick, Bird. Sir Gallivant, your pretty plummage stole the color from Ludlow Avenue and left it just low and anemic besides. This better be worth some cheese steak, some duck (in torn fishnet thigh-highs with a hot-blue garter) an electric storm, a smoked whitefish for two but just you, Bird, can consume it as if it's the end of the world and we're waiting for the spaceship--our fifty pounds of goods--and at l/e/ast in my good dream of your nightmare--a still-shared planet. Ava agrees with me: "It's been nice, Dwight Lionel. It's been everything. ..." Go ahead then: be Philadelphia's rare bird for a day or two.
Catch of the day:

“Prison Song”
My heart is like a prison filled
with zebras, songbirds, white mice,
black gypsies, tandem bicycles,
symphonies, ballerinas, movie stars,
and the world’s largest ball
of red ribbon.

Oh, My Dear, if only you
could find the key.
from Jukebox Gothic
Alan May (author of the you-need-to-buy-it-now-it's-gorgeous! Apocryphal Text)

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Tonight I hear the gone in Oregon

or a gun, a loaded, heavy thing. It's cold. Grey. Drizzly. And there should be some tea steeped in terra cotta. This is no night for the warm red clay. The sky's at it again: stony looks and where's the thunder, anyway? Whatever put the no in November, take this dose of Jeni Olin's poems which are sizzling yeses.
Vanishing Point
Depressed like cabin air & passing out
peach-tinted hygiene manuals
on westside highway I lead men on
like the Virgil of the garment district:

Now this lovely structure on your right
is baby’s jeans & a struggling pyramid of girls & oh
well I understand his orphans with my gun like cinema verité

shot through with lower-functioning inmates –
with the “inkings of Scandinavian malaise” & whatnot
I go see art & feel priceless but to be a good sport you have to lose
& lose value like junk bonds he likes to “sit back & watch ‘em grow . . .”

The Met stuffed with alabaster tits I left alone, sexy & mightily unDutch

Mastered, set fire to a batik picture
of Mother Chelsea the Pitiless who wasn’t sickle-
cell white & incontinent & Dia-funded

I stood in his cloud shirt by myself

cursed to stalk the night through all eternity & original so on
through the small ballet company of stocking runs & upset

nuns down Sixth Avenue, John Wieners,
the Americas breaking apart so I can feel this sinuous & partial wind
like lyme disease with a drip in the arm & the sky is falling.