Friday, August 31, 2007

In New York & Strolling Along

trying to decide between Chinatown & The Poet's House. There are advantages to both, but I think I'm craving pretty, bright, plastic minutiae & food filled with textures I just barely recognize and not in this order. If paper made confetti of food, it would likely be found in Chinatown.

Yes, the Weather is a Bubble-Machine Set to Always

I feel Autumn's first chilly blow in my ear. Oh for one of those leaves all hand-shaped with five colors at once spreading from their palms.

Someone made me a mixed cd that's a bubble-machine season. Yum.

Tomorrow I ride a scooter with the best name: Stella--a mode of travel that makes me crave Italy and something I shouldn't be eating and a name that starts me wishing for Brando's chest, wife-beatered or just straight-up. Yum-again and then some.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Day the Babies Came Down

was unextraordinary, excepting the weather, accepting the no u-turn sign
erected certain happenings just go ahead and happen. We had known storms,
Babies, we had known the way a clap of thunder shivers our very timbers
but we couldn't know, couldn't begin to fathom, what weathers
our errors began. Then the babies, Good God, the babies,
overfed, pillow-bodied, resilient, sometimes mean.
Asher Paine, from The Day the Babies Came Down

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


Thanaversary Poem

You're back again, still standing
ankle deep in red-tinged moss by the edge
of the lake, your buddy Clint, your girl Virginia
and you, sixteen, drinking beer, laughing
should we go to the fireworks show?

Trust in this, your forty-first re-telling,
trust I'll take you somewhere new.
Even if you do go, you make it home
because, instead of Clint, Virginia
sits next to you. So when you stomp
the throttle she touches your right wrist,
whisper, "We don't have to
speed. We're better when we go slow."

Which is to say, you don't scream
around that corner, your buddy doesn't
yank the wheel, you all don't hit the tree,
Virginia, sixteen, doesn't die.

You grow to actually love her, to receive
fully what she said one night after the drive-in,
"Loneliness has made us victims of desire."
Receive what's true: her wisdom, her gift
at dowsing the sweetness that runs
in all beings, even you. Way far

better yet: you don't drive anywhere,
Virginia says, louder, "Let's not go." Speaking
through her body, through her eyes,
she says, "Why so much thirst for oblivion?
Come sit with me on the moss. This is my
chance to show you what it's like to be alive."

She blows a breath my way.
I breathe it in, feel the yen
for death loosen its noose. Soon
it's evening, the sky explodes with stars,
the beginingless, the endless, so close
we can feel them on our skin as we perch
on the mossy lip of the black lake now
a night kingdom of ten thousand pyres.

--Peter Harris, reprinted from Crab Orchard Review

Tuesday, August 07, 2007


Cate Marvin's new book is out. Your world needs one.

A Windmill Makes a Statement

You think I like to stand all day, all night,
all any kind of light, to be subject only
to wind? You are right. If seasons undo
me, you are my season. And you are the light
making off with its reflection as my stainless
steel fins spin.
On lawns, on lawns we stand,
we windmills make a statement. We turn air,
churn air, turning always on waiting for your
season. "There is no lover more lover than the air.
You care, you care as you twist my arms
round, till my songs become popsicle

and I wing out radiants of light all across
suburban lawns. You are right, the churning
is for you, for you are right, no one but you
I spin for all night, all day, restless for your

sight to pass across the lawn, tease grasses,
because I so like how you lay above me,
how I hovered beneath you, and we learned
some other way to say: There you are.

You strip the cut, splice it to strips, you mill
the wind, you scissor the air into ecstasy until
all lawns shimmer with your bluest energy.

Copyright © 2007 Cate Marvin


One of those weeks already, when the world seems stupid, small & mean. Last week, a complete physical and my every number perfection and the blood was all kinds of the right highs and lows. Crucial because medicine (for many reasons) terrifies. This has been a month of trying to get all the things done I meant to, so when I embarked on phase two of check-ups and clean-ups and teaching at dawn's first open-eye--there are snags, rushings around, expensive and upsetting so that aggravation ensues. The phone a distressor and sleep an old island I used to swim out to. Last night, utter insomnia. Today, a bath of spite am I. But Verse Daily....ah, Verse Daily take me away. Besides certain birds un-sad so much. Thank God for them.

Non-Sonnet For Sleeping Birds

Early morning light spills trails
of aqua in its quiet promenade.
I've been here before.

Consciousness, its brutal water wheel,
spins for hours & the morning brings
a hardy slipper I have not called for.

Nights in half-lit rooms, my peripheral vision
catches shadows of running dwarves, black cats
in masquerade, a skunk who preens his plume.

I only look when I'm ready to see.
I think the hallway is breathing.

copyright © 2007 Betsy Wheeler All rights reserved