Sunday, December 30, 2007

Cento Drawn with a Shiny Glisten

Outside my window the world is falling.
First the leaves followed by stars, then sky,

A boat toward an orgy of waves outranks anchor, so we are far from the field
green detects and takes. Marked card of a field.
We’ll catch nothing this way.

When the sky finds its footing there will be
nothing left standing. Nothing
left to fly-away like things we want to have.

Leaving you
a kind of residue,
half what you’ve collected
half what’s always been.

Across continents
ages, species, we’d find us
birds of a feather

you are the silver
lining in my cloud, emu
we flock together

though tired to my core
i stay to wait, your famous
light a dull note filtered out

and unaware of risks attending warmth:
October and its many ironies.

But closeness is pain. Where did I begin
and where did they end? Somewhere
around the third tune

Skull-kept, three modes of mind wander like radio.
That jade blue of your eyes: a risk in three cities

like walking
forever through trees
and briars—but why break
cobwebs as I watch?

Crescendo, shh and hum, went round until
I lost my breath, lay down.

In a minor key, everything rains

And one by one, or maybe more, we wave goodbye.
What hands will close around us then? Only the sun?

Not long until morning comes
like the squid that flashes electric blue
when aroused

when from out of nowhere,
the parakeet chirps like a lion:
O emerald, forgive me,
the sky.

Amy Small-McKinney*Kristi Maxwell*Evan Commander*Brett Price*Sophia Kartsonis*Caleb Adler*Ann Fine*Joe DeLong*Lesley Jenike*Cynthia Arrieu-King*Joshua Butts*Erica Dawson*Stephanie Rogers*Heather Hamilton*Jillian Weise*Matt Hart (title by Hannah Reck)

Monday, December 17, 2007

The Troubadours etc.

Just for this evening, let’s not mock them.
Not their curtsies or cross-garters
Or ever recurring pepper trees in their gardens
Promising, promising.

At least they had ideas about love.

All day we’ve driven past cornfields, past cows poking their heads
Through metal contraptions to eat.
We’ve followed West 84, and what else?
Irrigation sprinklers fly past us, huge wooden spools in the fields,
Lounging sheep, telephone wires,
Yellowing flowering shrubs.

Before us, above us, the clouds swell, layers of them,
The violet underneath of clouds.
Every idea I have is nostalgia. Look up:
There is the sky that passenger pigeons darkened and filled up—
Darkened for days, eclipsing sun, eclipsing all other sound with the thunder of
their wings.
After a while, it must have seemed that they followed
Not instinct or pattern but only
One another.

When they stopped, Audubon observed,
They broke the limbs of stout trees by the sheer weight of their numbers.

And when we stop we’ll follow—what?
Our hearts?

The Puritans thought that we are granted the ability to love
Only through miracle,
But the troubadours knew how to burn themselves through,
How to make themselves shrines to their own longing.
The spectacular was never behind them.

Think of days of those scarlet-breasted, blue-winged birds above you.
Think of me in the garden, humming
Quietly to myself in my blue dress,
A blue darker than the sky above us, a blue dark enough for storms,
Though cloudless.

At what point is something gone completely?
The last of the sunlight is disappearing
Even as it swells and waves.

Just for this evening, won’t you put me before you
Until I’m far enough away you can
Believe in me?

Then try, try to come closer—
My wonderful and less than.

Mary Szybist
from Meridien

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Chocolate-Covered Plums 'Twas the Night Before DC

Chocolate-covered plums are one of those amazing finds of a treat made in Brooklyn but found in Birmingham, Alabama and one of those things about Alabama that seems like the sweetest apology for other things, say fire ants, say game day in T-town and the way one must grocery shop for hours just to avoid trying to drive home. I have procurred a whole bag of said-plums and while they are so linked to a memory and a promise that a former friend and I would share them at the old folks home while the other lesser seniors ate prunes, they taste sweet tonight with Ms Drusilla curled up beside me and the steady breath of a certain bird as he "hits" snooze once more and the knowledge that morning will bring a flight to D.C. and real Chinese food and Ethiopian for lunch!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (My favorite food of all and while once I thought that Boulder and Denver boasted the best Ethiopian food, I had not visited D.C. and found that Ethiopian outside Ethiopia doesn't get better than D.C.)

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Speaking of Little Gods

Between this and Sarah, I'm beginning to think that there simply are not bad Polleys.

Now there is only the sound of the rain
which is the shape of the streets and the ropes
of overflow knitting at the mouths of drains
and fraying from the gutters and downpipes.

Whatever the leaves were saying must wait:
rain has filled the trees with its own brisk word.
There’s thunder in the darkened slates.
The pond’s green eye rolls heavenwards.

You can’t charge a page with the hiss, with this
cooling of the city like a new horseshoe.
Rain in the hair, at the neck and the wrists:
for rich and poor, there’s rain to hurry through.

The boil and spit of pavements: mirrored brick.
Every patch of grass is fiercely lit.

Jacob Polley

Thanks to L-Bojengles for leading me (back) to Jeanette Winterson (I have loved her for years) and to Jeanette Winterson for leading me anew to Jacob Polley. Check out Smoke for the kind of poem I only dream I might write.

The Kind of Love I Trust Now


There is a kind of love called maintenance
Which stores the WD40 and knows when to use it

Which checks the insurance, and doesn’t forget
The milkman; which remembers to plant bulbs;

Which answers letters; which knows the way
The money goes; which deals with dentists

And Road Fund Tax and meeting trains,
And postcards to the lonely; which upholds

The permanently rickety elaborate
Structures of living, which is Atlas.

And maintenance is the sensible side of love,
Which knows what time and weather are doing
To my brickwork; insulates my faulty wiring;
Laughs at my dryrotten jokes; remembers
My need for gloss and grouting; which keeps
My suspect edifice upright in air,
As Atlas did the sky.

U.A. Fanthorpe

Monday, December 10, 2007

Thanks Veace

The Quiet World

In an effort to get people to look
into each other's eyes more,
and also to appease the mutes,
the government has decided
to allot each person exactly a hundred
and sixty-seven words, per day.

When the phone rings, I put it to my ear
without saying hello. In the restaurant
I point at chicken noodle soup.
I am adjusting well to the new way.

Late at night, I call my long distance lover,
proudly say I only used fifty-nine today.
I saved the rest for you.

When she doesn't respond,
I know she's used up all her words,
so I slowly whisper I love you
thirty-two and a third times.
After that, we just sit on the line
and listen to each other breathe.

Jeff McDaniell