#101 – Poetry

Connie Stadler
Morning Near Cape May,
         Summer 2009

Charcoal waves
                           devour
blond skin sand.
Thrush and swallow
                  sing to no ear
overwhelmed by the
                  ravenous
                           cackling
              salted
                                   gull.

 

Striated skein sky
aqua, ivory and slate
unravels
                           bulbous cumulus
                                    and more threatening
                                                   formations.

The discordant pulsing
neap tide
forbids
getaway
respite
                  forgetting.

I will stalk these dunes
head bent
prowling for keepsakes
                                    of bleakness.

Uplift my chin, this vista
will mingle
                           as one
                                    with darkness within …

 

Laudizen King

I Visited with Richard Brautigan this Morning

 

I visited with Richard Brautigan this morning,
He was sitting in the early light of dawn
With his feet resting on a clay pot,
Talking to me from his seat
Behind the tomato plant on my deck
Here in Little Tokyo
In springtime in Los Angeles.

I told him about rugged New Hampshire summits,
Treeless and cloaked in mist, and how the
High country smelled in the rain while the
Cairns that marked the trail
Disappeared into the fog
Ahead and behind, of
Maple trees and autumn brilliance
Before the cold downpours of early
Winter left them standing
Barren in the forest
Waiting for quiet and a
Mantle of snow.

He talked to me about
Fishing and how the
Rain in the Pacific Northwest
Turned the streets of his youth to
Mud in those blackberry days of
Bears and Eastern Oregon before
Tall buildings and the
Parking meters of San Francisco
Gathered him to
Their purpose and stories of
Elmira and Mayonnaise would
Leave him no time to
Grow old.

 

 

Jennifer LeBlanc
Contemplation

Turning chair, as in the sweep
of wind and leaves,

melancholy confusion—
you understand the chaos.

You turn the chair,
hair elevated from shoulders,

my sweater spread in air
like a bird’s snapped wing.

 

 

Woman

Small kitchen and small light, I remember
my aunt brushing mascara

over long lashes, maternal line heritage.
Promises morph like candles’ flames,

and I bend my childhood morals
into cosmetic ink.

 

 

 Mike Meraz
Marriage

young,
twenty-something
couple
with shopping list
looks like a
home run
in the first inning
of a game
you finally lose.

 

 

 

Andrew Wirzburger
Penance

We are in the pews and pretty nervous,
rows of kids waiting to confess
to nothing really.

One by one,
we are escorted to some booth
where we will bare our souls to God.

Perhaps we have sinned, but
we don’t know. No one
has cast any stones, but Bill
beaned Dan
at the park yesterday
and laughed
instead of saying he was sorry,
so Bill’s got that going for him,
and the rest of us are jealous.

We undergo the inquisitions of our peers
among the pews: what will you say?
And like inmates boast their crimes
we recount the times we made
our siblings cry,
hoping it’ll satisfy God
because we know we must confess
to something.

The line shrinks as we slide
down the lacquered eggshell pews,
and we expect each of us
going in the booth
to come out all a-glow in God’s good grace
like when our older sisters
return from the tanning salon,
re-browned and refreshed.

So alone we sit
in the dark
in our doubt
that we are leaving something out,
that we have done something damnable
and we should be ashamed
and forced to live all our lives
knowing,
like someday when little Laura
will drive to her AA meetings
and stop at every crosswalk
even if there’s no one there
this time.

Three Hail Mary’s
and four Our Father’s,
and don’t do it again.

 

 

 Lyn Lifshin
WHEN THE DAYS BLUR

the week’s a
river of lost days
with little
taking me out
of myself
except what’s
not real. Still,
I can’t stop
trying to make
the word
flesh. And baby,
tho this is
the last page in
the notebook, I
think I’ll still
need a few
poems before I
can let you go

 

 

 

AS IF I COULDN’T STOP WANTING

what’s scorched me,
erase the velvet of
your eyes. Under my hair
I’m clutching the
dance that outlives us

 

 


Lindsea Kemp

Ending, this week

This week has been nothing but endings.
Sticky endings, pulled apart with little
mucus ropes hanging together.
Clean endings, one schwap
of the axe and cut.
Mixed up endings, where
goodbye sounds like hello coming
from a pair of red Rocky Horror lips
that you later find out
is your sphincter.

This week I realized I am dying.
And for some reason all I want
is a hamburger, greasy.
I want to shove the thin
ground beef patty into my
open mouth. Squeeze a couple
ketchup covered fries in.
Suck frantically at the straw of my Coke
like it is life’s elixir.
My hands are covered
in grease, and I have a
funny feeling my soul is drenched.
Smeared shiny and sticky, I roll
in Hiroshima ash and curl.
I am a sugar covered donut.

This week I haven’t showered,
only spun in my own
fevered nightmares, my sweaty
sheets heavy as a lecher’s kiss—
an executioner’s axe—
the 1.65 ounces of metal
that it takes to put a bullet through
another human’s head.

This week I found the fear of death
hidden behind my puckering
navel. It was hard to find, because
it’s fear of life’s conjoined, bloody fetus.
So ugly, but I can’t turn my Oreo eyes
away. They’re now shrink wrapped and
labeled for resale ease.

This week I knew everything.
The first kiss of a dying couple, Osama Bin Laden’s underwear brand, your mother, the white and yellow Rx bottle used as a teddy bear, the space between the boot and the landmine, the dash in between the dates on the gravestone, a cheap hooker’s retarded brother, the wind on an Ugandan’s face, multiple orgasms, a dying pigeon’s final breath ignored, empty buses, cloudy sunsets, chewed bubble gum, the reason you need to pray.

It’s commonplace, really.
I am nothing. I am everything. I am ending.

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