Monthly Archives: January 2015

For Tomas Transtromer

For Tomas Transtromer

 

The ice on the road sees us with our own eyes
and is no better than we are at helping ourselves

as direction changes. In a winter far south of here,
the edge of still water is guarded by cypress knees,

like a tired army that lay on their backs for a nap
and never found a reason to get up. Beyond them

I heard the bellow of a bull alligator claiming the world.
By a cold spring corn field a thousand miles

away, watching the storm’s wind sprint across
before it could be heard or felt, I know everything

can be claimed, like these memories—are the endless
chances to say hello merely a shout over the slumbering?

Is the wind with its violence finally hearing us with our ears?
I will sit here with you for a while and see what comes.

To the Tune of a Song Not Yet Written

Note: one of an occasional series of poems with this title…

 

To the Tune of a Song Not Yet Written [5]

Leaves gather into a shape in a doorway, like an animal
sheltering from the wind. The hiss of cold wind

through the emptied maple. Stand in the small area
which owns the sound and close your eyes — like newspapers

burning in the fire place with the kindling. Late afternoon
all the steeples point up to forgetful blue emptiness.

But they’re empty on the inside too. In the dark, the moon climbs
up the roof and leaps in slow motion

No. 36

Note: While preparing for the Bridgewater International Poetry Festival — and working on some book design for “The Drift” and “Moon & Shadow” (tentative title for the collection of poems featuring Mei Yao-ch’en) — I will from time to time post a poem from one of my books published before I began this blog. This is from The Artificial Horizon, published in 2013.

No. 36

Quiet night. Even the crickets are whispering,
Beneath the green stamp of this date, your name
In a language I can’t speak but can read.
Above the summer moon’s shiny memory
A thought of you coaxes deep stars
Into the precise constellation
That is your voice saying my name.
The rudder of years has shown my choice.
This year will not accumulate around you
Any better than a kitten accumulates moths.
The moment is the distribution, not a sum.
Of everything a cricket can sing, or not.
Of every thing you understand because it’s not clear and caught.
So I will walk in the empty feeling house.
The night hangs on every wall, black mirrors.
When I look at it I see myself looking in
Wondering what I am doing out there without you.
The danger of reflection is thinking you’re alone
When you’re not. Of thinking crickets without voices
Are whispering your name when it’s me whispering,
In a language I can’t read but can speak.

Readings: Bridgewater Fest Poet Aimee Suzara

Over the next week I’ll be posting information on the poets who will be reading from their work at the Bridgewater International Poetry Festival, Jan 15th-18th. 

Aimee Suzara will be reading her poetry on  Saturday, January 17th, at 2:30pm, and also leading a writer’s workshop, “In this Skin: Writing the Body” on Friday, January 16th, at 7:30pm.

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Aimee Suzara is a Filipino-American poet, playwright, and performer. Her mission is to create, and help others create, poetic and theatrical work about race, gender, and the body to provoke dialogue and social change. Her poetry appears in her debut book, SOUVENIR (WordTech Editions 2014) and collections including Phat’itude and Kartika Review. Her multidisciplinary theater work, A HISTORY OF THE BODY, received several grants and commissions including ones from the National Endowment for the Arts and East Bay Community Foundation. A YBCAway (Yerba Buena Center for the Arts) and Spirited Woman Fellowship (AROHO Foundation) awardee, her work has premiered at the Thick House, CounterPULSE, Berkeley Repertory Theater, and been selected for the Utah Arts Festival, One Minute Play Festival, United States of Asian America, APAture, and others. As a performing poet and educator, she has graced stages and classrooms nationally, and she has collaborated with many artists, including Deep Waters Dance Theater. She was a two-time Hedgebrook Resident, and an alumna of VONA (Voices of Our Nations Arts Foundation). Of SOUVENIR, Luis Rodriguez said, “Aimee Suzara is a deep chronicler of our hopes, dreams, pains, and future…we need these poems more than ever.” http://www.aimeesuzara.net

From SOUVENIR (WordTech Editions 2014)

Suture

At the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair

Oddities. Body
parts wrapped to be sold
as souvenirs.
Cold fingers
peel mummy layers
undoing the stitch.

It is invasive,
a sort of jigsaw-
suture the way
Navajos and Igorottes,
Rajasthanis pose
with elephants
at the artificial
Pueblo Cave Dwelling.
You note the backdrop
of painted sand pillars;
that Disneyland
cirrus cloud sky.

Wool jackets rub
loin cloths. Feathers
tickle Victorian necklines.

Hands sew together
what does not belong.
One day, it will heal
into something unrecognizable
with the parts of a person:
a teratoma
with teeth, hair and nails.

Come upon these
measured feet,
this list of names
without warning.
Come from thousands of miles
to witness the exhibit
of the exhibit. Come
to participate in
something, for
your own story does not
allow you to participate.

The candidness of naked
eyes, bare chests devoid
of goosebumps. The smoothness
of distance. The shadows
of the uncaptured. Something
tells you to stop looking,
but you are spun: sutured
to your subject.

Readings: Bridgewater Fest Poet A. Logan Hill

Over the next week I’ll be posting information on the poets who will be reading from their work at the Bridgewater International Poetry Festival, Jan 15th-18th. 

A. Logan Hill will be reading his poetry on  Friday, January 16th, at 11:00am.

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Hey ya’ll, super stoked to meet up with everyone & exchange languages. Here’s some stuff about & of me:

A. Logan Hill grew up just north of Harrisonburg, Virginia in an old house by a small town off the highway. As a Poetry candidate in the MFA Program for Poets & Writers, he is currently working on a novel, a new chapbook of “appropriations from texts on NOTHING,” a collection of “prosaic meanderings” with the working title “Reward,” new poems, a children’s book, journals, and a collection of essays. In addition, Logan has also begun preliminary research on “the art of the list” and his interests in the integrity of mobiles. He currently teaches College Writing in the University’s Writing Program and is an Associate Editor at Route 9 Literary Magazine.

Needless to say “logan’s poems are more like blooms.” — H I L L

l o g a n H I L L “ hates ” genre.
He writes lists, notes, batches, drafts, plumbs, poems, stories, lyrics, essays, journals, writing, fiction, creative non-fiction. letters, essays, journals, poems, genre/form, collections, novels, chapbooks, speeches, strands, grants, proposals, lectures, lessons, drafts, labels, symbols, diagrams, lists, talks, responses, reviews, poems, presentations, stories, lists & other illiterate drafts / songs.

x Poetry is an act.

x Fiction is a process.

x Writing is the universal human act of a reciprocation between / personal experience and
fragility.

x Everything is / the act of poetry.

* * *

DAY 4r

little spiders
in the
cob webs
of the
house
hanging there
in the bodies
of brownish
orbs —
sacks
in between
the
greenish hemisphere
of the
porched in
walls.
sadness can
not achieve
complete loneliness —
solitude
like a rotting
mattress —
the beautiful paired
with the mundane —
the everyday
& the useless—
the beauty
& the grotesque
of the beautiful—
grotesque.
some things will never end up in the wildflowers.

Readings: Bridgewater Fest Poet Patsy Asuncion

Over the next week I’ll be posting information on the poets who will be reading from their work at the Bridgewater International Poetry Festival, Jan 15th-18th. 

Patsy Asuncion will be reading her poetry on  Friday, January 16th, at 10:00am.

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Public education, her ticket from poverty, instilled passion for words in all its creative forms. Professional writing morphed into poetry and short stories, featured in Prevention Magazine and numerous anthologies (most recently in Chatter House Press’ Reckless Writing, SUNY’s Healing Muse, L.A. Loyola’s The Truth About the Fact, National Federation of Poetry Society’s Encore) as well as online journals, UK’s Female First and Laughing Fire Press. Her poetry collection, Cut on the Bias, will be published by Laughing Fire Press in early 2015.

Here’s a new poem about growing up in Chicago’s inner city:

Jalopy

She was stolen shiny new outside
a tenement for a joy ride then abandoned
in a back alley No anti-theft devices
in those days just next of kin to fender
troublemakers When they found her
they thought she was lucky just
a busted headlight bloody dents
and pigeon-toed tires probably
the reason thieves dumped her

Once healed she proved a good car
who kept good traction whenever
she drove her stepmother home
from the neighborhood tap Mechanics
saw her potential caught her interest
with books Interior lights a tough
engine ensured high performance
in school despite being left
alone a lot on the street

Tomboy antics in the alleys scarred
all four tires but she put up a poker-face
Two crashes shorting her electrical
started migraines every time she used
her turn signals Surgery on ball joints
and quality oil seemed to quiet cranky
squeaks when she rolled She paid
attention keeping her trim in top shape
to slow depreciation unlike some friends

Maintenance doesn’t stop life’s odometer
Rust spots on her once flawless finish
increased each winter Young cracks
in her underbody began puckering her
mainframe Cheap gas had been no
problem but then started upsetting her gut
Chronic allergies insisted more air filter
changes Not surprised each time she
was traded She didn’t choose her
owners

Sold now as vintage she is adept
a classic from the day the only one
to make it out of the old neighborhood
While memory settings have lost old
details she recalls important choices
running even in bad weather starting
while missing parts finding her way
regardless of confusing road signs
optimizing her standard components

Readings: Bridgewater Fest Poet KC Bosch

Over the next week I’ll be posting information on the poets who will be reading from their work at the Bridgewater International Poetry Festival, Jan 15th-18th. 

KC Bosh will be reading his poetry on  Thursday, January 15th, at 2:30pm.

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KC Bosch is a photographer and woodworker who lives and writes in Rappahannock County, Virginia. His poetry can be found at literary journals such as Camel Saloon, Poetry Breakfast, Dead Mule, and Vox Poetica. His work was twice nominated for Best of the Net.

Stealing Days

when we arrive the calm dark is
rudely broken by generator and lamps
a million details to tend to

set the plates, fasten the sills
take the measure
run adhesive and sheet the deck
build the walls and stand in place

bring in the rafters
tip them up and nail them down
an ancient story of feet and inches

thirty-eight and seven-sixteenths skinny
short to short, three times
cripples and dead-men and bents
valleys and peaks and studs

stopping for lunch almost
while plotting …
sandwich in one hand
plans in the other

all afternoon more of the same
but different …

ok shut it down, tie it down,
pack it up

out to the truck
racing to Manny’s
pork rinds and beer
down 997 toward home

hat stuck to my head
sweat stain tie-dyed shirt
wearing enough sawdust and dirt
to … be … arrested … for … theft.

Readings: Bridgewater Fest Poet R.G. Evans

Over the next week I’ll be posting information on the poets who will be reading from their work at the Bridgewater International Poetry Festival, Jan 15th-18th. 

R.G. Evans will be reading his poetry on  Sunday, January 18th, at 10:00am.

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Excited to be a part of the 2015 Bridgewater International Poetry Festival!

Visit my website to see my bio and links to some online poems, interviews and videos:http://www.rgevanswriter.com.

Here’s a poem from my book Overtipping the Ferryman:

MONTH WITHOUT A MOON

Any night I like, I can rise instead of the moon
that has forgotten us, not a thought of our sad lot,
and roam the darkened oblongs of the dunes.

Once you said the moon was some pale god
who turned away his face to cause the tides,
and once you said that, I of course believed

that you were mad. Now the ghost crab guides
me to the edge where land is not land, sea not sea,
and all the sky above is one dark dream.

This is the month with no full moon. You
were its prophet, and I am standing on the seam
between belief and what I know is true.

I gave you a diamond. It should have been a pearl.
It should have been a stone to hang above the world.

Readings: Bridgewater Fest Poet Pia Taavila-Borsheim

Over the next week I’ll be posting information on the poets who will be reading from their work at the Bridgewater International Poetry Festival, Jan 15th-18th. 

Pia Taavila-Borsheim will be reading her poetry on  Saturday, January 17th, at 10:00am.

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Thanks for hosting this, Jeff. Can’t wait to meet / see everyone.

Check out my web page for some poems, my resume (with my publishing history) as well as a listing of my forthcoming readings and book signings. Thanks!

http://piataavilaborsheim.wordpress.com

Early Morning, January, Outside

Early Morning, January, Outside

 

I have seen crows measure themselves against a hawk
to secure territory.  A single crow settles into a branch

a few limbs away from a red tailed hawk, hopping awkwardly
closer then gawping its recognition and the echoes

of recognition bring more crows as if the crows
themselves were the echoes coming back. We know

how this ends, with the hawk taking flight and shrugging
them off, literally–with a few flicks of its shoulder

it is gone. But stronger or not, in the end it leaves.
This morning the crows behind my house

were raising a racket but nothing was rising
over the treeline. They hopped agitated from

tree to tree but kept to the lower branches.
Overhead like staples in the gray sky a hundred vultures

circled and swerved, like figure skaters
freed of all pretension of looking human

but they did look human, these angels
of death, or maybe turning to go back inside

I caught their reflection in the kitchen window
as if they were already inside the house,

waiting for me there, a semblance of the thing
that has crows giving ground without lifting

a wing. That after all there’s no owned territory,
that there’s something recognition alone won’t harry.