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Archive for the ‘Transformation’ Category

Dia de los Muertos (1)

September 22, 2008 Comments off

I assist the wandering.

My every cell a marigold petal,
golden sheen
pupil black
They flutter to the earth, flakes of me, patina to lead
the way home.
Follow my trail of flitting confetti, from your marker
of marble dusted with arbors’ resting dead,
to the threshold of my door.

Your shrine awaits.
The altar offers the last remnants of my altered autumnal
body, metamophosed into a fragrant guide
for the rest of nights.
Until the end of days.

I offer my flesh as candle wax.
A horizon star for your spirit.

by Suzanne Grazyna

Reading by Dave Bonta — Download the MP3

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Three Beautiful Things

September 20, 2008 6 comments

1. My new friend

The icecream van arrives in a burst of tinkly Greensleeves and movement in the park directs itself to the Claremont Road corner. A long-legged eight-year-old comes back to the family next to us and hands her mother some change: ‘There’s 60p less because I bought one for my new friend.’

2. Sharing small pleasures

‘I’ll give you one of my crisp fivers,’ says the lady in the coffee shop.

3. Notice

In my change is a note with ‘quit your job’ written on it.

by Clare Grant

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Another Day

September 19, 2008 2 comments

renku sequence


another long day
on the cricket pitch
swatting bush flies

owzat! the youth roused
from his doze on the couch

the psychiatrist listens
opens my past
for the future

sepia snapshots fall
from the family album

a red moon spliced
by naked beech trees
along the driveway

following yon highway
to wherever it leads

*

a piper piping
her songs so sultry
sirens might sing

e-harmonies
in raging optic fibers

who coulda thought
a virus would rule
in the world of love?

still counting the dead
five years on, shock and awe

tender young herbs
flavour the oils
for which we cook our gooses

too hot to handle!
those toddler’s tantrums

starring
Elizabeth Taylor
in ‘The Taming of the Shrew’

steaming matsutake
a feast for the queen

so camply
we parade our pride
and the moonshine stills

a fresh load of turf
and poteen before five

*

fitter
than a thousand fiddlers
on top of everest

we’ve come a long, long way
my body and I

inconvenient truths —
slogans on my breasts
upset the clergy

springtime warms our globe
with showers of acid rain

weeping
furry pussy willows
along the river bank

one by one the stars
wink out the Milky Way

***

by Moira Richards (italicized portions) and Barbara A. Taylor

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The Three

September 18, 2008 Comments off

The bear did not return as he had promised. Parachutes bloomed and drifted silently into the darkness of that moment just before sleep, nodding as if in agreement.

It was then that the boy remembered there were three things he was supposed to remember. Did one go this way, or was it that way?

Maybe one got lost like the soldiers returning from the war and entering the wrong houses. But they were close, the houses were almost like their own houses. They recalled towers in flames, torn banners dangling from minarets.

But still, the bear did not return. Sometimes the boy could sense him in the rustle of leaves at the edge of the forest. He imagined him standing against a tree in a clearing, waiting for silence, for attention, as if he were about to tell a story.

The bear did not return as he had promised, so the child never left the cottage. Never Left the Cottage became his name — that’s what the hunters called him. Never spoke, never answered, although sometimes he did hop about the room like a sparrow on the grass, a tiny sparrow about to take flight.

Someday he would remember and tell them about The Three: three ways at the crossroads, three words to say or not to say, or maybe which three stars to follow.

They noticed that when light came into the room, not just daylight, but a beam with spirals of dust suspended in it like a diagram, the child welcomed it like an old friend, and moved his lips, silently.

The bear did not return as he had promised, so the child never left the cottage. The tree refused to grow.

Grandmother decided to cut it down. She swung her axe into its bark and it bled. Grandmother decided to leave the tree alone.

The boy dreamt that he was the only one who knew the answer to the riddle: the bear, the cottage, the tree. Or was it the stars, the crossroads, the words?

He set off to find where everyone had gone. When he looked back, it seemed the tree was much taller.

by Richard Garcia

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Untitled

September 17, 2008 6 comments
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Slow Motion Barn

September 16, 2008 2 comments

A mole tortures underground,
a host of bats above, like gloves,
hang to dry in dimmest light,
and in twisted byroads and

blossoming paths the termites,
carpenter ants and dust beetles
chew cuds of oak-hard sills.
Square nails, blunter than cigars,
suddenly toothless, a century

of shivering taking its toll,
shake free as slow as worms.
For all the standing still
there’s action, warming, aging,

the bowing of an old barn
at ultimate genuflection.

by Tom Sheehan

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The Granddaughter Sings Lily Home (1994)

September 15, 2008 Comments off

This crossing hard. Melinda stroke the hair
still thick and streak with gold
and black and white, and smile
when Lily crease her eye. Melinda
thumb the tear that leak down whiteskin folds.

She sing a song of eye and hill and help
that come from God. The last aunt die
ten days before. Don’t tell her, it gn kill her—
but Melinda know that death don’t lie
in knowing: it in lying.
I will lift up mine eyes.
When Lily brush her hair—
that whiteman hair, her father hair—
each colour tell it tale.
From whence cometh my help.
A new tear track the first. Melinda voice, it split.
It crack. The Jordan River deep and wide.
What do Lily fear? I’ll meet my children on the other side.
This crossing hard.

by Nicolette Bethel

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Against Atmosphere

September 14, 2008 Comments off

All of a sudden I’m too conscious of my blinking. I don’t know what brought it on, except that I think it was because I was watching television and someone blinked too much and then I thought about my blinking and now that’s all I think about. Am I blinking too much? Not enough? Do I really need to blink? How long can I go without blinking? And then I get a headache that feels like a chasm in the middle of my skull — a split-the-world-open hurt that makes blinking the last thing on my mind and then it doesn’t matter anymore. All I want to do is sleep.

I lay down on the floor, and realize I never realized how soft it is, like, why doesn’t everybody sleep on the floor all the time, why do people even waste their money on beds, all the hours they work for money they have to save and save and then they go and spend it on some mattress that won’t spill a glass of wine when all the time they could just be sleeping on this floor that is so damn comfortable I feel like I will never want to move again. And I just rest my cheek on the cool of the hardwood floor and I just breathe and breathe and breathe and I wait for dark to come.

After I’ve been lying there for too long and not long enough, the noise of the t.v. in the background for some commercial — is your hair soft enough? But I don’t have any worries about my hair because it is in the atmosphere and the air and the space all around me floating like I am underwater. It is a marvelous feeling and I know that if I use that special shampoo they want me to buy then it will just weigh my beautiful hair down.

And then I am floating along with my hair my whole body free of gravity my head no longer hurting and I’m looking up and my ceiling isn’t there anymore so I can see stars and constellations whose names I don’t remember. I’m just reaching out to touch them when I hear the front door of my house close and I look down to see who it is and it’s someone nameless who looks very familiar carrying a bag of groceries they probably want to share with me, and that makes me smile. And then I look closer and I realize that I see me too on the floor, almost I look like a crimson smudge, not from blood, I’m sure because I think I remember my bathrobe is that color.

I try to remember why I was home in my bathrobe alone anyway and I can’t, only I see the person with the groceries has spilled them all over the floor, and they have all the right things for making a chicken soup and I think maybe I was sick? And I want to go investigate except that I suddenly notice that while I was trying to remember things the atmosphere was still slowly sucking me up like pudding through a straw. And I am pudding. And I don’t want to be pudding, I want to be back in my home with my crimson robe and my nameless familiar person and my almost chicken soup. I want to go back —

I WANT TO GO BACK!

And that’s when I start fighting the atmosphere and moving against it like I am a combination of a swimmer and a runner and a really pissed off cat. But that steady suck of atmosphere is relentless and I am going up and up and up and up and up and up and up and up and up and up and up and up and up — and everything below is lots of dots and I look around and realize I am a part of a constellation although I still can’t remember the name of it.

When I finally feel like the sucking is done and the realization that I’m not going back has finally sunk in, I try to stay angry and I try to be a mix of all the right emotions, like sorrowful and regretful and concerned about what will happen to that nameless familiar person — but I can’t.

I’m up here, a part of this constellation looking around at everything, and I notice I am very shiny. Not like wake up in the morning and still haven’t washed your face yet shiny, but shiny like the sun catches the surface of the ocean shiny and I feel like a deep gold, like, the deepest gold there is. And it is a good feeling.

And then I laugh, because I realize that all that worrying I did about blinking didn’t matter, because I don’t even need to blink anymore, and it wasn’t even that important, but what I’m doing now is even more important then anything ever.

by Darcy Bruce

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Common Birds and their Songs

September 13, 2008 1 comment

It wasn’t as bad as all that when the day finally came.
You’d never seen flowers like that, solemnly bowed
heads that meant not to wake up in the morning. The sun
threw colored prisms onto the pews which were warmer
than you’d expected. The elevator was a surprise; do most
churches have elevators? Her elbows looked oldest
while her eyelids appeared seamless.

by Melinda Wilson

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Gray Cheek

September 12, 2008 3 comments

She leans toward me.
Wings clipped, she is endangered
in a different way — leans so strongly
I am afraid she may topple, thud to the floor.

Last week, on my usual walk along the beach,
I saw the back of a man who sat on a bench above,
almost a dozen birds arrayed on the rail behind him.
Undoubtedly, the man must have had crumbs. Undoubtedly,
there must have been a phalanx of birds I couldn’t see
parading around his feet, feeding his hunger.

I am not the person who feeds my daughter’s bird.
Yet the bird craves me with an inexplicable love.
She has forgotten flight, the green forest, monkey chatter,
the rush of crystal cascades through mossy crevices — longs now
for motor rides, for melting ice cream sipped from a spoon.
I think she is considering how she can speak to me
in my language. She dreams of my shoulder,
of thrusting her feathered head
snugly into the hollow behind my ear.

I dream of growing wings.

by Marjorie Stamm Rosenfeld

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