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Archive for the ‘Transformation’ Category

Local Lepidoptera Adopt Municipal Pool for Epic Opera Debut

September 25, 2008 Comments off


Aunt Jemima floats in the round kiddy pool—
cap open dunked features snap back a child’s thumb squeezes bubbles rush her bottle body empty waterlogged empty as plastic casts a flask shadow on the submerged black limbs on the aqua-tinged concrete—droplet spray—a mama cuts coupons calloused feet legs wrapped in a towel where a cloud of faded butterflies silkscreens her fish tail scales—eclosion—the coupons’ colored sheen quivers—Aunt Jemima’s hollow body rebounds off the ground—a Don’t you ever let me catch you… and a Mama, please… join the tune from a blue kazoo—the chorus punctures a transformer’s distant hum descants the adolescent thrum—scales run and tumble in rapid fire procession line up at the deep end’s diving board—whistle blow—liquid exclamation marks punctuate the surface—a lifeguard calls Adult Swim and the thrum becomes a unified whine perched on the spray- painted SIX ft NINE ft TWELVE ft deep counting down fifteen rests while a Nana thigh jockeys a foam green noodle—at the diving end
a young Filipino man in black speedo stuns—
angles spring fly—a Chinese dragon tattoo rips across his back as he folds rolls—the dragon somersaults plunges sinks and a monarch orange wrinkle skips up dodges chlorine clouds pink floaty toys dripping heads flutters up over a silent blue kazoo an abandoned Aunt Jemima over coupons and the kiddy pool out over the barbed top of the chain link fence where it scores the transformer’s currents to sing Mariposa Mariposa my DNA remains the same even if I change my name—was I not the worm that crawled and hung that ate the milkweed’s leaf and petal—was I not the chrysalid kumbla-encased where leg and segment horn and eye liquefied—am I not the nymph—I am that which I have always carried—scarlet toxins—meconium gene feed—imaginal buds—this dissolve not inside the moth’s cocoon but this green sheath where each atom recombines out of ooze to form bright aposematic wings knotted threadlike antennae brushfooted legs a coiled tongue set loose from a translucent pupa—
I fold—Mariposa flexed—the Danaus plexippus

by Matthew Hittinger

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Cameo: Epithelamion

September 24, 2008 1 comment

Cheekbone, chin, chignon;
Scrollwork, a profile carved in
Worn carnelian,

Russet and ivory;
Only a blur remains, there
Where her ringlets were;

Here, a tiny crack feathers
To the speck of stone
Hidden in the hollow

Of her throat, the ribbon
Strung with its diamond.
Great-Aunt Beatrice’s

Brooch, ornament she wore
In her own wedding, now
Pinned to my bodice

That feels like peach skin.
Velvet, velvet, the nap one way,
Cannot be touched

Against the grain.
Mannequin, mannequin,
Here I stand in

Off-white, with statice
Snarled in my hair hot
Under the umbrella lights

Of the photographer,
On the day before my marriage.
I can’t breathe—how this

Velvet loops me tight,
Wraps my torso, cocooning me,
Like the caterpillars,

Swaddled in kapok, whose
Tents swathe the vee of the wild
Plum… This dry champagne’s

A shade so pale,
The same shade as the sheaves
That spill open, heavy

Vellum, falling
Gracefully between Malachi
And Matthew, between

Old and new. Sepia
Script, penned in various
Hands, catalogues those

Birthed, dipped, wed and gone.
There’s a line where our names
Will go—brownish,

Blotched with age, like Great-
Aunt Beatrice’s hands as they
Pinned this on me,

The bride. Blank page.

by Pamela Johnson Parker

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What the Echo Knows

September 23, 2008 3 comments

Hiccups
as oratory—
why shouldn’t repetition

be the story
we learn most
from?

She was some
yes-man
girl, always

saying what she
had heard
him say

but by going
on, made it
her own

and her yes
es
sss

turned
to a
hiss

dakini
of
bliss

Then
serpents
were her lovers

by Monica Raymond

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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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