January 26, 2007

you and yours and all your wars have run your last campaign

Raymond Saunders, Red Star, 1970

#999, Red
-- by Beth Woodcome

Not a color, but something that happened.
Like the year the bed was shared and you forgot
everything that happened at its edges.
Not shared, but emptied. Not emptied, but utterly.
I wrote it all down while you slept, and I did not ever.
Not a color, but a reflection of what you’ve done.
Not a mouth, but a place to be hurt and by this I mean:
an adult orphanage. At best, another if, then.
A thing smeared, and not even that.

Last Trip to the Island
-- by Erin Belieu

You're mad that I can't love the ocean,

but I've come to this world landlocked
and some bodies feel permanently strange.
Like any foreign language, study it too late and
it never sticks. Anyway,

we're here aren't we? —
trudging up the sand, the water churning
its constant horny noise, an openmouthed heavy

breathing made more unnerving by
the presence of all these families, the toddlers

with their chapped bottoms, the fathers
in gigantic trunks spreading out their dopey
circus-colored gear.

How can anyone relax
near something so worked up all the time?

I know the ocean is glamorous,
but the hypnosis, the dilated pull of it, feels

impossible to resist. And what better reason to
resist? I'm most comfortable in

a field, a yellow-eared patch
of cereal, whose quiet rustling argues for
the underrated valor of discretion.

And above this, I admire a certain quality of
sky, like an older woman who wears her jewels with
an air of distance, that is, lightly,
with the right attitude. Unlike your ocean,

there's nothing sneaky about a field. I like their
ugly-girl frankness. I like that, sitting in the dirt,

I can hear what's coming between the stalks.

Pasture Dream
-- by Frank Stanford

My daughter put black
Lady Fingers between my toes
I gave her a silver dollar
to buy oranges and a loaf of bread
and she came back with firecrackers
The dew was so heavy they wouldn't light
My son was jumping the barbed wire
on his white pony Oats in his hair
drunk from the honeysuckle
he cut his morning coffee with
His eyes were deep and green like mine
like ponds of sleeping minnows
My wife was looking for mushroom and poke
Her skirt was lifted high
over her thighs in the tall grass
Her crutch was like a divining stick
It smelled like root beer
Brother Leo told me the bell was ringing

Play everybody knows (by The Evens) at all your parties tonight. its on get evens, a fantastic record.


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