June 15, 2007

In 1984 I was hospitalized
For approaching perfection



Victor Brauner (1903-1966) - Przybór Księżyca, 1946.


Undertow
-- by Pris Campbell

I expected my father's death
to draw the sea to my feet,
the water threatening to bear me
away with it--not mother's.
Our voices were constant coils
of disagreement; my hair was too long.
I was too thin. My clothes were too tight.
My mish-mash of dishes would never do
if the relatives came down for Christmas.
I lived 'in sin' with a man, traveled with him,
tossed away my bra to her mortification.
After my knees buckled
and illness pinned me to my bed of thorns,
the core of metal between us softened,
became a pillow to rest our heads upon, but
she slipped quietly into that undertow
and I was left alone on the beach, a girl again,
weeping.


from his bed in the capital city
-- by david berman

the highway commissioner dreams of us.
we are driving by christmas tree farms
wearing wedding rings with on / off switches,
composing essays on leg room in our heads.

we know there is a policy like ice sculpture,
policy that invisibly dictates the shape
of the freeway forests and the design
of the tollbooths that passing children
send their minds into.

Photography's reminder is sound and momentum,
which were we looking to pare off the edges
of the past anyway, so snapshots of mom
with a kitchen table hill of cocaine
or the dog frozen in the attitude
of eating raw hamberger
get filed under "misc. americana,"
though only partially contained there,
as beads of sap are always leaking
from the columns of the bar graph.

the voices of the bumperstickers tangle in our heads
like cafeteria noise and we can't help but aware
that by making this trip, by driving home for christmas,
we are assuming some classic role.
it is the role he has cast us in: "holiday travelers."

he dreams us safely into our driveways
and leaves us at the flickering doors.


Everything Real Imagined
-- by Kate Irving

It's impossible to miss the nestling
hooked in the hawk's claw, the ache
reviewed against each rejuvenated sky.

Bridges in flames, abandoned cities gone to ash,
milkweed rising on a scorched wind.

Everywhere the shrike,
the shriek, the monarch on a lavender spike, faith
leaking its mystery from the painter's box.

Then your heart gets caught on a chortle
and, bent low to the grass, it asks
for the wild turkey's flimsy trust, knowing that

on the way you'll pass by the churches
inside you, their silence
countered by the hard, familiar rusk of static.

Death is what makes this a garden.


Autumn
-- by John Brehm

It is to the small satisfactions
we must return, for surely
the great ones fail us.
The unexpected face, the way
evening's slow descent, when
everything is poised for her
arrival, astonishes the day.
And then the steady, familiar
things, houses and trees, suddenly
precise, alive and themselves.
These will do for us now,
now that we have given up on
matters of brooding consequence,
now that such a leisure
of wind, studying the leaves
more closely, lifts them up,
bright in the pure, black air.

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