July 30, 2008

no ID no alcohol
that's what the old sign said

Rosamond Purcell, Untitled, 2000

- by Angela Vogel

There was this bum living at the bottom of a lake
who kept talking my ear off about things.
I pretended not to hear but he recognized the lie.
On and on, he had the answers to everything.
He didn’t like me much, he said. His
was a combination of excess and reserve, a life
which wound him at the bottom of a wave.
He had an endless supply of characters who could
shoulder the blame for his misshapen life, yet
somehow my name sequentially made the list.
I tried adjusting my tympanic membrane
like a backwoods radio to filter the noise.
Men wait lives to get revenge on guys like this,
I’d think, glad for once he’d not hear back.
Most times he lead me nowhere by the ring.
Then a buildup of gladiolus, heartache
and the prize.

Read Your Fate
-- by Charles Simic

A world's disappearing.
Little street,
You were too narrow,
Too much in the shade already.

You had only one dog,
One lone child.
You hid your biggest mirror,
Your undressed lovers.

Someone carted them off
In an open truck.
They were still naked, travelling
On their sofa

Over a darkening plain,
Some unknown Kansas or Nebraska
With a storm brewing.
The woman opening a red umbrella

In the truck. The boy
And the dog running after them,
As if after a rooster
With its head chopped off.

-- by Susan Hahn

Where the Tigris and Euphrates meet
is the Tree cemented in concrete.
The fruit all picked and eaten,
the bald branches broken.
Where the Tigris and the Euphrates meet
the holy road, once filled with date palms
and wild geraniums wandering every bush,
is smothered with bombed-out bridges
and scorched tanks and peddlers
with their fractured stands
that hold the spoiled apple and orange.
Where the Tigris and the Euphrates meet
the dried mother womb sleeps,
buried under slabs of tongues and rubble talk—
the wetland drained, the marsh a small weep,
the garden above starved for its life.
Where the Tigris and the Euphrates meet
all that's left is the knowledge warned of.


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