November 13, 2009

We've got no good will, no good will to give
to those who try to take away what we need to live

Philip Koch, Bend in the Road, 1983

New Habits
-- by Barbara J. Orton

You've made me your horse,
and I don't mind.

When you leave town
at midnight, debts unpaid

and a hard wind lifting
the dust out of your hair,

I'll take up new habits:
whisling, chewing my nails.

Bank robbery's not so bad
when you think about it.

Outside my window
the pin oak hisses and rattles.

I've lost something, but look--
these things in my hands.

-- by Hailey Leithauser

More than mere spasm
or when focused mind

and game heart combine
as mechanism,

maneuvering spine

to bliss, realigned.
More like a schism

or charmed sarcasm
at reason’s fine line,

the old soul’s design
for protoplasm’s

exquisitely mined.

The Thumb
-- by Peter Schneider

In a nanosecond David lost his thumb,
the one his mother painted
with pine pitch when he was four
to keep him from forever sucking it.
Unable to distinguish human flesh
the McCormick silo filler
sliced it off—
nail, bone, knuckle—
and blew it skyward
an ounce of humanity
in a thousand tons of silage.

Taken by surprise
David suppressed the truth.
Before the rush of blood
he held up the stump
saw the clean cut
grey bone marrow visible
and thrust it in his mouth
where the memory
of childhood security lay.
Then he swore,
tears rushing to his eyes, and ran
holding the stump with his good hand
blood oozing between his fingers.

Joe, a huge bulk of a man
and a constant neighbor,
jumped from his wagon
caught David like a child
held him to his chest
not intimidated by blood
or the tears of a grown man.


Blogger Damion009 said...

WOW!!!! this is beautiful!!!!

12:35 PM  
Anonymous Philip Koch said...

A real pleasure to have you use my painting to illustrate your site. "Bend in the Road" was painted on the narrow winding road that was my old jogging route for years. Eventually the Highway Dept. widened and straightened the road. I suppose it is safer now to drive on, but I liked the weird twists and turns it used to have.

10:49 AM  

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