January 20, 2010

We're gonna die until it doesn't hurt


Mia Henry, Tree, 2009

Talking to Ourselves
-- by Philip Schultz

A woman in my doctor's office last week
couldn't stop talking about Niagara Falls,
the difference between dog and deer ticks,
how her oldest boy, killed in Iraq, would lie
with her at night in the summer grass, singing
Puccini. Her eyes looked at me but saw only
the saffron swirls of the quivering heavens.

Yesterday, Mr. Miller, our tidy neighbor,
stopped under our lopsided maple to explain
how his wife of sixty years died last month
of Alzheimer's. I stood there, listening to
his longing reach across the darkness with
each bruised breath of his eloquent singing.

This morning my five-year-old asked himself
why he'd come into the kitchen. I understood
he was thinking out loud, personifying himself,
but the intimacy of his small voice was surprising.

When my father's vending business was failing,
he'd talk to himself while driving, his lips
silently moving, his black eyes deliquescent.
He didn't care that I was there, listening,
what he was saying was too important.

"Too important," I hear myself saying
in the kitchen, putting the dishes away,
and my wife looks up from her reading
and asks, "What's that you said?"


Push Kick Dreaming
-- by Liam Ferney

From Old St. to doorway
in a fug of hip hop and
hacked morning smoke
the two goons fumbled
with a pane of glass
the shape of the top
of a billiard table. Their
half furnished office
as empty as the recent
divorcee’s social schedule
and for an instant I am
Daewon Song meets
Jackie Chan chase cliché
360º flipping to manual
a miraculous obstacle
dodge before the tepid
consolation of burnt milk
in a tube station latte.

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