March 17, 2010

one step closer than before


Dana Ellyn, Pierced Nipples, 2009


antipasto à go go
--by klipschutz

“I was never really a member of the Beat Generation.”
—L. Ferlinghetti, 199
0

I was a vegetable,
and I was red,
and I was diced,
and I was in some famous salads.

I was loosely affiliated
with a lot of fruit,
I was canned, I was sweet,
but I was never really a beet.

It’s true I was an anchovy
once for Halloween.
Rootabaga Stories?
That doesn’t prove a thing.

This is the end of the line, this is me,
the last block puts the bitch
back into North Beach.
Lord Buckley doesn’t live here anymore.

Which doesn’t stop the shoulders of a saint,
the author of a traveling scroll,
from threading through the downfield
all alone now in a dream.

The young kids come around
armed with ancient envelopes,
waking up old ghosts on Russian Hill.
Question lists get baptized with good beer.

They sleep it off in live-work spaces
South of Market, where
misconceptions give breech birth
to cubicles.

The empirical evidence is in:
The sky is made of pesto
and the Aurora Borealis. . .
never mind

You call this a revival?
I call it borscht.

[first run in Evergreen Review]

klipschutz is reading on Thursday, March 18 at 7pm, sharp, Randall Museum, 199 Museum Way, San Francisco. Musician Bone Cootes opens the show. Cootes and klipschutz close the show, in collaboration. Directions: www.randallmuseum.org


Cecil
-- by Stephen Dobyns

How calm is the spring evening, and the water
barely a ripple. My son stands at the edge
tossing in pebbles, then jumping back. He knows
that someplace out there lies Europe, and he points
to an island to ask if it is France. Here
on this beach my neighbor died, a foolish man.
He had fought with his daughter, his only child,
about her boyfriend and came here to cool off
when his heart stopped. Another neighbor found him
and thought him asleep, so relaxed did he seem.
He had helped me with my house, gave me advice
on painting, plastering. For this I thank him.
As I worked, we discussed our plans, how he wished
his daughter to go to the best schools, become
a scientist or engineer. I said how
I meant to settle down and make my life here—
My son asks me about the tide, why the water
doesn't keep coming up the street to wipe out
the house where he lives alone with his mother.
Is he scared, should I console him? Should I say
that if I controlled the tide I would destroy
that house for certain? Our plans came to nothing
and now, a year later, I'm just a visitor
in my son's life. We walk down to the water,
pause, and look out at the world. How big is it?
he asks me. Bigger every day, I answer.


The Thrift Shop Dresses
-- by Frannie Lindsay

I slid the white louvers shut so I could stand in your closet
a little while among the throng of flowered dresses
you hadn’t worn in years, and touch the creases
on each of their sleeves that smelled of forgiveness
and even though you’d be alive a few more days
I knew they were ready to let themselves be
packed into liquor store boxes simply
because you had asked that of them,
and dropped at the door of the Salvation Army
without having noticed me
wrapping my arms around so many at once
that one slipped a big padded shoulder off of its hanger
as if to return the embrace.

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