October 13, 2010

When I stand, my back to the sea
A big white cloud, looking right down on me
Sound of sun, missing my eyes
Everything's clear, everything's bright

Jane Tam, untitled, 2007

Bionic Hearing
-- by Deborah Ager

I hear your voice in Hyderabad.
I hear particles shift in a butterfly’s wake;
the particles change to dirt clouds
that gather more particles and turn to storms
that turn to a microburst that splits your shed,
so you search the streets for your gardening tools.
I hear the lightning before it hops through
a window, and I hear you want to leave me
and I hear the sirens come for my neighbor
and I hear morose notes through a composer’s window
until they’re downed by a screaming train.
I hear the holy bells of St. Andrews calling for services.
The tolling wakes the dead, and I hear the dead
complain it’s too hot and I stuff earplugs into my ears
and I hear how much noise my body makes,
vibrating against my bones. I hear when no one speaks.

Common Ground
-- by Paul J. Willis

Today I dug an orange tree out of the damp, black earth.
My grandfather bought a grove near Anaheim
at just my age. Like me, he didn't know much.
"How'd you learn to grow oranges, Bill?"
friends said. "Well," he said, "I look at what

my neighbor does, and I just do the opposite."
Up in Oregon, he and his brother discovered
the Williamette River. They were both asleep
on the front of the wagon, the horses stopped,
his brother woke up. "Will," he said, "am it a river?"

My grandfather, he cooked for the army during the war,
the first one. He flipped the pancakes up the chimney,
they came right back through the window onto the griddle.
In the Depression he worked in a laundry during the night,
struck it rich in pocketknives. My grandfather,

he liked to smoke in his orange grove, as far away on the property
as he could get from my grandmother,
who didn't approve of life in general, him in particular.
Smoking gave him something to feel disapproved for,
set the world back to rights. Like everyone else,

my grandfather sold his grove to make room
for Disneyland. He laughed all the way to the bank,
bought in town, lived to see his grandsons born
and died of cancer before anyone wanted him to, absent
now in the rootless presence of damp, black earth.

For Sylvia and for cheeseburgers
-- Ted Theodore Hughes

When I heard you killed your-
Self, my first thought was

I gotta burn those journals
of hers! They make me look

Like a fucking creep! And then
I got a cheeseburger! Yum.

Sylvia, you will always be a
Better poet than me, and I'll

Always vaguely cash in on the
Fame of your suicide. But

Not you're dead. So you'll never
Get to be Poet Laureate.

Which is too bad because you
Would have been a hot one.

I am going to cheat on
My new wife now. And write

Fox poems for the next 50 years.
Have you seen my brown shoes?

I guess I will never find them now.


Blogger Marc van der Holst said...


5:54 AM  

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