August 12, 2011

well the week is to short
but the days are so long
livin' with sick people
makes me feel so strong

Marti Peterson, untitled

-- by Mark Halliday

The very fact that her skirt swirls
bespeaks something that compels my interest
as if not because the skirt covers her ass and thighs
as if I mean not only because given a chance I’d want
very very much probably to help her take the skirt off
in a fantasy bedroom, but for some more lovely reason
more lovely I mean because more mysterious
when she swirls my head turns on my not-merely-biological neck
to follow the play of shadow in those folds of cloth–

in the swirling there is some meaning that draws me
without specific reference I’m saying to her vagina
somewhere beneath the skirt and what my penis might get to do;

it’s about a flowing quality in life I’m serious
about something flowing like light among branches
on a windy day, the truth or a truth of how
the beauty of our life is like a winding river
under rapid shifting clouds and how the river is change
and change is possibility and our infinity of possibility is
what makes us not just banal dogs wagged by our tails.
There across the crowded room she turns and turns,
her hair swings, her skirt swirls, she doesn’t know
I’m standing here with these deep insights into everything
but if I write it all down with a lovely
swirling of its own she might read it and see
that if I stare at her it is not just the usual but
because I am interesting here alone at the edge of the dance.

When I Was a Jersey Girl
--by Maureen Seaton

When I was a Jersey girl I hid
my Jersey ways. Predictable as milk, I
paled predictably when New Yorkers said:

Jersey? and they were right. They despised
my yellow Jersey plates, my Garden State
cockeyed, solipsistic, anesthetized

take on pig farming in that isolate,
Secaucus, my bowling with extended
family at the Elizabeth Lanes—

Pizza, Rheingold, Lucky Strikes. Uncle Ed
disappeared for years in his Acme
apron with the chop-meat stains. I bled

red clay. Mosquitoes binged around me
like bulimic fiddles. At night they popped
through bedroom-window screens, small Harry

Houdinis, spiraling for my sopping
hairline, my ears and eyes, tiny vampires
of shrinking shoreline, stinking sucking swamp.

I tunneled and bridged myself away, tired
of Mammoth and Union, crewcutted, baffled
boys in a state without a real team. My

accent grew anonymous, stifled.
My cosmopolitan tongue swelled. I lied:
Born, not raised. I said: water, wash, castle

inconspicuously, as if I
were a famous radio announcer paid
to sound generically benign as pie.


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