Ilya Kaminsky’s “Search Patrols”

Reading “Search Patrols,” I marvel that so much feeling, so many layers, can exist in so few lines. If you have time, listen to the podcast, which includes discussion of the poem as well as Kaminsky’s dramatic reading.

Politics

snake

Politics

No snakes here,
but a little voice

says the mice
will return,

and which
do you prefer,

the one that
gnaws open

ramen packages
then craps

on your plate
or the one

who takes
its prey

under the house
and swallows

it whole,
leaving

no bones
behind?

dc

“Politics” first appeared here in January 2017.

Forecast

freezing


Forecast

Does the peach
blossom

count its
numbered days

in the lure of false
spring?

Smiling, you admit pleasure
in cruelty,

in assigning lots
to the relief of those

never called,
and those whose answers

remain open,
unfixed.

The freeze is coming,
you say.

Let us pray.

frozen

This first appeared here in January 2017.

Gaza

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Gaza

We presume affliction by census,
whereas light

requires no faith.
Is the roofless house a home? When you call
who answers? The vulture

spreads its wings
but remains on post. Shifting,
I note minute of angle, windage. No

regrets, only tension. Breathe in. Exhale.
Again.

***

“Gaza” first appeared here in July, 2014, and is included in my chapbook, If Your Matter Could Reform.

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Nights at the Magdalene Laundry

cemetery

Nights at the Magdalene Laundry

Waiting, as if it could
be foreseen, as if influence and love
and truth could ease into the conversation,

she pours water into the night’s
mouth. A little longer, says the voice,
and the wind bends the grass,

reaching, without apprehension, a conclusion.

Which is not to claim verity, nor the patience of stone
crumbling along the ledge.

She leaves when nothing remains.

washtub

“Nights at the Magdalene Laundry” first appeared here in January 2016, and was subsequently published in The Basil O’Flaherty, in November 2016.

Forced to Eat Soft Food, I Consider Options

poached2

 

Forced to Eat Soft Food, I Consider Options

What good is pizza to one who can’t eat it? I’m thinking of a rolled crust
stuffed with prosciutto and parmesan, with onion strands and whole

basil leaves nestled among them, accompanied by a frothy pale ale,
bitter yet smooth and tuned so finely as to flit comfortably between the

notes of a liquid arpeggio. Or if not pizza, perhaps a red chili of braised
and shredded beef seasoned with ancho and chipotle and a smidgeon

of chocolate and beer, simmered slowly and served on the year’s
coldest day in front of the fireplace. I have so much and am grateful

for so little. My clothes are warm and dry, and the eggs I’ve poached
offer me sustenance and flavor and textures wrought of memories

of childhood and comfort, family and treasured books at hand. Then
I think of water and protectors, of standing rocks and centuries of

abuse and neglect and lies bred to fill coffers, and I wonder if we
could pile stones ten horses high around the cowards who spray,

bludgeon and strip search, who fire water cannons in sub-freezing
temperatures, and throw concussion grenades directly at pacifists, all

for the cause of holy oil. What good is pizza to those who can’t swallow?
I fork a bite of egg to my mouth, and choke, but only for a moment.

 

pizza

 

Written while recovering from abdominal surgery, this appeared on the blog in December 2016 just a day or two after the first draft spilled out. Unusual for me, to say the least, but it was a topical piece. Let us not forget those who stand for us and others.