Calm

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Calm (after H.D.)

I flow over the ground,
healing its hidden scar–
the scar is black,
the bedrock risen,
not one stone is misplaced.

I relieve the ground’s
burden with white froth,
I fill and comply—
I have thrown a pebble
into the night,
it returns to me,
settles and rises,
a white dove.

* * *

“Calm” is included in my micro-chapbook Only This, which is available via free download from Origami Poems Project. It made its first appearance here on the blog in March 2015, and was written as an exercise, using a poem, “Storm,” by H.D. as the launching point. I’ve tried to emulate her diction and rhythm, with mixed success. Still, it’s fun to try these on occasion.

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Autumn Winds (after Li Po)

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Autumn Winds (after Li Po)

Clear autumn winds swirl
below the moon’s glow,
scattering the gathered leaves.
The startled crows return.
When will we see each other again?
This hour, this lonely night, my feelings grow brittle.

The transliteration on Chinese-poems.com reads:

Autumn wind clear
Autumn moon bright
Fall leaves gather and scatter
Jackdaw perch again startle
Each think each see know what day
This hour this night hard be feeling

* * *

“Autumn Winds” last appeared here in May, 2016. I started the adaptation in the heart of summer, hoping that it would offer a respite from the unrelenting Texas heat…

Bird Fall MGD©

Journal Publications (September – November 2017)

Links to my publications for September – November 2017:

This Island is a Stone, Mockingheart Review, September, 2017.

That Number Upon Which the Demand Lieth. Posit, September, 2017.

Pleasure in Absence of Ending (Enso). Posit, September, 2017.

At Work I Stand Observing My Diminished Self. Posit, September, 2017.

N is Its Child. Reservoir, October 2017.

Better Than Drowning. Underfoot, October, 2017.

Ghost, with a Line from Porchia. Underfoot, October, 2017.

Elegy. Underfoot, October, 2017.

Some Answers You Never Considered. Underfoot, October, 2017.

As Blue Fades. Underfoot, October, 2017.

River Carry Me. Underfoot, October, 2017.

The Three Disappointments of Pedro Arturo, Main Street Rag, October 2017. Print only.

Snails.Vox Populi, October 2017.

Letter to Schwaner from the Toad-Swallowed Moon, Hamilton Stone Review, October 2017.

Yellow, Lost. Wildness, October 2017.

Happy Circuitry.Figroot Press, October 2017.

If You Drop Leaves. Bad Pony, November 2017.

Palinode (translation, passway, glass)

window

Palinode (translation, passway, glass)


(translation)

What falters in translation? The dove’s silhouette resides
on the window three months after the sudden refusal. I
observe wingprints, the skull’s curve, a history of assumptions
angled in the moment of impact. And after, residue. Light’s
incident rests. One body whispers another’s shape and the
next rumbles through the narrowing passway. Traitorous,
I call it fact. I name it truth, and naming it, reverse the coat.

(passway)

I name it truth, but considered denial, root of the renegade’s
term. I have a bird to whistle and I have a bird to sing. Misperception
in flight. Betrayal’s gate, unhinged. What comes next? Sunlight
slants through the window each morning, and departs, bending
in reversal. Stones all in my pass. Dark roads. Another naming,
another transition. Trials waged in the grammar of refraction.
The deflected word.

(glass)

The deflected word reciprocates and the sky opens, outlining
its missing form. I have pains in my heart, they have taken my
appetite.
Derived from wind, from eye, from hole. Once through,
what then? Mention archetype, and my world dims. Mention
windows, and I see processions and enemies lined along the way.
Boys, please don’t block my road. We select certain paths, others
choose us. Wingprints on glass.

* * *

Notes: italicized selections are from Robert Johnson’s “Stones in My Passway.”

This piece first appeared, in slightly different form, in ditch, in January 2014, and last appeared here in July 2016.

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Snails

Snails

How convenient to carry a home on one’s back, I
think, disregarding heft and plumbing and the shape
of rooms too hollow to feel. Yesterday a box of African
chapbooks migrated to my doorstep, and I plucked
yellowing leaves from the tomato plant by the poetry
shack. Marine snails constitute the majority of snail
species, but we count first what we can see. Everything
turns–the days buzz by like male blackchins swooping
through their pendulum air-dance, and I tally my
diminishing hours from the safety of these walls.
Heliciculture is another word for snail farming, but
reminds me of stars spiraling wildly above my roof
each night, spewing poetic fire throughout the cosmos.
The neighbor mows her lawn and I observe the wind
stepping from treetop to treetop, another sign of the
earth’s continued rotation. Their slime permeates human
cosmetics to minimize premature skin aging, and was
once used medicinally to soothe coughs (I write this
as mucus slides down my throat, a response of the
lung’s filtration system to histamines). There is much
to consider about the intricacies of harvesting slime.
Most snail species consume plants, but a few are
predatory carnivores, which leads to questions
about their prey. Cooked in butter with garlic, served
with a dry white? I spear one, contemplate texture
and move on to the next, leaving behind no visible trail.

* * *

My poem “Snails” was published on Vox Populi  in October 2017. Many thanks to founder and editor Michael Simms for giving this poem a home.

Danez Smith Reading “Say It with Your Whole Black Mouth”

This poem makes me despair that other human beings have to write poems such as this.

This poem makes me despair that I’ll never write anything so true.

Read the poem. Listen to the recording. Celebrate Danez Smith and his words.

https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/say-it-your-whole-black-mouth-0

 

Edward Hirsch’s How to Read a Poem and Fall in Love with Poetry

In a nod to National Poetry Month, the Poetry Foundation has posted the first chapter of Edward Hirsch’s superb How to Read a Poem and Fall in Love with Poetry. One of my favorite all-time reads. If you haven’t read this book, dip into the first chapter now.