Volume 58 (2013)

2013coverforwebsiteVolume 58, 2013  Selected Poets and Poems

David Keller – After More than a Month*
David Crews – I was Light Enough to Toss Myself Around the Room*
Irene Willis – Reminder*
Therése Halscheid – Land of No Time
Carolina Morales – Translation
Frederick Lowe – from Fever Outtakes*
Elizabeth Danson – Rampancy*
Ken Griggs – Cryophobia


Please see our Poets tab for home pages of poets, where available.

quill_smallAfter More than a Month by David Keller

of despair, when another cigarette
seemed all that could save me,
that month ago when I turned seventy,
and the great god of lyric broke
poems in his soup like crackers,
I wanted to write a love poem
to life itself. It’s still never easy,
even after years sitting in the sunlight,
the delicacy of the feathery asparagus fronds

or the bad thoughts like criminals
after dark on the streets,
and the tricks the old masters
knew so well they just fell out onto the page
or tiny brown dogs were all gone.
‘I am dying, Egypt, dying; Saudi Arabia, too,
if only I could remember where that was.’
“In his soup,” said a voice, “like crackers.”

quill_smallI was Light Enough to Toss Myself Around the Room by David Crews

That was the year my father had his attack
and the magnolia blooms snapped
off from that quick frost in just one night
and that student of mine
how her mother left so suddenly, so
much on her own, how I wonder
did she kill herself? After you left
I picked up the guitar again, remembered
what it was like to sing throughout
the house, even my cracked voice, and it was
nice for a time how the quiet descended
upon everything, like the flower pots
and the end tables and the mantle
the dust so thick a finger made
a brushstroke and I put down some great
works—a Matisse in the living room,
Pearblossom Highway on the mirror
of our bathroom—oh to brush my teeth
in the freedom of blue sky felt like
years ago with our visions of driving away
car packed so full Murphy could only
ball near the window and we didn’t
know where we were going and that
was alright, because the car somehow felt
safe on the open road. I can breathe that air
filling the windows like a picture
and I want to paint it
again, only this time with a few clouds
those huge cumulous clouds gliding
across the sky like that time you
said look at those clouds
gliding across the sky.

quill_smallReminder by Irene Willis

When I say guess what happened—
my usual way of starting a story—
I see a look of alarm in his eyes
replacing the sweet smile with which
he starts the iambic of our days—
our remaining days, which of course
everyone has—all that remains
is all we have—but when I say this
and know he still loves, it’s as good
as the afternoon I came home earlier
than expected and said to this man
who can no longer walk with ease
and who spends his days in a chair
with his feet uplifted, when I said,
as a joke, I half-expected to find you
jumping and dancing, he said,
not smiling, that’s exactly how
I see myself in dreams.

quill_smallLand of No Time by Therése Halscheid

the northern interior, Alaska

In a place of always light or always dark, in the arctic north,
there are no required hours, no hurry for the future
and little thought of the past

the present is one continuing moment
the body moves to natural rhythms, is fluid with seasons,
living the way a river does

how it carries whatever it’s given,
returns to land what it was tossed

think of it this way, choosing when to wake, when to sleep,
think of the summer when the sun is constant
all during the summer, when day ends
the light does not

and it is like that,
living without the clock

you cannot schedule this part of the earth
there is no passage of time only change
in the coming and going of moon, in the wind that blows freely
from the cold outer edge
of the world.

quill_smallTranslation by Carolina Morales

Even between speakers
who share the same tongue,

so much is misinterpretation—
warnings taken as threats,

threats taken for jokes,
jokes taken with offense,

our intentions held hostage,
gagged & bound, battered,

bruised beyond recognition.
It’s been said that during

a war, a bomb was dropped
on foreign soil when one

word of a wired response
was misunderstood.

As I sit at my kitchen table,
the language of your letters

spread before me on marked
pages, ink leaks onto my hand,

the pen trembles.

quill_small from Fever Outtakes by Frederick Lowe

When the boy floated out,
He could see how things
did and didn’t matter.
He saw how the winter stars
that clustered in the cherry tree’s
glistening bare branches
were the same as blossoms;
how far is the same as near;
how short is as good as long, and
how everything familiar is strange
and not at all as he thought it was;
how the whole of it—
the river, the tree, all the trees,
the village and the wide, wide sky
could squeeze into a small boy’s head
and sing the same song inside as out
and none of it be a song at all.

quill_smallRampancy by Elizabeth Danson

Clipping, hacking at vines, letting in the light
is the work of late spring in the garden, in addition
to all the planting, shifting, plotting and planning.
All that succulence, leaving hands green, mud
under the nails. There’s still time to dream
of the high-summer display, blossoms, berries,
vegetables nearing harvest. But now it’s time
for pruners, loppers, secateurs for the roses—
dead-heading them and bringing the choice ones in
when rainstorms threaten. No sign yet of aphids,
Japanese beetles, rose thrips or black spot.
Adam and Eve held unblemished innocence
for a while, but when they needed lush foliage
to hide behind, it was there in the rampant garden.

quill_smallCryophobia by Ken Griggs

Stealth was required
approaching the Frigidaire.
For my grandmother,
nothing held more raw killing power
than a cold drink from the fridge.
“Don’t drink dat cold-cold like dat, you!”
(Quebecois comparatives: cold, more cold, cold-cold)
The consequences were numerous:
“You’ll give yourself a headache,”
“You’ll get cramps,”
“You’ll freeze your heart, you!”

Ice cream was torture by waiting.
“It came from the icebox!”
the sound and feel of a
fifties horror movie
about coffee ice cream
sitting on the counter until finally,
“the chill is off.”
“But it’s ice cream!” I said.
She wasn’t listening.

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