As Is – James Galvin

When she sleeps
She must be in Senegal somewhere.
The tide goes out from every shore
In the world,
And in the middle of the sea Continue reading

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Enough – Katie Peterson

So many forget-me-nots, with their white centers,
scattered, you’d say, if there weren’t
so many everywhere, as many as the stars
last night in between the branches
above the porch, behind the house.
Was it an argument or were there just
things they had to say?
I could have faith in so many creatures—
the old setter from the neighbor yard
who follows me around the corner
and no longer, the chick with its new beak
just past breakable whose lighter top feathers
have a bit of flight, any mother bear—
you say things and the next day
it’s like they don’t matter, we want our faces
to alter though we don’t want to get older, neither
do we want to get younger, repetition
with less knowledge is ridiculous,
just ask the Greeks, you get to keep
being a tree but without the branch
that showed the sky your starlike shape?
I don’t think so. Steadiness can be useful,
but my loyalty loves a form
that will follow me through changes.
At a diagonal the dark woods
on the back slope have enough space
to walk between, not enough to hide.
He looks into them
and writes notes to his mother, she
looks into them and finds alignment,
or looks for what she wants.
She has a human skeleton on her desk.
He has a protractor. I had wishes
for both of them yesterday
but the weather has become so kindly,
so temperate, I forget what blessings
they don’t think they have.

This came through Poets.org the other day and it made me pause. There’s something here so lovely- the line that mentions the mother bear, the last clause. 

Weeds – Nathaniel Perry

I told you I was worried. Water
had collected up against the foundation
from the rain we had, and you must have thought
I was talking about our foundation,

though I meant, of course, the one beneath
the house. But it was too late, your mood
had changed and then my mood was changed,
and we charged around the house mooding

and changing. I siphoned the water
away from the house, which took a while,
which was probably good. You made dinner,
which was good, and also took a while.

As we ate, the sun drew familiar
shapes on our walls, but we didn’t notice.
And then the light slipped down and made
a bright new shape, but we didn’t notice.

Well, lovelies, it has been a while! I didn’t realize it had been so long since I’d thrown anything up here.

If you’ve been reading for a while, you know how obsessed I am with Nathaniel Perry (his brother, Drew, is also an incredible writer; it must run in the family). N. Perry’s whole book is beautiful, but I’ve been particularly drawn to this one lately. I love how real this is. I can very easily believe that quarrels between lovers start out this way, some misunderstanding both parties let blow out of proportion. Fault on both sides, silent brooding and mooding and charging (also, I just can’t get enough of that phrase, “and we charged around the house mooding / and changing.”). So I love this.

If you’re interested in reading more by him, check out Green Manures and Cover Crops; In Bloom, Where the Meadow Rises; Remaking a Neglected Orchard; and my ties for all-time favorite, Tried and True Ways to Fail and Grafting Fruit Trees.

Cheers!

Eight-Ball

My father taught me how to level
a pool cue across the bridge of my hand
on the table. He’d take me
to the kinds of bars open in daytime,
lit by dim fluorescents in the ceiling
and neon beer signs hanging
over faded green felt.

I would pour my own tall glass
from the tea pitcher on the wait table
while he placed the balls in their rack:
yellow ‘1’ at the head, black ‘8’ in the center,
a stripe-solid-stripe pattern resting
inside the white plastic triangle.
When he finished, he would knock
its three corners with the cue ball;
say it kept them all together.

I learned to recognize the clack
a pool cue makes against the ball when it needs
chalk; the feel of testing a shot before swinging
even, my arm a pendulum; and the number of scratches
against the lock his key would make
before I could offer to fit it in, turn the knob.

I’m excited to show off the final version of this poem, and to announce that it is doing well out in the world! It will be published in Issue 65 of Colonnades, Elon’s very own literary and art journal, which will be revealed on April 29. It’s also a finalist for the 2014 NC State Poetry Contest and an Honorable Mention for the Anthony Abbott Award.

On a personal note, it’s also probably the poem I’m the proudest of at the moment, so I’m thrilled it’s found a home in print and in these contests.

Rest. – Richard Jones

It’s so late I could cut my lights
and drive the next fifty miles
of empty interstate
by starlight,
flying along in a dream,
countryside alive with shapes and shadows,
but exit ramps lined
with eighteen wheelers
and truckers sleeping in their cabs
make me consider pulling into a rest stop
and closing my eyes. I’ve done it before,
parking next to a family sleeping in a Chevy,
mom and dad up front, three kids in the back,
the windows slightly misted by the sleepers’ breath.
But instead of resting, I’d smoke a cigarette,
play the radio low, and keep watch over
the wayfarers in the car next to me,
a strange paternal concern
and compassion for their well being
rising up inside me.
This was before
I had children of my own,
and had felt the sharp edge of love
and anxiety whenever I tiptoed
into darkened rooms of sleep
to study the small, peaceful faces
of my beloved darlings. Now,
the fatherly feelings are so strong
the snoring truckers are lucky
I’m not standing on the running board,
tapping on the window,
asking, Is everything okay?
But it is. Everything’s fine.
The trucks are all together, sleeping
on the gravel shoulders of exit ramps,
and the crowded rest stop I’m driving by
is a perfect oasis in the moonlight.
The way I see it, I’ve got a second wind
and on the radio an all-night country station.
Nothing for me to do on this road
but drive and give thanks:
I’ll be home by dawn.

Need to read and write again.

The Things We Can’t Throw Away

At first we thought it was a bird erupting
from the chimney, scattering ash and soot
over our new-used sofa, down the hall.
Two black wing-beats marked the door’s molding
before it flew into the room full with unused furniture,
boxes waiting for unpacking. My mother
chased it with a broom, swinging the frayed straw end
and murmuring, you poor dear, you poor thing.

I was standing in the doorframe, my head barely to the knob
when the force of her swing grazed my shoulder. She abandoned her broom
and told me to sit very still on the stairs, watch the threshold
while she found a rag – the better, she said, to catch and release
our winged intruder. When she went into the room she closed the door.
Emerging minutes later, triumphant, she clasped the keening black
thing in a worn yellow towel. I undid the latch on the screen door.

Flinging the bat to the sky, she explained
how in that room she’d turned
the lights off, the blinds down; how her hands spread
under the cloth; how she waited
among the stacked shadows of cardboard marked,
in my father’s hand, Kitchenware and Things Rita says
I can’t throw away, until the creature calmed
its circling the ceiling, settled on a dresser.
Before each step she took to close the space between them
she paused, waited, at last reaching out and covering its wings.

Good news from the poetry world! This poem of mine has been chosen as a finalist in Hollins’ Annual Literary Festival! Yay! I’ve also got a poem (not sure which) in the final round of NSCU’s 2014 Poetry Contest, which is very very exciting as I will be attending their MFA program in the fall. But I’ll post that one when I know.

ALSO, I’m off to London tonight!