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Category: Poetry

October 15th’s Wide Eyes

Six months on brain drain
Have left to find me here: nearly 500 miles and two seasons away.

But still a only weird five feet from your door step.
Especially on fall four-a.ms
I can smell far-away Virginia’s chapped hands, the cool fogs, my sleepy eyes.
I can
Smell the wet slip of tire-pressed leaves- how they churn with your
Mutterings of “goodbyeiloveyou”, and my worry
over those words at gas stations 45 minutes from work
when I am already late.

There is a sallow change, a sick twinge
In my favorite season. This day I find myself listening to the politics
of a lost boyish lover at four a.m.
Cautious, I avoid his affectionate sleep-slung hands and elbows, recalling
for a moment, how, the equinox-one year rewound–
I gave work-morning “goodbyes” to you.

-A very rough draft from Amanda-Gaye

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Notes from a Love Letter

Art credit to John E Lee

The sense of storm has sent critters and beasts into hiding, yet one white-chested swallow with bright blue plumage stands perched on a nearby oak tree to witness the serenity of these abandoned lands, as if gasping one last time for kin [long gone]. He sings short, high-pitched cries into the roaring abyss of winds. Despite his cognizance of coming terror, he exudes an air of confidence. A swelling gust breaks through the trees, drowns his fleeting chirps. They never stood a chance. Fighting to straighten his feathers for flight, he twitches his wings and tail, but in vain. He is swept from his perch, from my sight.

Into my lands nature’s breath sweeps both shrub and trash alike. For existence beyond humanity all things are natural. Neighbors, houses away, exchange shouted words of uncertainty, walking into the security of their homes. I close my eyes and imagine how my new friend is getting on. Sharp pricks of rain strike my brow, sink through pores. My mind opens to the ensemble of life taking place all around me. Above the resounding baritone of muffled shouts and the starting of a car engine, nature’s falsetto emerges. The shrill of the wind cuts through over-story leaves.

I was not aware of it until now, but I am sitting in the concert hall of gods. Sometime ago, I lay in a garden with a woman who exposed through her words and actions the beautiful unshakability and self-existing dignity of the fearless human spirit. How much I long for her now. How much unease has seeped into my mind in these uncertain times. In this storm-induced state of sensual self-consciousness emotions of heart and thoughts of mind unite around a single truth: the life most beautiful is that led fearlessly through storm with the humility and fortitude of the swallow.

-B. R.

An Excerpt from a Poem

There are few who know or will tell you the location
of the submerged crucifix

beneath Little Traverse Bay

Christ sank
four fathoms deep in 1962
beneath the ice and stone
laid to rest alongside my future
penchant for exquisite corpses
bent towards the final crossing

I make the annual pilgrimage
across ice mid-winter determined

pay respects to Mother’s water-perished
son, utter no transparent words of prayer

I’m drowning under the weight

We are taught to toss Petoskey stones to the cross
light the wayward path

I cast mine, instead
to the November Witch
like bread upon the waters
for with townsfolk’s lips sealed
tenacious to the very last

how can the supplicant father, son, holy ghost
sacred marble relic so well-hidden

—in essence a heavy
lifeless thing

deliver the disembodied from oblivion?

For more information about the Petoskey, MI crucifix, please visit: http://michpics.wordpress.com/2009/02/23/petoskey-underwater-crucifix/

New Poetry Contribution from Christine Robinson!

I’ve Been Thinking About Cycles

There’s this tree out back with vine couplets
twisting into each other like paper streamers

thick as elephant trunks at the base, gripping
in a deadly vice. In the garden shed a galaxy

of spiders lives in the rotten wood of its walls.
Step into the side yard, where the grass is sickly

blanched but the pine still drips sap in thin,
gelatin icicles from its amputated limbs.

In the kitchen, the Venus flytrap shrinks
and blackens, ignored by the fruit flies

who’ve been lusting for my countertop potatoes. On the porch
my sunflowers’ roots say they don’t want their water,

sink their heads from the sun.  Beside them sits a canvas
smeared yellow. Wide, wet, half-painted.

Tiffany Brown

Poetry

Flight #405

I’ve gathered all belongings,
Suitcases full of shit.
Duffle bags of ex sweaters,
Hatboxes tied in blue ribbon,
Rolling trunks and knapsacks filled with sand.
Tattered garment bags containing
Costumes for women I’d never become.
Shoeboxes and bad checks stuffed to the bottom
Of a passed over purse.
Ditch it all, left for someone else to claim.
Call the coat check for me,
and for you,
but mostly for us.
No one needs this much baggage anyway.

Essay

Wades Supermarket and Produce

(June 1991)

I was at the store on the corner of Brambleton and Colonial last night. Olivia asked me to pick up milk for our morning coffee, and although it’s in my old neighborhood, no longer a convenient store, it’s also the only one that carries the mildly pretentious and highly overpriced brand that we like. So I submerged into the florescent lights, screaming children sounds and morose adolescent staff stealing from the register, your typical postmodern American nightmare. I hate this place, with their angsty teenage cashiers. We could relate to their sentiment but never their circumstance; privilege can never be objective.

The aisles are freezing; I can’t catch my breath through the light fabric of my dress. Olivia hates the cold; you always wore layers and layers and layers. Lost in thought, shuffling through rows with no direction but inherent intention, I saw it.  A glass jar of store brand strawberry jam, sitting in the middle of a selection of parts: frozen meat slabs, animal bones and frosted dairy. Someone must have discarded the jar as an afterthought in route to the register for a night-shifter to reshelve.

“Nothing and no one likes to be isolated from their kind”, you’d say while returning whatever box or bag that was out of place. “It’s too reminiscent of the human condition. You and I, the cereal and the sodas, are all alone and it’s a miserable existence”.  Our late night adventures always ended here, looking for an antidote to the quickly encroaching light. Every time you’d tell me, every time you’d pick up that fucking jar and put it back where it belonged.

I don’t belong here. This is not the place for me; strawberry jam in a sea of milk cartons.

Laughter bubbles over at this absurdity, and I leave, milk in hand and wallet in purse. Stores in the South don’t have censors on the doors like they do in the city, I see the irony.  Doors slide open and rain starts trickling as the skies open with the inevitable clap of thunder. Summer storms are always different, in theory, but memory makes these facts minuscule. Dropping the weight of my bag as the raindrops started, slow patterns that gain steadily into a cacophony of noise, a real mess. I began to spin in the miss, so foreign from last summer’s insistent drought. Droplets poured down and I spun around and around, a whirl of color and flying hair like on the rusted playground carousels that we would seek out in the dark. Lifted up by lightening, soaked cotton dress cloud, I am free now.

Slow down, catch breath, gather things, turn key, and I’ll be home. And I’m still free.

A quote from John Kinsella

“The house is a body.  Sheltering inside our flesh.  We inscribe it with our sicknesses and passion and despairs.  The poem is a body.  The reader might make it a Deleuze and Guattarian body without organs.  Filling it, giving it functionality.  The book is a machine.  It processes, digests, and manufactures presentations.  A curatorial machine.  It is the end-stopping of data.  Enjambment dies in the book.”

-John Kinsella (Disclosed Poetics)

An Excerpt from my Thesis

The Quietus Paradigm (Click on the link to view)