Saturday, April 11, 2009
THE FACEBOOK GROUP "RAVENSWOOD BOOKS!"
OPEN POETRY UN SLAM BEGINS!
Our National Poetry Month un slam begins!
Here are the first five poems from group members,
friends, and others who happened to be watching us.
There will be at least two more postings using the
remaining ten or eleven submissions now in.
You're all welcome to send more. Thanks for
playing along and having fun with this project.
The darkest time
is when the frogs sing
in the mucky marsh
scaring the lights
right out of our heads
HOW I BECAME THE GREATEST POET IN THE WORLD
HOW I BECAME RULER OF THE WORLD
It was easy.
--unfinished poem by Mark Strand
It was easy,
the goose in the bottle.
Easier than to justify,
or I would have done it sooner.
It was only to get girls,
and afterwards I discovered
old lovers kill themselves
more often than old virgins,
so I chose a reductive innocence,
crusty in my intactness.
I withdrew to commence
a series of lawsuits
against certain publications
which had, at one time,
or more than once,
rejected my work.
They all wanted it now,
that same stepchild opus.
And why were those editors
who made such a point‑‑
elaborate enclosure letters
do not impress us;
the poem must stand
on its own merits‑‑
suddenly writing me?
I knew what they didn't:
old words fare worse
than old celibates: their juices
bubble and ooze
till their pores are glazed;
in their own secretions.
The red splintered door, shade
of chokecherry, splits
the house into spheres.
You lie naked, less than sparrow, less
than cottonwood, and eye
a flickering moth. Outside, snow
strikes black limbs of oak; the sway
of branches twist eastward. Does it matter,
in this one season, who passes
or why. The steady hooves of a slow horse fill the arroyo
along with the sound of a slipping pack,
a few breathy groans. A sharpened
axe and stacked cordwood remain
neatly dry in all this falling. The rock salt
scattered over gravel beside the shed slops
the ground into a sheen. You draw a breath, a bath
and remember the dog tags in the desk drawer;
remember your body is somewhere
first published in New Delta Review
devoured like a pomegranate
each plump seed plucked
pulp sucked, purple spit
dribbling from the mouth
it’s in your teeth
I see it in your teeth
I fear I have misplaced myself
for good this time. The She I was
has not been found curled sleeping at her mother’s
feet, nor stuck inside the white-brick schoolhouse where
I’d guessed we might have parted ways. I retraced
rutted paths and couldn’t find
my self of breadcrumbs dropped between
the years. When last I caught a foolish melancholy
crinkled near the corner of an eye
it wasn’t here in mine. I checked at each time crossroads,
and may have been found once
(or many summer onces)
at my small sister’s shoulder, mired in the sticky street
where crushed and sour, mulberry blood splashed up
our heels like bruises. But I am nowhere fast—
“to lose oneself” a warning after all and not advice
for girls who think they’re young, or pretend sometimes to be.
It’s more a matter now of finding
not where I was but why I’ve been delayed
and with whom I have stopped along the way.