( Bloomington, Indiana )
Gary J. Whitehead, Two PoemsHow to Tell the Children
A thousand kites ignite the sky,
polychromatic flames licking
at their tight strings which snap
and float, webbing the air.
Eating the wind for fuel
they flare higher still,
kaleidoscopic even against the sun.
All day and into the night
they turn, they dance, not at the end
of hand-held commands
but freely of their own delight.
By morning, their joy burnt
to a gray rag of smoke, they drift,
not eating but eaten by the wind,
while below, the town is dumb
to tell the children how or why
or what it was that broke.
Grady was out taking pictures on a crisp December morning, all around him the friendly shadows of pine and sycamore, dark chunks of summer garden sequined with frost, when a balloon appeared on the horizon drifting his way, the sound of hot air growing louder as the balloon grew larger until low overhead the pilot said Good morning, and Grady, recognizing the voice, said Good morning, is that you Fred? And Fred said Yes, is that you Grady? And Grady said Yes and snapped a few as Fred sailed right on by, brushing treetops, just missing telephone lines.
Grady ran back to tell his wife and kids who were already shivering at the back door, watching Fred disappear without knowing it was Fred until Grady told them so, all of them shading their eyes and staring up, Grady wondering if he should call it a day since it probably wouldn't get much better than this, not yet ten a.m. and Fred's latent image hanging out of a basket under an orange balloon no more than a hundred feet above Grady's waving, dancing self.
Winter: Rockport, Indiana
makes a meadow
of the bare land.
If you listen
you can hear the wind
tell the cattle
when to stir, or
if you've a mind,
feel it fingering
the air for skin
under hair and fur.
( Warwick, New York )
April Greene, Two PoemsThe Freeze
Now we are all dressed. Even the trees,
gloved in fragile, see-through sleeves,
wear something. A rock-dove startles
a limb to chimes, scans the park’s hills,
the old prose of skis, for any news of food.
After debility, there comes an interlude,
and so, for a moment at least, no cab’s
horn intrudes, no human engine blabs
its unbeseeming idiom. But even in Eden,
a storm like this having frozen over everything,
Adam still would have chiseled out of paradise
to go find his shame trapped within the ice.
The InfidelA lung, he breathes with wood and arm a dark so dark it breaks the moon and summons up the loon’s uncommon laughter. Backward and backward, and down until there’s no need to go by sight, though mountains loom and what waits beyond might shatter, he rows into her and out of her. He knows about water, blood, keel and hull, the buoyancy of push and pull, and that there’s nothing more than this. The body loves itself for what it is.
( Boston, Massachusetts )
Philip AveryIn Love, Kicking Acorns
I nail it I send the thing soaring I can feel the hollow reverb in my plastic shoe, on the sole of my foot Usually they make it a few sidewalk squares But today I peg one And it flies for a fucking block.
"America, let me roam over you"
America, let me roam over you, carefully and with hunger.
Let me roam over you, filling my heart with your own solid rhythm,
singing your song mixed with my own.
I love the Rocky Mountains and the beaches in New Hampshire and I love
Puerto Rico and Dallas, Texas and the Waffle Houses and construction noises
and the carcasses of truckers' retreads on the side of the highway.
I love Texacos and Pizza Huts and the suburbs of Denver in the same
open-mouthed kiss as I love the arch in St. Louis and the lakes in Virginia.
Give it to me — or more — let me give myself to it — to you, America.
Let me travel your black interstates and blue bayous, eat at your Krystals
and feed your red, stinging ants.
Let me drive slowly alongside your tree farms, walk cautiously on your pine
needles, take respite on your covered bridges, and sleep in your Motel 8s,
blanketed by your neon.
Let me take the joys and sorrows, the routines and surprises, the rhythms
and cycles of your cities and towns — let me fill my heart with their
Pack my heart again with the light of Taos luminaries and wet adobe.
Pack my heart again with the swamps along Florida's highways and the prickly
ends of its shaggy palms.
Pack my heart hard with the scrub pit of the Grand Canyon and the squeaky
glass of Chicago's skyscrapers.
Wrap me in your blue sky, a papoose.
Lay me on your flood plains, a dry table.
Feed me with your native peaches, cranberries, Rocky Ford melons—
I put my arm out to the highway.
I stretch my muscle to the highway,
My blue vein its double yellow's brother, my taut skin its rolled-thin tar.
My body spans the width of one and one half lanes in some states,
Three quarters of one in others,
Two whole in Christiana-Fosterville, Tennessee.
My eyes mirror the midwestern sky.
My toes flex up to the horizon of the corn.
My back in the dirt where my father was born.
America's darkest soil.
America's richest black soil.
America's most precious earth.
America, let me roam over you, filling my heart with your own solid rhythm,
singing your song mixed with my own.
( Mansfield, Ohio )
The Rose of Whispered Rain
Trombones skim crust from my ears
while Tom Waits chokes corner music somewhere
miles away from these mud-brick homes
I'm tired of samples, tired of straw
Saint Someone's Church on Baker Street
plays with an older sister's hair where
Sunday comes every few minutes
Think I'll learn to scream
Down River Bottom Drive Lester
tells a story without any names
blind and stoned on jug whiskey
Tired of whispering
Beside the Dairy Queen Sandy
lets a homemade dress slip
a Spanish Jesus under her bra
I'm wondering about That god
There's a special down at Minnie's
Drink and Dance Hall where
a three finger minimum says it all
I'm trying to understand, trying to stand
Slumped by the light of a train
passing shapes of urban tomorrow
a father washes his hands red
I've always known how to run
Singapore, Brazil, or Austria,
maybe Cuban tobacco shores
could take this ring
I'm tired of worthy things, tired of being sane
Clapped to the side of
a runaway boxer's dream
a smile blooms
Think I'll walk in the rain
I - Like Wind From Our Aching
II - The Frame Of Reckoning
III - American Hunger
Featured Poet - Ruth Daigon
Winter 2001 Issue