Featured Poet

Collin Kelley

( Atlanta, Georgia )


After adultery

Mother marches down the long driveway,
kicking up dust like the Tasmanian Devil, 
rocks spitting from under her sure steps,
cutting shears carried like a rifle, 
going into battle against monster hedges, 
overgrown sentinels, embarrassments, 
drive by judgments weighing heavily on her 
suddenly empty dance card, she attacks
the first bush with pent up vengeance, 
blades flashing in midday sun, shorn leaves
tornado around her head until she’s swallowed, 
the bush suddenly space alien, 
and I can hear my mother cursing it, 
like Ripley on the Sulaco, egging it on,
calling it a bitch like the roots would answer.

The rash appears that night, covering her 
entire body, no region left untouched 
by bumps and red streaks, she becomes
unhinged, snatching hair, speaking in tongues,
then a snake, naked and striking on bathroom floor,
and we, conscripted caretakers, become
targets for her poison, forked tongue 
blaming as she floats Ophelia-style in the tub, 
water simmering, her eyes fixed and distant, 
as if she has finally found the tesseract, 
the wrinkle in time, folding space behind her 
so we cannot follow, leaving us 
with a crazed shadow, a white devil woman. 

Paris, Texas

Down the line loud and clear, 
snatching your voice out of Texas sky, 
the arid distance between us 

feels complete and final, 
now that I know where you are, 
can pinpoint you on maps 

or the fractured lines of my palm, 
fortune telling our next future, 
the one where we never meet again. 

From Her To Eternity
- for Solveig Dommartin

For seven days I wish you undead.
As long as your name doesn't appear
in the news, the only evidence is this:
a three-line note to tell your final hours, 
last words, how you left this world.

Here’s another beautiful woman dead
in the city of lights, another ghost
to haunt familiar streets, when I cross
Place de la Concord or myself
in St. Sulpice where Jacob wrestles 
with the angel or himself. You did both, 
until January stilled your heart.

For seven days the silent east 
gives me hope, as search engines
yield no results, and I perfect chants,
resist candles, hide matches,
but your face glows in the dark,
head bowed, lips parted, a red siren 
swaying to a discordant Nick Cave beat.

Although we are connected by wires
and words fly through air between
hot boxes, your death comes slowly,
as if you've burned out the circuitry,
refused to be reduced to binary string,
not after those years traveling the earth
in radiant flesh.

Selfishly, I wish I could dance with you 
one last time in your waltz around 
the globe, until we are both out of breath, 
your laughter and curls wild with life.
Swoon. I’ll catch you.

Born to German/French parents in 1961, Solveig Dommartin made her screen debut as lonely trapeze artist Marion in Wim Wenders’ Wings of Desire. She would go on to co-write and star in Wenders’ “ultimate road movie,” Until the End of the World, and reprise her role as Marion in Faraway, So Close! In just three films, she left an indelible mark on cinema with her instinctive acting and natural beauty. From the moment she swung into frame in Wings of Desire, mastering the acrobatics in just eight weeks and doing her own high-flying stunts, she captured global attention and gave an emotional heart to a still divided Berlin. When the Chinese government refused Wenders’ entry to shoot parts of Until the End of the World, Dommartin snuck into the country with a miniature camera and filmed a memorable sequence. Her wild hair, her infectious laugh, a face that expertly displayed joy and sorrow, a fearless dedication to craft – these were her gifts to us. Solveig Dommartin died of heart failure in Paris on January 11, 2007.

Next - Leslie Marcus


Current Issue - Winter 2007