Ju1 '02 [Home]
Cinderella ~ James Doyle
his red shoes mambo ~ Brenda Morisse
Gopaul's Luck ~ Mervyn Taylor
American Still Life ~ Patty Gordon
Oceans Apart ~ T.J. Desmond
Scar ~ Martin Galvin
~ . ~ . ~
When I first danced with her,
I was suspicious. Her conversation
was pleasant enough— compliments
on the decorations, my dancing, the way
I ran the kingdom— but there was a strange
wavering underneath her words
as if she had stolen them
from a phrase book
and they were new even to her.
Finally, it was surprise itself
that obsessed me. She was comely enough
but it wasn't her looks. Beauty
is neither a novelty nor a temptation
when the women lined up at the palace gates
year after year are goddesses. Nor could I
tell anything about her form. It
had all but vanished entirely
beneath the ruffles an enthusiastic
but undisciplined dressmaker had layered
too thickly on her gown. Her tiara
seemed temporary, as if it had been
rented. And glass slippers, once
the rage among the nobility, had recently
become affordable to the masses.
No, it was the way whatever
she did seemed the first of its kind.
I could sense no time— no childhood,
no history— between the immediate
and her birth. No moment that ever preceded
this moment. That sharp edge to everything
is the one experience denied
a prince. I couldn't let it go.
And I never have. All the years since then
are the first sentence of a story
rather than the last, a story
I can always hardly wait to read.
~ . ~
his red shoes mambo
Motorized seeds of light. The Stars are running off
as barren constellations dip
into a fanfare of dust and high hopes
plotting the next heaven
It must have been time travel, molecular candor
the "oh god" of shadow devoured by the "what-to-do -next" pit
brimming with scoundrels,
nightfall tight, wall to wall night,
Fresco of entangled smoke dancing
Bebop curly, irresistibly bawdy The loose step
the lust print, on whom will I walk?
A leftover stroll or panic slurred across moody brown planks
A neighborhood of footsteps
A pick-up of strays beneath my feet
he had the form but his wife wasn't perfect,
with the wrong one, For that matter she didn't matter.
So I gave him the finger. He bit that off too.
I resolved to be less tasty
It's an inside sting
mother-daughter alphabet, miraculous amnesia, Sometimes it's Hollywood
if god wants you to become a saint then you'd better have answers,
"all right I'll stop screaming".
floating spots in the margins
The Unbearable ink
I could have been a saint too,
limping and smiling, smoking and scrubbing,
I wonder if Jennifer Jones practiced that smile, god, she looked like a saint,
her face falls away from my face and she dies with that Look
Just as if she'd seen an immaculate conception.
flower of flowers,
I embrace the cleanest face I have ever chiseled,
But I'm just contrary, never had the bedroom kind,
mine are more kitchen or acetate eyes.
flowers of bedlam flung towards morning,
Hard weather fills the glass.
not a day goes by that doesn't tighten around sighs
Transparent exclamations in one hand
a coma in the other
my inexact temper and unfinished insides
A Volatile bounce between real life and electricity,
Hospital green, rolling underfoot, trips me up on own marbles
The Sleeping park bench under birch trees,
Foot of old leaves, Used up lifeline
north of graffiti
occasionally its wonder
faster and faster around the world
a million times
until I drop dead from sightseeing
a flick of spring
Whatever roughs over skin could change your life too.
but I'll have to stop counting
listen to myself listening
black bouquet of clouds
Tactful patter and the gossip of wounds
it doesn't really matter,
moods adopt crowds and I slip into any crusade or posture
Iridescent pigeons wander
Promises break my hand
The Compliant horizon bends into this yearend loop
the lamp spell and hap- dark of this happy happy injured land
~ . ~
Tonight could change his luck
For good. He could hear her calling
From a phone out in the boondocks,
A pound of change in her pocket.
And his heart would escape
The net, a dog determined to find
Its owner, running pell mell
Through traffic, hanging on to her
And before they hang up,
Some things could be resolved, the seagulls
screeching in the background
Waking the evening sleeper,
Bringing him from below the bridge
To meet her face to face,
Sand in the creases of his,
Tears in hers,
Laughter in the dunes, between them
Enough flotsam and jetsam
To build a house.
~ . ~
American Still Life
Night's long stretch of negative space
backs into its box of powder.
click on the light—the clock's
and its opposite flips a switch.
Winds of space make a racket. No one
budges unless buffalo stampede.
Snap back on the linear track.
It's morning. Come to.
The dead tumble out of our hearts,
almost healed, onto the mattress,
unfolding like paper fans.
They burn a hole in me.
The room is an ambulance
And mouth to mouth.
All night my lover carries a stretcher
back from Vietnam.
In the morning, he puts on his glasses.
We are touched by the air between
and the alarm that separates us.
All I can tell you is
Every time iodine stains the sky
I turn my head
as he heads down
the narrow stairs where
stars are blowing out
awakening the sky's
mix of grey grief
and birds and their shadows
~ . ~
T. J. Desmond
Should I be rejected on the grounds of racial indifference, intolerance, or my pure bright whiteness, my blueness, my keenness, my greenness, my religion, my stout?
I doubt that. I feel included, part of your world, dude.
Catch me by the throat, feel my world slipping away.
In Ladbroke Grove I grew six inches taller, for fear I would be, mugged by a mugger, buggered by a bugger, drugged by a brother.
Harmony I say to you I would not reject you no matter your star sign, the warning sign or what.
This is easy, the trees bow down, your face lights up, I'm as sunny as I can be. Spliff up nick a car, be solid never bow down, once in Hackney I downed a pint in six seconds, for fear I would be sober one second longer than I would have to be.
This world this phantom world we are oceans apart.
Should I be rejected on the grounds of my face tattoos, my swastika, my anger, my dress sense, my innocence, my angst?
I doubt that.
I accept you, brother.
And in that one sentence left my world ajar.
~ . ~
Her mother taught her rudiments of dress,
White gloves and pantaloons, white shoes
For formal teas. In rain, her father made
Her wear galoshes shaped like hippopotami
Glistening with fat. Her sister told her what
She had to hear: how to put off taking off
The clothes she'd learn to wear so well
That certain men would want them for their own
Designs, or so they'd say. No one showed her
How to wear the scar she found when she
Was older. She satin-stitched it on from eye to chin.
In her waiting room, she takes off what she can.
The scar is thrown across a chair. Like the child
She was, she lies in bed, talking to herself,
With all she is before her and nothing left to learn.
(Prior publ. Louisville Review)