Thursday, July 28, 2011

It's almost Friday. Poetry time.

My weeks, these days, blend into each other. I have settled into an easy rhythm of work and rest and gatherings with friends.
It hit me that tomorrow is Friday. Some poetry, I believe, is in order. The below poem I discovered in an anthology that I have. (And love, and read incessantly.)
I read this particular poem over and over.
It grips me, and lines of it jump out at me, during the day. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

August, by Esta Spalding

Skin-tight with longing, like dangerous girls,
the tomatoes reel, drunk
from the vine.

The corn, its secret ears
studded like microphones, transmits August
across the field; paranoid crickets, the noise of snakes
between stalks, peeling themselves from
I am burdended as the sky,
clouds, upset buckets pour
their varnish onto earth.

Last year you asked if I was faint because of the blood. The tomatoes
bristled in their improbable skins,


This is one way to say it.
The girl gone, you left.

& this another. 
Last year in August I hung
my head between my knees, looked up
flirting with atmosphere
but you were here
& the sky had no gravity.

Now love falls from me, 
walls from a a besieged city.
When I move the mountains shrug off
skin, horizon shudders, I wear the moon,
a cowbell.

My sympton:
the earth's
constant rotation.


On the surface the sea argues.
The tide pulls water like a cloth
from the table, beached boats, dishes 
left standing. Without apology
nature abandons us.
Returns, promiscuous, & slides between 
sheets, unspooling the length
of our bodies.

Black wild rabbits beside the lighthouse
at Letite. They disappear before 
I am certain I've seen them.
Have they learned this from you?


I read the journal of the boy who starved
to death on the other side of a river
under trees grown so old he would not feed them
to a signal fire. His last entry:
August 12 Beautiful Blueberries!

Everything I say about desire or
hunger is only lip service
in the face of it.

Still there were days I know your mouth gave that last taste of blue.


When you said you were 
I pictured a tree;
spring, the green
nippled buds

not the fall
when we are banished
from the garden.


Another woman fell
in love with the sea,
land kissed by salt, the skin
at the neck a tidal zone, she rowed
against the escaping tide
fighting to stay afloat.

To find the sea she had to turn her back to it,

The sea is a wound
& in loving it
she learned to love what goes missing


Once the rasberries grew into our room, swollen as the
brains of insects, I dreamt a 
weddding. We could not find our
way up the twisted ramp, out from under
ground, my hair earth-damp.

I woke. A rasberry bush cling to us
sticky as the toes of frogs.
A warning: you carried betrayal
like a mantis
folded to your chest -- legs, wings, tongue
would open, knife
the leaves above us.


If I could step into 
your skin, my fingers 
into your fingers putting on 
gloves, my legs, your legs,
a snake zipping
up. If I could look
out of your tired eyeholes
brain of my brain,
I might know
why we failed.
(Once we thought the same
thoughts, felt the same things.)

A heavy cloak, I wear
you, an old black wing
I can't shrug off.

O heart of my heart,
come home. O flesh, 
come to me before
the worm, before earth
ate the girl,
before you left without 


You said, there are women
I know whose presence
changes the quality of air.

I am not one of those. The leaves
lift & sigh, the river
keeps saying the unsayable things.
I hesitate to prod the corn from the coals
though I have soaked it in Arctic water.
I stop the knife near the tomato
skin, all summer coiled there.
You are not coming back.

One step is closer 
to the fire.

September will fall
with twilight's metal,
                    loose change
from a pocket. Quicker than
an oar can fight water,
I will look up from my feet
catch the leaves red-handed
embracing smoke.

Around me, lost things gather
for an instant
in earth-dark air.

Wow, right? I still have to catch my breath a bit every time I read that. She summarizes heartbreak, and all of its nuances, in each one of those lines.

And here's one more.


We are a carefully assembled summer pie,
  we didn't bother to bake. The crust, soggy now
from the melting sugar, drooping butter
smashed fruit that has lost its fragrance.
Ruby red strawberries, pocked by delicate seeds. Bruised and bleeding their
deep juices run throughout the pressed,
rolled dough.
apples, skinless and vulnerable, slopped in cinnamon,
can't cover their nakedness.

Lattice top. Magazine-cover perfect. Embracing and weaving
a textured canvas that could barely contain the bursting fruit
Now sags.

Even the tinfoil container has lost its crinkle.
  sunlight hardly reflects a sparkle. Just a tarnished reflection.

The oven groans and shifts as it cools and tightens up,
no longer expanding from the radiant heat.

I cannot reach it. I cannot reach it.


Once I saw our future children weaving through my legs. In your kitchen.
We would trade off, exchanging dates with the woods,
our moments lost in singletrack to escape the madness of our
bustling household


Sometimes, now, I grasp my arms, cross-like, around my own body
to feel what you must have felt. To step inside what could have been your thoughts.

I wonder if you thought me delicate,
crushable. A crispy, long-dead moth.

I dance between glasses of opaque red wine and cool, almost clear Chardonnays.


Come, let's twist the oven dial. A warm, smoking 400 should do nicely.

1 comment:

Tamara said...

Thank you for sharing. Stunning.