Saturday, April 05, 2008

National Poetry Month, Days 4 & 5: Courtney Queeney and Dorianne Laux

I'm late with Friday's post, and will be off the computer for next couple of days so I'm including my entry for both days in this one post:

2 poems.

1. From Courtney Queeney's book (her first and only so far, I believe), Filibuster to Delay a Kiss. What I will say about this poem is that there were times, way back, when I was this person, and I'm glad someone else wrote it, and wrote it well, so I don't have to.

The Anti-Leading Lady on Longing

I was in that bar where enough shadow inks
over my face to wear it out.
Then I was in a car, propelled forward
by a series of controlled explosions,
strapped in for safety, aware
that at a certain speed no such thing exists.

When everyone else mooned up at stars, contriving a map,
the stars I saw were ice and dust, secular chips,
so I studied the water stains on my ceiling
till I knew those fissures and ribs
better than the cathedral roof of my own mouth.

I translate love from the hush of a hung-up phone
before a body comes to engage me for an hour.
The sound of new snow falling over old snow
outside my window.

I went on with the wrong men so long
I burnished to a high shine, but always my head
insisted on the front door, the calculated retreat.

Nights, I lower to my floorboards
and negotiate with the wood.

I've never met the male of my kind.


2. And this is Dorianne Laux, from her book What We Carry.


Someone spoke to me last night,
told me the truth. Just a few words,
but I recognized it.
I knew I should make myself get up,
write it down, but it was late,
and I was exhausted from working
all day in the garden, moving rocks.
Now, I remember only the flavor--
not like food, sweet or sharp.
More like a fine powder, like dust.
And I wasn't elated or frightened,
but simply rapt, aware.
That's how it is sometimes--
God comes to your window,
all bright light and black wings,
and you're just too tired to open it.

Ciao til Sunday.

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