|More than anything, I need this boy|
so close to my ears, his questions
electric as honeybees in an acreage
of goldenrod and aster. And time where
we are, slow sugar in the veins
of white pine, rubbery mushrooms
cloistered at their feet. His tawny
listening at the water’s edge, shy
antlers in pooling green light, while
we consider fox prints etched in clay.
I need little black boys to be able to be
little black boys, whole salt water galaxies
in cotton and loudness—not fixed
in stunned suspension, episodes on hot
asphalt, waiting in the dazzling absence
of apology. I need this kid to stay mighty
and coltish, thundering alongside
other black kids, their wrestle and whoop,
the brightness of it—I need for the world
to bear it. And until it will, may the trees
kneel closer, while we sit in mineral hush,
together. May the boy whose dark eyes
are an echo of my father’s dark eyes,
and his father’s dark eyes, reach
with cupped hands into the braided
current. The boy, restless and lanky, the boy
for whom each moment endlessly opens,
for the attention he invests in the beetle’s
lacquered armor, each furrowed seed
or heartbeat, the boy who once told me
the world gives you second chances, the boy
tugging my arm, saying look, saying now.
I found this article originally printed in the now defunct Numero Cinq to be a satisfying read, its relevance to the issues of the day a reminder of a long stretch of history holding little originality with regards to conflict resolution.Continue reading “with the world waltzing in its bowl of cloud”
If your own private house up in the woods and down the road from Hortus Arboretum and Botanical Gardens sounds like a good place to spend your Spring, today is the last day to apply to their Visual Artist Residency.
The time I spent there as the writer in residence was invaluable, and I know will continue to inform my work for years to come.
Work forthcoming in the next issue of Carte Blanche.
Montreal is a great place for writers to be in 2020. From their Blue Metropolis Montreal International Literary Festival in May to the Festival International de la Litterature in September, this beautiful spot will be full of authors from all over the world.
If you’re an author and looking for a designer for your book cover, please consider Vision Press for insightful, professional work at a reasonable rate.
There Is a Devil Inside Me
—After Ana Mendieta
Did you carry around the matin star? Did you hold
forest-fire in one hand? Would you wake to radiate,
shimmer, gleam lucero-light? Through the morning
would you measure the wingspan of an idea taking off—
& by night would you read by the light of your own torso?
Did you hear through the curtains a voice, through folds &
folds of fabric a lowdown voice—How are you fallen
from—How are you cut down to the ground?
Would gunpowder flash up in the other hand?
Were you the most beautiful of them—the most beauty,
full bew, teful, bu wtie, full be out, i full, btfl?
Did the sky flutter & flower like bridal
shrouds? Did a dog rise in the East in it?
Did a wolf set in the West? Were they a thirsty pair?
And was there a meadow? How many flowers to pick?
And when no flowers, were you gathering bone chips
& feathers & mud? Was music a circle that spun?
Did you spin it in reverse? Was your singing a rushlight,
pyre light, a conflagration of dragonflies rushing out
from your fire-throat? Did you lie down in the snow?
Did it soften & thaw into a pool of your shape?
Did you whisper to the graven thing, whisper a many
lowdown phrase: How are you fallen my btfl?
Would they trek closer, the animals? A grand iridium
thirst, each arriving with their soft velour
mouths to drink your silhouette?
Copyright © 2018 by Carolina Ebeid. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on September 12, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.
About this Poem:
“I am writing a series of poems centered around the video works of Ana Mendieta. In one of them, Mendieta faces a blank wall with her back to us. She bends down to dip her hands and forearms in a pan that is filled with animal blood and begins to draw on the wall a narrow arc the width of her body. With more blood, she writes at the center of this tombstone-like shape, ‘There is a Devil Inside Me.’ My poem imagines the artist as a kind of Lucifer, the messenger bearing light, before falling from grace into the underworld.”
in their eyes.
– dicho nevadaño
Nativity by Li-Young Lee
In the dark, a child might ask, What is the world?
just to hear his sister
promise, An unfinished wing of heaven,
just to hear his brother say,
A house inside a house,
but most of all to hear his mother answer,
One more song, then you go to sleep.
How could anyone in that bed guess
the question finds its beginning
in the answer long growing
inside the one who asked, that restless boy,
the night’s darling?
Later, a man lying awake,
he might ask it again,
just to hear the silence
charge him, This night
arching over your sleepless wondering,
this night, the near ground
every reaching-out-to overreaches,
just to remind himself
out of what little earth and duration,
out of what immense good-bye,
each must make a safe place of his heart,
before so strange and wild a guest
as God approaches.
New work in print in Volume 44 of Alchemy Magazine. This issue also has some great photography. Cover design by Olga Khristoforova.
Once I saw a fox leap inside the morning light and made the same shape of myself.
Homecoming Cistern Alien Vessel
Oh, my planet, how beautiful you are. Little curve that leads me to the lakeside. Let me step out of the sack of skin I wore on earth. It’s good to be home. No more need to name me. No more need to make the shape of a machete with my mouth. Pushing up up up the tired sides that want to drop below my teeth. Lord, I’ve missed you. The streets covered all day in light from the moons. I was confused all the time. I wanted so much. My hole felt like a gut with an antler rammed through it. So lonely and strange and always trying to smile. Coin of the realm. And my arms open and my life coming in and out of the “ATM.” Once I saw a fox leap inside the morning light and made the same shape of myself. Once I watched the boats and also rocked back and forth. How does every person not cry out all the time? Yes, it was good to eat doughnuts. Yes. I was blessed by many days of joy. A rabbit in the driveway. A rosemary bush with a sorcerer’s cloak of spider webs. Brian Eno. The Hammond B3 Organ that never asked me who I knew. But that body. Like a factory. That mind like a ship built to pile in other bodies. Skin like a sow without any of the sow’s equanimity. It reflected nothing. Pink skin. Blue eyes hard as an anvil. Like a window with covering that refuses the passerby’s gaze. I loved the bully power some days. Oh my pleasure in not causing harm. My pride. I’m not like so-and-so. My pink skin preaching, my pink skin yawping out my other hole, “I did not choke the man with my elbow!” “Would never!” “I let all the boys in hoodies walk through dark streets.” “I did not shoot them with my guns!” The ship rising up inside me. As if the fox felt pride for not tearing the bird to pieces. As if the owl’s heart grew large from not wrecking the squirrel’s nest. My pink skin a sail full of indignation. My eyes pitching across the feed. It is so good to be home and yet. I have a ship inside. How can the organ welcome me? I’m not a sow on her worst day. Which would be what? Breaking from the barn? Eating all the acorns and rolling in the mud? No. Her worst would be at my hands and on my plate for supper. Grow like the tree, the man who heals the bodies said. In every way I became the ship rising in the harbor. How can I be welcomed after that?
Copyright © 2018 by Gabrielle Calvocoressi. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on July 9, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.
“I am attempting to look frankly at the damage that echoes through me, the grief that evokes, and the possibility for change. I am trying to quit thinking of simple human decency as a form of heroism, both in my poems and in the world.”