Train I ride is 16 coaches long
After the sidings,
The Palladian railway bridge
Takes us through the sky of an enchanted valley.
On your left, innumerable, unimaginable shades of green.
On your right, innumerable, unimaginable shades of green.
Leaves burning in a frenzy of gold and red
You may also notice the crescent mirror of the ox-bow lake
Gleaming through the beeches.
Blue sparks explode from the wheels here
Bleaching out the pillars of the parapet.
As vista upon vista upon vista recedes into the mist
God, and we accelerate at last
Through the dark stripe of the distant hills unmoving.
To your right, carnage of fallen trees
To your left, carnage of fallen trees.
The breath of Zeus has untenanted the dryads
And we would like to apologise
For any inconvenience this may have caused.
Great pyres of cut wood pass on either side
And 14 pines have fallen quite close to the track
Like a diagram.
Signalling the end of the sweep of black trees
And the beginning of the silver birch.
Pale wands of the necromancer if you like.
And we are moving like a clot along a vein
Towards the heart of London.
Look up into the sky and you will see
Jet trails converging in a monstrous fork
In the purple air above the sand pits
Yellow jet trails converging in a monstrous fork
In the purple air above the sandpits.
The station approaches now
And I propose
That all that links these facts
Fading daily, repeating daily, changing daily
Fading daily, repeating daily, changing daily
Is the fact that I noticed them
And repeated them in front of you.
Dorothy Doyle Mienko
We wear murdered stars
on our fingers, in our ears
and noses: extraterrestrial
carbon creates diamonds.
The stones we give
to pledge our love
were once galactic,
the celestial orphans.
A billion year old
dance of veils crashed
to earth: nothing more
than burned out light.
For Friends Missing
Today I'm crazy for prairie, stranded
in snow-packed mountains with cliffs and columbine.
Any flat range would do, guiding a gelding away
from the barn. No oats, today, not yet.
I'm mad for rattlers and cactus, cougars sleeping it off,
hawks caught spiraling higher in thermals.
If the sorrel heads for a fence, I'll snip it,
enough barbed wire to mend it later when I'm sane.
If Joe or Billy Ray rides by, I'll tip back my hat
and stop. We'll swap dry facts about mares and cows,
how many colts and calves, how many died.
We'll slap leather like bandits and blast a stump
full of holes. We won't keep score. Other old vets
may hear us and call, cell phones like locusts
buzzing across a dozen miles. Loping, they'll find us
lazy and lost like a posse, far from wives and the war,
the sun so dry we burn. If there's a shade,
we'll all dismount and squat, tip Stetsons back
and take turns telling jokes, blondes in shiny red cars,
politics, salesmen and neighbors' sheep. Dusk,
or when nobody laughs anymore, someone will say
There it is, and we'll rock longer on our heels
till the shade's all gone or one of us
straightens up and says It's dinner time.
A Love Poem
Marci Rae Johnson
At night I wait for you,
watching the day unravel
from the cliffs,
frayed light clinging
to the shadows of a wall
that slips and sinks
into the hill banks.
The trees are gray and thin
from wearing of the fog
that sifts in waves
and settles, dead
upon my skin. Listen!
When I am quiet and alone
it is your voice I hear
singing with the angels,
holy, holy, holy Lord--
we are holy; then
meet me in the sanctuary
where lips form prayers
to broken stone,
my knees on bended ground,
dry knees upon the ground
where our words lie.
How do I love thee?
I have counted the ways
isn't that enough?
It is not enough.
It is never enough.
There is no way
from one person
At the monkey-feast table
Kelley Jean White
We are gathered at the table
all generations: it is low
to the floor: we sit cross legged: pass
bowls of bright food: share one
to another: I am reminded
of the gifts we give and find in odd
places: the atlas of anatomy: how
your father pointed to the plates
of facial muscles and said look: these
must be Jews: it was a German artist:
we were silent and our hands were
still: years later he had a letter
from a granddaughter: he had praised
the work: she had responded: I do
not recall the answer: I cannot
ask him if we truly used: studied
the murdered: if dates and times
were as he had surmised: this table
has a hole in the middle: just
as Gram said: just as in her girlhood
in rural China: there would sit the
monkey alive and frantic: soon the top
of his skull would be lifted: and we
would hold sharp spoons.
No Yella Girl
DuEwa M. Frazier
Ha ha ha ha
you jus a yella girl
a high yella girl
and you ain't cute
how Black is you?
how Black you gon
be? Yo mama
white, is yo mama
white? She's so pale
she jus about white
These are the endless
tauntings from little
school girls who seemed
to live to drive a sister
I fought back
not with my fists
but with my dignity
and holding my head up
not that I was better
but I screamed from the
know me for me, for
my insides, not what I
but no one heard
so I played the role,
often a confused one
as many Black girls
I hid myself often
wandering into the
depths of who I really
who I am
with my pen and my pad
but see only God really knew
the depths of me and who I
really was inside
See I was freer than
the plaid socks
around my ankles
and I was freer than the braids
with ribbons at the ends
that my mother put
in my hair
And I was freer
than those sad
notes I listened to
Is it a Crime
I, I could relate to
words from her lovelorn
lips to the innocent peak
in my ears
I understood the notes of
this heart torn yella girl
so I journeyed
through many phases and
friendships asking, Is
this when I am free from other
people's perceptions of my
outward externity and even
perceptions of myself?
As a girl must grow up
I found ways to turn my
melancholy notes into
See I hummed that yella
away to John Coltrane's
I danced that yella away
to the rhythm of djembe
I loved that yella away
for the hearts of friends who
have crossed my path
I taught that yella
away to be a
guardian for children
And I wrote that yella
away in poems, letters,
stories, essays, tributes
to hear my voice
my own unique voice
and make a new picture
I found what
prejudices we have
against one another for
complexion and color
just makes no sense
I am half of a dark-chocolate
man and half of a
and yellow or brown or
tan or red
are within a brilliant
spectrum of who we are
For all you yella girls
out there who have
suffered bruised ego
for those who ask you
who are you and why
do you look the way
Like a butterfly I
represent a unique
and divine creation of
God, one of many colors
who cannot be labeled
or controlled and
bound by your limiting
perceptions and lack of
I am free to be
You got the jitters
You are scared of trains
Osama Bin Laden
kids that kick bottles on the street
the pimple that's growing on your foot
next week's deadlines
the woman you sit next to
cats and dogs
the London underground
On Sunday evenings something
gnaws at your stomach as you eat,
when you sleep the pain gets worse.
So you eat more,
sleep with people.
You buy house in the country (it's safe there)
an Audi TT
But on Sunday evenings you
feel like you might be sick.
You play golf, ride horses,
take up jogging,
You host dinner parties
and get quietly obliterated.
On Sunday evenings your gut wrenches,
it's being spooned out like a
You're scared of the wrinkles under your eyes
greyness in your roots
yellow in your skin
veins you can see on your legs
that chunk of lard on your arse.
You buy a hi-fi
something from Prada
a few magazines
your favourite perfume
You join a yoga class
buy new lino for the kitchen
an automated garage
and a DVD player for the kids.
You buy brand-new everything
you eat organic food
but you're sick more often these days.
You're scared of
the wrong shampoo.
You take up trampolining
you get a life-counsellor
you start painting watercolours.
One Sunday evening you vomit in
You had a nightmare.
You dreamt of a big black pit
where you walked
You heard a bat you think
and the scream of a child.
You couldn't see a wall
or a way out,
the ground was shaky
you remember that.
You knew someone
would come along,
if you walked for long enough,
yes, someone would come along.
You really did walk for a while
and your knees were shaking
then you began to cry
because there was nothing.
You lifted your head up to scream
but nothing came.
Just the pungent liquid
that streamed from your mouth
and caked the hollow of your neck.
Do you want turkey or ham?
Do you want your bread
whole-wheat or white?
We sit in this café, the weather
gray as a cat, and we talk
about sandwiches. We can't talk
about anything more important.
I sip my water-and I watch
you sip your water. Let's talk
about something else, I think.
I know, Michael Norman
Manley, the late Prime Minister
of Jamaica. Joshua. He was
quite ugly, from the one picture
I've saw of him in Caribbean Studies
class. His father was a rich
lawyer, and his mother was an
English sculptor. They were first
cousins. He served in the Canadian
Army during WWII, studied at the London
School of Economics, and worked for
the BBC in the early fifties. Befriended
Fidel Castro. Was married several
times, had five children, and tried
to make Jamaica socialist. But,
of course, making a third-world
country successful is like making
a 747 from dirt. I smile at you-I wanted
to set aside lunch and kiss you, feeling your
warm tongue deep inside my mouth.
But you continue to talk about turkey
and ham. I think about Manley again-a
fair-skinned man who liked to
dress like an African. I say that I want
turkey with lettuce and white bread.
I'm connected only to my thoughts
We sit around your séance tonight
as all our rotten old loves flock around
like ghosts in their eerie lovemaking
we don't learn, we don't laugh
we're wallpapers hanging tattered
and loose - as we must
- we don't mourn, we don't bluff
but Hello! Wait a second or two
my first first love: who are you?
Asking me to glee
as the traffic changed from red
to blue like your lips from red to blue
so untrue my first
first love: who are you?
There would be more poems
If it rhymed with more than
Erects and ejects.
This begins to sound promising.
I may write one.