Monday, April 30, 2012

#31: "A History of Blue" by Sarah Brown Weitzman

~This poem previously appeared in The North American Review (2003)

                 “Everywhere I inquired I was told to look for blue”
                                            -Carl Phillips

Absolute and unambiguous as black
that first blue God might have scraped

from a rainbow in the prism of his mind 
deep and pure as midnight before

later incestuous mixing and mezzotints,
a cobalt so copious it ran like smalt

into the oceans, the Nile and the Danube. 
Quickly diluted, it was sucked up

into the glaciers to burst out again
like azurine in the Aegean, then to glow

neon in a grotto near Capri, visible still 
in scallop shells, oysters, fish and crabs

while that original cyan thinned out
across the sky to a faint wraith

of itself we see on the lips of the dead.
Yet the moon took up the color

for special occasions and double visits
as did peacocks and robin’s eggs, herons

and jays, the blue fox, cornflowers, irises,
the dark navy of the chow’s tongue.

No blue was found in the earliest cave paintings
but Babylonian friezes used turquoise bricks.

Then came the lapis lazuli and sapphire goblets
of the pharaohs who worshiped equal gods

of red fire and yellow sun, later Virgin Mary blue  
translucent in sunlight in the stained glass

in thirteenth-century churches.  From the woad
herb and mollusks netted in the Mediterranean 

huge vats of royal blue dye gave rise to forbidden
or permitted clothing.  Then Murano glass,

cheese mold, Bluebeard, architect’s prints,
Prussian blue coats, the slate blue of mountains

in the distance, distance itself, Wedgwood
bice, Persian blue, huckleberries, Gainsborough’s

boy’s beryl suit, French blue faience,  bruises,
Worth’s perfume Je Reviens, Canadian spruce, 

the metallic teal Georgian silver casts,
the tint of blue in fresh snow, the fairy

in Pinocchio, a period of Picasso’s, fountain
pen ink, first-place ribbons, husky’s eyes,

Concord grapes, shrimp’s veins, overalls,
lagoons and lakes, a hint in skim milk,

shadows in impressionists' paintings,
wash bluing, Kentucky grass, diamonds,
Windex, in Mondrian’s limited palette, rare
steaks, the shine on steel, tattoos, clouds

before a storm, this planet seen from space,
a Raggedy Andy doll in its frayed and faded

blue shirt and pants, the only possession 
that came with me from the orphanage

to where then he was thought too shabby
and boyish for a little girl.  While I slept,

they replaced him with fancy pink dolls
in frilly white lace and a soft black lamb

but it’s that Raggedy Andy blue
I’ve been trying to find all my life.

Monday, April 23, 2012

#30: Four Poems by Kelle Groom

~This poem previously appeared in Opium (2007)


In the crab graveyard at the beach,
their bodies are wrinkled
and puffed like cereal, the winter

water cold, no lifeguards or bathers,
or even anybody human
here in the Shark Capital of America,

the sharks drawn to bait fish
living thick in the inlet, but what if
it’s really a kind of shark

Bermuda Triangle where their
triangle bodies get sucked in like boats
that disappear in the fog, white

haze, getting hungrier and hungrier
whirling there beneath the surface.
I’m afraid of what I can’t see,

but what if when Mr. Gold Teeth
drove into me on the Dixie Freeway
with his purple car, what if he hadn’t

swerved & avoided full impact, what if
I’m in a near-death cirrus cloud hovering
above a hospital bed, coma-ed out,

dreaming of the ocean, of the courage
to get in. Gold Teeth ticketed but
uninsured, so I’m racking up hospital bills,

& he’s afraid I’m pregnant because of the way
my hands rest on my stomach, G.T. keeps
asking, did you hurt the baby?

It’s embarrassing because I am a little
overweight. On his driver’s license,
it says he was born in 1983, almost a child

himself, with not one milk tooth, gold
gleaming top & bottom, & I wonder how
he speaks so clearly with all that jewelry

in his mouth—wouldn’t he have at least
a slight speech impediment? He’s so
determined to worry about the imaginary

baby, that I consider him the father—
of course, he’s a bad driver, et cetera,
but as hospital company, he’s pleasant,

committed, and he keeps offering me his
cell phone, is there anyone I’d like to call?
And while distracting at first, his gold teeth

are kind of cheerful, high wattage, a night
light to guide me back inside my body, help me
settle into skin before I burn off in the sky.


Monday, April 16, 2012

#29: "Here" by Dan Rosenberg

            ~This poem originally appeared in CutBank (Summer 2009)


Here’s the word for an ant’s single leg.
I plucked it and breathed it.
I caught it beneath my gum line.
Here are some plants I grew by speaking to them.
Here are the aphids that happened when my mind wandered.
I was babbling; I’m sorry.
I said the sap would be as blood, as coveted.
The sap was as blood, the wet of it.
I set a few rules and broke them.
Some spiders can resurrect themselves.
Call it a miracle when I do that.
Call it a mitochondrion, I said.
Call it symbiosis.
Here’s how you’re my children.
Here’s how I made your lungs insufficient.
Here’s how I filled your lungs with bacteria.
I needed a place to put them.
I wanted you to have them.
I am in complete control of my dreams.
I let them be this way.
My dreams fall on cracks and grow.
There is excess to my mind and I throw it down the cracks.
Here’s a brown spot on an ovary.
Here’s the brown globe stumbling through autumn.

Monday, April 9, 2012

#28: Three Poems by John Guzlowski


~This poem appeared in The Chattahoochee Review (2008)

Soldiers from nowhere
came to her farm
killed her sister’s baby
with their heels
shot my grandma too

One time in the neck
then for kicks in the face
lots of times

They saw my Aunt Sophie
they didn’t care
she was a virgin
dressed in a blue dress
with tiny white flowers

Raped her
so she couldn’t stand up
couldn’t lie down
couldn’t talk

They broke her teeth
when they shoved
the dress in her mouth

If they had a camera
they would’ve taken her picture
and sent it to her

That’s the kind they were

Let me tell you:
God doesn’t give
you any favors

He doesn’t say
now you’ve seen
this bad thing
but tomorrow
you’ll see this good thing
and when you see it
you’ll be smiling

That’s bullshit


Monday, April 2, 2012

#27: "Klimt and Time" by Donna Lewis Cowan

~These poems originally appeared in Notre Dame Review (2010)

Klimt and Time: Three Poems

1.  Nouveau

Then it was hinged in:
a parlor-scene’s exact history,

its gold-plated frame
greater than the picture,

casting vines that circle and ravel
with the stamp of primitive eyes.

They tangle about her
as she stares out, her soul

a drowsy prattle at the pane.
She is stunned still,

a jarred specimen watching
as the forest rises about her,

as visitors pause, then accelerate
toward the masterpiece in the next gallery:

tanned Judith in her golden collar,
the woman who had her way.