Monday, May 27, 2013

#83: "In Glue We Trust" by Joanne Rocky Delaplaine

 ~This poem previously appeared in Poet Lore (2004). 

In Glue We Trust

I believe love is the glue that holds the world intact.
I believe in the temporary bond of Post-it notes, 
the L-5 bus driver who took me out of the cold,
the wet, whose hands were God’s, delivering me
to the promised land, though I believe promises,
like lives, are bound to come undone.

I believe in Duco Cement. It smells blade sharp,
dries on your skin like it’s peeling down to
raw bone. I believe in the glue of your bones
against my own. I believe in the glue librarians use
to bind books, I believe in the invisible glue
that binds them to their work.

I believe in hot wax on hard copy, putting
the newspaper to bed, in a union shop, many hands
hauling to a common song.  I believe in going home, 
and coming back to work. I believe in the solder
and acetylene torch. I believe in the jazz of steel on brass,
in Ella and Louie delighting in a B-flat, be-bop scat.

I believe in the law of magnets: that opposites attract,
the alchemy of Muslim and Jew, thin and thick, of white
and black. I believe in clay slip used to cover cracks,
the broken leg that’s wrapped in a cast, the aloe vera balm
on burns, the salve of words,  I believe my salvation
is buried in the cell tissue of my scars.

I believe that gentle hands can know the knife, the cut,
the sword. I believe in Kali and her necklace of skulls.
I believe there will always be wars. I believe we are born
with the knowledge of our death, that we make it up as we go,
flying on a dream and a curse, hanging by the blues,
swinging from a high note of grace.

I believe when my daughter was Rumplestiltzkening
inside me, we spun the finest gold on earth. 
I believe I bring my spider’s silk with me
to bind me fast to this oh-oh, this no-you-don’t,
this Devil-May-Care-, this roll-of-the-dice,
this doo-wah, doo-wah, wind-blown world.


Monday, May 20, 2013

#82: "Keeper" by Steve Adams

~This story first appeared in Glimmer Train (1998).


There was the smell of the dust, and the smell of the sand, and the smell of the rides, and the smell of the crowds which each day had a different smell, and there was the smell of the horses and the morning and the night. There was the smell of The Thing and The Thing's shit. So it smelled. What didn't?
Well, he thought. Alright, then. So he changed it.

"I'll need talc, or corn starch if you don't have it, and a first aid kit in case it's got sores from being swaddled up so. Don't tell Old Man Dawkins. He keeps changing it every morning just like before. You use diapers?"
"So we'll go through twice as many diapers. If I'm gonna do this I don't want to be running out."
Jacobsen stared at the kid. "Okay. We'll get more diapers."
"And I'll need somebody to help with the trash. "It's too much for me already. If I got to take care of it, too…"
"I've had men quit can't take its screaming. Once it starts up…night after night screaming and won't stop. How the hell do you make it shut up?”
"I dunno."
"What do you do?”
"I dunno. I sing to it. That's one thing."
"You sing to it?"
"That's one thing."
What he meant was, what he wouldn't tell Jacobsen was, The Thing stopped screaming before he ever sang to it. It stopped the moment it saw him.

Monday, May 13, 2013

#81: "Rise That We All May Rise" by Maud Kelly

~This poem previously appeared in Natural Bridge (2009).

Rise That We All May Rise

One moment your neighbor is vibrant. As you mulch your lawn she walks by, two children striding alongside, headed to school or home.

The next she’s gone. Or not exactly. She’s receded, gone ill.

She’s bald shadow, or something, an eagle, maybe, turning her head to look at you when you bring the casserole, when you smile and squint your eyes and tell her she looks good.

There’s an art to it, a kind of sport, to hovering, to gathering the neighbors, and you do, and put your heads together: blonde heads and redheads and children’s heads, books and movies in baskets, and your own walking back and forth across the lawn, making it nice, the thoughts you shake off.

Later, after your visit, your skin lathered in the shower and the steam, a picture comes to you. That owl, the big golden and cream-colored owl that appeared out of nowhere one day and perched right on the edge of your road, inches from the cars.

As they rolled by it barely moved its boxy head. Just the wind ruffled its flurry of neck, and its shoulders seemed – stalwart – was that the right word?  Probably not, but it seemed to ache, and you’d have thought it would have hidden itself in the trees, but it hadn’t.

Usually you would have called the sanctuary and had them come but something in it spooked you and you pulled into your own driveway instead, got out, turned toward the broom, or, no, to the rake, or was it just that you reached into your pocket for the keys. Whatever, it didn’t matter now.

But the way you felt then, as though every still thing in the world could stitch itself like a stone under your skin and keep you from moving, too. Like any one thing you did would matter no more than any other.


Monday, May 6, 2013

#80: Four Poems by George David Clark

~This poem was previously published in Smartish Pace (2011).

The Plush

                        “In the shadows a bad guy upholsters his weapon.”
                        -typo in a student’s fiction

He cocks the parlor lamp to throw a blade
of light across the contours of the problem:
the gutted wing chair that his young wife paid
for with a five. To cover it will rob him
of the evening, but if she comes home to fine
d├ęcor, she’ll be in debt another favor.
Their meal last night, the veal filet and wine,
has canceled out the flowers that he gave her
and his note: you do too much. So, to do more,
to best her, hold her hostage in the name
of sacrifice, he sinks a knife into the chore
and staple-guns a crewelwork to the frame.
When he hears her car, he stands and aims
the chair, that padded weapon, at the door.