Sunday, March 25, 2012

Corrina Bain, "Girls Putting on Make-up On the L Train"

I use two types of mascara to get my lashes just right. I wonder what C. Bain would think of that.

Girls Putting on Make-up On the L Train

Two of them are seated next to each other.
One black, one white.
One of them painting a Russian stripper
onto an Iowa cornfield. The other,
laying out powder to deaden to mud the
dewy pleading of her face. From the brush,
she switches to a tiny, fuzz-tipped want,
sodden with gloss, to shape her mouth.
The other, prying her eyelashes away
from the socket with a small sooty comb.
In this way we pass, lurching,
under the water between Brooklyn and Manhattan.
In this way we leave home and prepare for empire.
They have the look of experts
arriving at the scene of a wreck.
Impervious to the hurling speed, the rails'
sudden unevenesses. Ready. Ready, now.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Sharon Olds, Topography

This is one of my favorite poems. It's simple, beautiful, magical and yet so tangible and real. 

I long for this. 

I am moved to share this poem in honor of one of my best friends on this whole entire planet, Kellie, and her newly returned missionary Matt. I am so happy you two made it to this point.

We are all so excited for the future. 

(I realize this poem may be too risque to honor an LDS missionary homecoming, but you know how I do.)


After we flew across the country we
got into bed, laid our bodies
delicately together, like maps laid
face to face, East to West, my
San Francisco against your New York, your
Fire Island against my Sonoma, my
New Orleans deep in your Texas, your Idaho
bright on my Great Lakes, my Kansas
burning against your Kansas your Kansas
burning against my Kansas, your Eastern
Standard Time pressing into my
Pacific Time, my Mountain Time
beating against your Central Time, your
sun rising swiftly from the right my
sun rising swiftly from the left your
moon rising slowly from the left my
moon rising slowly from the right until
all four bodies of the sky
burn above us, sealing us together,
all our cities twin cities,
all our states united, one
nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

— Sharon Olds, The Gold Cell, Knopf (1987)

Monday, March 12, 2012

I thought my heart was in Patoka Lake

But when I hold my breath under every overpass 
or bridge 
or tunnel 
anywhere a wish might be hiding 
like a cavity that has not yet begun to ache 

My mind's eye returns to
the air fresheners and the candles,
the florescent lights blinking, 
the way I laughed at my own un-made mind,


how easy it would be to get used to
that particular brand of exasperation in a man’s eyes. 

Saturday, March 10, 2012

12 Hours in the Echo

All the sagebrush
mile after mile
the long grass, the desert trees;

Ranchero Caistas on the left
inky-maned tawny horses grazing lazy
behind the fence.

Only 17,  she drives banshee wild.
I almost tell her to pull over

so I can pick wildflowers,
trade seats,
throw myself in front of a car...

Let's not derive meaning from the
crows nest in a dead tree.

Hearts of cactus,
we let Prince, Whitney, Madonna do the talking.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Dante Ocariz

This week's (belated) feature poem is by a resident of the Phoenix area and considers himself "Bukowski 2"--whatever you choose to make of that is your deal; I choose to enjoy it for what it is and giggle politely at what it is not. 

Bad cockfight in Tijuana

Several pot-bellied cowboys stand over the dead body of a fighting cock
I had 50 dollars on.
A few laugh while others count their winnings.
The owner of the bird removes the steel spurs
and hands it to the winning team as a prize 
then walks off.
the scene empties with the last of the spectators
hitting the bar for shots of mezcal.

I'm left alone staring
at a once tough
champion with an eye missing. 
The wind mockingly plays
with his raised feathers
and covers his wounds
with the dust of the street.
The blood dries quickly
but the memory of his failure is fresh
in my empty pockets.

Shit .
I thought we both would make it today.
But it was luck,
pure luck,
not ours.
And they all leave
with whatever you gave them.

dead with a snapped neck
and me
lost in Tijuana
with no bus ticket home.