Friday, February 26, 2010

March Willows by Ben Belitt

This kindling of sacramental color---El Greco's
collapsed Count, a cadaver of haze, the green
of a closed or an opening grave,

fillets under the bent
wands, diagrams of fountians
rising and falling in faintly sinister gases,

phosphorus and pistachio--
yields to its seasonal Summoner as the diamond
yields to the shock of the diamond-breaker's hammer.

Now the daft
ward of a mad song hacks at her laces
and spins in her farthingale's balloon

under the deckle of a mortuary tree
past Kedron and Babylon,
dangling her weeper's hair

and combing the primitive
leaf in valences and serrations---
a stonecutter's sense of the willow

chiseled in airy chartreuse.
O the mind breaks this way and that, says the Summoner,
of its own crazed weight, shows an anvil's

underside, as the catamount's breath is seen
a moment between the thunderhead in the snow
and a glinting of evergreen,

while the whole of the willow breathes like a heart,
turning its rag-bag of leaves,
one way, leaden, like the meat of the olive,

the other way, yellow; and the lute in the stone
is heard in its lunatic sweetness
in a rising and falling of branches:
"O willow, willow!"

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Stutterer by Alan Dugan

Courage: your tongue has left
its natural position in the cheek
where eddies of the breath
are navigable calms. Now
it locks against the glottis or
is snapped at by the teeth,
in midstream: it must be work
to get out what you mean:
the rapids of the breath
are furious with belief
and the tongue, as blood
and animal of speech,
to stop it, block it, or come clean
over the rocks of teeth
and down the races of the air,
tumbled and bruised to death.
Relax it into acting, be
the air's straw-hat
canoeist with a mandolin
yodeling over the falls.
This is the sound advice
of experts and a true despair:
it is the toll to pass the locks
down to the old mill stream
where lies of love are fair.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Big Louise Scott Walker

She stands all alone
You can hear her hum softly
From her fire escape in the sky
She fills the bags 'neath her eyes
With the moonbeams
And cries 'cause the world's passed her by

Didn't time sounds sweet yesterday?
In a world filled with friends
You lose your way

She's a haunted house
And her windows are broken
And the sad young man's gone away
Her bathrobe's torn
And tears smudge her lipstick
And the neighbors just whisper all day

Didn't time sounds sweet yesterday?
In a world filled with friends
You lose your way