Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Tuesday poem #117 : Harold Abramowitz : from And Then In There

It was funny, in a way.  The way that things occurred.  You held yourself so simply, I thought.  I only ever wished that I was a better person.  There were times when I thought I stood out.  There were times when I thought I lived obscurely.  I can’t wait, I said.  I was sitting very simply.  My legs were crossed.  I felt cool in the weather.  I was thinking about what I might want to eat for dinner.  I was thinking about where I might have something to eat.  It was a very nice day.  The air was cool.  I was talking to you.  But there was something to do.  There was something doing.  I could feel my fingers when I moved them.  I could feel my toes.  I could see you from where I was standing on the patio.  I was always looking at something.  I think this thing is swell, I said.  It was funny.  I was typically very forthcoming.  I am very forthcoming, I thought. 


If I call out to the world.  You do not own the world.  A child.  Or an oath you take.  Or a promise you make.  And every time the smoke clears, and there is something new on the horizon.  It was a brand new day.  It was in the afternoon.  And I wanted to do something entirely new, at that point.  Each second provides its own opportunity, I thought.  Or that was what I was saying.  All I was saying to you, at that point.  The things I kept telling you.  I put my head in the water.  Your color here in the water.  I was kneeling by the water, and I asked you a question.  It was like there was a sudden twist of color.  Or if ever there were going to be color.  The surface of the water was colorful. 


In a minute, I said.  I looked around.  I could get out of my chair anytime I wanted to, I thought.  I could not deny that I was looking around the patio, at that point.  But I was listening, too.  I could admit that, too.  I wondered about the various things I was doing.  How I might have wanted to move to another place.  I could see smoke.  There was fire. There was a lot to do.  I had a lot of things that I wanted to do, at that point.  I was in the house all morning.  I could see my pencils and pens on the desk from where I was standing in the hall.  I found that I could think of a lot of things at one time.  For instance, I was thinking about how I might hold my head up firmly and correctly at any given time.  I wondered about the silence between us.  It felt very awkward, at that point.  I put my best foot forward.  I felt good.  However, I was surprised by the chain of events.  The way that things were going.  What was going to happen next?  There was a lot of noise.  I went on.  And that was the way it was going to be, I thought.  No matter the cause.  The color was very good when I was leaning over the water.  I could hear you. 


One afternoon, I put everything in the house in order.

Harold Abramowitz’s books include Blind Spot (forthcoming from Les Figues Press), Man’s Wars And Wickedness: A Book of Proposed Remedies & Extreme Formulations for Curing Hostility, Rivalry, & Ill-Will (with Amanda Ackerman, forthcoming from Bon Aire Projects), Not Blessed, and Dear Dearly Departed. Harold co-edits the short-form literary press eohippus labs (www.eohippuslabs.com), and writes and edits as part of the collaborative projects, SAM OR SAMANTHA YAMS and UNFO.  He lives and works in Los Angeles.

the Tuesday poem is curated by rob mclennan

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Tuesday poem #116 : Beth Bachmann : privacy

How much harm can entering
do? One cell, two,

and the whole law is broken in –
leg after leg,

the myrtle presses itself up from
the ground:

stampede. Horse, horse, horse, horse.
What are you turning

into? Inside me you murmur so much
pain so much

suffering. What makes the horses go
like that – fear

or fire? Circle me. What kills us is
not crush, but push.

Beth Bachmann's first book, Temper, won the AWP Donald Hall Poetry Prize and Kate Tufts Discovery Award. A second book, Do Not Rise, winner of the PSA’s Alice Fay di Castagnola Award is out from the Pitt Poetry Series in January 2015. She holds degrees in Creative Writing from Johns Hopkins and Concordia University in Montreal and teaches in the MFA program at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. Find her @bethbachmann.

the Tuesday poem is curated by rob mclennan

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Tuesday poem #115 : Daniel Scott Tysdal : Fable Express

Composed on the occasion of Easy Blue's Oscar win, the first non-human victory in the category of Best Actor in a Leading Role.

Of course Tarintino would do it, write the role
that wins an Oscar for a dolphin. We should have
seen this coming after he liberated—through
the fantasy of epic revenge—one wronged population
after another: women, Jews, blacks, Scientologists
(if the latter seems surprising, re-watch Pulp Fiction
with an eye to Travolta's Vega as a sort of thetan-
aiding martyr). From who else’s palm would audiences
have lapped the far-fetched pulp of Fable
Express? Eastwood would have added a too precious
patriotism, making an honourably discharged, Yankee
marine out of animal rights activist, Fletch Fable,
purging the truly global spirit that pulled viewers
world-wide to the edges of their seats when DiCaprio
as Fable was mortally wounded while protesting
a dolphin slaughter in Taiji, and then had his mind
transferred into a dolphin's body for 24 hours
by an expert in ancient Japanese techno-mystic arts.
Cameron would not have cast Easy Blue at all,
contriving a CGI dolphin and filling its beak
with heavy-handed clunkers like, “I’m here for
the express purpose of revenge,” “I’ve got one day
to off these murderers, so get on the express
or dive off,” lacking totally Tarintino’s sylistic pop
and syllabic cool (Quentin’s alpha example being
the salty samurai geisha’s exegesis of Flipper
as a modern day “Book of Revelation”).
Of course, none of Tarintino’s genius and trust
would have been worth a damn without Easy’s
absorbing performance, or, better, without Easy’s range
of expressive squeaks and squeals, without the angel
of avenging fury he became, breaking the wake
of the escaping mariner genocidists, staring down
the baddie captain (played to perfection by
George Takei) with a “soft steeliness” Ebert likened
to Yul Brynner circa The Magnificent Seven
(an apt comparison considering Easy’s six-strong posse,
which included an eagle, panda, and koi). Without all
of that there would have been no trust on Tarintino’s part,
no delphinidal medium for his genius to mount
and propagate. With this glass, cage, and net ceiling
now shattered, imagine the future revolutionary work
Easy’s performance will inspire: the first iguana to win
for a Female Supporting Role, the first monkey-penned
Best Adapted Screenplay, the first entirely CGIed
Best Director. Maybe new categories will emerge:
Best Animal as Animal, Best Shaft of Light as Shaft
of Light: the crucial yet unrecognized elements
finally getting their ego-authenticating due. Or will
each revolution require its own individual instigator,
Easy being too species-bound to have a fin it? Or is Easy's
big break not radical enough? Perhaps the true
revolution won’t come to pass until he cracks
his golden, hominal trophy in half and stabs it, brain-
deep, through his visionary maker’s star-making eyes.

Daniel Scott Tysdal is the author of three books of poetry, Fauxccasional Poems (forthcoming from Icehouse 2015), The Mourner’s Book of Albums (Tightrope 2010), and Predicting the Next Big Advertising Breakthrough Using a Potentially Dangerous Method (Coteau 2006). Predicting received the ReLit Award for Poetry (2007) and the Anne Szumigalski Poetry Award (2006). Oxford University Press recently published his poetry textbook, The Writing Moment: A Practical Guide to Creating Poems. He is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of English at the University of Toronto Scarborough.

the Tuesday poem is curated by rob mclennan

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Tuesday poem #114 : Lily Brown : SALTON SEA

Sea grass spears dim wind,
green velocity’s serrated fin.

About the sated sea.
About the bone-glass beach.
We want a fish’s soft
bones of belief,

bright white smells
I open eyes wide to believe
anything is glass—white striped black,
the chemical breeze.

Here’s a phantasm in tropic paint:
an egret wheeling
into god’s metal wing.

Lily Brown is from Massachusetts and lives in San Francisco. She is the author of Rust or Go Missing (Cleveland State University Poetry Center) and several chapbooks, including The Haptic Cold (Ugly Duckling Presse).

the Tuesday poem is curated by rob mclennan

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Tuesday poem #113 : Steve McOrmond : An Arkansas Love Story

For C.D. Wright and in memory of Frank Stanford

The dismal he did so well,
it went down smooth and easy.

Mama said he had a voice       
for the radio ministry. You got along

like a house on fire. You know, he asked
one evening, shimmying out of his jeans,

At the start of the Civil War, a quarter
of the state’s population were slaves?

You had passed the afternoon together
in courtly decadence, sitting out

under the shade tree with a pile of books,
a fresh pack of smokes and a bottle

you passed back and forth with great
ceremony, fancying yourselves misguided

followers of Rousseau, costumed as savages,
playing at pastoral on the south lawn.

Gradually his eyes grew more wild
and dark, so you retired early, whereupon

with three quick taps on his breastbone,
he pursued his thought, Maybe our deaths

are herein enslaved, desiring to be set free.
Like a raccoon trapped in the cellar

or a wasp between panes. You couldn’t tell
if it was a question or something he knew

for a certainty. Upon his naked chest, you laid
both palms flat. Congenital defect, you said,

then pushed hard, so that he staggered
back and sprawled, laughing, on the bed,

atop your grandma’s quilt, which was,
as it happened, just where you wanted him.

Steve McOrmond is a Canadian poet who has published three collections of poetry, most recently The Good News about Armageddon (Brick Books 2010), which was shortlisted for the 2011 ReLit Award. His second collection, Primer on the Hereafter (Wolsak and Wynn 2006), was awarded the Atlantic Poetry Prize. His debut collection, Lean Days (Wolsak and Wynn 2004), was shortlisted for the Gerald Lampert Award, which recognizes the best first book of poetry published by a Canadian. His work has been anthologized in Breathing Fire 2: Canada’s New Poets and has appeared widely in literary journals and magazines including Bei Mei Feng (China), Humanist Perspectives, Jacket, Malahat Review and The National Post’s Afterword. He lives in Toronto. Visit www.stevemcormond.com or https://twitter.com/Steve_McOrmond.

the Tuesday poem is curated by rob mclennan