Sunday, February 22, 2009

Jeffry Jensen

VERSIONS OF HENRY AND JUNE

If it is the Paris Henry remembers, it
is not the one that June claims to inhabit.
He followed all the skinny legs across the
melting snow until he had rope burns at the knee.
Henry recuperated in a trapdoor apartment with
a photograph on the bed of June as
a burglar with her legs living in a penthouse.
It was the Paris Henry could not know in
his corrosive days inflicting bruises on a typewriter.
Mani Suri

FILM

Stay the projector,
Freeze that frame,
Let shine that single still,
The solitary, celluloid cell,
Stained with the colors of life,
On the argentum screen:
A landscape,
A portrait,
A still life.

Stop the flow of life,
See life's image still
The bee in mid-buzz,
The hover now a vision
Of suspension
In mid-air,
Mid-flight,
The fluttering petals
Of its intended blossom
Suddenly quiet,
Expectant, the brimming nectar
Stopped in mid-brim.

Hold a glass to this moment,
Not so singular
And yet particular;
Examine the squint in her eyes,
Know the sun, too bright,
Hides her lover's approach,
His intentions cloaked in the curl of his smile.
Note the shadows of her cheeks and chin and nose,
Their interplay with the dappling light.
They would not be, were it not for their shadows.

The director saw this frame
But only vaguely
In the kinema of his mind,
Shrouded in veils of imagination,
Unsure of the author's intentions
For this scene.
Now, it was a real image,
Yet an imitation
Of reality:
The reality of a moment
In a fictional saga.
Sharmagne Leland-St.John

EVERY SONG

Every song I ever wrote for my father
had the word twilight in it.
And I wept with every word
every phrase
every conjugation
of every single verb.

Every song I ever wrote for my father
had the word twilight in it.
And I wept as each and every memory
swept over me.

Memories
of a father at twilight
that first year I came to live with him.
During those hot
thirsty Tarzana summers.
Memories of him teaching me
to always plant three seeds
at a time, into each and every hole
we had dug, scratched out, and weeded
row upon row
with his own father's hoe.
He said it gave each plant
two extra chances to grow.

I was his tomboy
his youngest child.
The son my mother couldn't
or wouldn't give him.
Running wild
living high up
in the fruit laden branches
of a sprawling old fig tree
in our back garden.
Shaded from the sun
and prying eyes
by giant leaves.
Spending entire days there
reading and dreaming
until he called me down
at twilight
to set the table for supper
in a home devoid of
a mother's love
a home devoid of
the feminine touch
but full to bursting
with the two children
she had loved so very much.

Every song I ever wrote for my father
had the word twilight in it.
I remember him during those lazy summer days
teaching me how to swim
in the fast, icy, clear waters of the Kern River
and at twilight, catching fireflies
in a dusty mason jar with a rusty screw top lid,
looking for arrowheads along the banks
and showing me, where the water moccasins hid.

I remember a father
who could not live with the woman
he had once loved to touch.
The woman who gave him
his two black-eyed daughters
but not the son he craved so much.
I remember all the tears she wept
the secrets she kept hidden
deep inside her Lakota heart.

I remember how all the men I loved
in my early years
were the same age he was
when I first came to live with him,
on that cold, slate-grey, February day
in nineteen-hundred and fifty-eight.

Every song I ever wrote for my father
had the word twilight in it.
And I remember him taking us to the drive-in
in his ancient, battered, blue Ford pick up truck.
A mattress and soft pillows
thrown in the back
for all us kids,
friends, and cousins
to cuddle up
under the warmth of
an antique patchwork quilt.
I remember Jujubees and Dr. Pepper
Popcorn, Milk Duds, and Cracker Jacks.
At twilight
giggling and waiting
for some scary movie to begin.

I remember him in the August twilight
when the chickens had flown
up into the cottonwoods to roost
pushing me on the sturdy rope swing
way out over the swirling, singing river
as he called me his "little black-eyed papoose"
or sitting quietly on the banks next to him
in the twilight, leaning against his strong, brown back
and together watching the hatch, and the rainbow trout
leaping out of the fast, icy, clear water to catch
a mayfly on the wing.

I remember him smiling and laughing
in the twilight, in his sweet and gentle way.
He died at the turn of the last century,
in the year two thousand
in an emergency room on New Year's Day and
in the twilight of my life
I remember all the things he was to me
poignantly
with each passing
fading, fleeting
memory.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Michelle Angelini

DESIRING HUMANITY

An angel and a human fly
His wings hide
She has no visible feathers
and soars on a trapeze

While human beings
wish for heaven's immortality
it's not so much
the other way around
Love knocks down barriers
as the desire to experience it
makes even the discomfort
of being human again
a minor ache
against the heart's hunger

It's a terrible beauty
for immortals with no afflictions
It's an intricate decision
to leave perfection
and cross back to a physical plane
It's a journey of more than miles
which divides this distance
between death and life

The desire to love
to be loved is strong
—stronger than the wildest
natural occurrences—
because if adoration leads
a heart from death back to living
than those who love and
become separated by demise
can still be connected through such power