Black Crow

Black crow.
Black crow by a white fence.
Black crow by a white fence on Mechanic Street, a Wednesday afternoon near the end of August, the crow so black, so black it looks like someone cut a crow shape out of the day with scissors and the Universe is showing through, made more black by the white bars of the fence and the grass made electric in the blast of the slanting sun, black crow stands absolutely still by the side of the road,  pickup goes by, scooter goes by, Buick losing paint goes by, black crow is searching while trying to appear nonchalant, disdainful even, anything but desperate while his belly grinds on itself, there must be something by the side of the road, car-jetsam, animal or bird or bug too slow to cross, there must be something to justify crow's obsessive curiosity – crow doesn't like the traffic but will abide it, and uneasy truce – the traffic gives him squirrels and cats and possums and stupid birds, and gristle and bun and milkshake, but in his crow heart he doesn't want to be on Mechanic Street, but by the water, riding a thermal like a hawk, or even diving like a crazy osprey, or standing on the top of a tall mast in the sun like a carved God.
Could crow keep his balance on top of the mast under full sail?  That would be glorious, feeling as if he were dragging the great wooden fish beneath him, until the land fell away and the ship was the only solid thing and he was at its highest point, shiny black King in the belly of a cloud, obsidian star, carved coal angel, heaven above, earth below.

Black crow.
Black crow by a white fence.
Black crow by a white fence on Mechanic Street, hungry, dreaming.

~Dave Morrison, fall '09

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Letters and Ladders

I is opening a store on the avenue.  Everyone is congratulating me on thinking up my P’s and Q’s store.  I is selling alphabet soup and cereal, letter cookies and chocolates, cookie-cutters and molds.  Children is asking their parents to stop in so they can look at ABC books and parents is saying yes so they can look at history of writing books.  Everyone in the store is reading and looking up to say isn’t this cool.  Little children are asking if I is going to print something on the letterpress and mommies is asking if I is able to print up their children’s poems.  Some is making letter necklaces with their children’s names; some is making letter pins.  Everyone is loving letters.  I am appreciated. 

Now I is a famous conceptual artist.  I is making large photos of subway entrances and traveling all over the United States of America putting photographs everywhere, in deserts, prairies, marshes, and forests.  I is getting permission to do this.  Everyone is wondering, who made these photographs?  Everyone is scratching his or her head thinking about the subway where there is no subway.  All art critics is writing about this piece, thinking that Kiva Subway is the greatest thing since Philippe Petite.  I am awarded the Nobel Prize for Art and I is on the cover of all the art magazines.  Then I is off and running on my next project – I is making large photos of kiva entrances and I is placing them next t subways.

~Lynne Shapiro, fall '09

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She gone

She gone her skirts burned at the beginning of the wheel
one wheel the dull stairs, the ones where the fields
are stretching past the rectangle of the window
Before she knows her time is out now--you must silence
the stiffening step and she gone, her skirts at the wheel
This is the sound you know, have come to know,
The look over the shoulder the just beginning

 

She gone 2

(Before she is the small curve of time from the beginning)

I am already gone sanctified
one wheel has cracked the remedy is broken
the rutted road is no longer passable
In the distance I can see the fields breathing into the ocean
See how the Phragmites dance in the wind
From here there is only a small curve of time
between the beginning and the end
She's gone my lively laughter lifting
onto your table herself the one wheel only
--you must be silenced with the terrified of her
This is her shoulder her skirts stepped over, useless
She's at the end again lively and very wanting to know
She ends horrified before you can come to her
This is the time: Before she becomes all that remains
Before she is the small curve of time from the beginning

~Peter Ciccariello, summer '09

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The Untangled Vine Becomes:
11 Homophonic Translations from the Japanese

1

Before the dreaded taking leave
you wrapped in a white sheet dim
the lights     The room becomes
a cave of recollection     a woman's
laughter     falling water

2

It is difficult to say
the man who in the moon's pale glow
approached with slow and careful steps
is he who
as dawn crowned the evergreens in gold
darted from my bed

3

In this irrational season
we knell for no one

If rage unfurls a road
too narrow for our feet

each step we fail to take will leave us
tolling for the birds and rocks

4                   

Walking east I call
to mind
             another time

when done
                   with walking east
I turned the other way
and walked alone

because it was the other way

5

Watching mist rise from distant hills
I am reminded of a time when
after stealing through the woods
I hurried home and saw
a strange man leaning on our gate
laughing with my mother

6

we are as are you
now know how you know

the untangled vine becomes

7

When Eve was run from Eden
she came upon and then pursued
a deer which
in its coyness lured her
further and further
into a forest of tombs

8

A man rapped at my gate for bread
I handed him an urn of ash
which he would later knead to bake
a loaf of darkened bone

9

The bow bends the rake gathers
The first born has been left to die
beneath a sky so blue
the birds there soar then sink
like small black ships

10

There are no secrets in this river
A minnow brushes by my knees

On another shore a man
has finished the last of his wine
and whispered from the bottle
before he sent it floating on the water

11

I am not the mirror's me
but you knew that

having made a he of me

when I reach to touch his face
you're already there

~ Tony Leuzzi, summer '09

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Before the Iron Age

It must have been
so quiet
that if you forget the honks
of migrating geese,
the collective sighs
of woods at wind-rise,
the snores of flea-infested
couples exhausted
after hunting and mating,
any of those living noises
that are not mind-shattering,
do not become an incessant din
of iron on iron or manifold screams
of belts and pulleys
that tear at our now
bleeding ears,
that leave no room
for the soothing voice
of the world, how softly she sang
before we entered.
Where is the small oak
chest containing those notes and silences
hidden so that we might
never forget? The cave that holds
them all?

~Michael Macklin, spring '09

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Why I Have A Crush On You, UPS Man

you bring me all the things I order
are never in a bad mood
always have a jaunty wave as you drive away
look good in your brown shorts
we have an ideal uncomplicated relationship
you're like a cute boyfriend with great legs
who always brings the perfect present
(why, it's just what I've always wanted!)
and then is considerate enough to go away
oh, UPS Man, let's hop in your clean brown truck and elope!
you ditch your job, I'll ditch mine
let's hit the road for Brownsville
and tempt each other
with all the luscious brown foods --
roast beef, dark chocolate,
brownies, Guinness, homemade pumpernickel, molasses cookies
I'll make you my mama's bourbon pecan pie
we'll give all the packages to kind looking strangers
live in a cozy wood cabin
with a brown dog or two
and a black and brown tabby
I'm serious, UPS Man. Let's do it.
Where do I sign ?

~Alice Persons, winter '08/'09