Category Archives: poetry

Eye Motes #3

   1
We gather wild asparagus beneath the powerlines.

   2
A hummingbird weighs the same as a nickel.

   3
Somewhere the new Mozart is fleeing a sponsor.

   4
Betrayed by fiat currency we drank from each others mouths.

   5
The reticulated arms of trees by the side porch.

   6
Recall whisking tea during the ceremony, the sound in the bowl.

   7
New grandchild awaits birth and surgery; mother a slow savage.

   8
Last night before sleep, an Armageddon of choice.

   9
The sky let down one hollow canyon.

   10
A dagger of ice falls into Glacier bay.

   11
A child of answers, only answers.

   12
I clean the orchard mud from my rolled up pant legs.

   13
Where once we hunted black tail deer, sculpture and swallows.

Song of the Subway

A carnival of shoes, tracked and true.
  False to travelers who wander aloud,

soft in their thoughts, catatonic in the breakfast sun.
  Shade in the tunnels, the mud-soaked margins,

midway inside the mad and quickened place,
  carried away — a steelpan artist!

Scientist of twing: ba-da-ting, ba-da-ting—relief
  throbs the green and tiled halls.

Cornered by Trinidad, alert and bible high,
  below him a mutt and a Slurpee cup.

Plates of bystanders—a Greek salad of hurry.
  Calmly the former merchant marine,

deserted, he calls out the chorus—sublingual sounds,
  dog eared by feet and the rumbling train.

Speedway

Go with the loud, the sweet, the high
Ones. It doesn’t mean a thing,
On the slick hardpan of Nazareth’s curves,
To bounce the brickyard wall–

Or Portland for the G I Joe,
Under the mussel clouds,
If in first place beneath the stands,
Your engine throws a rod.

Oversteer, push, in dirty or clean
Air, down force is your hot friend.
It’s bump and run to spray the wine,
Or it’s grenade and catch the fence.

Book Review: Republic Cafe by David Biespiel

My review of a fine new book-length poem by David Biespiel was just published in the May issue of Plume.

Republic Café is David Biespiel’s sixth book of poetry. It is arguably his finest work. Loosely based on Alain Resnais’ romantic drama film Hiroshima Mon Amour, this book-length poem borrows the movie’s main storyline and recasts it as a shape-shifting Noh play, presented in 54 numbered sections. The story follows two lovers over a 36-hour period as they meet and have an affair in the days following 9/11.

More…

Republic Café
David Biespiel
University of Washington Press
$19.95 hardcover
January 2019

Brace and Bit

My grandfather’s brace and bit
wasn’t very useful. Leftover

from the days of sail, it was
a country carpenter’s tool.

To countersink a screw
or drill a pilot hole

you had to put your shoulder into it
and often clear the ratchet and the pawl.

But the bits! The bits had heft and soul.
He had a rack of them like rebel soldiers

just back from building pinewood boats
to carry Jackson’s army across the flood.

Long shank and tapered tang
and a ribboned twist for cutting,

they were like the devil’s hoof to sharpen–
and could open a finger lengthwise too.

For DK, Who Doesn’t Think She is a Poet

Some of your work
gives me the poetry shivers.
Where can a mother and God go
to drink coffee among rockweed and plover?

I am fascinated to know earth
gets distracted by its own ruts.
And once, light was powdered and fell
in patterns birds later copied.

And a child’s ear is a riverbed
above the eave of her cheekbone.
And one can breathe in minnows!
I didn’t know, I didn’t know.

Eye Motes #2

1
After fifty feet, you are down to the smaller bones.

2
Rosemary and fir needles in an old clay pot on the deck.

3
Lotsa luck giving things away. Metallic tasting wounds.

4
Fluted window glass. Car tail lights going back and forth.

5
Dinner on the outer wall—someone’s tunic is on fire.

6
At the national art museum. Everything isn’t in there.

7
Thin people walking into you. Give them your hat.

8
The cracked face on a thousand year old bowl.

9
A Mardi Gras mask. Thumbs in a cast.

10
Cotton bolls on stalks in a brown vase.

11
Every time the wrong thing happens well.

12
They probably saw something and didn’t say anything.

13
The way you walk when go means not now.

14
This madness is like fleas.

15
A donkey slide. Know your betters.