lunes, abril 26, 2010

Five New Poems From Robert Lietz


                                                                              Not Then

     The music, uncertain after all, unheard

     a mid-spring theater, was it The Nutmegs,
James Brown,

     Ray Charles we missed, in Syracuse,
New Haven,

     at the War Memorial, and at somebody's

     where none of us, not then, ever

     at      the same

                                                                              House Warming


     somebody left charmed, with forever
freshening, whatever

     the losses meant, and not what we thought,
be sure of it, charmed

     by the heart's response, and by the manners
lingering, by

     our inflatable and serial dawns, the feathery
and first drawn greens

     with the year warming to mid-seventies, the plants
where they were last night, set

     close to the outside, brick, back fire-place wall
for house-warmth, and

     on this screened porch safe, from the cloud
-clearing forecast

     and selective frost we well-imagined, with
potting ahead

     for them, prettying the chipmunk-
flash summertime

     we mean --again -- to

                                                                              What and When

     What if we never looked like that, not
in a figment, phase

     or entertainment, and what if our morning's
storyline, this

     groundhog say, climbing, sampling, ignoring
the bend, bow,

     to top-most green almost, if that were only

     a matter of taste, a wink to the day outdoors,
to the idea

     glossed, rubbed so, wished over, returning
our common

     interest, reminding us what and why, and how
we've rehearsed

     these literacies and contritions, these timely

     overheard, as even the morning is, abroad
in its first lingo,

     as the actual day, embraced in course,

     the language lacked, or the informed

     conspired by their own reports


     So the howling's not, days apart are not,
nor the words
     you can no more arm, disarm, than save
by re-combining,
     by their jarring and jarred tones, matters
fit to the day's sprawl,
     neither unspooled nor reconditioned,
beset by caricature.
     But, left to our better selves, so that the days
     will not appear outdrawn, mis-presented,
there's much to explain,
     exonerate, when too little thought seems all
     could ever have intended, matched
to our own weak skulls,
     to our hyper-assisted if flawed tunings,
to the approaching
     dark, with its horizon-slice affairs
and its time studies,
     its pearl-seamed blacks
     and indigo.


     How will you ask this if? What would you call
this almost

     audible sighing but distraction, these dappling,
deepening woods displayed,

     when you looked up from the glass-topped table
and your coffee, into the breeze,

     by then insisting, settling, this cup you've been
sipping cooled, a finger or so

     left to warm again, replenish, so that you must
think this good,

     when the least breath-taking language
wins you over, the light

     turning into light, to this sensible

     yes, the ghosts around
go on


                                                                              The First Look

     First, there's Grizz', the critter gitter, with
tales from the Big Horns
and Denali, soaping exposures off, indifferent
to that bee's buzz, but
wary of the tri-foliate green he's barreled out of,
cartoonishly, no doubt, for
our amusement. Then there's that nesting pair
I mean to search out at North Lima,
and this year's tanager, these hues the groundhog
hasn't yet laid claim to,
as if the whole earth were asking me for pictures,
and this Polish jazz, to get
the feel for the moment, these packages addressed
and stacked outside
the front door, where nobody's signed for one,
if nobody's thought to take one
in our absence, a record nicely filed, since the other
doors were optional and sealed,
as even the gas-filled winter panes, warmer
to the hand than plaster
when the winters hit. So much for the field humor,
for the circumspect reports,
the day from its first look see, and wondering
whether a lens is long enough
for eagles, whether he'll be back this afternoon,
once the trapper
and the trapper's crew-mates come to pass,
prepared, as trained, and
more than enough supplied, to seek
and destroy
     what's necessary.

                                                                              Needful Times

     No queen, no queen's dresser, and cute's
no salvation,
be assured, whatever the mantra makes of it,
but he'll be back
before nine-thirty I believe, since needful times
require him, a second coffee
under belt, after Grizz and his crew arrive,
set out
their snares, their bait and live-traps, soap off
and snarl
along their ways to the next clients. And
Anastasio, meantime,
recalling the last dusk or just before, remembers
himself a night ago,
well before the occasion to wash could settle him,
the costs of gardening, the costs
of that first kiss
and next, and the afterglow, on their flushed
tourist cheeks
and bankrolls, once the prankster's
worked up nerve
to improvise, though not the least,
you can
be sure, of his sole


     Maybe that shrine was burglarized. Maybe
a man, for now, makes good
with its bare walls and stubby candles, makes do
and must, with
the strays and pups, yipping at the jams and heels
of the prayerful,
even the lesser enthusiasts, he thinks, impressed,
acknowledging the kiss,
and not the burn so much, as they bend and splash
and rinse and bear their faces,
before a mirror seems possible, or this language,
too much like their own
to be mistaken. So what was the day but photographs,
but these young,
the nesting pair away, newcome arrivals
at the heron's
fishing claim, was Anastasio himself, who will not be
heard on it,
recalled by the heat, by the showering and sweat,
was Anastasio
after all, but a handshake yes, but a kiss still warm
with garden earth
and gardening, who could appreciate each theft,
each saint, meanness, each
first well-planted kiss, having housed his implements,
houseled himself, hosed
clean for the post-gardening burritos and cervesas,
for this catching up
he is sure to miss come suppertimes, imagining exits
and escapes,
and that groundhog, that survivor, yes, coursing
the spray-painted green
toward edibles, eyeing that fishing pair, explaining,
as they might, the moonlit foam
and firestones. And where's that trapper after all,
or that hummingbird
I never got around to mentioning, or the heron
now, when signs of trespass
reappear, this courted nightmare the coral bells,
the moon fingered quack-grass
make no room for, a stolen kiss no room,
no hint of the meaner
lusts or treacheries, the sub-surface
tones he'd heard, hears yet,
in alien conversions.

                                                                        The Cousin Source

     Where's that crow, that, their jay-mocking
ins and outs,
claim-jumping feeders the bunting plays beneath,
sampling crow-spill,
as, a small man, Anastasio rinses clean, dreams
honestly, himself
the cousin source of tourist horrors, tourist smiles,
from the first handshakes,
first pecks, no more deterred than the crows seem,
by tourist gear or pedigree,
by how they hurry to wash their fallen faces
when he's finished, about the time
when pups have had their day of nipping heels, and
the candles, sputtering, add
their own notes to the angling ends of afternoons,
done with the newsmaking
and tell-alls, suited now to plans he's all but reinvented,
for the dusk ahead, for the dark
and weight of a new century made public, but only
the least, we guess, of Anastasio's desires
and disguises, though nobody's asked, you bet, and
nobody's kept track, kept count,
whatever the losses were or substitutions, considering
his fix on tones and off-season prices,
on his own, we think, and presumable advantage,
though he might call that
something else, something to drink or plant or plant
his kisses on, to bear away
from shrine or sanctuary, complementary, if you will,
and all-inclusive, according
to the lingo of arrival? Surely you see resemblances
among the current crop of players,
who would have eaten the same stuff once, and left
all that behind as true believers,
equating experience with preference, inspiration
with emblems, and, inspired
merely, attitudes, when another season calls for
punishment, with the air itself
trembling under them, because their playing
asks for it, whatever
the shrine-going masks of the old
     and summertimes.


     Even the spider plant, you think, must feel it,
moved, a few inches
     now, to make room for the low metal table
and sub-woofer,
     for the ipod, satellites, and this sovereign jazz
they may have
     heard among the Keys, heard in Puget Sound,
drawn themselves outdoors,
     as this water is, to freshen the boxed flats,
planters, and potting earth
     you've seasoned, while the plumbing throbs, and
each light-bleached page
     I think could lie here through forever,
     to record heat, unreadable. There will be wine
tonight, encompassing
     table talk, this pizza tonight, with repeatable
humor under stars,
     these due-processed ends of school-years
tonight, and
     a summer begun you cannot buy anywhere,
     by sentence piqued, in the botched
     stories we come back to, as if
we had
     never had such fun.

Robert Lietz is the author of eight published collections of poems, including The Lindbergh Half-century, Storm Service, and After Business in the West. Nearly six hundred of his poems have been published in print and on-line journals, including recent publications in Istanbul Literary Review, The Pittsburgh Quarterly Online, Avatar, Contrary, Terrain, Valparaiso Review, Salt River Review, Lily and previously in Zone. Several unpublished collections are currently finished and ready for publication, including West of Luna Pier, Spooking in the Ruins, Keeping Touch, Character in the Works: Twentieth Century Lives, The Vanishing, and Eating Asiago & Drinking Beer. Meanwhile, he keeps active writing and exploring his interest in digital photography and image processing and their relationship to the development of his poetry.


martes, abril 13, 2010

Four Poems From Ruth Bavetta


The storm
         comes for the throat,

a sidewinder in darkness.
         Wind works its mutinies

in storm-snarled trees. Water
         hammers houses from their roots,

a bus shoots under a bridge.
         A man in a tattered T-shirt

floats downriver like a page
         torn from a book.

Foundation Work

They arrive early,
         before he’s ready, go on
with what they have to do.

He pulls his shirt over his head,
         discovers a hole. They’re all around
the house now, shouting.

He puts on the pants he wore yesterday,
         before he knew, goes into the kitchen
(the sunny yellow walls have faded),
         fills the kettle, sets it on the burner.

Today, a scan will probe
         his body for cells gone wild.
Outside, they’re probing,
         seeking solid ground.

The sky’s already bleached with heat. If
         they find competent ground.
they can shore up the foundation.

The kettle shrieks to a boil.

Remember This

She’s used to them now,
the spectators who sidle
small and soft
under the old and fading moon,
a shambling column,
that casts no shadows. In a dark corner
of the garden, where
there’s no more time
for lilacs, they wait for her


walking up forty-two stairs,
the smell of a rubber ball, your arm
brushing against a stucco wall,
the prick of a pin in the tip
of your right index finger.

There was a clock you once knew,
draw its tick inside your body.
There was a bicycle on a dirt road
the summer you fell in love,
balance on its handlebars.

Enter a room you have forgotten.
Walk through midnight
carrying a make-believe lantern.
Stretch out your hand,
touch the horizon.

Ruth Bavetta's poetry has been published in Nimrod, Tar River Poetry, Rhino, Rattle, Poetry East, North American Review, Atlanta Review, and Poetry New Zealand, among others, and is included in the anthology Twelve Los Angeles Poets. She is a graduate of the University of Southern California, California State College San Bernardino, and Claremont Graduate School.

viernes, abril 02, 2010

Three Poems From Anthony Nannetti


You demand more space
with a straight face,
and I see
a dead farmer planted in his own north forty
or an obituary written for an obituary writer.
The end is never easy,
but hope is in the bending tree
whose roots will draw life to it.
So sit awhile, I’ll counsel.
Just be still and stay
until I get away.


The butcher with a young lamb over his shoulder
dodged church-bound widows in the heavy snow.
Monsignor’s Impala was an unfinished Pieta.
I sold shopping bags by a barrel fire
where my father displayed his martyrs and Marys
around the Infant of Prague on a countertop.
A hard grind for a dollar,
and the saints gave way over time
to ballerinas that twirled on musical platforms
and ceramic puppies with saucer eyes.


It was cheaper to kill you than to have you groomed.
I walked home with your collar and leash in a bag,
convinced that all traces of my past were gone.
How like a foreigner I felt, without my bosom friend ----
without turds to collect when I got back,
the house just as we’d left it.

Anthony Nannetti is an English teacher with the School District of Philadelphia. He lives in the Bella Vista section of the city with his wife and two daughters. Nannetti's poetry has appeared in Guardian Unlimited, PhiladelphiaStories, Ygdrasil, Forge Journal, and Bijou Poetry Review.