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Posts Tagged ‘Poem’

Just for the Summer

In Arts & Letters, Creative Writing, Humanities, Poetry, Writing on September 14, 2016 at 6:45 am

Allen 2

The following poem first appeared in Images in Ink and, later as a reprint, in Red Truck Review.

“Just for the Summer”

They traveled from the cold forests and towns
of New England and Canada,
spent the night in hotels in Atlanta,
and did not consider
the family they did not have.
They rented Fords and Nissans
and loaded their luggage in the trunk.
They bought maps at gas stations
and ate breakfast in the car.
They sipped their coffee,
blared Bossa nova,
discussed congressmen,
and made faces at locals in rest stops.
They snapped photographs at the Florida border
and rolled their windows down in Crestview.
They pointed at the peaches, oranges, and cotton.
They opined about old black men, overhauls, and fieldwork,
pointed at tractors and trailers,
and prattled about pesticides.
They were many, but they were two in particular.

The two who arrived
and kicked off their shoes,
and filled their blenders with ice,
their cups with gin and rum,
and said, “to hell with sunscreen.”
They walked hand-in-hand down the shoreline,
these two, marveling

at the baby-powder sand,
he chasing crabs,
she waving off seagulls.
They watched the sun sink
until they mistook where they were,
and, thinking back,
embraced,
his arms around her once-little waste,
hers around his once-broad shoulders;
they became
one
in self-supplication, joined
in prayer to themselves.

It was not until the seventh hour
of the third day
of the second month
that the sadness broke in,
through the back window,
in the darkness,
and made off with joy.

He was told in his dream how he should awake,
she in hers how she should die.
On the day when the skies turned black,
and the waves pummeled the shoreline,
and the creatures stirred and scattered,
there they were, facing the darkness,
two people, vulnerable beneath the heavens,
remembering their future, forgetting their past,
knowing that they didn’t know
what cannot be named.
They stood nowhere
and for something not themselves.

When the winds swallowed them,
they could taste their souls in their mouths.

Red Birds at Law Building, A Poem by Jason Morgan

In Arts & Letters, Creative Writing, Humanities, Poetry, Writing on October 15, 2014 at 8:45 am

Jason Morgan is a New Orleans native and grew up mostly in Louisiana and Tennessee. He attended the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga (BA, History and International Studies) and the University of Hawai’i-Manoa (MA, Asian Studies: China focus), and is now ABD at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (Japanese history). He has attended or conducted research at Nagoya University of Foreign Studies, Nagoya University, Yunnan University in Kunming, PRC, and the University of Texas-San Antonio. He’s currently on a Fulbright grant researching Japanese legal history at Waseda University in Tokyo. His topics include case law during the Taishou Period, and the broad contexualization of the Tokyo War Crimes Trial.  His scholarly work has appeared, or is scheduled to appear, in Modern Age (on American labor history), Japan Review (two reviews of Japanese history monographs), Education About Asia (two reviews of Japanese history textbooks), Human Life Review (on Griswold v. Connecticut; review of book on Catholics and abortion), Metamorphoses (translation of Tanizaki Jun’ichirou’s Randa no Setsu), Southeast Review of Asian Studies (on Japanese translation work), and in book form (two translations of Mizoguchi Yuuzou on Chinese intellectual history; translation of Ono Keishi on Japanese military financing in WWI and during the Siberian Intervention). He has also written for the College Fix and College Insurrection.

Red Birds at Law Building

It is astonishing that we
live in the same world, yet in two
I see the same things that they see,
do (almost) everything they do

but they sit on a sill and sing
outside today’s exam in law:
these are two very different things,
two very different kinds of awe

Pantry, 1982

In Arts & Letters, Creative Writing, Humanities, Poetry, Writing on July 30, 2014 at 8:45 am

Allen 2

 

This poem first appeared in The Echo.

 

A box of cereal, stale, ants running

Up the side, two brown bananas that

 

He says cleanse the pores

(If rubbed thoroughly),

 

An unwrapped chocolate bar

And a plethora of cans, unopened:

 

In a locked pantry, Little Maddy sits

Plucking the stems

 

Off Granny-Smiths. Just ten more

Minutes. Maddy, weary, wondering

 

Just when daddy would come home.

Time: the pantry is unlocked

 

And out comes light

And apples and, lastly, Maddy.

 

Daddy reaches

For the two rotting bananas,

 

Notes can upon unopened can,

Unwraps the chocolate bar,

 

Smears chocolate on his fingers,

Stops, thinks how unlikely it is

 

For apples to lose their stems.



Lines to Holmes

In America, Arts & Letters, Creative Writing, Humanities, Jurisprudence, Law, Law-and-Literature, Literature, Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., Poetry, Writing on May 14, 2014 at 8:45 am

Allen 2

Lines to Holmes

A canon of rules and principles,

embodied in individual cases,

aggregated by judges

from different courts

and with different ranks,

makes up the common law system.

Perhaps the better way to put it

is that the common law is a canon

unto itself.

Rules and principles

that regulate people

are always engaged in a struggle for existence,

always subject to challenge and subversion

by the trends and movements of culture.

Tested by their ability

to obtain to society

and to yield constructive results,

they compete with one another

and become canonized

only if they prove

fit to survive the test of time,

the onslaught of new technologies,

which necessitate new approaches

to lawyering.

This is the law of the law

today as always.

Flash

In Arts & Letters, Creative Writing, Humanities, Poetry, Writing on December 4, 2013 at 8:45 am

Allen 2

This poem first appeared here in The Aroostook Review.

 

Photograph in a Bar, Washington, D.C.

 

The guy in the foreground is Quint

my friend tells me

pointing to and holding

a photograph at arm’s length.

Behind Quint, on the table

two Bud Light bottles sweat

in sticky puddles, framing

a fluorescent margarita.

In Quint’s hand: a cell phone.

There’s a purse on the table

no girl to claim it

just an empty barstool

and silhouettes

of nameless faces

filling dark spaces.

Service in St. Paul’s

In Arts & Letters, Creative Writing, Creativity, Humanities, Literature, Poetry, Writing on November 6, 2013 at 8:45 am

Allen 2

 

This poem originally appeared in The Echo.

Service in St. Paul’s

 

            —London, 2003

 

Acrophobia turned

upside down:

fear floating away,

gravity deciding

to suddenly

give up.

 

There’s a dome

overhead, a glowing

Jesus over the altar,

and too much space

to pray

comfortably.

 

Imagination

among the scaffolding,

eye to eye with Joseph,

now falling facing up:

heaven does

not seem so high.

Pantry, 1982

In Arts & Letters, Creative Writing, Humanities, Poetry, Writing on July 24, 2013 at 8:45 am

Allen Mendenhall

 

A box of cereal, stale, ants running

Up the side, two brown bananas that

 

He says cleanse the pores

(If rubbed thoroughly),

 

An unwrapped chocolate bar

And a plethora of cans, unopened:

 

In a locked pantry, Little Maddy sits

Plucking the stems

 

Off Granny-Smiths.  Just ten more

Minutes.  Maddy, weary, wondering

 

Just when daddy would come home.

Time: the pantry is unlocked

 

And out comes light

And apples and, lastly, Maddy.

 

Daddy reaches

For the two rotting bananas,

 

Notes can upon unopened can,

Unwraps the chocolate bar,

 

Smears chocolate on his fingers,

Stops, thinks how unlikely it is

 

For apples to lose their stems.

Hunting: A Poem

In Arts & Letters, Creative Writing, Humanities, Poetry, Writing on September 5, 2012 at 8:45 am

Allen Mendenhall

The following poem first appeared here in Arator.

Hunting

The deer, leaned over, frightens

at the sound of the crack,

the broken stick beneath his  hoofs

or the hunter’s feet.

Wagging his tongue in the  moonlight,

shaking his fist at the sky,

the hunter loses choice and  chance.

A moment later

it would have been gunfire:

the sound

either unreal or untrue

that cannot be heard

except by the living.

A crisp cool tug of air,

like the long drag of a  cigarette,

wisps across the earth,

slaps him  in his face,

reminds him

of the coming cancer.

He looks through the sights, down  the barrel,

and fires at the nothing that’s there

to kill the something that is,

the sum of his existence,

and ours:

hope and truth.

“The Glass Eye,” A Poem by Amy Susan Wilson

In Arts & Letters, Creative Writing, Creativity, Poetry, Writing on August 22, 2012 at 8:45 am

Amy Susan Wilson is a writer living in Shawnee, Oklahoma. She holds an M.F.A. from Columbia University and her work has appeared in the Southern Literary Review, Southern Women’s Review, Red River Review, and other journals.

The Glass Eye

Acting like you come

to pet my dog Bullet

No Sir Little Missy

you come to lookit

the quarter-sized hole

in my head

where my glass eye lives.

 

‘Jack in the Box Joe’

I call him.

Pops just like Jack

out of his tin box,

or dentures

From my mouth.

Hold out your hand

I’ll drop him to your palm

go on

he won’t bite.

 

Girl, slow your jabbering down.

Did Jack in the Box Joe

ever fall out my head

when he wasn’t supposed to?

 

Three springs back

Tornado Juanita

drove trucks, trailers

Big Lots!

ten counties over;

that wind a noodler’s arm

yanking Joe out my socket,

Joe a catfish

bunkered deep the nest

of my skull.

 

Campground Twelve,

Lake Shawnee,

Jack in the Box Joe plunked

Right smack that

memory foam posture pedic queen

lodged the top

an old oak.

 

Last June

International Youth Rodeo Finals,

lost my eyeball

Expo building.

 

Youth barrel racing

starting up–

old Joe roll behind a saddle stall,

a miracle that loudspeaker,

            Rodeo fans

            we got us one navy purse

            an eyeball turned in

            Anyone missing an eye

            Or lady’s purse

            Go left of Roy’s Funnel Cakes

            Right of Connie’s Chicken Gizzard Wagon;

            Again, anyone lost an eyeball

            Assert to Rodeo lost and found.

 

Jack in the Box Joe

plopped back in

that empty space

in my head

Joe all grateful,

sputters a little

            Thanks Man,

Joe going hippie

on me

sometimes.

 

Do I have to clean him

since he’s made of glass?

Windex, a paper towel

spit-shines Joe

clear as a prize blue marble

or show Corvette.

 

How did I get the nickname

“Eyeball-Satellite?”

Joe and me

we spot rain

good as a NASA satellite.

Rain, sleet twenty counties away,

the glass eye twitches.

 

If Jack in the Box Joe

knew stocks like he knows rain

I’d be rich  

as Wal-Mart clan,

Bentonville area.

 

Did you know Alice Walton

got herself a DUI

Christmas 2012?

Forth Worth ranch,

I-35.

Miss Alice

coulda splatted

like a water bug,

liquor a respecter

of no one.

 

Watch Little Miss Amy Susan;

My eye’s gonna twitch.

Rain our way come this hour.

Best to scoot on home

eat your Mama’s

corndog, okra supper.

 

Oh foo and poo

fiddle stickers to boot,

you think I could make this up?

Joe and me

got to feed Bullet his Purina

I mix with a little Swanson’s

scoot home girl–

beat the rain,

don’t forget

to count your blessings

for all you have.   

“Bottle Tree,” A Poem by Amy Susan Wilson

In Arts & Letters, Creative Writing, Humanities, Poetry, Writing on August 15, 2012 at 8:45 am

Amy Susan Wilson is a writer living in Shawnee, Oklahoma. She holds an M.F.A. from Columbia University and her work has appeared in the Southern Literary Review, Southern Women’s Review, Red River Review, and other journals.

Bottle Tree

My Nanna’s backyard elm

outfitted with blue, red

green glass bottles

tied with chicken wire the width

of a hen’s beak

to each branch.

 

            Scarin’ crows away,

Gram’s explained.

Wind chimes hung like gaudy ear bobs

from lobes of lower branches:

a lady bug with silver spoons,

that copper kettle adorned with

aqua beads, a faded red tin cup,

the kind hobos carry

while riding the rail.

 

Each sunset

those Blue Nun bottles

soft purple

like a mood ring

or Goddess moon from Jupiter.

          Mama back at Griffin,

I’d sigh,

run my palm

down the spine

of charcoal bark.

 

I never told Nanna,

kids at school

just Ruby-Lucille

me winning

a big red Escalade

Firelake Casino

someday I would—

 

Mama and me

we’d chomp green M&Ms

all the way to California,

big blue ice chest

the kind with wheels

loaded with biscuits

Pepsi, Paydays

strawberry ice cream bars galore.

 

Grams calls Griffin

          A  nerve hospital

           A mini-vacation from life.

 

Church ladies whisk

meatloaf

salisbury steak

Sunday afternoons,

          Grams too old to handle a child

          This stage of life

          All by herself.

 

Always,

Mrs. Harlan Dodge Simpson

presses a green bean casserole,

Old Testament

coloring book

to my palms

 

lambs, cows

slaughtered on an altar,

carnation red crayon

for blood

twelve pack Crayola.

           

Ruby Lucille always waits,

backyard,

those bottles

clink like diamond bracelets

TV stars load their arms with.

          “Well Lady Bug,

          A fine plan

          You and your Mama,

          Heading to L.A.

          Someday,”     

Ruby Lucille whispers

in her bottle tree language,

Ruby Lucille

never laughing

never  letting on.

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