Monday, June 16, 2008

"After the River Crests"

I've admired Taylor Graham's poems for several years--she publishes widely--and was happy to buy a copy of her 2005 chapbook, Under the Shuttle, Awake, from Dancing Girl Press.

Nice sepia-tone cover photo byAlaina Burri-Stone; adequate construction (crooked stapling, pages not trimmed) (sorry, but these things matter); pretty good poems. Here are three:


The ones who drowned no longer believe
in luck, the random confluence of details
whereby small, intricately-shaped parts
not intended for each other suddenly fit
together and function. They know
everything is intended: the singing of whisks
and the snick-snick of bolts, the shush
of broomstraws, slip of reels, ratcheting
of gears. They’ve learned how everything
draws to this organ-swell, the everlasting
gravity of water. Their eyes have gone
moist as if with joy as, one by one, they
jump to the hooks, amazed as fish.


Bad dreams pasted the moon upside-down
on the inside of the window.
A sliver moon sharply cut from black and gray
shines above the ancient suck of waves
along the beach, expanses of sand
that once covered dead horses washed up
and left eroding in their natural furrows
as the surf keeps wasting it away.
How terrible the horses with their long necks
pointing out to sea, their snakes of necks not moving.

How can anyone speak of going out
for dinner? Some pricy place
where palm trees hold up the ceiling
and the servers are greasy with prawns.
A tongue is nothing but living muscle
for all its taste of salt.
Here’s this dark box
full of possible pictures. Outside,
the deep sea strikes its light.


Who are you
anyway? he wants to know.

Never answer in your own voice.

The yellow rose unpetals
in its vase.
The table reflects your own
face in its polish. It admits
nothing of itself except
plain wood-grain.
So much is moving underneath
a dinner plate—

in all the world
so many hungers.

Let him talk.


miriam said...

Oh, and Dancing Girl Press just published a chap by one of my friends (i.e. great but vague acquaintances), Leigh Stein, who shares issue #4 of BCR with you.

miriam said...

And long ago I had some poems in a short-lived and iffy magazine that also published photos by Alaina Burri-Stone. The world is miniature more and more. I'm reading this bizarre Samuel Delaney novel, Dark Reflections--totally about pobiz!