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Thread: Wikileaks and Poetry

  1. #141
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    Mar 2008
    If you liked the poem, "Shirt", you might like to see and hear the poet, Joseph Millar, by clicking on -

  2. #142
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    Mar 2008


    From, "Shirts", to, "Catfish" -


    The catfish have the night,
    but I have patience
    and a bucket of chicken guts.
    I have canned corn and shad blood.
    And I've nothing better to do
    than listen to the water's riffled dark
    spill into the deep eddy
    where a '39 Ford coupe
    rests in the muck-bottom.

    The dare growing up:
    to swim down with pliers
    for the license plates,
    corpse bones, a little chrome . . .
    But even on the clearest days,
    even when the river runs low and clean,
    you can't see it,
    though you can often nearly see
    the movement of hair.

    I used to move through my days
    as someone agreeable
    to all the gears
    clicking in the world.
    I was a big clumsy Yes
    tugged around by its collar.
    Yes to the mill, yes to the rain,
    yes to what passed
    for fistfights and sex, yes
    to all the pine boards of thought
    waiting around for the hammer.

    The catfish have the night
    and ancient gear oil for blood,
    they have a kind of greased demeanor
    and wet electricity
    that you can never boil out of them.

    The catfish have the night,
    but I have the kind of patience
    born of indifference and hate.

    Maybe the river and I share this.

    Maybe the obvious moon
    that bobs near the lip of the eddy
    is really a pocket watch
    having finally made its way downstream
    from what must have been
    a serious accident—
    the station wagon and its family
    busting the guardrail,
    the steering wheel jumping
    into the man's chest,
    his pocket watch hurtling
    through the windshield
    and into the river.

    Wind the hands in one direction
    and see into the exact moment of your death.

    Wind them the other way
    and see all the tiny ways
    you've already died—

    I'm going to put this in my breast pocket
    just as it is. Metal heart
    that will catch the stray bullet
    in its teeth.

    I chum the water, I thread the barb.
    I feel something move in the dark.

    - Michael McGriff.

  3. #143
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    Mar 2008


    Here is the poet, Michael McGriff, just click on -


  4. #144
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    Mar 2008
    So many poems, so many bees -

    Winter Bees


    Very deep,
    very mobile
    the swarm-song
    sounds in my chest:
    not a beat, not breath

    but an older music
    when a head
    turns on a pillow
    or hips lift—

    one gesture becoming another
    in the room
    where a shoulder moves
    close, moves away
    uncovering a picture-window

    filled with blossom-streaks,
    pale trailers
    that might be rain
    or flight,
    but these are flowers—

    swarming white and eager
    on dark branches,
    while the Airbus
    shakes the glass.


    Rises from long grass
    to make a mouth between the trees
    rising and opening
    as if it will never be done

    when it opens its dark mouth
    breathing and rising
    sound filling the space of sound
    mostly secret most necessary

    trembling and calling
    itself out of the dark
    ceaselessness of itself
    unendingly re-forming

    dark in the darkened clearing
    between the maize headlands and trees
    with the evening gathering
    in the long grass—

    Bee Samā

    If God were a limitless geometry,
    that perfection world
    reaches clumsily over itself
    to articulate—
    If he could be glimpsed in the pattern
    of limitless addition
    but were not that pattern, beautiful
    though the turquoises
    and greens of the glazed tiles are,
    so beautiful
    that the eye swoons, dropping through endless form
    into form—If God
    were neither principle nor dream, resting
    his cheek on the earth
    for a moment you might have imagined,
    a gift of pure grace
    from a Perfection that is bodiless
    here and everywhere,
    bees could be his servants and prophets,
    demonstrating beauty
    is a kind of humility—
    Tonight, they offer us
    the hive's aroma.

    In the Karst

    Here: that old cult—
    boards bleaching
    in couch grass
    on highlands
    where no-one goes
    along the limestone runnels
    above ruined farms—
    Remember secrets,
    and abandoned hulls
    that turn nailed flanks to the sun,
    in a murmur of bees,
    bees flecking the air
    their hum a rumour—
    old tunes—

    Winter Bees

    Every year
    the weak January sun
    brings bumblebees
    nudging and thudding against the wood
    of my work shed—
    which must smell good, some old pine sweetness
    soft in the grain
    under the blue cracked paint, a blue
    miracle sky.
    Still, this banality moves us—
    a small spring
    resurrection, in the time
    just before spring.

    What tender precision
    directs each bee
    to our recurring conversation,
    its compass set
    by the sun's enormous arc?
    The bee Christ
    wears his crown of gilt and mourning,
    of the winter swarm. Out
    of strength came forth
    sweetness. Our dark
    hearts are hives.

    - Fiona Sampson.

  5. #145
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    Mar 2008
    If you like bees, here is the poet, Fiona Sampson, just click on -

    Or if you want more of our poet, Fiona Sampson, please click on -

  6. #146
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    Mar 2008
    Sent by a person or persons unknown to the Oz Branch of Wikileaks, Poetry Section, redacted last night to ensure no poet, no muse, and no poetaster lost their life when we published it here today -

    The Second Slaughter

    Achilles slays the man who slew his friend, pierces the corpse
    behind the heels and drags it
    behind his chariot like the cans that trail
    a bride and groom. Then he lays out
    a banquet for his men, oxen and goats
    and pigs and sheep; the soldiers eat
    until a greasy moonbeam lights their beards.

    The first slaughter is for victory, but the second slaughter is for grief—
    in the morning more animals must be killed
    for burning with the body of the friend. But Achilles finds
    no consolation in the hiss and crackle of their fat;
    not even heaving four stallions on the pyre
    can lift the ballast of his sorrow.

    And here I turn my back on the epic hero—the one who slits
    the throats of his friend's dogs,
    killing what the loved one loved
    to reverse the polarity of grief. Let him repent
    by vanishing from my concern
    after he throws the dogs onto the fire.
    The singed fur makes the air too difficult to breathe.

    When the oil wells of Persia burned I did not weep
    until I heard about the birds, the long-legged ones especially
    which I imagined to be scarlet, with crests like egrets
    and tails like peacocks, covered in tar
    weighting the feathers they dragged through black shallows
    at the rim of the marsh. But once

    I told this to a man who said I was inhuman, for giving animals
    my first lament. So now I guard
    my inhumanity like the jackal
    who appears behind the army base at dusk,
    come there for scraps with his head lowered
    in a posture that looks like appeasement
    though it is not.

    - Lucia Perillo.

  7. #147
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    Mar 2008
    If you liked the poem, "The Second Slaughter", or just the alliteration, you might like to see the poet, Lucia Perillo, by clicking on -

  8. #148
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    Mar 2008
    Found at the usual dead drop -


    Because I could be written anywhere,
    I loved the hard surface of the blade,
    my name carved into barn doors, desktops,
    the peeled face of a shag-bark hickory.
    I pressed my whole weight into it, letters

    grooved deep as the empty
    field rows along Tri-Lakes where I'd seen
    my cousin Nick buried in ground so hard
    they had to heat the dirt with lamps
    before they could dig. I gutted squirrels

    my grandmother fried, hanging
    skins from the window,
    and with the same knife gouged a B
    at the base of the frozen creek bank,
    the season breaking

    like the rose our teacher, Miss Jane,
    dipped in nitrogen so it would shatter.
    There were more atoms, she claimed,
    in the letter O, than people in the entire state.
    I could feel God inside that letter,

    the vast sky refigured, buds scrawled
    on the black limbs of trees.
    Trucks carried spring feed down
    Highway 9 as I wove through headstones,
    tracing names in the late frost,

    looking for Nick's plot
    with the wax white roses,
    his lucky fishing lure. I could sense
    him down there, satin-lined,
    curled like the six-toed cat

    we'd found bloated in the creek, alive
    with lice and maggots. Sometimes
    I was sure I could hear him, restless,
    waiting for me, the Wabash
    pushing its icy waters, my tongue

    humming with the fizz. It never ended,
    that stretch of road snaking back home
    like an artery through my own heart
    where an owl gripped a rat in its claw
    over I-80. I'd put my hands in my pockets

    and walk, dreaming of the places I'd go,
    the things I'd do, the dump rising
    to meet me at the edge of town,
    chrome bumpers twisted as the owner
    himself, withered arm swinging a fist.

    I waited for something to escape—
    mouse darting from a glove box, oil
    from a cracked sump. I could stand
    on a crushed Chevy, feeling it all
    thaw inside me: asphalt

    and barbed wire, cows and steaming
    pails of milk, even the graveyard
    rising, new stones nursing old griefs,
    slow bones and winter's cherry trees
    making their long walk to leaf.

    - Bruce Snider.

  9. #149
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    Mar 2008


    If you liked the poem, "Epitaph", you might like to see and hear the poet, Bruce Snider, by clicking on -

  10. #150
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    Mar 2008
    The Spanish connection -

    The Orange Grove, Spain, 2005

    for Bethany

    Pulled over off the highway on a dirt road
    cutting into miles of orange groves, we counted
    one, two, three, before ducking beneath
    a loosened fence line, sure we hadn't been seen.

    Inside the silent orchard, we searched
    for perfect fruit, sun-ripened globes
    glinting in the midday heat, branches bent low
    beneath the weight of what we intended to steal—

    or borrow—we laughed—certain this was a lesson
    we could not pass up. Sitting cross-legged
    in blue shade, we peeled the skins and let them drop
    at our sides. It was then you spoke of him

    more freely than you had before. Distance,
    you said, had begun to blur facial features,
    the dip and rise of his voice on the phone,
    those phrasings you loved, his hands in gesture.

    Four thousand miles west, on a continent
    swung out against a date line, an ocean—
    the cherry blossoms bloomed as if in unison,
    as if to frame the Arlington National,

    those bleach-white graves lined evenly
    along the green he passed each day. His thoughts
    were elsewhere, typing letters late
    at night, telling of his job, the new apartment,

    that place he liked to eat, asking
    about your life there, what you saw,
    who you met in that foreign land where
    the orchards spread out for acres,

    ours dimmed finally in the waning light
    of evening. And walking back to the car,
    smiling, tired—we were caught.
    After a few questions, the groundskeeper laughed.

    When we offered to pay, he waved his hand—
    his pardon that abrupt—and then began
    to tell in broken English how each tree
    is planted alone, apart from the others,

    to give it room to grow, he motioned outward,
    a breaststroke in midair, to give it space.
    But—he leaned in, and with fingers intertwined,
    explained that the roots connect

    anyway, that the trees are made sturdier
    because of this. That, even from a distance,
    each grows around another, a strength
    you could not see, but understood immediately.

    - Tori Sharpe.

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