Sunday, January 13, 2013

Sample Poems: Volume 16

Cow-Kisses, Confessions, Calamine
by Catherine Hartzel

Doctor-Magistrate of Hygienic Truth
You, Sir, of latex fingers cool and clean, like God's touch,
Find your fallen Magdalene, branded with a crimson rash,
Poison oak or sumac, a snack for a pastured cow-
Yet I will not repent, have no regrets,
Though your pen scrapes a page of "Remarks on the Patient,"
Your countenance as tautly solemn
As it was last Tuesday, when I cradled a toad to my cheek
Contracting dermatitis from his whorled gray skin;
How his pea-sized heart staccatoed, as if he were on interview,
And his face! Imagine a planet peopled with such as him....
Of course I let him go!
Doctor, do you recall the glorious newt I all too briefly knew?
A fire streak in the rock-bottom mud, a lean, wife look-
He could have been a twin to you! I merely stared, close-up
And amazed, while he squirmed in my hand, and no corollary
Can be proven, as you noted yourself,
Between that princely newt and the salmonella
That rendered me limp for a month or two....
Will I be branded outlaw, then, a groveller in the pew...
For what seemed the natural, even godly thing to do:
Kissing that cow's naked pink muzzle
Grasping her bony huge
Head of rough wine-dappled velvet,
Peering into one truculent eye
Made French by its fanciful lashes,
Yes, and swooning, caressing that head
Of the hot leafy breath, the attendant fly or two-
Loving all of surly, swish-tailed Nature as I do...?

Baskile ak Raj
by Patrick Sylvain

Lannuit retounen nan kontan 1
pandan iou kòmanse talonnen lè
ak yon rigol sye k'ap glise sou do
Lawomann. Manchèt man men
yo baskile rapid e pla tè pou yo koupe
kochma. Suk ak wonm.
Anpil lanne mak pla pye labou
plate sou do yo
pandan yo koube pou yo baskile
kont lò siwo blan.
Swinging with Rage
The night returns to its quarters
as the day begins to clock its hours
with glistening sweat on the backs
of cane cutters. Machetes in hand
they swing fast and low cutting
their nightmares. Sugar and rum.
Years of muddy footprints
mark their backs
as they arch to swing
against sweet white gold.

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