Sunday, January 13, 2013

Sample Poems: Volume 17

The Naming of Rachel
by Shayne Heather Beschta

I have been told that my grandfather
scattered the mark of his shield
over rock all through the back hills of Jumbum
and that no one could claim
my father as his people because
when he was small
he went to the river
and eighteen years later one of the cooks
told him he wasn't born at the mission.
My mother's people are from the Island.
Sometimes after waking I can still
hear her language at the end of my dreams.
At thirteen an old woman
named me for the heron who dances alone.
I danced and danced until I
went away to high school
and learned that a scholarship
wouldn't get me Into crowded halls on Friday nights.
For the first time I did not know the steps.
It took me twenty-seven years to come back
and now I am from my mother's island.
I have learned to dance again
I am Rachel, beloved of God
and I am the heron of this solitude.
Life is difficult, part one
by Peter Bakowski

The heart on my sleeve
is at the dry cleaner's,
a flock of tea-bags
just circled the house
and the kettle won't boll,
says it wants to be
a poet.
Yes, reality's using an egg for a golf ball:
the grandfather clock's
just mounted a skateboard,
the newspapers now say
that the moon is a rumour,
the street-walkers have all
moved to cloud nine,
somebody's got the salad
in a half-nelson,
my goldfish is knitting a watch
and they've brought back the guillotine
for an encore.
I just want to be loved
the way children love puddles:
happy jumping gumboot
in the middle of my face.
I want to sell cans
of Mona Lisa smiles,
I want a diploma
from the wrong side of the tracks,
I want to be allowed
to take my whale
onto the bus...
I just want to sleep,
I just want to sleep:
like a full stop,
like the lost jigsaw puzzle piece,
like the diamond on a widow's hand,
but all I get is
my wallet salivating
to the ringmaster's whip
and my nightmares
shimmying in lame dresses
like Diana Ross and the Supremes
Today in Bosnia
by Peter Bakowski

Today in Bosnia
a man, a prisoner of war,
was made to kneel
and castrate his friend
with his teeth.
in a field
a horse
rubbed the neck of another,
in a kitchen
wrestled with a breadcrumb
and in the trees
God still sang
through the throats of birds.
The gift of walking,
the gift of sleep,
the gift of hope,
the gift of mercy,
take them away
Don't paint
a flower,
paint a fist.
Don't paint
a sky,
paint a scream.
Don't paint
a bird,
paint a man
starved, beaten,
dead in the mud.
Today in Bosnia
a man, a prisoner of war,
was made to kneel down
and castrate his friend
with his teeth.
A dog barks,
a snail continues,
our consciences flap
their polluted wings.
climbing the ladder, this life of broken rungs,
but climbing still,
to tell us
that dreams do not have an easy price
or an ending.

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