Sunday, January 20, 2013

Sample Poems: Volume 32, Numbers 1 and 2

Local News
By Charles Edward Mann

Kindled, the fire fed itself,
seething, ebullient on blistered wood,

fuming and reeking in the humid night.
The crimson sky above the house

pinwheeled and snapped in shingle
blast, roof twist,

the blaze of burning air.
At the head of the stairs

three small boys,
Jontae, Andre, Fontel,

held each other
and screamed. Transcalent,

the steps sagged and gave way.
Illuminate and hot blooded,

their tiny hearts were cauterized.
But on their mother’s tongue

their names remain
as vowels, incombustible.

For the Last Catamount
By Ralph Culver

The round, descending
eye of fire narrows down
the gunsight valley.
A hawk hangs perfectly still,
then sheers toward the river.

Day-heavy, lazing
on a warming rock, the gold
head of teeth and thick-
lidded opals shifts, yawning
under the sun’s attentions.

Her paws go soft now.
She dozes. Skirling blackflies
and the quick water’s
reassuring purl meld to
a rustle of parting growth.

She recognizes
what can only be summoned
in dreams: his likeness
driven from and nearing her.
He stands in wait by the trees.

Night and hunger, one
being, will fall soon enough,
patiently hunting
the mouth of the river to
follow the valley upstream.

She wakens without
expectation. Water, kill,
sleep, the passing light—
the labors of a daily
birth, in a world of endings.

Heuristics, Not Facts
By William Doreski

Two weeks before Easter, John Milton
haunts me, his big square head
popping up like a crocus,
his copy of Paradise Regained,
worn out by handling but unseen
in his blindness, thrust before me

like a dead tongue lolling. The light,
Einstein noted, moves in waves
but also composes itself
in particles. A heuristic,
he said, not a fact. A way
of thinking, not a finished thought.

Einstein should meet John Milton
in a churchyard in the Cotswold
where tourists snap digital
photos of mossy gravestones,
catching the wave. Milton would note
the timbre of Einstein’s accent

and decide from which German city
he derives. Einstein would note
the oceanic feeling embossed
in Milton’s bedrock countenance
and realize that converting him
to the terms of quantum physics

would require more energy
than a solar year produces.
Two weeks before Easter I’m sure
I believe neither that Jesus rose
nor that light makes both particles
and waves. Ecumenical

to the core, I reject history,
myth, and physics, and focus
on the next opening of the door,
on whether Milton reappears,
or Einstein, or maybe Freud stroking
his terrible pubic beard,

or Darwin come to observe
my mating or lack of mating
habits. I have to stop reading
the books that have fractured me
into prismatic colors
too distinct to ever rejoin

the plain white flow of photons
Milton lost when he lost his sight.
At least he saved himself from theses
like Newton’s, Darwin’s, and Einstein’s—
page after page darkening the world
like dusty Venetian blinds.

1 comment:

  1. I L-O-V-E this poem. It captures the sense of loss learning exacts!
    Patricia Gray