In January, we headed south.
First, a road trip, then a new place to live…
Never eat Chinese food
in Birmingham, Alabama was
one lesson learned.
At our destination, each of our myths,
so carefully curried, was sucked
into February, then disassembled
and poured, like an old man’s ashes,
into April’s mud puddles.
Unlike dear Lazarus, these were
ashes never to be resurrected.
There wasn’t enough love
in all of the world to make them
whole and bring them back to us.
Another lesson learned:
Sometimes smoke does not
indicate a fire.
We watched the souls of our loved ones
flow steadily from stubby Palmettos and
were introduced to insects larger than our
imaginations. Once, we saw geese in the sky
coming towards us and, once, in a park,
a swan bit my bare heel. The mark looked
a little like a lipstick imprint on the edge
of a glass. When I wrote to a friend
to tell her about the swan, she giggled,
“They are mean little fuckers, aren’t they?”
We felt 1000 spirits in the south, pleading
for bodies, longing to extend themselves
as soon as the signal was given. While we
waited for pulled pork at a barbeque joint,
the twilight grew gray and empty
and heat-treated rain began to fall.
Something about the atmosphere made me
feel tangled and more shy than ever. The
nights were ripe with nightmares and
visits from my dead father. The air…something…
In July, in yet another new rental, Barbara Goldberg’s
words sang out in every room: “The world is ripe with calamity,”
she said in a steady alto. Once the entire apartment
was taken over by beige and gray, we made our decisions
and drove back to Los Angeles—unfiltered, certain.
Martina Reisz Newberry is the author of 6 books of poetry. Her most recent book is BLUES FOR FRENCH ROAST WITH CHICORY, available from Deerbrook Editions. She is the author of NEVER COMPLETELY AWAKE (from Deerbrook Editions), and TAKE THE LONG WAY HOME (Unsolicited Press). She is also the author of WHERE IT GOES (Deerbrook Editions). LEARNING BY ROTE (Deerbrook Editions) and RUNNING LIKE A WOMAN WITH HER HAIR ON FIRE: Collected Poems (Red Hen Press). She has been included in “The Sixty Four Best Poets of 2018” (Black Mountain Press/The Halcyone Magazine editorial staff). Newberry has been included in As It Ought to Be, Big Windows, Courtship of Winds, The Cenacle, Cog, Futures Trading, and many other literary magazines in the U.S. and abroad. Her work is included in the anthologies Marin Poetry Center Anthology, Moontide Press Horror Anthology, A Decade of Sundays: L.A.’s Second Sunday Poetry Series-The First Ten Years, In The Company Of Women, Blessed Are These Hands and Veils, and Halos & Shackles: International Poetry on the Oppression and Empowerment of Women. She has been awarded residencies at Yaddo Colony for the Arts, Djerassi Colony for the Arts, and Anderson Center for Disciplinary Arts. Passionate in her love for Los Angeles, Martina currently lives there with her husband, Brian, a Media Creative.