Ashes

Harried by the orange digits on the dashboard, I leaned in around the steering wheel, up too close to cars in front, ripped past gnarled clearcut patches. My ferry reservation crumpled in my hand five miles before I waived it at the ticket clerk– ‘I’ve got to get to a funeral!’   The ferry rolled forward in the sun, chased …

Baker City, Oregon

Young girls make me smile And cry at the same time They are a bundle of dynamite And a hurricane rolled into One But she just sits with a Book as we’re passing By a river She reads while I look at that Redhead of hair she owns I think about her perfect tits Hiding under her t-shirt I want …

Barbara Tramonte, Featured Author

The Students Write Poems for Their Teacher   The students write poems like they are painting in the filtered dust of a late-night studio. They fling glorious globs of paint on a canvas they imagine.   It is abstract. It is realistic. It is impressionistic.   They don’t need to find language; the paint will do it for them. Yellow …

Evolution

it’s in the way Glenn Gould’s lips move around the notes sound reaching out into air, just beyond him he must catch it draw it back into his body tight and bent   in the attack of even the most piano of pianos which bores down center lost and falling and weighted then flits out, released from the dark, the …

Ars Poetica

                                                “‘but painters and poets Always have had the right to dare anything.’             We know and claim that right, and grant it in turn.”             —Quintus Horatius Flaccus   A pale arm rises from the marsh, point up, presents a sword to the dreamer. The dreamer grasps the blade with both hands. Blood spreads in the bog—stirs …

Mentorship

My student sits in the armchair facing mine. He seems to listen raptly as I babble on, losing control of my syntax: my words spool forth, but lose their interconnections, as with rising dismay I realize I have no idea what I’m talking about.   No, that’s not quite true: I have an idea, a good one, but as I …

School House Perspective

The white school house, covered with years of coal dust, looks so much smaller now. A rusty flag pole, white when it adorned, lies among the busted mine machines that cover the grounds once for play. The mine gone, the coal trucks only noisy ghosts in my mind, can I have lived here? Its little flat spot up against the …

Gay Baines

Hurricane Girl   The hurricane expert talked of wind speeds, probable damage, sweeping his left hand over a map of the East Coast. Behind him, in another room, in silence, a girl in a red shirt, her dark hair a ponytail, gazed raptly before her, her profile so still I thought she was perhaps a picture.   As I watched, …

If You Make It Through December

Cruel April, February crueler yet: Weary end of winter dark persisting, The shortest month drags long along Exhausted banks of brick-red mud-stained snow, Crocuses entombed in superseding snowdrifts; Spring robins held at bay by croaking crows. The wind increasing, dark, and groundhog cold, All to mock December’s bargain that the gleam Of solstice bonfires will hasten back the sun.   …

Shoreline

The evening beryl blue A wavy horizon puffing out clouds Sanguine in her lasting coffers My heart lies silent at the bottom Of the jar of peace. Ears lounge on sand, Coarse as they may be Toting cottony waves And their aimless niveous roars The wind lifts my hair Levity sinks in the sand A shell upturned, burnishing a golden …

Night Travel

Curving, climbing, descending On steel tracks, the moon keeping pace,   While in ten thousand little towns The sleepers sleep in the earth.   In ten thousand furious days,   Men, machines, explosives Blast through the mountains,   Hard labor building highways: The age Of the motorcar has come and must   Be accommodated. But there are No real rules …

Not Birdwatching

Only the best trickster gods have wings. Beating away at the dried browned grass, they knead the air and earth together in the stone bowl of a yeasty, wet spring, fooling us with movement and stories that only let us see shadowy parts of things.   There are layers and layers of air and birdsong and grass that only a …