Speak the Language of the Land is the first of what will be an annual showcase of talented poets, presented by the Lummox Press in conjunction with The LUMMOX Poetry Anthology and the Angela Consolo Mankiewicz Poetry Prize(courtesy of the estate of Angela C. Mankiewicz and her husband, Richard Mankiewicz).
Swing clarinet blinks neon in a foggy afternoon.
Black wings take to the carmine sky. A cry rises
loud enough to be heard on the other side.
Flash of black limbs spread deep into ruddy earth.
Another son dead 50 years before his time. Another
Mama looking hard for some good to find.
A spontaneous wail stretches from the golden gate
to the one made of pearl. Despair travels a highway
that ends in unfriendly waves.
Either way, waters cold or warm still drown the same.
Every mothers’ sun rises on a world black with pain.
Every breath becomes a sob.
Every mothers’ son lucky each day he doesn’t die.
Flesh like Black Palm. Skin like Walnut.
Every time another son gone
every mother joins in the silent sigh.
Nothing as cold as a summertime rain.
Cruising the Alameda
After hearing Douglas Kearney’s “Alameda Street”
Down on Alameda, close to Azcarate, a 1955 Bel Aire. A stretch of chrome splits pink from white, ends in fins.
The color of Bazooka, that gum wrapped in a comic,
goofy boy’s face covered by a turtleneck.
A bass beat from a purple T-bird rattles storefront windows.
Good boys pretend to be bad, white cotton shirt over khakis,
almost a uniform. Pack of Lucky Strikes in rolled up sleeve,
sleek groomed hair.
Grandmas cross themselves, not sure if the bad boys just pretend. Intimidated bookkeepers on their way to work lock the car doors. Attracted, but not fast or loose, secretaries check their lipstick,
touch their hair, flash big I-Love-Lucy smiles.
If I Daddy hears me laugh louder than Bobby Fuller on the radio I get, What did your mama tell you before she let you come along, baby? What she always says, I chime, be a little lady. I look down, imagine white patent leather shoes,
pink flowers on an Easter hat bobbing in time to rock and roll,
scalloped anklets embroidered with tulips. I repent laughing too loud,
still looking at the boys in the corner crowd. Eyes on my tennie shoes,
I hum along with the radio and vow,
When I grow up, I’m going to laugh out loud. When I’m full grown,
I’m going to brag of how I cruised the Alameda in a bubblegum car,
speaking Spanish to Daddy, English to Mama, and Spanglish to friends.
All the time loving the drama of bad, bad boys.
Your smell is a glove
That splash of secret smile, so rare, such sweet victory. That flash caught by fluke in response to something I said The Cramps blasting up to the open sky, wintry and hot. The beat takes over my body and the words happen
without premeditation. I need a new wardrobe now. I still feel the flannel gown I had on 20 minutes ago,
the snuffled tears dried by the desert air of my bedroom.
You move fast, both behind the wheel of a car and walking
through a doorway. Christening my lips with something
both sweet and bitter. I caress my face with speckled
knuckles. Your smell is like a glove.
dedicated to Trayvon Martin
focus on Kandinsky’s white dot
let the banality of real disappear
the colors like musical chords
the drama of primary
the black on white of keys
the white dot
it makes everything else black
dark holes envelope the whole
the emptiness of space stretching
from your there to my here
artificial constructs of time and space
memories of colors red and yellow
the impact of light on matter
what matter gives up to the eye
what it keeps for itself is black
black the color of all colors
the white dot in the dark whole
the sound of breath inside your head
imagines you are more than a dream
but your there is only a dream
my here nothing but a dreaM
forget the rules of the academy
there are no rules
forget theory of the iconoclasts
remember Einstein was wrong
there is no theory of everything
everything does not exist
the there and the here
the other there’s and other here’s
this earth spinning in a black void
energy moving through void to place
a truck leaves full of blue Buddhas
music born of an inner necessity
the disappearance of self and other
the meaninglessness of there and here
a white dot in the dark whole
published in BorderSenses 19, 2013
she seeks truth in a boy’s flesh
he has none
nothing subtle nor redemptive
a flame between her eyes
fire at the tip of a spotted nose
burning bush splinters and ash
disconsolate night gives birth to fate
ancient house of cactus and brick
she howls there in the shadows
a starved dog on a hot night
dystopia present tense and here to stay
decay accumulates with every breath
nothing borrowed and nothing new
honest blues buried in the back yard
a stone grave
a brass bowl
an angel carved from a dead tree
her self caught in bad retro porn
The Devil in Miss Jones
no satisfaction to be had
grace and wisdom another myth
the only truth found in a drunk tattoo
sad tequila spit of rain across her face
language no more her gorgeous cloud
no mermaid symphony
no siren song
no wild sweet echoing in the dusk
gentle oasis gone dry too damned fast
his warm flesh now snow cold soon old
a foul shadow left behind to tantalize
time chained and drunk in a pine cave
universe dancing to night’s song
In 2014, Donna Snyder released two books of poetry, Poemas ante el Catafalco: Grief and Renewal (Chimbarazu Press) and I Am South (Virgogray Press). NeoPoiesis Press will publish The Tongue Has Its Secrets in 2016. She coordinates free weekly workshops for the Tumblewords Project, which she founded in 1995.
Einstein’s failed search for the Theory of Everything A truth that mathematically reflects the universe Those poor Platonists so sure that numbers and equations are the true reality behind this pathetic reality we call here and now The ideal realm of which we mere psyches sense nothing but flickers and shadows Those special minds Their beautiful equations bring us multiplicities Multiverses and the immensity of black holes’ negativity A string that leads from this umbilicus mundi to that where sometimes a pipe is not just a pipe And time is not just a moment gone faster than the length of one’s lament