Hey there. Have you all written a poem or two in honor of April, National Poetry Month? Maybe you’ve attended a poetry reading? (I know some of you have, because I saw you at mine a few weeks ago. Thanks!) Or maybe you’ve gone out and purchased a book of poetry, thereby doing your small part to help stimulate the economy? No? Hmm…we can fix that…
Go out and support a local independent bookstore this week by purchasing a book from them, ideally (since it’s still April), a book of poems. If you don’t like to read poetry yourself, then get one as a gift for someone who does. And for the next week or so, you can even find copies of one of my chapbooks of poetry, still available till the end of month, at Brazos Bookstore in Houston. Here’s their website: www.brazosbookstore.com. (Perhaps if sales of it go well this month they’ll want to keep featuring it on their shelves. Wouldn’t that be nice? It could happen.)
The chapbook they have in stock right now will likely be out of print soon, so this might be one of your last chances to find it anywhere. It’s entitled Barefoot on Marble: Twenty Poems, 1995-2001. I thought, for this weekend’s post, it might be nice to share with you a sampling from this volume. Back in the late 90’s when I was living part of every year in Los Angeles, I had written a short series of poems which my friend and poetry colleague Greg Rea had dubbed “mermaid lit.”; this is one of the poems from that series, a sestina. (And because of the vagaries of WordPress formatting, I’ve placed an asterisk each time there’s a stanza break, just to make it clear. Sorry I had to do that, and if you WordPress bloggers out there know how to insert a space-break on here without having the formatting ripped out when the post gets published, I’d love the guidance. Thanks.)
Moving to Green Rain Island, Your Home
We’ve been sitting on the bed
in the place where it rains
every afternoon as a part
of the natural order of things.
The afternoons become evenings
quickly here under the rainy sky.
I recall an afternoon when a green sky
made me want to crawl into bed
and wait for the dark, wet evening
to clean the greenness away with rain.
The sky-light washed all of our things
in a pale green bath, and a part
of me wished we could make a departure
from this place, jump into the wet sky,
leaving all our things
in the house, piled on our bed
in case rains swallowed the land. Blanket-cocooned, I trembled for rain
to wash the daylight out of the evening
air, but the green tint slid even
onto the darkness, partially
dripped in sheets by the rain,
partially a reflection on the sky
of the wet trees. The window by the bed
shook with the wind, and little things
started to scare me. I packed a few things
into a satchel in case we left for the evening
to sleep in your old bed
at your parents’ house. They were never a part
of the plan, but even I could not resist the sky’s
thundering, the ugly greenness of rain.
Now, wrapped in the blanket, we watch the rain
dripping rivers on the window. You reassure me our things
will be safe in this house, under this sky,
under our bed, and that we will stay home all evening.
I’m not wild about the weather here, but I guess it’s part
and parcel of being with you, together in this bed,
in this house, under this rainy sky,
on an island where people leave their things under their beds
and the evening is part of the afternoon.