Today’s poet is Christa Forster, a colleague whom I admire very much for her tremendous use of innovation in the classroom and for her ability to sustain an artistic career while teaching full-time and managing a household and family. She’s an inspiration to me.
Here’s her official bio: Christa Forster is a writer, teacher and performer living in Houston, TX. She earned her MFA from the University of Houston’s Creative Writing Program and is the recipient of several Individual Artist Grants from City of Houston through Houston Arts Alliance. Information about her most recent work can be found at http://ysidora.wordpress.com.
In a mildewy booth, I drain Lone Stars
with a sculptor named Nestor and listen
to a local band thrashing in the rear
room. We’re bored. Nestor knows a spot —
an abandoned incinerator — you
have got to see this place, he says. We take
my Datsun to some forsaken ash-
wracked shell, spare boxcars stranded on broken
rails, weeds looming like The Dream. Near midnight
we’ve found the apocalyptic garden.
Nestor shows me the burnt out heart
of the place — scorched black swath
smearing a white concrete wall: trash
theater, he calls it. Who knows what type
of carcinogens still haunt this stage?
We leave and hit a bar that sells wine
after last call, drive 288 South to Surfside.
Dow Chemical dominates the shore.
Ditching our clothes, we rush the sea
blue as our tongues. Luminous plankton
galaxies surround us, shooting stars
within waves. Nestor cradles my body.
In the spangled darkness I can’t feel where
my own skin ends, where salt water begins.
After a spell, we’re wiped and return
to the car. When I flick on headlights
we’re shocked by hundreds of beached fish
littering the shore, looking dead, their slick
white bellies glinting in the quartz-halogen gaze.
Where did they come from? Nestor wants to drive.
I tell him I can do it. The wheels bump
over bodies as we head home.