Thursday, December 31, 2015

two found poems | assembled from the pages of the new yorker, 2015


#1

Earthlings are fragile, demanding, and germy,
not obviously suited to life elsewhere.

Some people say it's meteorites that fell,
that crashed,
and that this catastrophe splashed up gold.
I don't subscribe to this theory,
but I am sharing it with you.
Now the rivers are polluted and dying,
the government forests cut down,
the groundwater failing.
The river never ended, and the children never grew up.
A time of broken windows.

I daydream about Nancy in my bedroom as I listen to my jazz records:
Dave Brubeck, Chet Baker, the MJQ,
various cool sounds to settle me down.
And yet there's something that I find myself craving these days;
that rude resistance to being sold to,
the insistence that there is, after all, such a thing as selling out.

Sometimes we're knowing about things that we don't know much about at all.


#2

Do not push it with the vegetables.
Those who order the pear-and-kale salad,
curiously wet,
will get what they deserve.
It is unusually barbarous,
and good at Twitter.

Monday, December 21, 2015

christmas dreams | three collages | ron reed


dream one | conception

God spoke.
My own true love.
My chosen.
My handmaid
has silence in her soul, untrammeled love.

A time to be born.
Sudden dive by dream into reality.

I felt
soft inward flutterings,
the Life
trembling through.

Love blooms,
bright and wild.
Veiled in flesh,
Jesus begs to be born,
yields Himself to lie in prison,
in thee;
Yea thou art now thy Maker's maker,
and thy Father's mother;
Thou hast light in dark,
and shuttest in little room
Immensity
cloistered in thy dear womb.

He comes.


dream two | birth

She waits while over there he knocks.
No room.
The steaming dung of beasts, their cloudy breath.
She fought the burning in her eyes.
The straw was cold, and snapped sounding each time
her body rolled.
Be strong as steel lest Joseph sense the pain you feel.
Blood strewn straw...
Father be with us in the ripping dark.
Her knotted string wet hair...
Sweat from trembling lips...
He wrestles straining flesh
To free the stubborn child
From clutching womb
Pushing through
Blood sweat groans
A sword shall pierce

An infant whimper in the dark.
The fresh born king
bewails the warm womb lost,
an earthly roar of flesh and blood;
his hair curly black
eyes closed
His thin legs kick as Joseph
places him in Mary's arms.
Small wonder...
Fingers of a little child uncurling...
The living water cupped at Mary's breast.

He comes.
Love's bloom,
bright and wild.

Unto us a child is born.
Unto us a son is given.


dream three | angels

I dreamed I was
some bird or star
fluttering in woods
or lifted far above this inn.
The triumph of the skies,
wide, wheeling universe;
Reeling Andromeda,
the doubtful Magellanic clouds,
And all the silent dark light years unstrung between.

A dream,
the dark silk of the sky
above the town of Bethlehem.

Lo!

Like flares the angels came,
Brilliant zones of white cold flame shatter this
proud cracked place
like a white blaze, lighting the air all around.
That great arc of angels!
See how their breath doth smoke.
Burning men
In flight with singing star bursts from the hills.
Voices dip and soar like doves;

Fear not!
Glad tidings!
Great joy!

A Kingdom, like a bride adorned, descends.
The reign of darkness ends.
He comes.
The wildest miracle of them all.

a child's christmas in texas | john henry faulk



One day after Christmas down in Texas, it was a cold and bitter day, I picked up a little boy about twelve years old in my car. Cheerful, his smile fairly warmed the car up and took the chill off the day, his whole body radiated joy.

And he said, "D'you see Sandy Claus yesterdee?"

And I says, "Yeah, he came up to our place."

He says, "Boy, we had the wonderfullest Christmas in the whole Newnited States America at our house. You know, Sandy Claus never did come out to our place before this. Nine us childern, and Papa says he reckons old Sandy Claus is skeert
to come out there and park them reindeer around cause somebody's liable to steal one and butcher it fore he can get away with it.

Papa's always jokin like that, but here just before Christmas time last week, well, Papa got word that they was givin things away in town for people that wasn't gonna have no Christmas, that Sandy Claus was gonna leave somethin with the Shriners or somebody like that, Salvation Army, and if ye go in town you could git it. So he hooked up the mules day before yesterdee on Christmas Eve. He told us Now don't go gettin all upset and tore up about this because they might not be a thing to it, I aint sure I'm gonna bring nothin back. But shuckins, we couldn't hardly wait, boy, we couldn't git our minds on playin nothin else you know, we just kept lookin up the lane, waitin for that wagon team to come back.

And mama, she was just as bad as we was. She'd say, Now y'all quit gittin so tore up about this, cause you heard your Papa say you might not git nothin.

And sure enough, long bout four clock in the afternoon here we heared the wagon acomin, and papa had them mules in a full trot, n th harness was just a janglin. And when he come in sight, he uz standin up in the wagon, holdin two great big old chickens out, no feathers on em, up. And a yellin "Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas." And he stopped the mules right in front of the gate and us childun just went acrawlin out through the fence you know, and moma come a hurrying down the walk, n we run out there, and climbed, swarmed over that wagon just like a flock a chi chis y'know, alookin in it, and papa standin up thar a holdin them two big old nekked chickens and a'yellin merry Christmas, just a grinnin like a new ray uh sun.

And y'oughta of seen alla things that was in that wagon. Apples n real orngiss y'know, and stripe-itty candy, and nuts, and mama, she uz hold the baby in her arms and she peeked over in there an she just caught her breath. And she looked up at poppa and he's standin there, and he wretched down and dropped the chickens, caught the baby outa momma's arms and just lift him up and said "Merry Christmas Sandy Claus to yih."

And we all started talkin at the same time, askin momma what this was and that was, and she's pointin out them nuts. They wasn't just peanuts, this' nuts with foreign names you know and ev'thang in there. And it's just wondrous.

And all a sudden papa, we heared him sing out, "Merry Christmas Sam Jackson. Did you go in town and git some Sandy Claus too?"

Sam Jackson you know, he's that colored farmer that share crops right next to our place, and he was leadin that old cripple mule of his'n down the lane, and we all of us stopped up and looked up there t'ard im n he kinda shook ees head n he said, "No sir Mr Willis, sure ditn'. I ditn' know it was fer everybody, I just thought it was fer the white folks and ditn go in."

Papa says, "W'I d'clar." And he looked out mama-- Y'know Sam Jackson his family's hepped us out with crops a lot the time when mama got down in her back and coult'n do it, and we think a heap uh them. And papa looked at moma and mama looked at him and just kinda smiled like, and papa just sang out, "Sam, I forgot to tell ya, Old Sandy Claus left part this here in there f'you and he said to be sure to try n git word to ye, that you and your wife n younguns spose to come down here n have Christmas 'th us tmorrah now, cause we gonna Christmas gift it all day long."

In Sam Jackie said, "You sure about that now Mr Will?" Papa said, "Sure about it? I don't want to git Sandy Claus mad at me, listen, he liable to tire me up if you don't git down here. You all come early in stay late." And Mama she sang out n said, "You tell your wife bring now some pots n pans, cause we gonna have a heap a cookin t'do tomorrow. It goin be Christmas time in this hawse."

In, in Sam Jackson said, "Awright," n boy he went walkin off and all, and we's just talkin n'all, that night we couldn't hardly sleep y'know, we just couldn't git t'bed. We was layin there on the pallets, me n old Ernie, n we'd nudge each other n just geegle y'know, n creep up n crawl on all fours in thar n look in the kitchen n see if that was in there, boy. N you know, mama 'n papa'd say "Y'all better shut up n go on to bed now cause Sandy Claus goin get mad 't'y'll," n then he'd laugh hisself.

N Boy, next morning sun just come up n looked Christmas time, just smilin all over th'earth. And here we hear the wagon acomin, here comes Sam Jackson n his five chillen an his wife sittin up there on the spring seat with him. And they come pilin' out y'know, Willie Jackson we go rabbit huntin alluh time anyhow n I think a heap uh him, Boy we started playing Christmas time there around the house, and we had more fun just playin Christmas gift, you know wrappin pine cones up and givin em t'each other, and we none us ever played it `fore but it just come natural to ye, an we just laughin, an when we wut'n doin nothin else we'd run up n smell in th'kitchen door n then just turn round look at each other n just laugh, n just roll over y'know, it just tickles ye t'see it's Christmas time, jist old Sandy Claus or what.

And Papa n Sam Jackson fixed up long boards n put sheets over'm for a table, purdiest table you ever seen in your life, looks just like a cathedral or somethin in thare. N my sister Ellie n Marley Jackson, that th'oldest Jackson girl, they broke off cedar sprigs n pine sprigs n everthang n put em up in thare. N boy, you just never did see nothin th't jist looked Christmas time in there.

N Mom n them, bout noontime they said "Alright now, let's allll commme n eat." And boy we went 'n'air, and I's sittin next to Willie Jackson n we just couldn' hardly keep from laughin. And at ivvybuddy's plate they wuss n apple in uh ornge in some nuts n some stripe-itty candy. Even at the baby's plate. And mom 'n 'em start brangin evathang in, jist, jist almost kill ye t'smell it, it smelt s'good, boy. N they put't all up'n'down th table n papa said, "Now brother Jackson, you a deacon in th church, you say grace." N Sam Jackson, he ditn bow his head like a heap o folks do when they say grace, he just smiled up at heaven you know, and said "I just want to say one thing to you Lord, Merry Christmas, hope you enjoyin it much as we are." Then we all fell to an' et. It was wonderfullest Christmas in Newnited States of America, you know it?

Sunday, December 20, 2015

every man heart lay down | lorenz graham


Long time past
Before you papa live
Before him papa live
Before him pa's papa live --

Long time past
Before them big tree live
Before them big tree's papa live --
That time God live.

And God look on the world
What He done make
And Him heart no lay down.
And He walk about in the town
To see the people
And He sit down in the palaver house
To know the people
And He vex too much.
And God say
"Nev mind.
The people no hear My Word
The pople no walk My way
Nev mind.
I going break the world and lose the people
I going make the day dark
And the night I going make hot.
I going make water that side where land belong
And land that side where water belong.
And I going make a new country
And make a new people."

Now this time
God's one small boy -- Him small pican -- hear God's Word
And the pican grieve for people
So he go fore God's face
And make talk for him Pa.
"Pa, I come for beg You," so he say
"I come for beg You,
Don't break the world
What You done make.
Don't lose the people
What You done care for.
I beg You
Make it I go
I talk to people
I walk with people
Bye-m-bye they savvy the way."


And the pican go down softly softly
And hold God's foot.
So God look on Him small boy
And Him heart be soft again
And God say
"Aye My son,
When you beg me so
I no can vex.
Left me now, but hear me good:
If you go you must be born like a man
And you must live like a man
And you must have hurt and have hunger.
And hear me good:
Men will hate you
And they will flog you
And bye-m-bye they will kill you
And I no going put My hand there."

And the pican say
"I agree!"

And bye-m-bye God call Mary
To be Ma for the pican
Now Mary be new wife for Joseph
And Joseph ain't touch Mary self
So first time Joseph vex.
But God say
"Nev mind, Joseph.
This be God palaver."
And Joseph heart lay down.

And God see one king who try for do good
For all him people
And God say
"Ahah, Now I send My son
For be new king."
And God send star to call the king.

And in a far country
God hear a wise man call Him name
And God say to the wise man
"I send My son to be new wise man,
Go now with the star."
And the star call
And the wise man follow.



And by the waterside
Men lay down for take rest
And they hear fine music in the sky
Like all the stars make song,
And they fear.
And all the dark make bright like day
And the water shine like fire
And no man can savvy
And they hearts turn over.
But God's angel come
And God's angel say
"Make glad, all people,
God's pican be born in Bethlehem."
And the people say "Oh."

And the wise man and the king
And the country people come to Bethlehem
And the star come low and stop.
But when they go for mansion house
The star no be there.
And when they go for Big Man's house
The star no be there.
And bye-m-bye when they go for hotel
The star no be there gain --
But the wise man say
"Ahah, the star be by the small house
Where cattle sleep!"
And it was so.

And they find Joseph and Mary
And the small pican
Fold up in country cloth
And the king bring gold for gift
And the wise man bring fine oil
And the country people bring new rice.

And they look on the God pican
And every man heart lay down.