Sunday, November 4, 2012

the best way out is always through

This one was published a while ago, and it's a print journal. The editors were very nice and encouraging, which always feels good. It's probably the publication I am happiest with, but I still have yet to find a home for some of what I think is my best work, and some of what Sherise thinks is my best work. Lately, I am getting rejection letters, either impersonal or mildly encouraging.

Given that this year has been pretty brutal in terms of time and energy to be creative, I'll take it.

Here it is, as it appeared in scissors and spackle.

the best way out is always through

the unpatched roof, the slip of ice on walking crossbeam, slick.
they found you thirty feet below; a steer had torn its stanchion
free and dragged it to the road, half-mad with thirst. They caught it
first then set about the feeding of the rest; and then they turned
to you: stiff in your soaked and frozen clothes. the balinghooks
that broke your fall had wedged themselves into your
chest, protruding, curved impossibly and complicating the work
they had. after an hour you became an unexpected
chore, a slab of frozen meat. they pried in vain and pulled
while younger Pierce was sent to fetch hot water, they sat
gathering breath and sweating from the work, drew lots for who
would bring your wife the news.

                                                  even my father, having loved
you more than anything he would before or since, felt nothing
but relief that it was someone else; already wishing you would
hurry up and melt enough to be pried free. Already thinking darkly
of his own: the long-cold breakfast, his own wife, her belly full,
his snow-snapped fences, night; the long cold days ahead of him

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

the nurse hung up the phone; restraints

As I mentioned earlier, this was published in Halfway Down the Stairs last winter. See here:

I wasn't exactly sure I was happy with the decision about the line set up. Now that the moritorium has passed, here is the poem in the original form. I am pretty happy with it, but it was written a long time ago. It was one of the first ones I wrote back in 2007 when I first started writing again. It was originally more than twice the current length. I am glad I got it published before it disappeared entirely.

the nurse hung up the phone; restraints

until then chemical imbalance simply hid
a multitude of unforgiven sins we both
believed that it did not excuse the midnight
calls the smell the teeth the rotten shoes

when last we spoke I knew what loose
associations were you called me by my
fathers name and told me how to save
the world I felt every fraying strand of
thread rotating thoughts that dragged
and skipped and then unwound went dead.