Friday, July 2, 2010

Poems about Hips

Homage to My Hips
-Lucille Clifton

these hips are big hips.
they need space to
move around in.
they don't fit into little
petty places. these hips
are free hips.
they don't like to be held back.
these hips have never been enslaved,
they go where they want to go
they do what they want to do.
these hips are mighty hips.
these hips are magic hips.
i have known them
to put a spell on a man and
spin him like a top


Homage to My Hips: A Burnt Offering

My mother hates her
mother's hips, through which she came
to be-- rudely formed
those hips. And cumbersome.

The Old Masters admired
plumpness-- full hipped
and smooth shouldered.
They waxed rhapsodic in oils.

And Lucille said, Power!
These hips occupy space.

But my mother abides
the kitchen cross-stitch
that claims audaciously:
pleasure is fleeting,
hips eternal.

In ecstatic moments I grow--
an enormous moon--
and know no fear.

But in harsher light
I wish to be a tight
strung bow, stripped
of every blessing, formidable
as a burnt offering.


Asheville, NC is beautiful, and so is the Asheville Poetry Review. A gem:

Don't Wake the I-98
-Anna Connors

We didn't know the highway was closed.
Dark clouds' bruised underbellies
clog the sky.

Road colors radiate
through their dusting of ash,
blak-eyed susan yellow
in unsung morning.

Our car,
the only moving shape.

We find the occasional image
hold it,
an impossible breath.

A-frame churches,
steeples pierce the air.

Crushed animals
like moccasins
at this speed
their lovely, beaded bodies

and black
in the rearview mirror,

carrying us
one mile marker to another
until all signs say
go home.

You'll wake
the enthroned bulldozers,
tall and curved
like pitcher plants.

You'll wake
the broken billboards
that plead redemption,

the abandoned shopping carts
that couldn't possibly
be out this far,

directing us toward home.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Gene for Wings

{from the stacks}

The mind of the structure is ordered and frankly
holy under fluorescent bars that forbid
distraction, and the people inside walk
like they are stepping on very old maps.

No one notices the man striding through with a bag
over his shoulder and a snowflake
in his mustache, his eyes supposing
a mind can conceive of what it doesn’t contain.

He doesn’t mean to intrude with his messy
flesh, not knowing the mind of God-- except that certainly
it must be collected like this, in towering shelves,
with an angel in each aisle, storming ideas for illumination.

Bowing his head over a volume on chromosomes,
he speculates, since chimps have 48 and humans 46,
that one might narrow the degree of perfection to One
and observe a microscopic God humming in a Petri dish.

He jots “48 and 46” on a Post It, and fixes it
with the collection already feathering his bag,
now a yellow wing that rustles when he walks--
the occasional observation falling off, gone begging.

Outside Waterloo

Punctuating an unnamed stretch of gravel,
weathered structures lean an ear
to woods—tangled and haunted by frogs.

Tender-thumbed tulips press green
from a window box, while the daffodils,
once polite, traipse from abandoned swing
to the barn turned shrine to rusted auto parts.

In the barbed wire patch, dormant grass pacifies
the goat who fixes her cataracts
on each passing pickup; blackbird; mutt.

Crate of murky bottles and the refrigerator
from childhood, now defunct, retire against the fence
alongside the elderly soprano gate.

No one hears the dissonant song, except the dog
who has been here so long he’d miss the company
if someone set it right.

Tarantula Nebula

From a hill in the south
if night is clear, our naked eyes
detect faintly a cloud straddling
Mensa and Dorado.
We call it Magellan, and feel bold.

We glimpse the brilliant inflection—
spark glints orange.
What cataclysmic creation is forged
amongst huddled gods?

Most active starburst
in the local galaxies, we regard
your electric embrace, your deluge of fire
with enhanced eye and letter your parts
as though to contain your very novae
in our tenuous web.

At our distance, you seem solid—
green halo, pink breath, and blazing blue
points of light: cells in a great body
with a heart that folds and enfolds again.


This second war house survived
to slant a roof over us
in curving dawn.

Part the curtain and reveal
thunderheads, pink-crowned,
above the peeling sill.

Before, you traced the curve
of night in solitude,
stored up longing: a planet

in the cavity of your breast,
in your palm. Now, your hands
work sheets like fragrant earth.

You conquer hemispheres
in the dark—in the morning
are the languid last pull of wine.

The dip of your throat
pools dew: just morning
through the rain-jeweled pane.

I press my tongue inside
and taste you ripening there
like apple, like grain.

Porch Light: Moths

Remember last night
the porch light.
You gripped my waist
as though we might fly

apart. And I will remember
your ribcage, a husk
cradling lungs and kicking
heart. Horn of plenty.

According to ancients
cornucopia was severed
from the face of God
or a goat, depending

on mythologies:
dreams we share,
like moths
and their luminous god.

Before you and I
with these particular lips
drew breath, we costumed
ourselves with wings.

Remember how we moved
as smoke, hassled flame
with arrhythmia—
vital, flawed.
Our wings brushed visions
that could not be possessed.