Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Poets / Bloggers / Women

As long as I’m (sort of) on the poet/blogger/women kick (well, what with including my favorite poem from Suzanne Frischkorn's Spring Tide, below, anyway), I thought I’d mention two others whose books I’ve read and utterly enjoyed, who also happen to be bloggers (or at least once were). In fact, I learned about them through the blogging circle: Gina Franco, with her The Keepsake Storm, and Cynthia Huntington, with The Radiant. Sadly, Cynthia no longer blogs—phooey to her stalker, or whatever caused that.

Anyway, if you don’t have them already, go out and buy their books right now! Here is one of my favorite poems from each, reprinted in the Blog-o-Land way (meaning, without permission):

Where the Bodies, Half-Dressed, in Pieces

by Gina Franco

For Carmen Rios, Flood Victim, Del Rio, Texas, August 22, 1998

What blessings are left to them? They heap belongings
on the walk. Stones washed from their walls
lie about like teeth, one ache next to another.
Nature remains. A sodden box of photos, a wet TV.
A pile of Christmas ornaments winks
in the sun, so there is miracle. They find
new mosquitoes in toilets. In the kitchens, mold
creeps over the windows, in the bedrooms, a goat’s
carcass, a bag of trash, a used diaper,
a tree. They find they can put their hands
through walls. Of clay. So there is also
belief. Had belief come sooner, had a forecast
arrived—listen, it’s rain—the drought
is over—the flatlands are running over
—but all
is quiet. Not yet a downpour, patient
at doors, not the emergency broadcast system
streaming across every screen. Not sirens,
thunder, screams, houses shuddering,
giving way below those crouching
on their rooftops. Not yet. First came
coincidence, a twist of fate, a man who towed
his motorboat to the nearby lake, trapped mid-storm
outside his neighborhood. Countless he rescued.
A woman hugging a rushing bush, brothers
perched on a truck, the old man who sells
melons all summer: where was he but among
the saved? So there are also numbers.
When the deluge arrived, I felt
eternity. I left my house. I took up
my cane and walked around in the dark, flicking
switches, banging into things, fighting, until I found
the door. I was up to my neck, swirling.
When it was time, water swallowed me too, down
in a cold flash to the streets where the hill
ends, where the bodies, half-dressed, in pieces,
are torn away from dreams. At Devil’s Bend, bodies
collected with trees and refrigerators. The water
receded. The crane dug up hundreds rotting
off the bone, nine of whom were identified
as citizens. I am with them and their families
in the paper below the mayor’s address. The rest
were mejicanos, so of course there is also home.
In the funeral home where my daughter didn’t find me,
there was a body, stripped of all but a ring
that resembled my own, but again, it was not mine,
so for a time there was also hope.

The Strange Insect

by Cynthia Huntington

The lights have gone out in the hallway.
The boy who polishes the stairs has found
a strange insect—he wants me to see.
It clings to his rag and won’t shake off.
It is black and long, like a widow, or a
Sacred priest, has a yellow necklace and
yellow beads upon articulated leg joints,
has a tail eight inches long, three plumes
of a tail, black like ripped lace; is thin,
thin like a straw, like a wasp, thin as a
quill, is hanging on a piece of what was
once a shirt, appears to have no wings
and not to know night or day, to neither
look up nor to acknowledge our regard:
ancient, hieratical, the most mutant
butterfly, the wickedest jeweled queen.
The boy shakes the rag again, beats it
against the wall, and it drops, deigning,
into the dry fountain; grazes the brick,
drops further, lowering its banded legs
onto the blunted grass, drumming small
horny feet in a cadence, beginning to speak
with its hands moving in air, a message
beat against the floor of patriarchy, ceiling
of the world’s brain, speaking reason to
desire, order to confusion, state against
state, telling another version of the world.


gina said...

Simmons, thanks so much. I'm honored.

Suzanne said...

Two of my favorite poets--I'm with you, Simmons. :-)

LitByFire said...

Hi Simmons--thank you, and I owe you a note. I'm back--discovered and confronted my stalker and hope there will be no more. Sadly, one of us, but you never know.
I'll be in touch after Thanksgiving.

shann said...

wonderful poems, thank you!