Really excited to say that my poem has been published as the poem of the week at Cellpoems! Cellpoems is one of my three favorite online publications, along with Rattle and Linebreak, so it’s a real pleasure to be included. If you haven’t yet, check them out, and consider subscribing -as well as publishing online, they deliver a short, exquisite poem once a week via text to subscribers.
I thought you would make things certain
Like a window nailed shut to the sill.
“It is not, in my view, a very good
novel,” asserted Anthony Burgess, ink-
slinger of A Clockwork Orange, whose pages
pontificate our need for the freedom to choose
evil. Is there any doubt Tony chose
the wrong wavelength, the wrong
produce? And besides, who wouldn’t,
given a choice, rather read about
Protestantism sewing itself into
Irish flags, an itty-bitty ant trudging around
the rind of a certain citrus to demonstrate
the universe is finite and forever, cheddar
manufacturing, or the manic Orange Bowl
helping to end the Depression? Oh, I sing paeans
for marigolds, Titan’s clouds, 10,000 male
Julias released, the insides of mangos, hummocks
covered in daylilies, apricot sherbet
on a Thursday, leaves on their last legs, Kenya—
where they call the color chungwa—on the globe
my Grandpa Guido gave me. Give me
sea pens, zest, cock-of-the-rocks, jack-
o’-lanterns with blazing eyes. Last October, Lisa,
the sarcastic love-of-my-life, got goldfish
and conferred the monikers
“Lime” and “Plum”; the innocent things
were belly-up and toilet-bowl
bound the next week. Don’t we give
our precious attentions to stuff bending us
blue? And don’t we slump on the sofa, waiting out
our little lives in a world as jaded and bruised
as we can stand it? Well, let my sunrays mix
with sanguine, let ten times more life taste
like peach meat, let mirrors reflect and release
that nanometer tint to things holding in
that hue like a breath, because the Lord, bored
with creation, bellowed “Let there be
orange!” and then there was—filling the sky
that first night, dotting trees the third day—
and it was good, so damn good
it could never, thank Heaven, be damned.
-Matt Zambito, Birmingham Poetry Review
Steady the freight trains
like daily missives
our stop on the map,
the dislocation of winter’s
Steady now the icicles
freezing in their gravity,
last leaves winnowing
off the tree
and steady the people
with their clocksongs
and filled-up lives
while a few of us are dropping
away like chaff from a scythe.
Pour the water.
Keep the fire lit.
Things are not as they seem.
To ring the bell
you must give your whole self
over to the bell-rope.
You must lift both feet
off the ground.
-Jennifer K Sweeney, Cave Wall
(sea by Shana)
We’re drunk by now
and even then you’re inside your own
head, floating, deciding what to surrender
to and what to leave submerged.
Once, on the island that made
me, the ocean was a ritual
too. I climbed mountains
in an old car in the middle of the night to make
love at its shores, to remember where I had
come from so that it might stay
with me where I was going. That night
the water came up; lapped at our bodies, furious
in the sand. We wept.
each other’s cups. We put the ocean
to our mouths. We drank.
from “Claim – For the Ocean” by Roger Bonair-Agard, Drunken Boat