Poetry: Alison Stone

October

 

First birds drink from the lake of dawn

while next door’s widower prowls the grass. He tends

the weeds inside his heart, then rocks

on a cracking porch while trucks

rev their disturbances and school children

and workers start their commutes.

I try humor to improve my mood,

as in the mediocre film the kids and I saw

yesterday, when the lagging script

was rescued by a pie fight, the evil

almost-stepmother decked by a chocolate crème.

What can I do today to satisfy

the rough voice whispering, You don’t

live hard enough? What is the moon

doing behind the sun’s curtain of light?

Carried on the wind, a scolding mother

blends with the grief-howl of a hound.

***

 

 

Some Things

(after David Constantine)

 

There is something I can tell you about the sky.

 

That it can’t move and even at night

is punctured by the sun,

and is a forced guest of carefully-built

windows and deep breaths,

and that it can never divorce the sea,

in all its tides and each dark odor.

 

And about the earth there is something I can tell you.

 

How it holds our slow setting out – Where

on it will we walk today?

How in the morning we descend to another

Lost Canyon or Grass Valley.

Where tonight? Then the long train

will chug us away with mud between our toes.

 

The earth makes us indebted to the sun,

I can tell, you,

even to the bloated O of him in twilight.

We gasp at the bright ending,

orange ribbons touching birds

that make nests only in tall trees.

 

There is something I know about fire.

 

What the curled tongues

hiss and repeat to turn our faces red,

sending smoke-spittle that we blink against

and weep. I read the word that shines

in the blue center’s sultry eye.

That, I will never tell.

***

 

 

Awake?

 

The wooden tiger I stroke in my dream

tells my fingers secrets of the forest.

Awake, I don’t know why my maple tree

is dying. Don’t feel my ancestors

beneath the local grass.

Grandmother, remind me it is safe

to eat soft-boiled eggs. You let me choose

a painted egg cup from your pantry self.

No one feared salmonella, and the yolks

were liquid gold. Grandmother,

I’m compassless. You’ve been silent

too long. You used to pray because

the rote words soothed you, not caring

if you were heard. I want answers,

but all the studying I’ve done

on ways to touch the hand of the divine

has left me sluggish, eyes

aching from so much light.

***

 

 

From Her Body, Attached

 

The souls of the unborn

hover above fertile women –

examining. Deciding.

 

By no son was I chosen.

Even the dog is a bitch.

 

My husband’s Other

in this house of women.

Large and loud, he lumbers

in the kitchen. A buffalo

in a family of cats.

 

Freud said a girl grieves

her castration, is incomplete

until she brings the missing penis

from her body, attached to a male child.

 

I never wanted a penis.

I wanted to not have to empty the dishwasher.

 

The sun assaults me, blotching

my paleness, leaving me

feverish and drained.

But the moon loves me. On clear

nights her silver fingers

stroke my hair.

 

Out of viable eggs, I sense

an absence. The air quiet and thin.

Stillness of a house with locked doors.

***

 

 

Offered

 

Unpack your scarf, gloves, hat. Your winter heart.

Ready the pipes for freezing. Cold

comes quickly in these parts.

How will the skinny deer,

so innocently grazing, thicken

in time? And what can you find

sturdy enough to wrap around yourself

against the cold bite of regret?

See the dog’s exuberant wag

when you bang the leash.

Though you hadn’t intended a walk,

go anyway. Take

each sparse gift that offered.

***

Bio: Alison Stone has published seven full-length collections, Zombies at the Disco (Jacar Press, 2020), Caught in the Myth (NYQ Books, 2019), Dazzle (Jacar Press, 2017), Masterplan, a book of collaborative poems with Eric Greinke (Presa Press, 2018), Ordinary Magic, (NYQ Books, 2016), Dangerous Enough (Presa Press 2014), and They Sing at Midnight, which won the 2003 Many Mountains Moving Poetry Award; as well as three chapbooks. Her poems have appeared in The Paris Review, Poetry, Ploughshares, Barrow Street, Poet Lore, and many other journals and anthologies. She has been awarded Poetry’s Frederick Bock Prize and New York Quarterly’s Madeline Sadin Award. She was Writer in Residence at LitSpace St. Pete. She is also a painter and the creator of The Stone Tarot. A licensed psychotherapist, she has private practices in NYC and Nyack. www.stonepoetry.org  www.stonetarot.com. YouTube – Alison Stone Poetry.

1 comment :

We welcome your comments related to the article and the topic being discussed. We expect the comments to be courteous, and respectful of the author and other commenters. Setu reserves the right to moderate, remove or reject comments that contain foul language, insult, hatred, personal information or indicate bad intention. The views expressed in comments reflect those of the commenter, not the official views of the Setu editorial board. प्रकाशित रचना से सम्बंधित शालीन सम्वाद का स्वागत है।