M.J. Arcangelini (Western Voices 2023)

Bio: M.J. Arc Angelini, born in Pennsylvania in 1952, has resided in northern California since 1979. He has published in little magazines, online journals (including The James White Review, Rusty Truck, The Ekphrastic Review, The Gasconade Review, Trailer Park Quarterly, As It Ought To Be Magazine, The Rye Whisky Review, and Live Nude Poems), & over a dozen anthologies.  He is the author of 6 published collections, the most recent of which is PAWNING MY SINS, 2022 (Luchador Press).

“money is only water / isn’t it” – Gerald Stern

Rain splashes on the awnings like gravel
being slowly poured out of a truck
the sound permeates the trailer like
Wright’s waterfall at Bear Run. There 
are places close by where sump pumps 
and sandbags await rising runoff. My
metal home amplifies the sounds which
assault it, driven by pulsating winds the
thin roof and walls seem to bulge inward
with each thrust of belligerent weather.

Rapids often lead to waterfalls,
still waters may hide powerful eddies.
Rain, when it finally comes, can
fill reservoirs, overflow creeks,
saturate the topsoil before rolling away
as excess, draining into gutters and ditches
to eventually be folded into the mass of
ocean many miles away without adding a
whit to the water table it passes over.

Still, most of the time, there is drought.


African school children ride bikes
along a rural Michigan road, sunlight
greeting them, adding life to the bright
colors of their carefully pressed clothing,
shirttails flapping gently in the warm
wind of their passing, their broad smiles
acting as spells, each tooth a talisman
keeping them as far from crude rifles
and machetes as geography will allow.

Tall, slender women with long 
straight hair each wearing an
identical, tight, low-cut, clinging
dress of Yves Klein blue with a long 
slit cut up the left side for a single
shapely leg to slide out, posed like
hunters among evergreen trees on
the edge of an urban environment;
tending to abstraction in an otherwise 
impressionist-leaning landscape.

What, in some different season, some
other context, might be merely an
illusion of snow stretching out
across the lake toward the islands,
one of those common tricks of light
we hear about but seldom actually see,
or what may, just now, really be snow
resting on what is likely a thin
layer of ice, not stout enough to hold
a man and certainly not so much as
to hold a man on a snowmobile revving
his way beneath the shadow of a bridge.


The feral cat who lived in the abandoned outhouse
Gave birth to a large litter of kittens
The boy found them and brought the grandmother
To see the squirming, mewling bundles of fur
Eyes still sealed shut again unfamiliar light
He reached down to get one but
The grandmother stopped him
No, don’t touch
If the mother smells you on them she will
Abandon them to die and it will be your fault
He looked at her, then back to the kittens
Be a good boy, go play, leave the cats alone
She went back to her kitchen
He looked after her until she went inside
He squatted down to pet the newborn kittens
One after another
It felt so nice, their softness
He purred

1 comment :

  1. The last one is poignant as can be. All of the poems are incredible.


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