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Six Poems by Lynn Doiron
Part of the PoetryCircle Showcase series.
  • Eros Conversing on Rivers

    between Life and Death
    She is nipples and need,
    Neruda, she is flowers and little deaths
    and your river born in the Chilean Cordilleras
    is no more or less than her creek
    born in the Trinity Alps.
    They are waters from latitudes
    as strange to one another as you, Pablo,
    to Lynn,
    who was born the year you
    turned forty-three. She is now
    sixty-two. Pablo, Pablo. She wears
    your words in the froth of her skirts,
    in the pink dawns of her thighs
    where your music rubs days
    into delights of darkness,
    enters a womb of papaya and pomegranate,
    of seeds ripened and scattered and rising,
    and where these waters come
    there is salt and there is beginning.

    There is ending too.
    Memory, alive as coyote
    with no pheasant or vole to grip
    with hungry teeth,
    leaves her sere, this bone
    of past days,
    bleached as a skull
    where water has been, until
    she dreams the long tremulous windings
    of your breath, Pablo, in her hair.

    Then, what is inside softens and swells,
    extends and ripens like plums fallen
    with bright, heavy fleshing
    to split and glisten,
    to feed lemon bees, apricot wasps—
    and they eat
    as if no feast will again open for them
    and glut them with such sweetness
    bite by bite by ripened plum.
    Branches lighten
    and the heart of the tree
    is an amber bead pulsating
    through the rings.

    For this reason she wears your words, Pablo,
    in the green days of dying and age,
    the scent of static waters too close,
    where moss hides the mirror
    of sky from itself
    and she will be soft sediment
    pillowed on bedrock
    without current above,
    growing into all that has ever been
    from her own bones.

    But life breathes
    moist from your Chilean lips, Pablo,
    even across the miles of death,
    your kisses, your tongue, Pablo,
    between and upon her breasts,
    the quickening
    of her heart like a ship’s bell on a rocking sea,
    the ache she will satisfy
    when you come to her
    out of jasmine,
    out of horizons quivering gold.

    Who will care
    that she is learning to smile
    under water, laughing
    beneath the snow melt?
    Her flow will take her
    to buoyant salt
    and the river
    from the Cordilleras will bring you, Pablo,
    to meet; translucent hands
    will touch.

    The sea is an orgasm
    coming and coming and coming,
    smoothing the broken glass of what has been
    into jewels of nuance and grain,
    shadow and light.
    The hinged mussel opens,
    releases its succulent self,
    as does she, Pablo, raising her skirts high,
    the looseness of the sea gliding in
    and through, proving
    you live, proving
    she is alive.


    Raoul’s Town

    When loved ones call, tell them I keep my head down and stay in at night. Do not detail the dead man you saw beside the green dumpster on the road shoulder near Tijuana, how his dark jacket was coated with holes where dirty fleece poked out or the angle of the bill on his ball cap which might have been red but looked like a shade of used motor oil, or the idea, after you’d passed his remains, of a puppet collapsed. And no details about the joint on Boulevard Benito Juarez where a drive-by left blood on bright cobalt tiles.

    Does your uncle or son need to know this killing ground is on our way to pay another month’s phone service? Or how many died or how slowly or how quickly red turns to dust?

    You should exclude the dark trucks with four and six men draped over cabs and tailgates holding guns, aiming guns—at the ready. And leave out the skateboarder who pushed clear of their steady path, and the girl with dark braids who practiced controlling that soccer ball, the girl who waved as they passed, and they, in their balaclava ski masks tipped their guns to wave back.

    If they hammer you hard What’s going on? tell them the ocean continues to come forward and recede, erasing the sand of past deeds. Detail the shades of bougainvillea coming over white walls, wind in the palm fronds, halos at sunset trembling color for hundreds and hundreds of miles.

    Say, I keep my head down. I stay in at night. Don’t tell them you listen for sirens. No. No need to mention that.


    From Nell

    Tell him I have rum.
    Tell him I have moon.
    Tell him I have sun.

    If he asks: there are horses the color of dun,
    the color of sand, the colors of noon.
    Tell him I have horses the color of rum.

    Tell him how they run.
    Show him their shadow on the face of the moon.
    Tell him I have sun.

    Tell him I ride hard. Tell him I am young
    if he asks (but not too soon).
    Tell him I have rum

    and bamboo umbrellas unopened
    but they could open, they could, and soon.

    Tell him I have sun
    to solder, moon to mend, horses to run
    dunes the colors of midnight noons.

    Tell him I have rum.
    Tell him. I have sun.


    Her Quinceañera

    That five-story billboard of Coronacerveza
    on the face of eight-story hotel Festival Plaza—
    is cheesy to the point of charming—most days.
    Tonight, it’s enchanting. Curbside, she’s left
    her carriage cocoon, a long limousine,
    discarded. A flutter of balloon-skirted girls,
    all their dresses snowy white, circle, as if
    she’s the rose queen of a singular garden.
    Shoulders bare, a gown of pink burnished gold,
    tiara, four inches of diamond light blooming
    from rich coffee hair—she glows and seems
    aware. That courtyard beyond Festival’s doors
    says this night is hers, festooned in firefly
    lights and white gifts for her fifteenth season
    of being. Now her fingers press down
    the volumes of gathers,
    her attendants hush their buzz,
    the youths in their white tuxedos
    straighten buttoned vests and shoulders.
    She is moving from sidewalk
    inside, that girl that is now woman,
    hands loosely quiet, open,
    a bevy of wings at her back.


    Dia De Los Muertos Conversations

    There are the marigolds bunched to earth with flounces de amarillos, castanets on their sepals, dust narnaja on the garden fingers where little bones baille on headstones and sugar teeth are azul. There are the sombreros negros laced with silver, pumpkin seed pearls bleached blancas, cinnamon and manzanas rojas. There are the little bones turned of dust, noon or sunset, la noche y la mañana. They become the trickle that feeds stones and sheep with song. When they laugh, the wind sighs and silences, sighs and silences like bells hung on a new moon when la bruja’s skirts flash past.

    The Lady of the Dead is dust and whispers to dust, telling them who sits with marigolds blossoming from their chests. She loves the sighs and silences between fists and bowls of grain, how the grain plays armónica, y el perro thumps la pandereta, and all the little bones dance.

    When did marigolds learn flamenco? When did they don castanets?

    When did I hear the little bones singing on their way to dust? The child girl with ears as long as a truck has climbed up the ribs of the woman to hear what she heard at one. And a smaller child, who nests inside, has climbed up the ladder of neck to hear the bells toll on.

    I will hear them talking, one speck of bone to the next, and the next, and then they will turn to me, me with my azul teeth, me with my marigold skirts y camisas rojas, me with blossoms amarillos floating over this cabeza del azúcar where loco thoughts once curled, and we will dance, the way little bones dance, until we are singing water, until we are dew on the bells of the moon.

    [first published in Nimrod, Univ. of Oklahoma, Tulsa]


    A Request from la Mesa

    Chisel my grain with names,
    she tells the knife, and asks,
    also, for initials, wings, arrows
    through hearts, and plus signs
    of hopefuls. In the knot and
    burl of all that I am, riddle me,
    cross-hatch me, cut clean lines
    with a clean steel blade. Script
    a history for her friendless days,
    please knife, and on scarred planks,
    strike the stains. To each leg:
    vine down time. Salute hours
    with heart-shaped leaves. Grass
    the minutes, knife, and rye them
    high with seeds. Plant a tree (with
    pears) where the missing can sit
    at prayer, rattling clavicles and
    absent tongues to the whittle of
    what is, and never was. When
    my grain is flooded, no more
    a droughted pond, find her, knife,
    ease into her palm, draw, with her,
    a sorrel horse tethered where the
    pears have dropped. Let her gallop
    up from Baja to another field.
  1. I absolutely love Eros Conversing on Rivers ... I always find myself coming back to the showcase to read that piece in particular. :)
    Jay Dougherty likes this.
  2. Nora D Watterson
    i find, if find the opening lines of these works very telling, but perhaps in some ways it holds a personal message for me
    between life and death she is nipples and need - very nice lynn, very nice
  3. bodkin
    Raoul’s Town is the one that really resonates for me...
  4. Bernard Henrie
    sentimental, overblown, and scattered images to the four corners of the known poetry world.

    one solid image:

    Chilean Cordilleras

    toss everything before the neighbors come looking for an uptight poet who speak of Eros simultaneously with death.   

    The neighborhood cats wait at the butcher’s door,
    and upstairs his curly-haired wife
    has settled her breasts on the window sill,
                                                        watching the evening.
    Half-light, spotless sky:
    smack in the middle sits the evening star
                                  sparkling like a glass of water.

    Nâzım Hikmet
  5. Lavonne Westbrooks
    Wonderful work. I can't say they are my favorites because I can't choose between any of your works.  Lovely. Just lovely.