Featured Work Archive
AT THE MARGARET SANGER CLINIC*
My Mother’s Story
The wall calendar said 1932.
In two months Anne would be 28 years old
The subway ride had gone on, it seemed, for hours,
like the debate inside her,
Now, talking to the dark-haired woman
with no air of nurse authority about her,
talking about things Anne had discussed
only with her mother, her sister, never with her husband,
she knew she would never recross the border
back to the life she had expected.
As Mrs. Sanger described, then showed
the sheep intestine tube, the frightening diaphragm,
Anne thought about the imbecile child at home
lying like a chattering monkey on the always soiled sheets.
The doctor would give no guarantees
about the next baby, not knowing the why of the first.
She wondered if Eddie would wear the awkward sheath
or would he turn away from her at night
after only six years. All husbands turn away eventually.
"Please call me Margaret, my dear.
I understand. You are not the first woman today.
“A rocker friend rigged up a wireless amp outside,
so any overflow that’s turned away can listen in.
Fair warning, Tom, it’s gonna be a crush!
The cops closed off the block,
and offered a patrolman for the door.
Somebody’s set up klieg lights. TV news?
I see two Port-A-Potties out there, too.
I wish I had 300 books to sell!
Next, Pussy Riot will run past, pursued by KGB.
Intrigue! Thou art a tinsel thing!
“I asked your editor to make sure
she and Mehta and whoever else slip in the back.
Knock three times, loud.
You and your friends come there as well,
and any other VIPs—just let me know.
We had one hairy time of it the night in 1999
Mitch Albom came to read. Four assholes
trooped in with an amputee in combat helmet
and fatigues, and laid him on the floor.
But this is threatening to be ten times as jacked!
“My daughter tells me she enlarged her eulogy
of Jordan forty seconds—six lines.
I’m inclined to say OK. Her writing’s
darn good for a kid her age and she...
Little county like ours,
some deputies do a whole career
not seeing more than bumper thumps,
but Schlaegl's first day
he caught the squeal on the man
who got shot between the eyes
just looking at the sky.
They never found the shooter,
and the guy babbled nonsense
till he died
his head dripping blood
in Schlaegel's lap.
Next week, a brakeman
lost both legs under a freight car
and Schlaegl held him upright
at his request while he told Schlaegl
things to tell his wife
if he died before she got there.
He did. "Didn't remember half the stuff,"
Schlaegl said, "had to make it up."
Later that week a guy
got caught in a flaming car. Schlaegl
scorched the fuck out of both his hands
on the door. "Guy's meat
pulled off his bones like drumsticks."
"God didn't want me working law,"
Schlaegl said one coffee break at the mill.
I'll never forget the burning eyes
in his shaved skull
as he sat atop his fork lift in the smoke.
In a wall-papered room a savant,
head tilted like Stevie Wonder,
understands God. His father
fries eggs in a cast iron pan,
calls him to breakfast with words
that shake up the dust in a deep
and more narrowing hallway.
Outside the sky is enraged,
a bully pushing down
trees in a forest.
Unable to speak the boy slides
his mouth on the window. He knows
as they fall, God will be silent.
“The banana has to go in mine,” says Sonny.
“Then Mary's sticks its trunk in, to retrieve it.
Vice versa, and the symbolism’s anti-gay.”
“Mr. Mehta, you cannot have elephants
frat-dingling each other as a promo stunt!
The poem itself is worse, but these are animals
small children go to see at Ringling Brothers!
Feld will sue our fucking asses off!
You like the sound of Ringling-Bertelsmann?”
“I’ve never liked the sound of Bertelsmann at all.”
“Is that what this is—sticking it to Gütersloh?”
“I’m celebrating an extraordinary work of art.”
“Let Cristo and his wife do that. We’re Knopf.”
“Our strong suit’s wonderful publicity.”
“Think boycott, Sonny—led by those new buddies
PETA and the Christian Coalition! Or think jail.”
“Jail’s full of midlife-crisis guys with no regrets.
No wonder Rama shot an arrow into space
from Vishnu’s bow! All showmen run their risks.”
“And Oliver will sue your butt as well.
Just doing this sad stunt, she’s compromised
her long held...
my muse is Scottish tart tonight
she wears scarlett lip gloss
smeared across her face
what's important are the details
the smell of stale gin and cucumber
an ice cube melting in the tumbler
a subtle smile in her eyes
steaming dog shit on the patio
a bird perched on the sun dial
singing a wee tuneless ditty
Poetry communities are the centre of a poet's life,
poets move in ever expanding circles around them.
A journal, definition, an official record...
more elaborate than a diary...
contains information relevant
to its readers.
Having never written anything like this before now
I asked a few people for advice and decided that this journal
will not be a place for poetry. It will, instead, be a place
where I collect all that I learn here in Poetrycircle, and elsewhere.
In that way I will not forget and we might all be enlightened.
It's good to have aspirations.
While planting perennials
I discover a severed arm
a flower that never
I think of Korea
extending a hook
when shaking my hand.
I unearth a leg
remember a soldier
a life in a chair, flashed
on the six o’clock news.
My spade hits a charred
twisted torso, Vietnam
I laugh with my wife
our boys playing
God with their
green plastic men.
Six Poems by Lynn Doiron
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,
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...
Carly’s contemplating NYU.
A Masters in biology.
What good is that?
It’s English from another angle,
Gothic fiction but without romance.
What good is that,
A gap. She isn’t really listening.
What good is what?
I lie awake. It bothers me.
A Masters in biology.
It’s like she’s trying on another wardrobe
to impress another guy.
Why won’t you tell me why?
What does it mean?
She sleeps so quietly.
She says there’s always
water in her dreams.
Joan Jett lies at our feet—
two glowing yellow eyes.
What do you hope to see?
Are you already watching
wondrous things and beings
cloaked to me
by some human-specific invisibility?
She’s so calm, as if she knows.
I’ve never slept.
Since childhood, I’ve always feared
What if I miss that tiny sound
or glint or gleam of light
when something ill or evil’s
crept too close
or something wonderful
stands beaming at my ear,
waits patiently, then goes?
[series so far @...
dregs of another year
drained in strip lights
black hands creep
towards five o' clock
open plan beige carpets
caged by cardboard cubicles
in- trays heave with letterheads
virtual space clogged by email
sexless secretaries, toneless
"shall I pass the call, sir?"
lifeless suits chase wipeable targets
This night, when all men are gods
I come to you to bear the child of god.
'A good fuck,' you appraise me.
I don't mind. I even smile.
'In or out,' you ask. 'In,' I reply.
We lay spent, not touching each other
sweat drying on our brown skins
'A good fuck,' you tell me again.
I walk away not looking back
until the next time, that is.
I lay in the bath
one hand on the tome
the other waving bubbles
I had the standard allocation
bobbing gently in their banana bag of two
ruler wedged between thigh and anus
squiting to establish whether it read centimetres or inch
Apparently in healthy European adult human males, average testicular volume is 18cm³ per testis, with normal size ranging from 12cm³ to 30cm³. The average testicle size after puberty measures up to around 2 inches long, 0.8 inch in breadth, and 1.2 inches in height (5 x 2 x 3)
* comparing the testicle with ellipsoids of known sizes (orchidometer).
* measuring the length, depth and width with a ruler, a pair of calipers or ultrasound imaging.
The volume is then calculated using the formula for the volume of an ellipsoid: 4/3 x pie × (length/2) × (width/2) × (depth/2).
She's not coming back
It sat there on the corner.
A great shoebox of a building,
White clapboard, plain,
A giant philodendron
Blocking the only window
Onto the street.
The Lenora Hotel,
Home of lonely men;
Seaman with no ship,
Fisherman between fish,
Loggers in town on a drunk,
Convicts fresh out of jail.
Single men with no women
Standing in the morning
In their undershirts
On the balcony over the street
Smoking that first cigarette of the day
Or maybe the last cigarette of the night.
Waiting in the green light of the hall
For something to happen.
I passed that place for years
And wondered about it often.
Finally went to take a picture
Of its simple functional face
Only to find it had been torn down.
Leaving the skeleton
Of a spring mattress
In the middle of a dirt lot,
A temporary monument to transience.
The building like the men had moved on.
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