Solitaire by Deborah Landau

Thanks to Maurice Devitt for introducing me to this poet. After reading this poem, I went on to her website. She certainly has found her subject. Interesting way she has of repeating lines (those compelling ones) in different poems. One way of linking poems for a collection. Love this one in particular.  http://www.deborahlandau.net/poems/

Landau_Deborah(c-Sarah-Shatz)

That summer there was no girl left in me.

It gradually became clear.

It suddenly became.

 

In the pool, I was more heavy than light.

Pockmarked and flabby in a floppy hat.

What will my body be

 

when parked all night in the earth?

Midsummer. Breathe in. Breathe out.

I am not in the oxygen tank.

 

Twice a week we have sex.

The lithe girl poolside I see them

at their weddings I see them with babies their hips

 

thickening I see them middle-aged

I can’t see past the point where I am.

Like you, I’m just passing through.

 

I want to hold on awhile.

Don’t want to naught

or forsake, don’t want

 

to be laid gently or racked raw.

If I retinol. If I marathon.

If I Vitamin C. If I crimson

 

my lips and streakish my hair.

If I wax. Exfoliate. Copulate

beside the fish-slicked sea.

 

Fill me I’m cold. Fil me I’m halfway gone.

Would you crush me in the stairwell?

Could we just lie down?

 

If the brakes don’t work.

If the pesticides won’t wash off.

If the seventh floor pushes a brick

 

out the window and it lands on my head.

If a tremor, menopause. Cancer. ALS.

There are the ABCs of my fear.

 

The doctor says

I don’t have a pill for that, dear.

Well, what would be a cure-all, ladies,

 

gin –and-tonic on a summer night?

See you in the immortalities! O blurred.

O tumble-rush of days we cannot catch.

Curiosité – un Regard Moderne and Fields by John FitzGerald

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John FitzGerald is Ireland’s new rising star. He was announced as the 2014 Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Competition winner the same week he was shortlisted for the Hennessy Emerging Poet Award. And my money’s on him winning. His work is always exhilarating and unexpected, due to his extensive travels and seemingly inexhaustible depth and breadth of knowledge. Naturally, he’s the main librarian, at University College, Cork. He was also commended in the 2014 Gregory O’Donoghue Prize and longlisted in the 2014 UK National Poetry Competition and in the 2014 Fish Poetry Prize. Here are the poems that appeared in the Irish Times this week. Watch this space.

Curiosité – un Regard Moderne

The latest Sotheby’s email                                                                                                                     sale announcement                                                                                                                           proclaims the chance to                                                                                                                         obtain a pair of Aepyornis                                                                                                             maximus (Elephant Bird) eggs,                                                                                                         an exceptional complete                                                                                                                   Moa (Megalapteryx didinus)                                                                                                             [sic] skeleton, or even a collection of                                                                                                   Nô masks:                                                                                                                                                   ‘Get the last of your eggs, bones n masks’                                                                                     you can almost hear the criers proclaim                                                                                             at the gates of the chateau                                                                                                                   in Dampierre of the impecunious                                                                                                      latter-day Duc de Luynes.

Fields  

There’s a place on the Dublin-Cork line                                                                                           where woodland opens out to fields within the wood –                                                               two or three,                                                                                                                                       irregular in shape and secretive in their deep surround,                                                 unperturbed by the sudden pulsing passing-by of trains.                                                         And then they’ve gone.                                                                                                                           I always seem to lift my eyes at just this point in the journey,                                           signalled by some animus of field                                                                                                   and its possession of me since a child,                                                                                             for all the fields I have traversed                                                                                                           and loved and lost.

Gravity by Galway Kinnell

Galway-Kinnell

1

Upon the black hole Cygnus X-1 that wobbles

as if boffed by an invisible companion,

upon a silk stocking the color of bees

rolling itself up down a leg, upon the soft dip

over the clavicles, which accept only tongued kisses,

upon the tongue that slowly drifts

into the other’s mouth and chats

there with her opposite number,

gravity exerts the precise force needed.

 

 

 

 

2

In the wings of the Eskimo curlew

flapping through the thin air of the Andes,

in the sacral vertebrae of the widow

who stoops at the window to peer

behind the drawn blind, in the saggy skin

under the eyes of the woman

who is in love with a man incapable

of love, who lives on in the heaviness

of emotional isolation, in the lavish

cascade of urine the rhino releases,

in the mouthwater of the child who waits

in shriek position for the dentist,

in the scradged skin dangling in shreds

from the children who lurched toward

the Nakashima River screaming, as if this were

the single aria they had ever rehearsed, gravity

shudders at its mathematical immensity.

 

 

 

3

As long as two kvetches remain alive,

because inside each is self-hatred so hardened

not even nonexistence can abide them,

as long as the hummingbird strikes

the air seventy-four times per second,

as long as the mound of earth remains heaped

beside the rectangular hole waiting to be filled,

gravity cannot be said to impose its will.

 

 

 

4

If the pilot ejects one second too late,

if the condemned man shrinks at seeing

the trapdoor give way, if the man who stands

with fire at his back and a baby in his arms

hears the near neighbors cry,

“Drop her! Don’t worry! We’ll catch her,”

if the juggler gets behind in her count

and the bright object flies past the spot

where the other hand was to snatch it,

gravity cannot pause to rectify matters.

 

 

 

5

When a deer kenning us stands immobile,

and for one moment we know we exist

entirely within her thoughts, when cichlid fry,

sensing danger, empty their air bladders

and drop to the river bottom like pebbles,

when the snow goes and millions of leaves

reveal themselves pressed down over the contours

of earth to create her hibernation mask,

when a person in a military cemetery

among grave markers that spread to all the horizons

understands that all of existence has been destroyed

again and again, when depression after mania

causes clock hands to stick and days to crawl,

when the full moon’s light creeps across a sleeper

calling to her atavistic soul, when a soldier,

who has always known life is imperfect,

is wheeled to another hopeless attempt

at surgery—but, this time, resolves

to sleep and not wake again until such time

as time begins again—then gravity

grips us to the earth, and crosses its fingers.

 

 

 

6

In the case of the last ancient trees at Ypres

still turning out their terrified wood,

in the case of the concertina wire

hurled out in exuberant spirals and set down

between rich and poor, in the case of the howls

that fly off the earth through madhouse windows,

in the case of the word “heavenly”

when we remind ourselves that earth,

too, was a heavenly body once,

in the case of the numeral keys

totting up the number of humans

humans have killed, in the case of the man

who strays into a gravitational field where

the differential between the force on the scalp

and the force on the foot sole will stretch him

into an alimentary canal thin as a thread,

in the case of the child who has upset

his ink bottle while doing homework

and quickly snaps both arms down

to halt the lateral gush of the black juices,

gravity, if it could, would recuse itself.