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Thomas Fink and Maya Diablo Mason
Marsh Hawk Review is an online poetry journal sponsored by the Marsh Hawk Press collective. Marsh Hawk Review will appear twice a year, under the revolving editorship of collective members. Each issue will offer a selection of poems solicited by the editor, in addition to new work posted by poets in the collective.
The bouganvillea does not curl
in the acorn, the spores
of the ferns crowd our eyes.
She pressed small hands into
the wet sound, pulled
out shell-fragments, a kind
of wood (white sand) pulled back
her hair elaborate into a sort
of knot-work. Barometers of
jewelry and glittering leather,
infant ear-rings spider-web
hair knotted with sweat.
Arena is sand, to soak up
blood or oil or other
expensive viscous fluids.
My friends roar by, wave out
the windows (cell phone) traffic and commerce
printed our pages, the regular
menhir-delivery those days
interrupted only by postal holidays.
The retinas sutured – minute cables
of scar-tissue, nudges of concentrated
light – to the back walls
of her eyes (so blue!) (freeze frame) home movie
without editing, stretches of nothing
but static words like a camcorder
in a crowd (radio on) The “we” became
royal without our noticing, an axis
around which we spun to the brink
of nausea. Twelve steps, gingerly,
and fell flap upon the cheek-
bone. He was behind the wheel,
true, but he wasn’t arrested:
a way to avoid being crippled,
at least, so he left the baby – dying –
behind; took up arms, bore arms,
brandished the gaudy stippled
drag of money’s uniform.
Their whines of good faith figured
the orange plastic netting around
a construction site, where March means
spring impends, the heat settles down
on the flats. The Lord will know
his own, our sorting is superfluous.
Over some silent footage from the turn
of the last century, Ishmael
narrates the industrial techniques
of drawing forth Leviathan: cinematically
sterilized, the buckets of blood
rendered a grey-black celluloid
shimmer, the work of the precise,
wooden, floating abattoir before me
(for the first time) in living motion
echoes in dull but vivid déjà vu
on the video screen. Too neat:
fifteen, twenty chapters of viscous
dissection tried-out to six
minutes of jerky motion: the Book
of Job in Reader’s Digest condensation.
(for Steven Moore)
He read of children tossed
at a pike’s end, of cannons
with “God Is Love” scribed round
their barrels. He read of a snake
with garnet eyes, of golden
ringlets curling round the hemp
of a hangman’s noose.
He read of green fields
and mines, of foundries
and factory floors. Pleasures
and game diversions. The tree
which bursts into pink blossoms
of enthusiasm. The trees huddle
suspiciously in the wind, rustle
in green whispers. A village mashed
and shattered under the sun, not one
stone left upon another. Bombers
and fighter jets darkening the sun,
the shop clerk whose weekend sends
him – in militiaman’s uniform –
to take stock – with a bayonet– of a
tentful of refugees. Great men,
whose brows line with the effort
of shaping destiny. Who read old books,
and find their faces there.
I am the pummeled young
crushed soda cans under flashing
bloodlight spots on drummer’s arm
blue on stubble of guitarist’s jaw
as he bends in agony gut-doubling
sudden terror-blast of white spot shows
too much and quick dark mercy comes back.
Body rubs body as prom-pix beauty affixes
her mouth to a black-hooded head
she clutches with both hands at the neck.
So much fear lust fused defused
under the jackhammer pounding
of sound whamming away reflections,
consequences, daytime stuff that’s
outside the box, the writhing black-joy
misery box, bathysphere in black ocean
because protection is needed because
you have to be in it because there every,
every suffering insufferable dark body
rubbed mashed snubbed gagged
longed-for swallowed is what’s wanted,
more body, more slime, slobber,
sweat, wet, scurf, squawk to be set free
charged up to richest livingness
and for a short span music does it.
Hammers it home.
Breakfast at Fiction Inn
The Innkeeper is shaking a white plate with a golden rim,
"This is real gold dammit, that's metal you dimwit,
never put metal in the microwave." The help is only a minor character,
I can't see his face, but his scuffing gait sorrows the floorboards
as I wait for eggs and bacon in the first chapter.
The window sets a general view of mountain, green and sky.
I've never been much for description which is why
I write more poetry than novels. I am surrounded by chapter two's chunky
knotted pine and crafted replications of the view. Even before I lift my fork,
it's clear the narrative is going to leave me hungry.
A small brown boy and brown dog barrel down the stairs and stop
to smell my feet…so…nature is embodied in this narrative. "What
is your name?" "My dog is chocolate and so am I," he grins and exits.
Humor? Hook? Why is the story line racing offstage at Fiction Inn?
The door jingles its leitmotif and a bearded man enters
after his Leica. The innkeeper asks, wiping his hands, if he can assist.
"I used to come here as a boy and I have surely missed
your grandmother's flapjacks." His lens sniffs the scene. Sorry—
don't shoot my way. Should I have ordered pancakes instead of scrambled?
If I'm the main character, why can't I get fed? Maybe the story
is off the leash and chasing a goose. Will I be captured
by the photographer as he snaps up time capsule
walls and sweating proprietor? Who cares? I'm the author. My coffee is weak
but the perfect eggs are anointed with paprika when they arrive, still hot.
My host tells me the mist is rising from valley to peak,
and the trails are open. He is clearly the main character, he pours
more coffee, "9-11 is killing my trade, Europeans don't come here anymore;
global warming is dulling the fall leaves with too much rain, I do what I can,
my mother wants me to sell out, sell out, but I'm a stubborn man."
I was wrong, this isn't a novel, it's a country western song.
Warm Blue, Steam Tent, a Thousand Moons
between chalk-dry air
fluted blue lung
from a silver wire,
into a drain
the 4th wall
is roaring approval.
rises in the window
through night-dyed plastic—
cling to tile.
In every drop, a moon,
rinse, breathe, dance—
moons that melt
into a cool black towel.
This Could Be Quiet
There are and only can be so many
more days like this. This, what the
house is for what the mouth is for.
Whatever other than guessing. What
else but lady jackets. Do you know
how you know if there are cockroaches
she says. You go into the kitchen in
the middle of the night. They scurry.
If you see them scurry they are there.
Here, person, person, here. The box says
“I am so fragile.” Dinner is a room and
bricks and windows. Charming how
charming those buttons, cardigan
buttons all over again.
The bear smells we
smell like radishes
we just smell like radishes.
There is not much else to imagine.
This era is a sign of other kinds of love.
It will all be easier than this,
the flies fly at the wall and say
it will all be easier than this, after this.
The bats in me are the night.
The bats in me are the music.
Licking walls is no way to live.
Bring me a beefcake I will
demonstrate I am a visual person
I draw maps for a living.