Wednesday, September 21, 2005

I'm slowly catching up with everything I've promised to post. Look for pictures here (Don't worry, Luke, I will also email ones from Caroline J. McSimons' wedding) shortly. First those poems I performed at Open Mic Night a few weeks ago, starting with a prose poem:

Serving at the Catholic Worker House

Night air, warm and thick as smoke, shrouded the city and settled in folds between buildings. Then sirens cut through sleep, and the walls of the bedroom strobed red and blue. Voices from the street came through the open window like stale incense, a recognizable scene after several nights’ repeat performances. A drunken man lay with his cheek pressed to the warm pavement, his wrists cuffed. A police officer barked in Spanish. A prostitute in fishnets slipped into the shadows of the convenience store. Earlier that evening, an elderly lady stared from the other side of the serving line. The woman’s body arced forward, shoulders slumped from the weight of years, blue eyes reminiscent of a loving grandmother’s. “Macaroni and cheese?” the woman choked at the offered food. “That shit tastes like cardboard and smells even worse. Can’t you people come up with anything better for us?” Grandmotherly resemblance evaporated with the steam from the baked potato. The old woman at dinner and the two in the street are bridged by the lone piece of artwork in the bedroom: a group of downtrodden stands in the darkness, wrapped in tattered overcoats, tied with scarves and shawls; a silhouetted Christ in their midst, arms folded and chin tucked into His chest, bears the cold along with them. He is in line, not ladling soup into bowls, not handing out bread. The hungry feed the hungry, the naked clothe the naked, the dead bury the dead.

That was the one that impressed Tina from Florida, mostly because I said "shit" on a microphone in the Admin Building. The second poem needs no explanation.

Long’s Peak

Moonlight dances between pine needles
like the glow of licking candle flames.
The trail leads us through lodgepole colonnades,
wisps of juniper incense, marbled tundra,
and the needle’s eye of the Keyhole.
The sunrise chisels jagged cliffs from twilight
and carves the final climb to the high altar
where heaven unites with earth.
We anchor feet to summit rocks,
mountain air cutting lungs like thin
bits of stained glass, heads throbbing
to the unmeasured rhythm of chant
under soaring cathedral sky.
Inhaling and exhaling is our prayer,
a drink of water becomes holy.
Born again of wind and rain, we descend
like transfigured magi returning home.

I'm ashamed to say that I haven't written any new material since I've been here.