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4/28/2014

Things in Light Poetry Series 2014: Albino Carrillo

Rudolfo Carrillo


Hunting for my Father

On the internet—nowhere
To be found except in the exact
Obit my brother wrote:  one
Error.  My dad served in the Atlantic
Theatre in a sea-going tug
And might have killed
Some German sailors.
I want to find his
Papers and his story but
Hey, they might
Be lost like he was.
Lately I know
There’s a deep
Newspaper record
Of his mishaps and misdeeds,
Half-steps in his dreamy
political State.  Even
At the end.  Now I’ve
Heard stories—

I’m lost in my dream
Of him, not what we
Know when we’re awake.
Wandering East has
Done no good.  I now
Know he had another
Kid way before he
Met my mother.  He
Worked bad deals,
Building pyramids
For old-folks in
Scottsdale and Santa Fe.

I’m amazed I’ve escaped
That world.  I don’t know
How he felt at 50.  I can
Stand at his grave,
Address the criminal
While the white moon hurtles
above me and in the next
grave my mother’s ghost
cries for the world they
left behind so long ago.
If there is any agony
It is for the life he lived.
The one I don’t know so
Well—I’ ve been told this
And that by him, never
Noticed, like us all
He had a secret life,
A secret he could not
Share or maintain.
In the morning
Sunlight I do not
Know what I know
As the truth.  Who
Was that man
In that picture
By the lake?   And
What was he doing
With all the fancy
Cars, the empty bottles,
The rifle he kept
In the master bedroom
Closet.  Closed like
I am forever to wander
Like a ghost for some
Sense of who
He was.  The
Trips to Vegas,
The long rides
To nowhere
He must have endured.

***

Albino Carrillo, a sixth generation native New Mexican, received a Master of Fine Arts in Poetry from Arizona State University in 1993, and a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of New Mexico in 1986. He has published poetry in many literary journals, including The Antioch Review, Puerto Del Sol, Blue Mesa Review, CALIBAN, The South Dakota Review, Columbia: A Journal of Art and Literature, Sou'Wester, and World Order. Carrillo's poems are anthologized in both Library Bound: A Saratoga Anthology (Saratoga Springs Library Press, 1996), and The Wind Shifts: New Latino Poetry (University of Arizona Press, 2007). Carrillo's book of poems is In the City of Smoking Mirrors (University of Arizona Press, 2004). Before teaching at the University of Dayton, Carrillo taught in the English Department at the University of Minnesota, and at Union College of New York, where he held a Post-Doctoral Fellowship. Carrillo is a Pushcart Prize nominee.

4/25/2014

Things in Light Poetry Series 2014: Stephanie Galloway

Rudolfo Carrillo

Toilet Paper Mummy Wrap

Mountains are modern pyramids

A place to bury

Maybes or I'll tries

The way you look at me

Makes me want to saddle up my winged seahorse

And write math equations

On church walls

But let's save

Those theatrics

For when the shower curtain rises

This watershed

Will be a perfect place

To store our pipes in


WHY THE WEST IS WILD

Dug in like mind spurs

Reminiscence is riding

Scuttling over paper surfaces

Marks made with unforgettable ink and imploded destiny

Steps planted in dry pulp

Twigs snapping out a tune for soles that linger

Tangibility deserted this town long ago

Leaving it to ghosts and dreamers


THE GEOLOGY OF MUSIC

Radio carbon listening

To diamond mine songs

With ears once covered in the clay of mass consumption

That are now made into earthborn jars

Filled with honey harmonies

Your nonlinear thought collapses my horizon

Leaving me riding your cycling records into glory


WIND SIFTER

Unpolished object of lore

A doorstep discovery ornaments my table

Dusky shape with many versions

This raw root of relations is a peek into holy expression

A record of alchemy scorched days spent extracting history from the future


***

Stephanie Galloway is an artist and writer who lives and works in Albuquerque, NM. Educated at the University of New Mexico, Galloway is the founder of the Albuquerque chapter of Free Art Friday.

4/23/2014

Things in Light Poetry Series 2014: Ardith Brown

Rudolfo Carrillo


Midwestern

She treats coffee filters
like new inventions; her percolating
days are over now, and she's never
seen a dolphin, aching in gray
dappled rows.

Outside her window
is the chicken-free yard
where she counts sheds,
brass padlocks.  In this land-
locked state it's hard;
blue herons, turtles,
limestone rocks,

all of them earth
and none of them sea.
Two thousand miles away
her husband longs for land
and sips chardonnay,
holds grapes and apricots
in his hands.
The boat sways. 

She craves the luster
of waves, not deciduous trees,
not peace to attend her beads
and record the drops
of thermometers. 

Eating sardines she tastes sand
monsters stalking the beach,
but finds only dirt, locust wings,
her own dry lips.  The salt
disintegrates in her mouth
like silky dusk
and the lowing of cows.


Easter Sunday, 1982

Chellie arrived before dawn,
lightly tapping on the glass.
Her boyfriend dead one year,
his last drug deal gone wrong,
a wire fence breaking his neck
as he ran through that idyll
Missouri pasture.

When she giggled bright
bursts of noise woke the morning
birds.  Mascara tears pooled
beneath her eyes, now smudged,
the artifice of her mask, removed.

Later, we fired up the Country Squire
wagon, all avocado green and fake wood
panels launching us toward the river's mighty,
brown weight.  We headed south, down
to the floodplain where purple wild
flowers stained the fallow fields,
and the dark earth underneath
still smelled of winter and frost.

She took me to church 
where services were starting,
ancient and young parishioners
climbing up the Baptist steps.
Beside the sanctuary, the cemetery
sprouted brittle plastic bouquets. 
She yanked the dead red tulips
from the vase on his grave,
replacing them with yellow roses. 
His favorite color, she said.
I love to surprise him.



For My Father With His Head In the Stars

Georgia doves court in the yard
where the stink of pear trees stop.
Anxious birds scatter pearlized feathers
of iridescent grey in waxy leaves.
Dogwoods glow as April stands cruelly on.     

Back in Missouri my father balances on one foot,
brushing his teeth. He watches the aging corgi
pee again on the floor.  “Throw her out,”
his wife says, while in the bathroom mirror
he envisions sundials, azimuths, and stars. 

In his mind, Latin American altars wait
for him to map their penitent saints.
Stations in suffering dazzle, gilded gold
dissected in one radiant solar shaft.
Amber-pulsing lasers crack the cathedral.

At least I like to think of it that way.
The archaeologist and his calculations,
cigar smoke coalescing with frankincense
and myrrh in one miraculous connection,
where sun arrows shoot holy rays in tandem.

Or not.  Perhaps the solstice is too hard
on his agnosticism.  While incense burns
believers' eyes, doubtful priests carry on
their search for mysterious candles.
And I cannot interpret the point of light

like he can. But I remember the New World.
Chocolate rain and murderous chile await
Conquistadores who beguile Moctezuma.
Spanish forces ride in on hot horses
from ships where steel swords announce

the red beard of Cortez.  I think of natives
sweating in the glittered valley.  Their bodies
hew churches and convents; their mind's blue
eye replaced by biblical law, a bloody crucifix,
the coming of dark and splitting of rocks.

In Georgia, I wait for my father to speak
of astral matters and spring zodiacs in the night.
The phone clicks. When will I stare into his ocean
gaze and wonder if I’ll I ever get the math,
the raw wonder, the angles of his face?

***

Ardith L. Brown currently resides in Flannery O'Connor's hometown of Milledgeville, GA, but she doesn't forget New Mexico.  When she is not wrangling family or grading papers, she writes poems.  She has a B.A. in Poetry from UNM, an M.A. in Literature from the University of Houston, and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Georgia College & State University. She misses green chile, mountains, and liberals.




4/22/2014

Things in Light Poetry Series 2014: Martina Reisz Newberry

Rudolfo Carrillo


1.  AT THE WAX MUSEUM ON HOLLYWOOD BOULEVARD

What is a woman’s life?
Is she
bird,
or pen
or tree
or cake?

Where is she going and why the lime-green shoes
with the bows on the back?

Does her flesh smell
of sugar
or burnt oak
or tea?

Who will drink her
from a fragile cup or thick mug?

Where is a woman’s life?
Is it in
a stone cell
a garden of marshmallows
a church nave?

Will she dress herself in bracelets and gauze,
gifted with sparking sashes?

What will she be fed?
Will potato chips fall down from the sky
sausages and French bread
and apples tumble from the mountains?

What are life’s losses—a woman’s losses?
A favorite bowl with cherries ‘round the rim
a poorly framed picture of two angels on a bicycle
a bottle—pale blue glass, bubbled?

What is a woman’s end?
In a kiosk
a tent,
a chrysalis,
a bright yellow Cadillac
with fins and leather seats?

Maybe the end is nothing more than a swan biting her bare heels
on a humid summer morning in South Carolina.  
Maybe it is simply the end of this day
the end of this poem
something hidden inside these words

2.  LATER ON  

    I understood
all along that you so dis-
liked the complication
that was Us, you’d be willing

to let me go
rather than armor up on
my behalf.  Nearly 60 months
of holding my breath, imagining

a kidnapping
in which you would take me far
away to New Zealand or Mayotte
never to be heard from again.  
We might have
been weavers.  We might have been
warriors.  We might have been birthday
wishes that came true.  You were

impenetrable then,
unwilling to release your fear
of love. So we died and were buried
and descended into hell.

On the third day
we rose again—oh wait!—no,
that was Jesus.
We stopped at dying.

3.  THE DETRACTED OWLET (MOTH)

Dear dark moths, flown up
from the evening’s carpet,
flown in from the intemperate ambience,
born from their slow, tortured silences,
you are delivered to her
because of her sacred errors,
because of her boozy breath.

She heard you arriving, you know.
The sounds!  Sweet Jesus,
your wings are thunderous!  
Only when she hears that flapping
does she stiffen in a spasm of remembering.  

Pulled into the pulsing light
of her pale arms and face,
you will leave some canvas unpainted,
some splotched, some marked
with ochre and spittle—
all, all of it a master piece,
a master’s dream of control.  

Dear, dark moths, you sit
with her on the bed.  
He has driven off for the time being
and the green smell of summer grasses
hangs in this room like temple incense.  
Her goddess energy is low just now,
But, dear dark moths, you’ll meet again
in the morning and your kisses
will be there for the world to see.

***

Martina Reisz Newberry’s most recent book is LEARNING BY ROTE (Deerbrook Press).  She is also the author of WHAT WE CAN’T FORGIVE.  LATE NIGHT RADIOPERHAPS YOU COULD BREATHE FOR MEHUNGERAFTER THE EARTHQUAKE:  POEMS 1996-2006, NOT UNTRUE & NOT UNKIND (Arabesques Press, Amari Hamadene, editor) and RUNNING LIKE A WOMAN WITH HER HAIR ON FIRE: Collected Poems (Red Hen Press). Ms. Newberry is the winner of i.e. magazine’s Editor’s Choice Poetry Chapbook Prize for 1998: AN APPARENT, APPROACHABLE LIGHT. She is the also the author of  LIMA BEANS AND CITY CHICKEN: MEMORIES OF THE OPEN HEARTH—a memoir of her father—published by E.P. Dutton and Co. in 1989. She has written four novels and several books of poetry, has been included in Ascent Aspirations first hard-copy Anthology, also in the anthology In The Company Of Women and has been widely published in literary magazines such as:  Ascent Aspirations, Bellingham Review, Blessed Are These Hands, Cape Rock, Connecticut Poetry Review, Cenacle, Counterpunch, Current Accounts, Divine Femme, Haight Ashbury, Iota,Istanbul Literary Review, Niche, Piedmont Literary Review, Southern Review of Poetry, Shot of Ink, Smiling Politely, Touchstone, Women's Work, Yet Another Small Magazine, and others.  Martina lives in Hollywood, California with her husband Brian and their best 4-legged pal, Charlie the Cat. 

4/21/2014

Things in Light Poetry Series 2014: Michael Rothenberg

Rudolfo Carrillo


FEBRUARY 23

Invisible trombone combo, hippodrome, stone palindrome, homonym, anomaly, family tree.

Leaf blown off the deck into the moon.

Bloom, bone, rune, sewn, scar, fume, star, tune, serial disruption.

Mariachis on the wall of the many living waters.

Corridors of censure. Closure. Soldiers. Blood and oil wars. Boulders and skin, sloughed. Mechanisms of cacophony. Towers of rabble. Drivel, rubble, ruffle, dibble, dabble, rifle, riffle. Riff raff. Corn dogs and pollywogs.

A thrilling roller coaster ride breaks from its rolling tracks.

Dives, leaps, towards an astral attraction, across the zenith.

Of the living room.

Silver spoon. Destiny and coincidence.

You make the worst and most of your wayward dreams.

Gleeners, DNA, ecology, cataclysmic chaos and birth. Evolutionary dental floss, apology, string theory, calliope. Calliopic blues.

Love goes around the corner for a Margarita.


FEBRUARY 24: NATURAL DEATH

In Miami Beach in 1973, at a cocktail party at my next door neighbor’s house, I heard that Buddy Zoloth, my brother’s high school friend, had disappeared. His mother and father mingled at the party looking unusually sad as if life had lost all meaning. Rumor was that Buddy headed out west and died from an overdose and no one knew how to contact his family. Some friends thought maybe he was kidnapped and murdered. He just dropped off the face of the earth. His parents never heard from him again. 

40 years later I see Buddy’s picture on the Internet. He looks happy enough, reading a newspaper on a jet plane with Stephen Stills. He’d become a successful road manager in the 70’s for several world famous Rock & Roll bands, including Manassas and Rita Coolidge. He seems to have had a nice loving family and was highly respected by his peers in the music industry.  A legend.

But of course, shit does happen. Five years ago Buddy died from liver cancer at 59. Some say he deserved what he got but I’m not sure of that. I saw a comment like this on a memorial page online. He pissed off an ex-girlfriend or ex-wife. There was talk of guns and drugs and abuse. She was glad he was dead.

Interesting footnote is that last year someone found Buddy’s address book from the 1970’s while cleaning out a garage in LA. They tried to sell it for a “million dollars” to Pawn Stars, a television pawn shop program. But the telephone numbers for Neil Young, Grace Slick, Keith Richards, The Who and Elton John were no longer in service. So while this was a curious and compelling piece of memorabilia it was finally worthless. The Pawn Stars could find no buyers.

RIP Buddy. Good to hear you didn’t disappear and die young.  Though you didn’t live very long. You just lived and died sooner or later like everyone else. But I wonder what happened to your parents.

*

The Weather Bureau predicts snow at sea level today or tomorrow. It’s pretty fucking cold. I’m going to walk the dog.


MARCH 13

O beautiful madrone! O, beautiful rain! I like it here in Guerneville.

I’m kind of a hippy. Yes, I burn incense. When I’m out of breath it helps me catch my breath. Obsessions go up in smoke.

A pneumonic device. O, yes. Like Bells. O, yes, I remember them both. The bells and incense. Remember it all. Obsessions. Midnight forests drenched in white moonlight. Flowers and sunlight. Daylight Savings Time. Woohoo!

On the roof deck I smoke a bowl of Northern California pot.  Here comes the wisteria! The buds are fat and all over the place. I don’t see the difference between a Jew and
a Buddhist. I’m neither one of them, or both. It’s like having
a squirrel and a marching brass band in your head. Religion. Phooey!

O, beautiful rain! Beautiful madrone!
O, rosy Calypso orchid splash in the mush.
Sip some mango juice. Imagine Japan.
Poor Japan.


MARCH 21 

I know the names but not the sad, sad mistaken faces. Count them. Pale plastic shells, hallowed shards, blunt-edged puzzle pieces, dioramic snapshots. Count them. Reach myopic odyssey. Fabulous sideways fiction. Climb on board. Sign them in. Count them. Saintly numbers. Multitudes. Walt! Yeah, Karaoke Multitudes...

He’s a real bad dog (not a real dog) and this wanna be hound wants to shit on our velvet roses. Wants his balls scratched all fucking daylong, barks and whines to be taken out at 2am so he can piss on himself. He’s an absolute digression.

While one more oil soaked coral wilts in vertigo of yellow moonlight, glorious flower hacks its petals into desolate fall, 20 thousand Rockhopper penguins burst into acid flames on Tristan Da Cunha Islands, another benzene starlight plume seeps and scars an oceanic paradise...

I hear them cry, folks on the Gulf of Mexico Coast. Bubbly white rashes head to toe, spit up grit and blood, shout about jobs. Not enough of them jobs! I hope they understand what they’ve signed up for. Corporate slavery toiling in the bowels of extinction. Howl on you bloody petroleum slaves. I love you but as far as I can see there’s nothing I can do to help.

Sad faces in rain. Sushi foodies. Pacifist trolls garden the last sustainable feast of plutonium lettuce, pedigreed bok choy and electric radishes. Gardeners, I admire your cultured pacifism, yes, but you move too slowly in your haiku.

Is this where the massacre continues? Sociopathic brainwaves. Diastolic embolisms. Is it positive change?
Is it any kind of change? Should poetry and politics mix or be kept separate, like urine and strawberries, as if politics were something else besides what we’ve become, or what we believe in, or who we are?


REDACT

Sure, Death, I understand
You have a bad cancer

Agoraphobic, paralyzed
Broke, starved

Dissolute and wasted
It’s no joke

Salmonella in the driveway
and I can’t get it started

***

Born in Miami Beach, Florida in 1951, Rothenberg moved to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1975 and co-founded Shelldance Orchid Gardens in Pacifica, which is dedicated to the cultivation of orchids and bromeliads. While in Pacifica, he helped lead local environmental actions that stopped major coastal developments that would destroy wildlife habitat.

His poems have been widely published in literary reviews such as Exquisite CorpseMudlarkGolden Handcuffs ReviewHouse Organ,JacketORPrague Literary ReviewSycamore Review,Tricycle, and Zyzzyva.

His editorial work includes several volumes in the Penguin Poets series:Overtime by Philip Whalen, As Ever by Joanne Kyger, David’s Copy by David Meltzer, and Way More West by Ed Dorn. He is also editor of The Collected Poems of Philip Whalen published by Wesleyan University Press. His poetry books include The Paris Journals (Fish Drum Press), Unhurried Vision (La Alameda/University of New Mexico Press),My Youth As A Train (Foothills Publishing), Choose (Big Bridge Press) and Murder (Paper Book Press). He is also the author of the eco-spy novel Punk Rockwell.

Rothenberg’s most recent book of poems is Indefinite Detention: A Dog Story published in 2013 by Ekstasis Editions, Victoria, B.C., Canada.Indefinite Detention is scheduled for publication in 2014 by both Shabda Press (USA) and Al Kotob Khan (Cairo, Egypt) in an Arabic/English edition, translated by El Habib Louai.



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