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Things in Light Poetry Series 2014: The Cast and Crew




The Things in Light Poetry Series continues to be a totally bitchin' phenomena; readers dig the hell out it. As we sift through submissions in order to bring you the best in new work from humanity's poetic representatives, we thought tonight's post should be a celebration of the amazing work we've already received. With that in mind, here are two new poems each by Ardith Brown and Albino Carrillo.

"Why this combination?" one might well ask. Well, as our managing editor explains it, the poets mentioned above and published below all had the same Shakespeare class together at UNM as undergrads. Our managing editor was there, too. The group of them performed a scene from Othello as an alternative to writing a midterm essay for the notoriously rigorous professor MacPherson. Those were halcyon days, a place to begin thinking about the power of words.

Tomorrow we begin the second chapter of the 2014 series with the poetry of Rebecca Aronson. Stay tuned.


Snake Farm
by Ardith Brown


Off an alley near the University
the dealer's younger brother says
my name sounds like a clipper
ship sailing away from the desert.   
He says Albuquerque needs more
boats, and I pretend to laugh when
he offers me a bump. His cocaine
eyes, wild and glassy-green, flitter
and pierce me like two snake fangs.
He grabs the twenty dollar bill
rolled up near the ashtray, licking
his tongue to rid his sticky
mouth of loose tobacco.


I am not the only girl surrounded
by snakes. Posters of boas adorn
airbrushed blonds, their huge breasts
weighing down the beige wallpaper.
Harley models writhe, their serpentine
guile strangled by itchy scales on waxy
lipstick smiles. Do you like snakes,
the dealer sneers as his brother
notices my brand new tan line.
He says I look sexy in turquoise.


I could run you up, if you want,
says the dealer on my next visit,
pointing toward a coiled up rubber
band next to his nudie magazines.
Instead I ask about the silver chopper
in the parched yard.  A large pit bull
is barking--its red eyes mad and bright--
at the new addition in his dusty,
weed-filled lot. The brother yells
shut up and asks if I want to ride.




Birds, San Antonio, 1992
by Ardith Brown


The wedding was not the apocalypse she imagined.  

Endtime, dystopia--call it what you will, but her dress

did not explode or combust. Late October was still hot in Texas.
Sweating through itchy lace, she could barely stand up for the vodka.
A marching band and jet fighters competed for the minister's voice,
but she wasn't interested in the Bible.  It was mostly exposition;  
anyway, she didn't quite believe. All the crystal and glitter
reminded her of discotheques on LSD, of tragic infernos,
sad Victorian women trapped in a muted Renoir.

She thought it unwise to get drunk at weddings,
but it was eighty degrees and the pressure was outrageous.
Booze wasn't sufficient to still the jackhammers fragmenting
her head; instead, she focused on the Virgin of Guadalupe
surrounded by roses and pink aura. Unusual to feel so totally clean.  
There would be friends and children, death and monsters,
days of confusion and depression, yet God would lower
her down soon, crush the hibiscus petals beneath her feet.
She wished for great flocks of grackles, their iridescent
bodies, black and shiny, whistling sharply to settle, settle.

But there were no birds. Silence wrecked her flight.  
Grass sparkled, but she wanted to forget the lawn,
how this night softened her own feathers, clipped her wings.
Married. Until today, time had worked against her--
distorted biological clocks. Grandmothers and aunts
hovered over the cake; small children danced.  
Odors of perfume and coffee smelled of hospitals
and unbearable civilization.  Now the bridesmaids
were poised, squirrels twitching, heart rates heightened,
each vying to catch the throwaway bouquet.

Momentarily she leaned toward the coast,
toward Corpus Christi and Galveston,
slouching a gray posture past the border all the way
down to the Gulf of Mexico where the water opened up,
a whale's mouth swallowing her delight.  Smells of salt
corrupted the reception, and out on the beaches the hotel lights
twinkled and blinked, calling her like diamonds on a neckline.

I lost hope.
I wanted do die right there.
I wanted to swim away and laugh,
an atheist at the coming of the Lord.


***

You Don't
by Albino Carrillo

You don't
Listen to the
Darkness eating
Me alive.  When
My bones shake
In the night.  When
The terror of my own
Death echoes like
A police baton
On my skull.  Even
The sun knows
My pain, why don't
You.  The easiest
Task is falling
Away into the
Antigravity that'll
Spin me away
Like a lousy planet.
The most difficult
Being just the
Utterance of one
Word.  Whether
I can dance
I'm the morning.


On the Death of Childhood Friends
by Albino Carrillo

There was one time we were all
Gathered around a campfire
In the sandias, when it used to rain
And march was cold still in the lower
Passes between the high desert
And the ponderosa forests.

Chris was there, and Darrell-
We'd walked up with a keg
Of beer, made a fire in a
Dried out riverbed.  You
Never think you'll die
Then, when the class

Has gone away and
All you have to do is climb.
I think of Kenneth next,
Singing to Wagner
As he swung between
Love-boys, declaring

That even the pennies
On his eyes should be
Melted down when
The time came.  When
His brain stopped working
One day on stage

We He knew he'd be gone--
So afterwards we feasted
With money he left us--
Besides the food and
Booze, he left us each
A bottle of morphine

Tablets, dilaudid, and Xanax
To play with.
His parents told
Us they loved us for
Him, and only in death
Accepted that he was gay.

If you think
I have more to stay, listen--
Times I've been to
Funerals an carried caskets
Put money in baskets
And taken the Host.  Which

Is eating a part that
Reminds you most of death,
What's next.  Then there was
Countdown-- a prelude to what
Comes next besides
The lazy sun who knows its

Turn day after day without
Completion.  I give to you
The ultimate quantum
Of days:  hallway visits
Those transient times

When bells are really
Ringing outside, in the spring.

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