I spend so much time working with other people’s poems that I’m always in a state of low-grade guilt over my own poems, which will very occasionally erupt in a spasm of submitting. Some happy results to report – there are Nic poems forthcoming in Blue Fifth Review, Valparaiso Poetry Review and Frostwriting</a>, and a chapbook manuscript of mine has made the first cut at the fabulous Hyacinth Girl Press. Woot!
beloved, you were like octopus
proceeding in pulsing clouds
of black ink
sprang whole from your mind
and exploded into life
as flying steel and iron-toothed trap
it was always my bone, my muscle
they mangled and spat out
you hurled us into chill wars
fought in forests of spider trees
against aging warriors
whose battle rhythm was not ours
but you always fought longest
and fell last
now you cross
the miles of destruction between us
hunting my last thought, lamenting
in this derelict church
the flutes are silent
I say, weeping
you say: don’t fall into the moat
something lives there
and it eats
you say: death
is a blooming rose
I woke from my nap and heard the goldfish
whistling. I got up and pressed my face
to the glass: Goldfish,
I said. Please stop.
It unpuckered its tiny orange lips
but didn’t stop whistling.
I went outside and a warm blanket
of bees fell upon me.
That’s it, I said,
but the thrumming crept
into my ears like dormice
and you threw a bucket of sun
over me and I became so bright
I closed my eyes.
That was my first-ever published poem, accepted in 2006 by Paul Stevens, late editor of the Shit Creek Review, The Chimaera and The Flea, who died last week. Paul had a wonderful sense of humor (check out this last message!) and was a tremendous force-multiplier in the poetry blogosphere. Read an interview with him from Very Like A Whale’s Ten Questions for Poetry Editors series.
RIP, Paul, and thanks for everything.