November 17-24, 2013: Brendan Constantine and Cheryl A. Van Beek

 

Brendan Constantineand Cheryl A. Van Beek

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Brendan Constantine
brendan.constantine@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Brendan Constantine’s work has appeared in numerous journals, most notably Ploughshares, FIELD, Zyzzyva, Ninth Letter, Poetry Daily, Verse Daily, ArtLife, The Los Angeles Review, The Pinch and L.A. Times Best Seller, ‘The Underground Guide to Los Angeles.’ His most recent collections are Birthday Girl With Possum (2011 Write Bloody Publishing) and Calamity Joe (2012 Red Hen Press). Mr. Constantine has received grants and commissions from the Getty Museum, James Irvine Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. He is currently poet in residence at the Windward School and adjunct professor at Antioch University. In addition, he regularly offers classes to hospitals, elder care centers and shelters for the homeless. Visit Brendan on the web here.

The following work is Copyright © 2013, and owned by Brendan Constantine and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

This Grove

This grove belongs to the hills beyond
as they belong to the mountain & so
unto the next thing & the sky.

The bear in the bellboy’s cap is mine,
so is this book, this picture of a cloud
that holds the page. Everything else

I rescued. This coat I saved from
a washing line, the shirt & scarf
as well. But the shoes were hung

from a  sycamore which means
something worse than losing a shoe.
My bear watched the road

while I cut them down. Now’s the time
for taking shoes off, for grass
sounds in the grove, for the grass

to sweep my bear to sleep. I forget
to sing to him while he’s awake, so
I lift his hat & hum into that. I dream

that he dreams my songs, but I never
ask in the morning. Tomorrow we’ll walk
to the hills & ask them to give us

the grove. If they refuse we’ll appeal
to the mountain & so unto the next thing
& the sky, until we strike a deal.

My bear will get half, though he’ll stay
mine. Oh God, tired God, be honest;
you won’t miss the grass and its miles.

 

No One Spoke

for at least an hour. Maybe longer. It was longer.
No one spoke, looked away, or drew attention
with their hands. A few of us opened our mouths,
a few always do. We didn’t know we’d done it.
No one saw. Like losing a button. We were busy
not speaking. We had drinks, a few snacks, watched
TV with the sound off. A few of us thought about
the button, the one that says MUTE, how common
it is now. We tried to imagine it on other things,
things that don’t speak but are loud: lamps, guns,
a fire truck with MUTE painted on it. It would’ve
looked good on us, stenciled white across our chests.
We wore dark colors, earth tones. No one calls them
dirt tones or soil. It’s what we mean: mud, rot,
the heap of life. It’d be hard to sell clothes with
names like that. Hard to give them away. Maybe
if they were gifts. We’d all accept with a nod,
like we did when your picture came our
way.


Cheryl A. Van Beek
cvanbeek@tampabay.rr.com

Bio (auto)

Cheryl A. Van Beek has had poems published in Sandhill Review and has had poems accepted by Long Story Short Poetry and Poetry Pacific to be published in upcoming issues. She is a member of the Saint Leo Writers’ Circle and has also written for a local newspaper. She is a caregiver for her mother and lives with her husband and their two cats in Wesley Chapel, Florida, the “Land of Flowers,” where she tends an ever expanding garden of diverse wildlife including alligators and the occasional cow.

The following work is Copyright © 2013, and owned by Cheryl A. Van Beek and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Hell

Launder your “some days”
wring out your plans
let every drop drip
dry.
Or tumble them in your head
that click clack banging sound,
like forgotten coins,
round and round
till they’re dead.
Reach for them
again.
Hold them against your skin.
Steal their heat,
then smooth their creases.
Fold them tightly edge to edge
pile them
on shelves,
or file them
in closets.

Jean Paul Sartre wrote,
“Hell is other people.”
You disagree.
Hell is you,
your dreams with no exit.