November 16–22, 2009: Buxton Wells and Suzanne Austin

week of November 16-22, 2009: 

Buxton Wells and Suzanne Austin

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Buxton Wells

Bio (auto)

RBuxton Wells was born in Iowa, raised in Virginia, and is a longtime resident of Memphis, TN Appearances online with Winning Writers, Umbrella, Wandering Army, The Legendary, carte blanche [pending 2009] and Contemporary American Voices [pending 2010] constitute his publication history to date He has his expectations.

The following work is Copyright © 2009, and owned by Buxton Wells and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Backyard in February
The party’s over–
there was no party  
I step out back—
deliberately, for drink—
with a dozen empties clinking  
I’m under the eaves of dead fathers,
where lightning arcs through vascular trees
to thrash in the underground  
The ground is softened
after the hard rains
and liable to give way  
This is less catharsis
than diuresis,
with bright clouds edged around
a beaten misshapen moon,
the branches scissoring
and parting in silhouette below  
I am at home in the dark trees,
like raccoons in our crawlspace
are loose in the wild  
I would not move against the trees
or blaze them on my way,
or sacrifice beneath them,
but only burn them
slowly down with my urine
like a crocodile  

The ancient trees go down at night
when the thunder cracks
and the rain softens the ripping sound
of deep roots giving, of trunks falling
through neighboring arms
of younger, lesser trees  
The downslope plunge is the way of old trees
caught up in their towers and water rights,
walled off for years against gravity  
And now they’re dead, my yard gone
sliding into them, leaving bars of mud and sand
built out from half-buried trunks  
Fingers of smaller drainages are headed
toward the house, to bring it down to a cracked
Gaps are opened, the black earth runs
beneath a patter of leaves, upslope
of the mass wasting, the bottomless give  

This month is bitter awareness month I’d choose some other observance What held my attention, the dark
has absorbed What started as pain
is a tenderness I come back inside, to wife
and child, by the carport light
and gently shoulder the kitchen door Not that I know what I’m sniffing for, but
the old house smells like a crotch  
The creepers have climbed to the overhang,
threatening the house, calling it
wonder of nature
to insinuate and claim what is natural The tendrils have wound through
the window frame in the back bathroom,
where I once saw a rodent thrashing away
in the toilet bowl I found it disturbing—
and drowning, too, in seeming desperation  
Just how it arrived there and how
I retrieved it, I don’t recall It’s all taken down by the animals—
it may be significant, maybe the end
of some stellar event, that ends
with this house on our backs  

O best beloved,
remember in moonshine
our good abode,
that breathed not a word
to a living soul, but freely offered
its backside to the woods

If the sun comes out late
tomorrow, it will throw a different light
on the buff-colored sides of our house  
I give you the book cliffs, the limestone
shelves, the iron-rich skein
of a red sky  
In four months’ time–after a final glut
of rain–we’ll be green again, the dead
outlasted, overgrown We’ll try
the unsuspecting way, let trees
be spread wide above us, the ground
stabilized beneath our feet  
The hot breath of June
will not penetrate.

Suzanne Austin

Bio (auto)

Suzanne Austin lives in Terre Haute, Indiana

The following work is Copyright © 2009, and owned by Suzanne Austin and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


Your front porch at 5 am
Still dark
Except for the lightning bugs
– the lightning sky
Your lips
The seventh month
Spent in parking lots
Of closed bars
With ringing ears
And hands closed around each other
These puddles almost feel permanent
If anything
I couldn’t fully explain the Northern Lights
Or the reason why
I’m only human enough
To watch you pull your leg into your seat
As you drive
With your window down
To the damp air
Feeding us
And I could listen to you tell that story
Again and again
I hope
As I write this
Listening to the train pass
I imagine its destination
Somewhere tomorrow afternoon
While I’m waking
(Radio edits can never be fully appreciated)
There are reasons for silent adoration
So that cameras can underestimate you
Perhaps so that
A mild manifestation
Can become an aged proverb
Former becomes present
Each theory another wrinkle
(Although the static is tuned to D)
Each interpretation
A distant echo
Or an elaborate sideshow
Of sunsets spent
Poring over words
To burn minds
With impressions
Surfacing from chemical baths
Suspended from lines
Of meaning
(Roads never close up shop)
And the nights keep coming on
As if the day wasn’t good enough
To exist alone
What hope is there in time zones
Or any other separation
Of dark and light
Other than rebirth
The light from the clock
That’s 20 minutes slow
Shows me the space
I must move across
To reach you
(Would saying emptiness doesn’t exist be a contradiction?)
I am a pixel

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