February 4-10, 2008: Brian Michael Tracy and Brandon Cesmat

week of February 4-10, 2008

Brian Michael Tracy and Brandon Cesmat

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Brian Michael Tracy

Bio (auto)

Brian Michael Tracy was born, raised and educated in Boston, Massachusetts He received his BA from Stonehill College and his Master’s in Urban Planning from the Harvard University School of Design He currently owns and manages a commercial real estate company in Los Angeles, California His work has appeared in Gentle Strength Quarterly and Yogi Times Magazine He recently produced and recorded a CD of poems and songs entitled Midnight Tea His first book of poetry entitled Driving With Dante was published through Conflux Press In November, 2007 He resides in Manhattan Beach, California
Brian’s web-site is www.midnightteapoetry.com

The following work is Copyright © 2008, and owned by Brian Michael Tracy and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


I have a professor who teaches physics from memory
Each morning he asks “Where, exactly, did I leave off?”
Then proceeds as if the question had never been answered
Only the most important problems are discussed For example:

If I touched you on your way to Kansas
traveling at the speed of light
would you be holding my letters?


If music were played
by the gravity of memory
would it pass through our hearts forever?

“The shape of a tree” he once declared, “is god.”

Now, whenever I look at trees
and watch their leaves ripple in the afternoon breeze

I think of traveling at the speed of light
And when I do, there is always a train
and always someone on the platform, always

when the train passes and slows at the station gate
There is a clock above them, always
which is the same time as my watch

when the train comes to rest
I believe I am in Kansas
The winds from the train have scattered
not only the leaves, but the trees themselves
They have also, for the moment, scattered
your memories of me and my letters
But the station clock has yet to toll
And, anyway, you are lost in thought
contemplating objects falling through space
Look, they float like the robes of Venus,
yet cling like dew to it’s morning grass
But those thoughts are shattered by the sound of the clock,
its delicate hands drawing the traces of time,

a time we know now
that shall never again be absolute
So tonight, let us be together Let us be the thread between the passing of sunlight

and our assumption of dawn
Let us talk over tea
then pour ourselves into our desires,

lie beneath the falling stars, arms spread
and let gravity pass through our hearts

into memory, into music.

For Wallace Stevens

Enough to have been,
or dreamed to have been,
before, or since, or again
Enough to have seen,
or reflected, then seen,
returning Iris over water

and understood
she was more earth,
and less the sky;
more prayer than hymn
The river imagines itself the sea,
and what is learned,
or remembered,
moves softly in its wake
Moving now,
moving in memory,
and, then again in thought;
more image than thought,
on shore, beholding water
Silence ripples,
the wind passes palms
Birds meet the sky, and fly,
beyond doubt,
to unforeseen branches
Silence returns,
the wings of blackbirds fold.

Brandon Cesmat

Bio (auto)

Brandon Cesmat’s Driven into the Shade received a San Diego Book Award (Poetic Matrix Press) Cesmat won the 2008 Cardiff-by-the-Sea Invitational Poetry Slam
He earned his MFA from San Diego State and teaches for CSU-San Marcos and California Poets in the Schools He is a member of the bi-national collective Acanto y Laurel and performs with the inter-disciplinary arts ensemble Drought Buoy

Of Driven into the Shade, Maria Melendez (How Long She’ll Last in This World) writes, “These poems exemplify what can happen when a man grows love poetry from the land; in this case, the land that love springs from, and flows to, is the land of California—its crows and coyotes, its organic hybridity between cultures Through this feeling of eros from and for a place, the reader participates in a deep connection to the creative earth.”

Cesmat survives with grace at the edge of a canyon with his wife and sons in Valley Center, CA His story collection Party Crasher is forthcoming from Caernarvon Press For more information see www.csusm.edu/profe

The following work is Copyright © 2008, and owned by Brandon Cesmat and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Where Have All The Bulls Gone?

Most evenings, I’m glad to head home
after a long hot afternoon canoeing far from
my American city with its herd of bulls
.stampeding from limos,
.through lobbies
.and into board rooms,
looking for cows of cash Not even neckties can hold them back
After those cows fatted for The Last BBQ,
the bulls roam from their homes on the range Every where they went, piles of evidence You can smell it in the Senate and
see it on newspapers
I tried to get away
and relax on this creek,
but find myself floating alone
with the current pulling me home I’m reluctant to dip my palms in and paddle,
now that this creek looks so much like downtown
except there are no bulls nearby to blame.

All About You

Forgive me for being contrary, but some things
must be said The sky is falling, while the earth

pushes us forward, so as for the expanding-universe theory,
I offer our lives as counterpoints
Who can deny that it all is collapsing? Sleep bows our heads;
we must submit even to dream dreams, then the heavy awakenings
Haven’t you felt the weight across the shoulders, the gravitational
force of the heart developing into a black hole from its ingrown

blooming, when our arms first drifted into the embrace of
shoulder sockets, and legs flew up into our hips
So now we bind, a collapsible population The weakest point in the universe is my hometown in So Cal

where no one can turn around without bumping into
the consequences piling up at the base of the mountain
You roll your eyes Would you turn them inward to reveal
facts to the contrary? Or is that your universe closing in?

I would surrender to your gaze and throw myself in would it not
add to the pressure of everything rushing toward you.

Crime Medicine

No crime medicine sat on the shelf
above the sink in the house where he grew up
The weave of fingerprints cushioned his grasp
on the world beside him As far as

the boundaries of siblings do not dissipate
during life and often not after death,

the constant identity of skin posits
nothing more than evidence of another soul
So it’s the fragments we offer constant strangers
that we would have them identify at cocktail parties

or wherever enemies and accomplices meet Nothing was criminal in that kitchen except him.

Missile Hat

The Pope, John Paul, floats into my comp class,
.the robe, the grace, like Liberace across a Vegas stage .Those guys know how to dress He sits at a desk beside Esperanza and her son Pedro
.who colors in college because his father comes home at seven Just as I’m showing how subordinate clauses rule the world,
.el papa leans over and whispers to Esperanza,
“You are not alone .Children are the blessing of the poor God is their father .Blessings, blessings, blessings,” sings John Paul,
.raising his right hand but asking no question The class sits rapt None of my lectures has lit their eyes as
.John Paul does when he says, “No reading No essay .We must visit L.A , mass for the multitude “
.He lowers his hand “You are dismissed “
They follow him to the parking lot where even Ricky with
.three tears tattooed beside his right eye kisses el papa’s ring before
.John Paul ascends and arcs north with aerodynamic ease,
the wind breaks the vapor trail into a miracle:
.a cloud like a jagged scar, a stigmata on the sky.

February Rain

The worn gray wood of the deck
deepens into black beneath this rain The planks release their scent
as if, in drawing up the earth’s moisture
they remember being together before the saw
On my drive to work, the rain falls faster, as if
it waited for me to come outdoors When I cut the engine,
the drops drumroll the roof
and blur the windshield,
a reminder to close my eyes and listen Outdoors, hissing or splashing tires
shush the tapping and touching
of everything Nevertheless, I distinguish
fallen leaves from green by their resonance,
loneliness from empathy, respectively Music came from days like these
Oustide, I close my eyes,
tilt my face up so
the cold beats play my cheeks,
their voices changing as
I silently open and close my mouth.

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