January 15-21, 2007: Don McIver and Ed Higgins

week of January 15-21, 2007

Don McIver and Ed Higgins



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Don McIver
dbodinem@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

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Don McIver currently lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico He is the author of “The Noisy Pen,” a 3 time member of the ABQ Slam Team, an award winning radio producer, the media director for the 2005 National Poetry Slam (the largest poetry slam in history), the media director for the Alzheimer’s Poetry Project, and a Trustee on the Executive Council for Poetry Slam Incorporated He’s the slam master for Albuquerque, has curated a monthly reading since 1998, and currently hosts Poetry & Beer (the longest continually running poetry reading in New Mexico), and has hosted a variety of fundraising events including events for Healthcare for the Homeless, the Alliance for Academic Freedom, and Poets Against the War He’s read all over the United States including in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Phoenix, Denver, and all over New Mexico He’s widely published and has read his poetry for a variety of audiences from elementary schools to universities, in churches and bars, for pay and for free For more information, please visit www.donmciver.net

The following work is Copyright © 2007, and owned by Don McIver and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

The Blank Page

The blank page is undeniably white,
maybe lined,
frayed around the edges
or blue bordered
with common icons But the mass of it is blank,
like the night sky is mostly empty, a vacuum,
and the space between nucleus and orbiting electrons is empty As if it too is waiting for me to create upon it Nevermind,
that this line doesn’t use the full margins,
and this font
means that “O” is set apart by more white than black Creativity needs empty space,
a hollow chamber,
a background and a foreground
a quiet house,
with the radio turned off,
the stove simmering brown rice
and the phone messages returned Creating poetry is about silence,
not words,
not rhythm, rhyme or conceit,
but listening to silence and plucking the poem
as if it were a blooming dandelion
and blowing parts of it upon this blank page
and hoping some it would grow.

Volleyball
for Breece Deboutez

In a dream,
a white volleyball is flying over the net,
and my niece,
knees slightly bent,
arms curled so that the smooth white flesh of her inner arm
waits for gravity to pull the ball down to her waiting hands Her left hand cups her right hand She watches the ball drop,
follows the ball as it hits the base of her palm “Set,” she yells out,
and sends it up into position,
hands opening up to the sky.

In reality, she’s arcing up and away from the car,
body twisting and turning in the air Just west of Nevada, Missouri,
the Mitsubishi my niece is traveling in crosses over a median
and strikes a Dodge She’s holding out her arms,
a follow through on a perfectly executed set,
pushing the sky away from her,
looking at the starlight through her fingers,
as she comes back to Earth What kind of prayer did she offer in the last few seconds
before the impact with the black, unknowing, unyielding highway 54
crushed her 5th vertebrate?

One month after the accident, my niece came to me in a dream at 5 AM She is paralyzed, as my mother says, “from below the nipple “
My niece cannot control her bowels,
can use a toothbrush but not squeeze the toothpaste,
can lift her hands but not open or close them,
can hold a pencil but not use it,
can lift a phone receiver but not dial it,
can hold a remote control but not change the channel,
can keep her hands above a keyboard but not use the mouse,
can backhand a volleyball but not bump, set, or serve it.

My niece,
a sophomore on the Varsity volleyball team,
can’t play volleyball In a dream a white volleyball is flying over the net,
and my niece,
knees bent as she sits in the wheelchair,
arms curled so that the smooth white flesh of her inner arm
waits for gravity to pull the ball down to her waiting hands Her left hand cupped into its permanent shape She watches the ball drop,
follows the ball as it hits the base of her palm,
ricochets up into the air, “Set “
Hands open to the sky, but never moving.


Ed Higgins
ehiggins@georgefox.edu

Bio (auto)

My poems and short fiction have appeared in various print as well as online journals including Monkeybicycle, Pindeldyboz, Lily, Cross Connect, Word Riot, and Red River Review, among others I live on a small farm in Yamhill, Oregon with a menagerie of animals including a rescued potbelly pig named Odious I teach writing and literature at George Fox University, south of Portland, OR.

The following work is Copyright © 2007, and owned by Ed Higgins and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Jennifer

As if she needed a reason
for the way her tears
moved to the outer edges
of her light blue eyes

then traced small shadows
down her cheeks,
outwitting even her hand
trying to strike them away.

Obeying only their own
downward motion as when
you too hastily overfill
a glass, rising past the rim.

The liquid held there
by some inviolable rule or other
regarding surface tension,
or else momentary surprise.

Then the gray stone
which is life’s sadness lets fall
through whatever resistance
or spell we once imagined

we held over ourselves
into the unsteady physics
between our optic nerve
& the heart’s liquid mechanism.


Edible Truth

You can, naturally,
eat this poem.

But chew it
carefully.

Now,
swallow cautiously.

But don’t over-think
the metaphor.

as i was looking back

recently you came to mind
that summer afternoon we floated down
the Yorba Linda river on separate inner tubes
you in a blue bikini yellow and black butterflies
along the bank watched indifferently

we stopped on a sandbar bending back
the warm grass with bare feet

the heart as a small dog

what else can i do
but with a stick
drive this small dog
love out of myself?

huddled against the cardiac
wall barking at me with
shrill arrhythmic beat

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