November 1-7, 2004: Susan Culver and L.A. Seidensticker

week of November 1-7, 2004

Susan Culver and L.A Seidensticker

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Susan Culver

Bio (auto)

Susan lives in rural western Colorado, and is the editor of Lily – Her poetry has been published in The Pedestal Magazine, Erosha, Paumanok Review, Tryst, Wicked Alice and Rose & Thorn.

The following work is Copyright © 2004, and owned by Susan Culver and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Inscription on a Postcard #2

This is life: bound to soil, hushed
with dust for it carries no echoes
Donít forget what I told you
about the Phoenix: itís all myth
Nothing rises from ashes but ashes, 
and only when blown

In this canyon that was the hope of us, 
I have warmed my belly
on a fading spot of sun, have slithered
beyond comprehension, called
your name thrice: wind, wind, wind
Don’t forget me
I do not write to hear my own voice.

Inscription on a Postcard #5

This is a garden girl, the fruit of her efforts
grown up past her ankles, flowers as far
as the eye can see, but the girl is not me
and the truth is, we keep getting farther
from the truth: the world is a field of girls, 
winter wilted, bird-pecked In summer, 
you dreamt you could pick them, 
but now you grow content with dreaming
from the distance of the sky
Truth is, I have lost myself in this city, 
am getting used to darkness, to saving myself
from freezing, but I am still waiting for you
to tell me which way is up, still searching
for a reason to believe you
I’m scared you’ll simply settle for a stranger with my name.

You First

If someone would have told us
you were going to don your cardboard armor, 
saddle up the broom, ride in
at the closing strains of my happily ever after;
that we’d hide in the woods each morning, 
make Indian burns on our vulnerabilities;
that love only had to be claimed
by the one who cried uncle, 
I would have replied as if it were a question:
And if they would have told us later
that we would spin the bottle broken;
spend months discovering the heart
and if it made a good gamepiece
for chicken; that the cop and the robber
would both find themselves at the edge of the cliff
when the world yelled double dare, 
you would have narrowed your eyes, smiled, 
would have turned to me and said:
You first.

L.A Seidensticker


L.A Seidensticker  works and writes in Northern California.

The following work is Copyright © 2004, and owned by L.A Seidensticker and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Great Uncles

Great uncles take you where the earth falls off They bring you with your sack of dry bread
to the edge of the lagoon Black swans rock slowly past

necks inclined above chambered, silver hearts They breast the grassy verge but cannot lift and fly
through terracotta arches of the Palace of Fine Arts
to the cold, deep bay takes no more than two breaths,

Three wingbeats over water to the Golden Gate The Paciific shudders and streams as the sun comes into it Great uncles do not speak They carry a stick It is for walking in the forests of the park,

and in case of dogs they do not love Great uncles
knew your grandmother when she was just a girl
and green They stood with their sticks
and looked out over the mercury waters
as the boys sailed gone to war. 

Leaving, Left

Last leaves, red leaves
stiff and risen in a last pull windward
towards tomorrow, where the sun winters;

the red leaves fall, press
fast to windshields, sidewalks,
a storm-streaked poster

promoting a fourth rate circus
comes with its too many acrobats,
its lame baboon, and one of the men exposes himself

to a girl who’s seen it all before She says,
my daddy’s got a better one, cowboy Cowboy: he surely wasn’t
They carried him off and were unkindly to him
and he asked what’s the deal, it’s ok her old man…
She was all over me, sir, she was on me; and Jesus

if it isn’t sad to be left behind in a town
in the rain, the trees bare, and haughty old women
in narrow houses snap the door closed right in your face;

nothing to watch but the rain
and the sneaking red leaves, leave their mark
like any other hard slap to a smooth surface.

Bread on Water

A white crane at the river bank;
extended slip-spined S, half-dozed A breeze shakes out the slack mop
of pampas grass; in another life

such grasses of webbed light, gathered up
in a dark parlor, held upright
by an old Moroccan umbrella stand God bless the heathens, too,

their bloody tracks along
rocky inclines of the hills
that they will die upon Here briny
marsh lands cannot sustain

the heaviness of man Swamps favor
impulsive naps, long slow strainings
as of tea through oak leaves,
minnows through mud and rootlets
They say good women put to bad use,
when they were weighted, slipped
over the gunnels into the sloughs,
decades later lay along muddy bottoms

like brides among white remnants
of their bridal gowns White, soda-risen
biscuits are apt to be something you fail
to much value as a child, having

never heard praise of crumb or loaf In late middle age, unexpectedly comfortable
with your failures and your belly
you begin to savor bread.

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