December 22, 2003-January 4, 2004: Taylor Graham and Alayna Tagariello

week of December 22, 2003-January 4, 2004

Taylor Graham and Alayna Tagariello

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Taylor Graham

Bio (auto)

My husband and I still train our dogs for search-and-rescue, and I help him with his wildlife field projects My poems appear online in Carnelian, The Melic Review, Poems Niederngasse, Poetry Magazine, Wicked Alice and elsewhere My latest collections are Lies of the Visible (Snark Publishing, 2003) and Harmonics (Poet’s Corner Press, 2003).

The following work is Copyright © 2003, and owned by Taylor Graham and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Delivery Failed

The mail is full of the bones of poems,
their flesh irradiated away Beige plastic disks arrive empty,
their huge capacity for words
sucked dry, their fertilized
yolks quite fried
Or, in piles of paper envelopes
they enfold their particles of praise:
warehoused against the fear
of contagion; unsorted, undeliverable
You know all this, and yet
in your single room
you go on fingering each vertebra
of sound and the possible spaces
in between Your keyboard
cords them together How does a spine move
about itself? How do the parts
grow grammar and nerve-
endings, and leap to music,
and learn to dance?

At night you open the window
and let your poems loose
to the westbound moon

too high for postal rays,
luminous as a CD-ROM,
its iridescent disk pulling a tide
of words pale as fear but
waxing like hope.

Lago di Garda

Today it’s so hot and hazy, my thoughts
evaporate before I can translate them
into the common language here,

along with what I wonder
if I saw
this afternoon, as we sailed the lake’s edge
past seven villages with names
I savor in my mouth but can’t pronounce,
all gathered in a splashing crescendo
of sound, water beaten together
with Mediterranean light, and all
the sun-smeared greens and reds, smells
of oven-baked bread and garlic,
and the townsfolk singing in their
incomprehensibly intimate

and across the lake whose waves
lap and lull with water-voices, shades
from verdigris-lavender distances,
one voice yelled something
that sounded like
“aiuto” or else “eureka “

On the lake whispering to itself
with its many voices
this vacation afternoon,
I don’t know
if I heard a man drowning,
or a mermaid offering sunken treasure
So far from my native words,
what could I possibly do?

Hunkering In

Green leaves make good neighbors But now the foliage is lifting
like wild geese without wings It falls and settles in heaps
on the ground: gold facsimiles
of sun Daylight’s shunted
so far south, it shines on things
that were obscured all summer:
our view to the north, for instance,
with a neighbor’s tilting porch I’d almost forgotten that neighbor,
sight out of mind I’ve walked
among trees that stand now
practically naked, like the view
of neighbor-deck and neighbor-
window And only a coming snow
for cover.

Casting Off Tenure

You’ll start your Great
American Novel in fourteen months
when you retire Why wait?

That’s the sweet unsettled
joy of poetry, as opposed to
fiction, which bears

the terrible weight of
verisimilitude And truth?
Whereas poetry casts off

the bonds of reason, those long
entangling chains, to simply
dance It’s ephemeral

and portable I’ve written scads
of subway couplets on the way
to work, and seen them

splashed above my head
that very evening, riding
home I eat poems

for lunch, they aren’t fattening I carry baskets of small
produce in my mind Bitter

melon sliced thin
as haiku A bunch of couplets
like seedless grapes So

write your magnum opus
when you think you finally find
in your residue of life

the time.


Our young bitch must have dug you
from your mother’s warren,
and brought you here: a toy,
no mite-threat to her own pups
barely weaned She’s doing
her mother-dog-dance about you,
suckle for a drying teat
You might be two days old: squat,
sable with a white spot
on your head That means Jack-
rabbit: the famished tooth
turned against our garden We shoot your kin
Now you lie like camouflage,
cold and dead No I touch,
you blink I’ll speak to you
as to a puppy, softly,
while I carry you away.

The Princess in the Tower

mourn everything the regent brings against
them: how they didn’t learn their lessons,
how once they snickered up the nanny’s
skirts as she was gazing out the window
looking for the king’s entourage A king
remains king, even when dead And so
the princes fill their gullet of repentance
with tears and sweat no, princes do not
sweat But they can drag-step themselves up
the worn steps of a tower, which proves
to be the quick way down Stones hold them
to their crowns The regent reigns And in their six-foot cell they sing
as thin and hopeless as burned-out stars,
looking down on the world from a high
barred window, no longer
up the world’s skirts.

Alayna Tagariello


Alayna has been writing poetry for approximately 15 years She is a recipient of the Walt Whitman Poetry Award, and has participated in poetry workshops with former Walt Whitman Society Poet-in-Residence, Robert Bly Alayna is a media/communications specialist at a large international company She currently resides in New York City, NY

The following work is Copyright © 2003, and owned by Alayna Tagariello and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Girl, Jazz

It doesn’t mean a thing
If it don’t got that swing
I’m on the street
Hot and smoky kebab capitalism
Fills my nostrils
And the deep cavity of my chest The buildings bow to me majestically
I own this stride
Weaving through pockets of bodies
Bustling blind past catcallers and the XXX men
Pimping postcards of pussy Strange fruit dangle from plastic hands of storefront mannequins,
Waving halfheartedly towards the cashmere clad Promised Land My stride becomes a catacomb
Of dark tunnels dug out deep from persecution
– Candle lit caves cover me catholically –
Blood buzz in the back of my brain
I’m on the street
Clothes I’ve got rhythm, music, my man
Who could ask for anything more?
My strut is my opus
Be-bop bombastic
Caustic cacophony
Cramped quarters
Come on!
The billboards boast but
The dot com’s are toast When the money’s gone,
The art beats on There’s still poetry on the street
There’s still hunt in my feet It’s in my veins
It’s in the taxi lanes
– Asphalt like Atlantis –
Buried cities beneath my heels
A buzzing white-hot wonder in every pavement crack Whispering sweet and blue,
The street sages preach on every corner Homilies and psalms tumble from their lips and trumpet button pushing fingers
Each note climbing closer to God I’m on the street
Clothes Like the one small patch of sky
Unmarred by ragged skyline,
I am blue, open, cloudy, distant
In my solitude People passing me ask why and I say because I like it It’s a golden nuance,
It’s a traveling one-man circus in the roadway Bike messengers do a two-wheel tango down Madison Avenue,
These designer kamikazes adorned with walkie-talkies and precious papers,
They get it goin’ from King Street to West 110th I’m on the street
Clothes I am evolved as my own island I am alive as the street I am like the music
Life set to a beat
The rat-tat-tat of drumstick to hollow overturned plastic drum
The thump thump thump of a world you don’t know because
You don’t see it
You just want right by
Blind to the melody
Deaf to the architecture
Unable to taste that electric current on your tongue but
I see
No one can hurt me because
I am free
Because I’m on the street
Because I’m in my work clothes
Because I am girl
Because i am jazz.

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