August 19-25, 2002: Jordan Barron and Angel Delsanto

week of August 19-25, 2002

Jordan Barron and Angel Delsanto

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Jordan Barron

Bio (auto)

Jordan Barron: writer, classical guitarist, student (freshman at Lewis and Clark College, Portland, Oregon) Enjoys the poetry of: Vern Rutsala, Mark Strand, Alan Dugan and Philip Levine Favorite Book: The Plague, by Camus (at least for right now) Poetry currently appearing in: He misses and Recommends: with friends, aimlessly wandering around Rome all night tight on absinthe.

The following work is Copyright © 2002, and owned by Jordan Barron and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.

Under Strange Hats
(To Thelonious Monk) 

Monk! we all say your
name like we know you,
those few of us —
bleary eyed in the back
of the bus, leering under
strange hats —
who weathered your
your minor seconds,
your dissonance, and
your distance
Filled with minor seconds
that tasted like wine turned
to vinegar in our mouths, and
your stilted waterfall of notes
that collapsed in on itself like
the skin that forms over cold
soup That fat trumpet tone,
the flat-fingered antics of a two
year old restlessly shifting on
his throne, playing the piano
like a Jack in The Box, like if you hit 
it hard enough something just might
pop out
Just you, Just me Just us Justice Evidence —
was that it? 

I know you Monk:
the way you move, think The way one shape bounces
off another into the smoky
room and joins the last until
we’re inside the sanctuary of
your solo
Here in the back of the bus,
peering out from under my
coolie hat, it’s raining outside,
and I can hear Pannonica —
the way Rollins played it on
that record you cut for Riverside —
sliding in and out between the drops
And because we have given up a
piece of ourselves — the part of us
that use to thoughtlessly dance to
what ever incessant consonance
thumped from the radio —
so that now we know you, we can
only sit in the corner and smoke
while the damn fools have a damn
fool good time We weathered your
dissonance, and
your days of silence, 
because between solos you
would get up and dance a princely joker
shuffle in a circle of what must have
been ecstasy And we wanted to
get closer to that.

Reason For Traffic

Driving down the freeway,
I’ve been following you for
days I stay within a few lanes,
close enough to see your
silhouette, or your eyes caught
in the rear view mirror When you stop for a bite to
eat, I pull over and pop the hood,
watching from the side of the
road Sometimes, we eat together,
back to back,
separated by a single booth
I sleep in the back seat like
an airplane folding tray —
upright and locked —
in the parking lot of the motel
where you got a room
for the night A poet once said: “If love is
in the heart/what makes that
organ long?”
I think about this and wonder
where you are taking me,
where we could be going. 

We’ve traced a dry vein
across the map, through
towns and pit stops and
strung out cities like Jackson
and Detroit and Portland, where
interstate traffic brought us
together, side by side
at five miles an hour I feel the freeway marching
forward, lock step to some vague
city of fog and rain We are all stuck, pressing against
the road like a rib cage beneath tight
skin, forward
I wake one morning and see him:
gray suit, a cigarette between his
pinky, slicking back his hair in
front of a green Fiat He leaves
and you stumble out soon
after, throwing a bag in the
back seat and driving away I had always wondered where
your eyes stray at night, to
what silhouette you could
be straining to make out
among the mesh of cars and
bodies I’ve been following you for days,
weeks, fourteen inches by the map now,
and I hate you and I hate him
But that feeling returns, and I keep at it,
keep driving Because when I look in the
rear view mirror I get the feeling
that someone is watching, and they
are behind me, and they have been
following me for days.

Prying Open The Temple

I wake in the night —
rain and leaves pawing at
our window —
and find Hannah on
her knees, finger tips
touching a temple out
of the air She is humming
the first bars of Confutatis. 
In the dim light before
my bed I see her taut
belly and imagine it growing
outward, straining to break
It was coming on that time
of year when dispositions
freeze over, and sunlight
moves slowly through patterns
of blue That time of year you
can hear Mozart’s Requiem
through the cracks in lovers doors
everywhere, Rex tremendae set
to the frantic removal of
underthings The music ends as it begins: 
with the lowering of two bodies,
together, arms across their chests,
I crawl down from bed
and fall to Hannah I try prying open that temple and
clogging up her mouth with
my fist When that doesn’t
work I turn on the radio
loud and put the blanket over
my head In the dark over the
music I hear something crying I have to jump out of bed
and strap her down until
I’m satisfied and can sleep — all
the way to winter.

Fear of Flowers

When I was young —
10,000 years ago,
hundreds of hapless
romances ago
(maybe I was 10?) —
I was afraid of flowers My sister, in all her
smiling pig tailed glory
would chase me across
the yard and down the street
— with what?
A Dandelion, a Marigold,
a Foxtail, or even a Rose,
prized from my Mother’s
overflowing garden
when no one was around I can still see the pleasure on her face,
and the terror that seized
my little heart,
sent my wobbly legs flying I use to watch from the
second story window
while Mom,
bent on all fours like a table,
planted and cared for her garden
with all the oblivious
in the world With every Lavender,
Christmas Rose,
and Snapdragon
my terror grew more
and more profound,
took root within me until I could
no longer go outside
At the center of every flower
I saw my future, at night,
I would wake, surrounded
by Syringa, covered in sweat,
scratching at the wall
One day, peeking from my window,
my Mother saw me and smiled “I have a flower you will really love!”
she called up to me I winced and froze,
from a dark bag she pulled out
a Saxifrage,
with a green base,
blushing at its petals,
each rod shooting forward I watched it from a distance
and my heart grew still I knew this flower would
split the rock of my fear.

Angel Delsanto

Bio (auto)

I live in Rhode Island, and I am a Registered Nurse, having written over 3,000 poems Have had a few works published in a journal in Chicago, and am now working on compiling my work into books for publication

The following work is Copyright © 2002, and owned by Angel Delsanto and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.

Remembrance of Fifties

At the end of the week, some drinking,
his best friend, and my mother waiting
by the top of the stairs with a basin
We all learned our way around anger
on Saturdays

Strangers told us details;
his mother died young, five grown
up sons, a grandmother who favored him;
and wearing some rich kid’s old shoes

I came to know structure, rough silence,
He seemed so stern and hard, bellowing
my name, how he wanted things, hands
we all knew, the sound of a belt buckle
and the way darkness sheltered pain

In the kitchen once, we sat quietly
while he cut up a melon and gave us
each one slice; my sister never wanted any

He never talked about his life much
The way the Navy took him places,
warm oceans, and Hawaii during a war
how his first baby died at birth, and his
small dog was eaten by cellar rats

Second floor tenement, flowered chintz curtains
swaying back and forth, my nose pressed up
against the screen, my mother making tomato
and mayonaise sandwiches for lunch

Only a few channels on televison then,
The Mouseketeers were dancing at five,
and my sister and I would be sitting
on the cold linoleum floor.

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