November 18-24, 2002: Dina Hardy and T.L Stokes

week of November 18-24, 2002

Dina Hardy and T.L Stokes

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Dina Hardy

Bio (auto)

Dina Hardy is the author and illustrator of the small book Grocery Shopping with Roy Lichtenstein from Spout Graphic Press  Her work has been published in the ‘Beyond the Valley of the Contemporary Poets 2001 Anthology’ and ‘Inscape 2002’  She has also been accepted into an anthology of paradelles, RUNES magazine and Mischief, Caprice and Other Poetic Strategies (Red Hen Press)  Dina began writing poetry in the late 1990’s when she participated in Idyllwild’s Intensive Poetry Workshop  Since then, she has featured at many venues — including the Cobalt Cafe in Canoga Park and the legendary Beyond Baroque in Venice  Dina lives in Burbank, CA

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

Plastic Wrap

He brought his dreams in his lunch  Every day
his mother packed a box for him  Slipped in
the one about going to Harvard,
getting his MBA, selling stocks His mother packed each dream in a zip-lock bag
squeezed the air out, so they wouldn’t spoil  
She laid them carefully
into the boy’s metal lunch box  — rust proof,
with a very professional,
masculine Scotch plaid design The boy loved lunch period  Couldn’t wait
for the bell  Rushing down the hall, sliding
into his seat, he sat next to the same girl
day after day  She, too, carried her dreams
wrapped in plastic  The two of them unsnapped
their boxes and promptly swapped their dreams For the boy wanted to be a ballet dancer
and the girl had one helluva head for
economics  They relished this time when
everything was so deliciously easy.

Stitching Up the Past

El mundo es un pañuelo, “It’s a small world ”  Spanish, Lit:
‘The world is a handkerchief.’  Grooved pie, pt v slang, to leave

The past is a handkerchief he irons, folds four times,
then tucks into his breast pocket  Hours-old coffee
varnishes his tongue as he swigs  Constant humming
from the fish tank  By the door, a cat sleeps
nose open to the threshold, the smell of wet earth Outside, rain dances like oil on a fajita skillet
He pats down the lump of fabric over his heart, feels
picket fences and lemonade on a day hotter than this one,
perched on a porch swing, on Spencer Avenue
in Batchelor, Louisiana, about to pop the question
to Sharon Barron  That was a beautiful day  That was
the worst day of his life, but in captivity, goldfish stop growing
when they reach four inches   They expand three fold
if they can escape domestication  Really, it was a relief
she said No  So, he grooved pie out of the south and settled west
because that’s where the sun sleeps and he needed the light Mira, chico, there was nothing left to do but buy a bible
Blind eyes of time, thick with cataracts and the sharp focus
that comes with news that your first love has died  He feeds
the fish with memories, turns the cat to air, leaves,
and crosses paths with Diana, his neighbor,
who was Sharon’s best friend in college,
because after all, it is a small world  She was the one
who broke the news to him this morning, now declares,
Any doubts you may have will disappear
early next month
, as if this cardboard wisdom
will transform the pain into linen
El mundo es un pañuelo, he thinks  His car embraces him
while the rain plays jazz on the windshield  
The corners of his world have been unraveling for awhile,
until now, he convinces himself, now as he weaves
into rush hour traffic to retrace the creases of the last forty years.


You think life is all jazz and easy conversation
breathing through an open window as you pluck
another grape from the bunch in your fat fingers  
Flesh upon lip and roll the orb across your tongue
as if eating the Earth  Even as a child you smiled,
said, more and again  

I Get Along Without You Very Well, croons Billie Holiday I know she’s lying
A bottle tipped empty, another uncorked, glasses raised
to friends’ first house, news of first child, promotion I want to forget I’m renting, single,
unemployed  We’re listening to Lady in Satin,
she’s intoxicating and I’m beginning to feel the booze
mixing with blood, numbing thoughts
that I’m not immortal like you
But I’m glad to be unhappy as the room slips
like fingers playing jazz piano  It’s midnight…
four in the morning and oh my god,
Bacchus, I cannot feel my teeth, cannot say your name  
What have you done to my tongue?  Slurring,
back sliding down the wall to the floor
to the cool linoleum against my face
Bacchus — your name means twice born Within you lie the bestial and the sublime  The music
ended a long time ago but I can’t hear the silence
over the blood pounding in my ears  
Curled in the fetal position in this kitchen
by the dishwasher I sleep,
and wait to be born again.

Dryer Needs

If dryer won’t operate check the following If dryer won’t operate check the following Won’t start, won’t heat, won’t dry Won’t start, won’t heat, won’t dry If following dry operation won’t check,
the dryer heat won’t, won’t, won’t start
Attention, if you forget to clean the lint screen Attention, if you forget to clean the lint screen A tone will sound when the screen needs cleaning A tone will sound when the screen needs cleaning If the tone, the screen  Forget you, screen lint!
When cleaning to attention, clean sound needs a will
If you’ve checked above, dryer needs servicing If you’ve checked above, dryer needs servicing Turn off dryer, clean screen, do not remove sticker Turn off dryer, clean screen, do not remove sticker Do remove clean screen off above dryer If you’ve not checked sticker servicing, turn dryer needs
Forget attention  You clean above clean,
when cleaning won’t do  You’ve checked the will  
If lint won’t screen, if tone won’t sound,
check the needs  Needs not  Won’t start  
Screen, screen, to operate dryer  Dry!  
If following sticker servicing, turn dryer, remove dryer  The heat off.

T.L Stokes

Bio (auto)

The author lives in Washington state on the edge of the Snoqualmie River
which is quiet this time of year holding up mirrors to catch the leaves on By spring it may take over the town She is usually out walking Bogart a young english mastiff He is a favorite for the employees of Ace Hardware who demand that he come back every week so they can see how much he’s grown The author has published work in The Ancient Wind Press, Comrades, Stirring, The 2River View, Poetry Super Highway, Ludlow Press, the Golden Gate Raptor Observatory “Baskets for Birds” program, etc , honorable mention in the 2001 Virginia Adversaria Poetry Competition, with upcoming work in The Junket

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

park street in winter

the woman lives under the holly tree
dresses up in the old prickly leaves
every morning sheds
them by afternoon

you can hear her singing
at least twice a day
like a single mocking bird

sometimes I cry
or laugh depending on her flavor

sometimes I hold back my hand
afraid she might stitch me to the hem

of tears
that keep falling green
then brown and crisp

you could sweep them to the side
let the grass up
rattle her enough to get her inside again

conversations with the wind

all night fingernails scraped the glass
the wind pushed his shoulder against the window
and from my sleep I whisper
go ahead, sneak through the cracks–
I will open the mud room door
and throw you out

my window is strong enough
go try the neighbors they leave their’s open

I let the wind in through the front door
the other evening
his face looked so familiar
could have sworn he was someone I knew

he followed me from room to room
I tried to silence him with the hair dryer
even that wasn’t adequate the wind being who he is

trickster arrogant fool

one thing now I remember about the wind
after he gets where he wants to go
he leaves in a hurry

as if he left the stove on at home
or he can’t stand the transparent skin
he dwells in
or to see in the lamplight
exactly what he’s been playing with

I go back to sleep the doors are bolted
the windows anchored to their beds
there are no chalices here to pour himself into
finally he will blow himself out

four words in brown shoes

old brown shoes a quarter from the thrift
scuff cement skins in the alley
he wipes a hand across his face
fingertips stinging with October’s lick
as if to hide the kisses

of too many slim-necked bottles
gifts of roses like frostbite on cheeks
what a subtle lover he takes for loneliness
like little purple flowers

I found climbing in the arms of the holly tree
by summer opened red eyes of nightshade

it’s a shame there’s no map for migration
he thinks to himself eight miles past hunger
standing in the crowd of a train wreck
he doesn’t know what hit him

in the shade of the corrugated
is something white with strings for lacing
under the beautiful moon of baby’s chin

bonnets edging holds his eye
hard tears squeeze from the grit
of a man who’s no minority
there’s hundreds just like him
waiting to be rescued

drowning while picking up cashews
slow like diamonds
into a cup of old baby lace

in the language of paper umbrellas

there is another way to say it
I see circles floating from upsidedown faucets
perhaps that is the only way
to say something even too difficult
for seven year old lips
to form the words like ships
she sets sail
like little paper umbrellas
you have to be careful
not to rip
they open and close
like breathing
and if she could say the right words
blowing softly in between
they would sail
dandelion seeds into the dark
set paper lanterns
tipping across the part
of the pond of her mind
she erased

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