July 2-8, 2001: Angélique Jamail and Christine Lennon

week of July 2-8, 2001

Angélique Jamail,
Christine Lennon

judges of the 2001
Poetry Super Highway
Poetry Contest

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Angélique Jamail
ajamail@pdq.net

Bio (auto)

Angélique Jamail earned her degree in English-Creative Writing from The University of Houston She lives and writes poetry and fiction in Houston most of the time Her first book of poems, Gypsies, came out in late 1998, and she expects to complete her second book, Barefoot on Marble, this summer She counts librettos and textbooks among her minor publications Her poems have been featured in various anthologies and journals One of her favorite things is to tell stories through poetry, and much of her fiction lives in the realm of magical realism

The following work is Copyright © 2001, and owned by Angélique Jamail and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.

The Floodtide
(or, Telling the Truth to Make Headway)

There was a cape (cold and wet and worn)
that he said had belonged
to his four-times-great-uncle,
a pirate-ship captain –
which would I suppose
have made that uncle a pirate
and my friend a pirate four-times-removed –
I should have known that before:
when my friend put on that cape,
I saw an ostrich-plume grow
out of his hat, and the end of
his belt (which hung down
at his waist) became a sword
My friend had been wearing
the cape outside in the rain I was cold, and so I curled
up in it so my fins
could stretch out, unfurl,
as I day-dreamed of home,
my home just off the cape
My friend had never seen me
in my home He knew me
only as I am when I walk;
he had never seen me swim,
never seen me glide through the tide
undulating like the mathematical waves
he understands, following
the currents I understand But I couldn’t help my
homesickness when I saw him, wet,
walk back inside the beach-house,
out of the rain thundering out
in the cape which is my real home,
under the shelter of the cape
which was his four-times-great-uncle’s He slid the fabric (heavy and salt-air
water dripping steadily onto the
sea-shell marble floor) off his
shoulders, and the plume and the sword
evaporated He smiled
I tiptoed to the cape and
wrapped it around my body,
my long skirt spreading
as the water sewed my legs
together and stretched the fins
back out I smiled
He looked at me, his eyes
surprised, his mouth gaping
like a trapped fish But I was glad he knew, now,
and that my awkward secret
was unfolded
I don’t think he’ll keep me, now,
trapped inside this house,
although he did it unwittingly before (He’d called it “our” beach-house,
and I’d always smiled and watched
the waves behind my eyelids,
trying not to feel the ring he’d given me
and wishing I’d told him before
where my home really was,
and hadn’t said just “the cape “)

He still calls me “Love,”
although his eyes don’t quite believe
and his hands are afraid to touch
what he thinks I have become In fact, I have always been this
and only pretended otherwise,
so I suppose my change has been
into the truth;
wrapped in the truth-cape,
now I swim in the cape
He will not swim with me,
but he waits on the beach
each night, holding the cape
to hold me in when I, wet and
cold and still strange to him,
emerge from the cold water,
my legs splitting from the
dark green into pale flesh,
discarded scales dripping into the brine
And I smile to see his
wonder at my transformation,
his color rising like the tide
into his cheeks,
but he walks back in with me,
to our beach-house
This progress is a floodtide.

Moving to Green Rain Island, Your Home

We’ve been sitting on the bed
in the place where it rains
every afternoon as a part
of the natural order of things The afternoons become evenings
quickly here under the rainy sky
I recall an afternoon when a green tint to the sky
made me want to crawl into bed
and wait for the dark, wet evening
to clean the greenness away with rain The sky-light washed all of our things
in a pale green bath, and a part

of me wished we could make a departure
from this place, jump into the wet sky,
leaving all our things
in the house, piled on our bed
in case rains swallowed the land I cocooned in a blanket, watching
anxiously for the rain
to wash the green daylight out of the evening

air, but the green tint slid even
onto the darkness, partially
dripped in sheets by the rain,
partially a reflection on the sky
of the wet trees The window by the bed
shook with the wind, and little things

started to scare me I packed a few things
into a satchel in case we left for the evening
to sleep in your old bed
at your parents’ house (They were supposed to have a party
that night, but I thought the overfull sky
would trap their guests in their houses in the rain )

Now, wrapped in the blanket, we watch the rain
dripping in rivers on the window You reassure me that our things
will be safe in this house, under this sky,
under our bed, and that we will stay home all evening I’m not wild about the weather here, but I guess it’s part
and parcel of being with you, together in this bed,

in this house, under this rainy sky,
on an island where people leave their things under their beds
and the evening is part of the afternoon.

The Weirdness of Waters

Your ocean here is warm and green I’m trying to get used to it,
but I still miss my cold, gray sea
Such warm waters I’ve never been
in, such strange creatures have I met Your ocean here is warm and green
Some say,  “All marine is marine,”
and that I should be well any wet,
but I still miss my cold, gray sea
My chill churning sea washed me clean,
but these warm waters just make me wet Your ocean here is warm and green
Finally now do you swim with me,
and so moving here is a choice-not-regret,
but I still miss my cold, gray sea
I want to wring a life out of this marine,
but it may take many tides to get used to it Your ocean here is warm and green,
and I still miss my cold, gray sea.



Christine Lennon
ThisPoetGirl@aol.com

Bio (auto)

The poet presently resides in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia She is also the editor of “The Eclipse” (http://theeclips.net), Verse Libre Quarterly (http://thispoetgirl.com/VerseLibre/) and Erosha (http://artisanstudio.org/erosha) She is a web designer and freelance artist/writer, and active in the Confederate Air Force Previously, she has also been a magician’s assistant, an “extra” in a few movies, a computer operator, a licensed artist in New Orleans’ French Quarter, a soldier in this girl’s U S Army, a baker, and a student of all things interesting She is also a Master Poet in Ardeon’s Poets Guild Some of her publications include Kota Press, The 2River View, Friction Magazine, Niederngasse, Free Zone Quarterly, Countless Horizons, The Critical Poet, Kookamonga Square, and New World Poetry, Clean Sheets, and Beauty for Ashes Her personal poetry sites are Allegory (http://thispoetgirl.com/allegory/) and Pieces of Me (http://thispoetgirl.com)

The following work is Copyright © 2001, and owned by Christine Lennon and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.

Spending

I spent all
my what ifs
and hope thats
too quickly-

they burned a hole
in my pocket
just like the five
dollar bill my
grandfather
always tucked
in my eight year
old hand as
he said good bye
at the end of an
all day visit

promises made
to little girls with
big blue eyes
in fairy tales
and print ads
resemble multi
colored facades
filled with dime
store candy-

“spend here”

your five dollars
your dreams

and when that
rainy day pulls
in and settles
over you
with a flat
gray sky

you’ll notice just
how much rain
drops on window
panes remind you
of tears-

Winter Breath

I was smoking
a cigarette when I read
her words-
one stood out

cancer

those six letters
held my gaze- seconds
or minutes passed me
as I drew the poison
deep inside, let it
escape again on a ragged
breath that feigned
a cold winter morning

I used to watch
the same smokey exhale
pass my mother’s lips
and on my way to the bus
stop, early beneath a flat
slate sky, I’d breath in
and out-

the air so cold
the inside of my nose
felt like rubber

I watched that plume
of winter breath escape
my mouth and imagined
that it was instead
cigarette smoke

that was long before
a word like cancer
meant anything

Lift

Lift
is such a brief
word- fails
to capture what
freedom carries wings

of aluminum or
cloth over wood

how nothing anchors
or binds me- and
I am lift

I am content
even while the fine
hairs on my arms
stand stiff

as the engine’s growl
sends unseen fingers
over my skin-

Upon My Demise

scatter my ashes
he said
along Skyline Drive
where mountains
meet evening sky
in dusky purple
dotted with fireflies

and then
think of me
when Apollo
drags his chariot
bright orange
burning trail
beyond the horizon

leaving ink-black
night in his wake

Ties That Bind

This ghastly
umbilical cord
binding my limbs;
immobilizing me;
oily black against
my chafed flesh

belongs in empty bottles
with discount labels

cheap vodka infusions
that sharpen words
like folded steel
samurai swords

imposing sentences
(the death of 1000 cuts)
without possibility of parole

steel, cut me loose from this
montage of memory; stains
on my psyche that glow blue

(like the sign that blinks
above the package goods store)

and grant me the gift
of forgetting

Baritaria Burning

For weeks on end, 
the air stunk of
smoldering swamp

and the sky glowed
at dusk and dawn
above Baritaria Bayou

surreal twilight
tacky neon
by some unknown
renegade artist

whose flame-
licked brush
did not disguise
the stench that clung
to my clothes;
my hair; my walls;
my curtains

I still smell it
when I wear
my favorite flannel

and I remember
the naked trees
silhouetted against
that neon sky