September 17-23, 2001: T.L. Stokes and Bruce Taylor

week of September 17-23, 2001

T.L Stokes
and
Bruce Taylor

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T.L Stokes
pongee7@yahoo.com

Bio (auto)

T.L Stokes lives at the foot of the mountains in the Pacific Northwest, writing in the company of an english mastiff named Ramona Her work has appeared in a variety of online and print publications some of which include: 2 River View, Stirring, Poetry Super Highway, Ludlow Press, and Ancient Wind Press

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

A moment of silence

please

one moment

for passenger pigeons
slitting steel glass arms
fire bloom
men and woman throw themselves
into the wings of angels
cascading hecatomb
burns to our feet
praying

one moment

for uniforms dyed white
under ashes of comrades
who mounted stairways to cerulean sky
who cradled survivors who shouted
this way this way
this

one moment

for children
at their small desks
before war enters their homes
where someone will or will not
be waiting for them

one moment

to consider who chose our sacrifice
malignant minds
maneuver of hands
over that pure sky

one moment

while we weep

one moment

until bravery
climbs lacework girders
pulls our breath back to the light
unwavering

Nkosi

Drums beat
and a dust storm rises
over Africa’s savanna

your name is on my foreign tongue
your words rise with the dust

settle on complacent hearts
breaking them apart
and we begin

how many babies are worth saving
from a dying mother spring

giants sleep
Nkosi stands on horizon’s stage
wearing an old man’s suit
and tennis shoes

tell me again all the simple words
how to touch a villager with AIDS
why the government doesn’t give AZT
to infected women
protect the birthing
of South Africa’s future

so simple straight to the heart
the changes come slow
though

with eyes wide open he was born
with eyes wide open now he lays dying

twelve years and near eternity
say goodbye and thank you forever
Nkosi

turns the world



Bruce Taylor
taylorb@uwec.edu

Bio (auto)

Bruce Taylor is the author of four chapbooks of poetry, most recently, This Day from Juniper Press and editor of seven anthologies including Wisconsin Poetry,  published by the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences Arts and Letters, and with Patti See, Higher Education: 2001, from Prentice Hall His poetry has appeared in such places as The Formalist, The Chicago Review, Light,  The Nation, The New York Quarterly, and Poetry He has won awards from the Wisconsin Arts Board, the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Bush Artist Foundation

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

Sunday Afternoon

No one goes to church much anymore,
though no one does much of anything else
so it’s quiet, or as quiet as it gets;
usually there’s a saw or somebody’s mower,
a drill or a hammer hating another
repair we will have to live with, 

or the rare home run from the ballpark, 
or the pulse and trailing whisper
of the sprinklers when it’s dry,
or old deaf Winslow’s blind
old cocker spaniel winds itself up
short around the clothes pole again, 
or a soft — almost apologetic —
screen door’s slam, the trash
can’s guilty clatter .

Our Back Yards

Our back yards all face each other here
so whatever we have to hide we fail to Soon Doris will appear in a clean apron
once or twice among her chrysanthemums
and stand with her hands on her hips
while Duke reads the Trib in the shade,
everyone who knows him says
you’d never know the cancer’s worse Sometimes we are almost ashamed
how little it takes to make us happy

Then Mae will be out running a wet rag
along the length of her clothesline,
Sanka in one hand, a Camel-Light
tight in the corner of her mouth with WAYY on her kitchen radio
and all the windows open
for September is “Nostalgia Month “
No need to tell us It’s always
the “40’s” in our back yards.

Next Door, Spring

The kid’s two this year
and in a neon-pink snow parka
for although it is April
it’s April in Wisconsin,
and her snow pants are maroon
and large enough for three
so she squats when she sits
like some surprising flower
in the dry straw mulch and piles
of last November’s leaves
Her grandmother does plant her
though, on the sunshined lawn, 
and goes inside a moment Someone is always watching here
from a stoop a couple of fences over
or through a window across an alley
The old lady’s back, pointing at a robin
shivering on a frozen clothesline
“Spring,” she says to the child
blooming before her, “Spring!”
She’s right of course

Even in here, behind the grimy storm-windows,
even the inside plants, 
hunched in their corners and clinging to
their few handfuls of dirt, 
stir as if remembering.

Wednesday: the Hole

Isn’t often you see a hole dug
as deep as this one up here so
when the county came to dig it
most of the old men came around
sometime during the day to watch
So there were usually four
or five guys standing around
watching three guys standing around
watching one guy dig, and the boss
came by twice to check, and the Power
& Light guys stopped by too
And the kids on their trikes,
painted red white & blue,
were warned “don’t get too close”
but did and it was all too much
for Happy, Ray’s penned-up
husky pup, who’s learned to ignore
the tomcat’s strut or another
fat rabbit fattening upon
clover in the patchy lawn
Lunchtime, the crew took their pails
to the shady side of the truck
and someone brought ice-tea
and Ray smuggled them a beer each Then it was back to work so
a different guy dug and Ray took
the Buick to the Super-A
for Popsicles and more beer.

Blanket Weather

Burrowing deeper into bed
beneath quilts and comforters,
blankets, flannel sheets and spreads,
we breathe and dream

enduring the level stare
of the red fox frozen in its den, 
tracks that follow you everywhere
through an immaculate silence

days too blue to breathe
that sometimes go so clear
you begin to believe
you can skate them,

nights, 30 below and falling, 
if you move they ring like bells,
out there other lives are calling
we know are worse than ours.