December 3-23, 2001: Elna Törnblad and Kimberly Townsend Palmer

week of December 3-23, 2001

Elna Törnblad
Kimberly Townsend Palmer

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Elna Törnblad

Excerpts from a poetry diary
How to burn

October 9 : malignant

working days and nights: dysfunctional
you rustle in the wind and
shiver with your morning

part of you is reaching out towards
part of you is leaning towards
the abidable
(your love is a tearyeyed scarecrow)

there is no craving not carved in your twisting sinews
there is no longing not prolonged by your fear of
there is no misery not mislead by your wavering smile
there is

just an apple
in your hand
and Andromeda
in the palm
of your eye .

October 13 : children of Estonia (a North Sea lullaby)

reborn yet shuddering
in remembrance
yet never
something missing, gone since long
in your tissues
there’s a song
of the child
who can never grow old
and the mother
who never told
of aeroplanes and birds and wings,
of forest mushrooms and silver things Tide to the bone: tied
time to go home
to slumber
lulled by waves
for your berth
your grave

October 14 : quiet ecstasies

the trickling sound of a Chopin mazurka
fending its way towards me: suddenly
engulfing me
making my nipples stiff
the drizzling water of the shower
leaping across my skin
teasing within

As I walk down the path for dinner
I see the rainy mist, so wet, so soft, so clinging
ecstatically embracing
Arthur’s seat
– and I remember
what it feels like
to encompass .

October 21

heavy have you lain in me
all day
I feel the weight of your genitals
as you press yourself further
though limp with satisfaction
as a
How cunningly
you have let the mist form around me
touching me as soft and penetrating
as you would
as you do
I feel my areola: damp and heavy and frozen
with your kiss
still lingering heavy have you lain in me, my dear
this day
and all the days proceeding it
until you are

October 22

Sometimes my hands

all the way up to my throat

and back again

October 23 : along

Move along
my long long arm
leave a moist kiss on my shoulder
to warm me
through the night
so cold is she that embrace me
her shadows teasingly
so cold
I need you
and comforting
I need your warmth
Form your body
along mine
and hold me
through the night

through that long night

October 27

I’m brittle; frail
Thread gently
with your
banging absence
Hold me in your
empty arms
and comfort me
a while

November 1 : [<<] or [>>], just not [x]

sickle sick
cut to the bone
a laugh of a hundred pins’ sharpness
boggle oggle
goggle down
your drink
and let me sink Being just another glitter girl
searching for a way to go [<<]

November 7

Hidden little
When I wake up
my hand in my crotch
and the dream
persistently fading

(but the feeling remains)

November 13 : How to burn

It’s a beautiful autumn’s day
I fall over myself:
the still
I am frantic for your kisses and just
one more
one more
touch I walk away just for the pleasure
of seeing you again,
your face lighting up
the leaves multicoloured over
your head
Nothing remains
but oh
everything is always present
You teach me how to burn.

Kimberly Townsend Palmer

Bio (auto)

I was born in Los Angeles in 1960, of Bohemian, English, French, German and Italian ancestry, and grew up in Fort Lauderdale, Florida  I received a BS in Psychology in 1982 and a JD in 1985 from the University of Florida  I live in Gainesville, Florida, with my husband and two daughters  My poetry and short fiction has appeared or will soon appear in The Adirondack Review, The Blue Fifth Review, Cenotaph, The Charlotte Poetry Review, CrossConnect, Earth’s Daughters, Eclectica, Exquisite Corpse, Images InScript, New Laurel Review, The Panhandler, The Paumanok Review, Poetry.St Corner, Red River Review, Snake Nation Review, Snakeskin, Stark Raving Sanity, Stirring: A Literary Collection and Xavier Review  I received an honorable mention in the North Carolina Writers’ Network Thomas Wolfe Fiction Contest, judged by Barbara Kingsolver

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

Belladonna (Atropa belladonna)

Italians have known since the beginning
how I can make a woman beautiful —
it’s all in the eyes, they must be receptive,

or impenetrable, they must soothe,
or provoke, they must be wide with innocence,
or with knowledge  People feel like nothing

unless observed seriously,
by a woman with eyes like black stars;
everyone knows the way children call

Watch me, lady, See what I can do!  
That is why those seeking beauty
dilate their pupils with my sap  

I was also named for Atropos,
the Fate who severs the thread of life  
I sever men’s hearts, I am that beautiful lady,

I am atropine — I am stinging red
juice used for the dilating effect  
When I so desire, I flower singly or in pairs,

nodding, my corolla blue-purple or dull red,
according to my mood, or the soil I twine
my pale roots in  So who do you think you are,

holding back a polite cough?  Deep down, you know
you fell the second I looked at you, seeing right through
your clothes to the naked body you hold so dear.

Dandelion  (Taraxacum officinale)

All the chances they had
to weed us thin, but they didn’t  
With our long taproots, we got thicker

& thicker in our own memories,
until there was no course left
but to join up, together

like braided time  We are a field of flat
yellow bursts  Say it will last at least
a day  First, unrelenting brightness —

I see my soul’s shadow in your eyes,
and then a dim religious glow
when you close up  Say it’s not

for good  I float in my own heart,
I am a seed, twirling, and I don’t care
how it came about, I just want to look

at the sun until I go blind only give us
this ecstatic hour  Tomorrow I will be
white-haired, ready for the wind

to take me to pieces  Or just forget
the gossip, spend your nights with me,
under my hands — dead and alive

you burst when I go down for the count
on bloody knees  Eat our leaves
in salad, drink our flowers for wine,

sometimes we are cultivated but mostly
we’re just persistent just like love,
nothing can uproot us  We blow

our seeds to the wind  People
don’t like us, but children think
we’re beautiful  Civilization without

wildness undermines dreams of children,
same as for their parents  Children grow up,
but we keep their souls with us, forever.

Impatiens  (Impatiens sultana)

When I reminisce about how short a time
you kissed me, I get crotchety as all hell I get sick of waiting for you to come back  
The beginning of the growing season

is when I’m freshest, when I’m most logical,
and can make decisions with a snap  
What it boils down to is this:  I’m faithful to no hunter,
so you’d better try harder to understand

where the Art of being beautiful comes from,
this is so clear if you’re pink and purple and white
like me — the sun goes down and I’ve been dying
without you for an hour when suddenly you exist

all over again in the darkness  The sullen Fall
is when I freeze to the ground, when I give up
everything but my roots  Intellect always fails me,
all that is left is the desire to be blooming again.

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