January 24-30, 2000: Delree Rose, David Hunter Sutherland, and Joy Yourcenar

week of January 24-30, 2000

Delree Rose,
David Hunter Sutherland,
Joy Yourcenar
Winners of the 1999 Poetry Super Highway Award
for Favorite Featured Poet

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Delree Rose

Bio (auto)

Delree Rose is a Southern girl who grew up in a rural community outside of Columbia, SC and now makes her home in the wonderfully thick soup of New England accents, primarily Providence, Rhode Island She is currently paying the bills with the advertising from her online opus, Stirring a monthly literary collection,  the scant checks she receives for pieces published on and offline,  and of course the baubles sent to her from the Insomniac Asylum’s Poetry Slam , of which she is a 15-time winner (Stirring can be accessed at http://thunder.prohosting.com/~stirring ) Some recent publications include pith , Disquieting Muses,  Agneiska’s Dowry, Aubade, The Polemic, Dragoneyes, and Dithyramb.

The following work is Copyright © 2000, and owned by Delree Rose and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.

Articulating the Rain

Rain was pink last night, 
fleeing sky with the celerity
of growth Electricity finger-
painted the eve, blushing it
in nostalgia
I remember rain like this –
rosebud children pressed
to panes, fingers flared
against autumn glass
I too gave my breath
and prints to the Lakeland
lightening dance; clenching
my body like fists
for the paternal push
of thunder
There were days when the rain
was grey Days so chalked
with digestion, exhalation, 
rudimentary drawings
of trees bent in storm,
that God was no longer
a man He was a giant,
eyes so large
one could drown in the pasty
pupils And I was nothing, 
just a grown child
in a deluge of desire
Sometimes, still, the rain is blue, 
like something from a Joni Mitchell
muse It forms rivers
through my window, dominating
all in fog, damp determination This rain has no passion, 
no Crayola scars It is drowsy,
drunken, and desperate
Pink, though, is like a blush
of orgasm after storm
It is innocent,
feminine, stillborn It is myself, and the bud
of my mouth, sewn shut
in the quiet resignation
of rain
First Published in pith .

Remembering Wynd

The afternoons here
are like mornings-a girl passing
mentions Much like London I think of that picture of you,
standing so alone in Europe,
your thick chocolate hair
horizontal in the clouded breeze Stonehenge was colored
cerulean, so small compared to you
You gave that picture to me the day
before I rode off into the flaming
north, my world prepared
and packed in cardboard castles
And I wonder where you are today If you are still sitting on that ledge
by your purple window, fingering
the stars with wishes Or painting
your face for more plays I’ve never
heard of, playing characters the cultured
would recognize Certainly
you’ve given up your drive-thru diva
routine and are about rich enough
to buy yourself a silver car, destroy
that eggshell world, and follow me
north Or maybe you’re still
that ungainly fifth grade girl with glasses
you refuse to wear, sitting on the swing
reminding us that we’re too old to be
here We should be stars
with planes and men I’ll write,
you’ll act, and we’ll move into an old English
castle with stone walks and rose trellises
Maybe you’ve cut that cinnamon hair
on a whim, as you did last March, 
so I could run my fingers through it
but once, before skin Maybe you’re still
the same girl I left, going through life
as air through autumn limbs But mostly
I hope you’ve become so large
that you’ve forgotten about me, and the swings,
and perhaps even Stonehenge Because
you were too old for all that And I, 
well I am just becoming
too young
First Published in Aubade

For Someone With Her Eyes Less Like Her Own

Sometimes I think that if you wore your hair just a bit shorter, 
shorn against the ear, and slightly behind, if your clothes
weren’t quite so anxious to showcase the mountain roads
of your body, I would have written ballads, books of poetry
proclaiming aching ardor I would have mixed music, hoping
that all the reference wouldn’t drown, wouldn’t wash across
your white world as nothing more than Southern snow, 
with its slim longevity, scant girth
Instead there is the sound of your breath, its uneven accent, 
underscoring the passionless Providence nights, when Zephyr
hurls himself against the windows and off again, when I flip
through fourteen channels, and find nothing to talk about in my letters
home I thumb through your promising verse, and all its attempts
to be a celestial abnormality, a subway to China I restructure your name,
rubber-cement it across the letterhead of my evening, the margin of day
I write in poor metaphor, in precarious catharsis, trying with tsunamis
of desperation to pen the walls of your room, the curtains pulled
in passive angles, the pillowcases creased and off-balance

Sometimes I think that if you spoke with more authority and listened
to less Cohen, read less Sexton, I could snake into the valley
of your shoulderblades, push your reluctant hair behind the warm flesh
of your ear, and remind you that you are a constellation, a remarkable
piece of prose, if only to me.

David Hunter Sutherland

Bio (auto)

Poetry of mine has appeared in The American Literary Review, The Hollins Critic, The Northern Michigan Journal, The Reader (Oxford University), The Cortland Review and The Midwest Quarterly Recent awards include a Pushcart Nomination, and I have a second collection scheduled to be published by Archer Books / Cadmus Editions this winter Finally, I serve as lead editor for an internet publication called “Recursive Angel

The following work is Copyright © 2000, and owned by David Hunter Sutherland and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.

Ground Zero

We are here: clover fields, forest of wine colored
leaves, an empty canteen marked by hands whose
orchestrations are civilization’s impressions
of wild horses snorting in the tall grass, 
lips and nostrils pulling in the moist air
Nearer now, an oasis of bare stems, 
a mountain stripped and pitted is ready to reclaim
its leg of wilderness up tree beaten thighs, 
yet the ground’s “Èlan vital” falters in belly
rolls around its core
Ground zero, or love in the corset of a rose
Directly above, below or at a distance time is
fading, is gone What is the point of absence
if nothing can hide it? A warning comes, “Quarantine!
Delimit, suppress, erase ”

Kismet? HAZMAT? Let the trigger fall, 
Tell her, her soldier sends word, 
carve this, “the men of the 49th salute you sister”
then close the curtains, the blinds, the book,
throw it all to center.

Cupid’s Torch

“Cogito ergo boom!”
– Susan Sontag

As if the music turned and the solstice
whispered follow! This way of rapture, 
this I Sing of Spring, creeping amiss
through scorched earth in a melee of dances And war, our lark of melodious tune
is its phoenix of obeisance espied
As much was the fate of Hera’s moon
her jealous flight on Trojan tide The too-ra-loo-ra-li of a mother’s lips
sung to fallout, debris and mass arms
This the stutter of an atom’s lisp, 
The Golden Ass of bow and bomb, 
our fourth of July whose relative lovers’
gaze down Olympian heights at mere thunder.

Tenure of a Dragon

Summer has fewer verbs than the fall, or the moon
more loquacious on these cool nights is its adjective
for snow
Either way, when the sky traces its epiphany at dusk,
nudges the last streak of daylight into its corner,
there’ll be nine tenths of a thaw-
Ground hard truth frozen in a decanter by the sill, 
a 50/50 split, 
November’s brief halcyon, then drift-then squall
Neon between stares, or in your eyes, 
more space than coherence
Move your winter into mine
The tongue of the season flicks in the fumarole
of dandelion, teacup and rose Yesterday’s gardens are the affairs of angels, 
the fin de siËcle of courtship dissolved in a flake

In this way a thousand lovers, like trees, 
drop their limbs, confuse a season’s denouement for sentiment
Outside our door, 
a caddisfly estranged on the urn of a thermos;
forelimbs mimicking laurels,
the amber chirr of empty streets,
the memory of sulphur.

Final Days

“From the middle of life onward, only he remains
.vitally alive who is ready to die with life ”
– Carl Gustav Jung

Lover, it’s bare ground between naval and chest
Just are a sunset’s mottled pastels
settling on your nightstand in chintz of gold
Tomorrow will have softer colors than today,
pictures of children whose ecru faces stain a winter sky
Our Hansel and Grethels watch as the
hour fizzles with poison or ether or hiss
Let it be a personal messiah, glimpsed and spiraling
out of one thing; a star, a follicle, a window opening
to a single tear that when touched nails the eyes shut Harsh the politics of our sensual world, each fold a nub’s rind, 
a nut and bolt that prattles in rancor Only the bedpan, syrup and
sheets Only tomorrow bright as yesterday Only a sliver of lips
mistaken for nettle pricks ones tongue into believing
our sunset, at first, was but a blush in the corset of a rose

Joy Yourcenar

Bio (auto)

Joy Yourcenar presently lives, writes and collaborates in Halifax,  Nova Scotia with her life partner, fine art photographer Eric Boutilier-Brown When her children were younger, she put a sign on her door when she was writing that read: “Before you knock,  ask yourself: `Am I on fire? Am I bleeding?’ If the answer to both of these question is “no,” don’t knock ” It was very effective for making the mental space she needed to write, just as an open door gave her things to write about Interestingly enough, both her son and daughter are writers now

Joy is currently a contributing editor for Gravity and has been published in several on-line literary e-zines including Gravity,  Conspire, Mentress Moon and The Astrophysicist Tango Partner Speaks and off-line in The Maine Review, The Stolen Island Review, and Silhouettes in the Electric Sky Her first collection of poetry,  Nattering on the Sublime, with an introduction by the American folk singer, raconteur and labor activist Utah Phillips, will be published by Newton’s Baby in Spring, 2000 She lists her religious preference as “chocolate “

The following work is Copyright © 2000, and owned by Joy Yourcenar and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.

Letter to Greg

Rain beats gravel shakes on my hospital window, 
counterpoint to the shushing of the IV pump Minutes
drip by in carefully calibrated increments as the night
nurse swoops in silently to draw
the 5 cc sacrament: pre-Chemo blood work Trying to sleep, I will my heart to slow,
know each beat implies a choice, try to place
myself in the marrow of the moment, imagine
safety from the cellular betrayal of my Judas body Inside, I visualize a garden, find no savior, 
only this tenuous beauty strewn with dragons’ teeth,
The subdued chatter of nurses changing shift
codes me into full consciousness and the a.m medication cart clatters down the hall,
one wheel spinning relentlessly akimbo.

She Made Herself Small

Curled up, 
a petite raconteur,
the tangerine jewel
in his mother-of-pearl belly button
she mingled with the dainty dander,
salvaged bits of his sloughed off skin Sometimes
she gratified her desire
hiding in the crease
of his reticulated thigh;
safe in his scent, 
knowing intimately how he’s made,
she’d get off on his femoral thrum

Making herself smaller still, 
she passed through his porcelain pores, 
bathed in vermilions of blood,
joined with the slippery lymph
intumescing every cell
No immunity from her fluid caress,
he felt her sparkling like gallium
his marrow congealed, itched,
refused to host
even the most picayune intricacy What seemed to her
a world in him
seemed to him
a house too small, 
a heart with insufficient chambers all he desired of her–
The pearl her variegated laughter grew
beneath his fluttering eyelid

Rimbaud Got Out Just in Time

Paint peels off the red wheelbarrow
and the mermaids are mute Crazy Jane takes Prozac now,
as do we all,
makes going gently into that good night
much easier Whose fault is it
that our walls are poorly mended,
fallen into disrepair and disrepute Truth and beauty are obsolete,
that’s all we need to know
Fancying yourself the last Romantic,
you are small
You contain minutiae You wanted to sing the body erotic
but all you did was hush nightingales You’ve never known anyone well,
least of all Yorick,

Me? I’m just here
sweeping up the shards of the bell jar

Dawn has left us,
her rosy fingers professionally manicured,
the Dover bitch,
the lines of her changing face
erased by a face lift Some pilgrim soul she turned out to be
Paradise is lost
and pleasure proved a disappointment
so we’ll go no more a-roving Fuck Xanadu Let’s stay home
and watch the tube Our pasty arse poetica spreads
and grows flabby on the couch;
we’ll never get the damned spot out
Emily was right;
the funeral’s in our brains
Pound for Pound,
we come up light The best lack publication
and the worst mutate into
talk show guests Negroes no longer speak of rivers;
it wouldn’t be politically correct The raven is on the endangered species list,
and not expected to make a comeback;
You don’t want to know
what happened to the darkling thrush

There is this small comfort:
.there are still plenty
.of blackbirds.

Messiah Complex

His was the pure, articulated beauty
of the professional martyr Teaching me the price of redemption,
he was my savior
and I watched him crucify When he removed his hair shirt
I longed to press my cheek
against his open back,
a second-hand subjugation
to his revised vision
In his icon cuts,
congealed blood beads clarified,
fermented to fervor
and refined his exquisitely latticed suffering
into the universal salvation
of aesthetic sensibility Flails became obsolete
Lacking stigmata,
I couldn’t even offer him
the smell of rain
on my unpierced hands
Originally published in the Stolen Island Review, Orono, Maine,  1998.


In the end,
you fall like a ripe plum,
split and peeled at the last moment,
ripeness before corruption You drop,
flesh and pit, under a dark-seamed midnight
riven by the desire
of your hastily invoked archangels
The wings of Azrael brush your lips,
your face,
limn your downcast lashes in reflected radiance,
erasing a multiplicity of past mistakes,
until you contain the infinite fertility
of a blank page
Then know:
you will implode, bruised
by the blare of receding trumpets,
surrounded by limpid-eyed saints
professing reservations,
you will find,
concealed inside your peeled rind,
the new pit,
paradise regrown,
splitting open its seed coat
and pushing you up
into the serpent’s mouth,
into the new beginning.