September 4-10, 2000: Kim Welliver and Marcia Cohee


 

week of September 4-10, 2000

Kim Welliver and Marcia Cohee

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Kim Welliver
Kimabw@aol.com

Bio (auto)

My name is Kim Welliver, I live in Salt lake City Utah I have had poetry published in 2river’s autumn anthology, in 4 different monthly editions of lovewords, a calpoly anthology, as well as 2 minor local publications put out by the LUW, and Oquirrh shadows, as well as winning state and regional contests both for poetry and novel length fiction At this time, I have 3 novels with an agent

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

Icarus

It is a day without portents or omens:
Men draw nets of thick fish from the sea, 
or lean strong forearms against the plow, 
bits of oiled bread and cheese wrapped in kerchiefs
for lunch Women apron olives in updrawn skirts,
fingers plucking the fruit from silvery leaves, some pausing
to laugh at the antics of a small black dog,
or chide their children Girls with shiny yards
of hair pound cloth on flat white stones
their wrists gleaming in the wet wash
their mouths by turns, wry or merry or grim Brown-necked boys tend nimble flocks
of goats and blow sharp piping songs of three-notes
above the rosemary, chewing sprigs of mint, dreaming No one knows something remarkable is about to happen
A boy arcs like a comet through the blazing blue, 
his journey far briefer and less glorious than that chunk
of igneous rock The humble folk stand mouths agape, 
the plow horse shifts, goats bleat, the black dog
yaps and cowers, as the boy hurtles past, beeswax
leaking along his scorched limbs in flat smears
Feathers catch and cling in his tousled curls,
pale and bright against black hair His mouth an O
of terror, panic fills his dark eyes as he beats the yielding
air with frantic arms, scissoring and kicking his legs
like a convulsive swimmer diving through fathoms
of limitless sea Some hear his faint scream, unraveled
from his mouth, a thread of terror pulled aloft by errant breeze He strikes the surf with such a sound; a dull, flat thwap,
the sound the girl’s make when they shake their heavy wet
clothes out, with a snap Green water swallows him,
their last sight his white legs, jerking in that moment
before impact, then going limp as they slip beneath
The men shrug and cast out damp, indifferent
nets, the women shake dismayed heads, wag cautionary
fingers at their children The girls continue washing,
thrusting and heaving wet fabric against sun-baked rock,
catching their full lower lips between strong teeth as they shake
out their clothes and think of the sound he made when he hit
The brown, earth-tethered boys frown, uncertain, weigh
the joy of such height, the orgasmic thrill of arrowing
through the sky, the plushy push of warm air against their face, 
the exultant power of flight well worth the plummet

The Apologist

Lost in the fathoms an unfathomable loss How do I say to a 150 million people
‘I’m sorry, but when the war was cold,
and the Polit Buro used me to keep their
secrets safe, I learned wariness, the need
to keep the world at bay ‘
How do I look at widows weeping, fatherless children,
parents waiting to inter their water-ravaged boys
in Piskaryevskoye and say ‘I’m sorry, but I was afraid We promised no more Chernobyls, no more Gorky park, 
but when it came time to open ourselves to others
to ask for help,  I could not do it There were too many years waiting for a war
that never came, years when my vocabulary
was `KGB operatives’ and `acceptable losses’ I deceived myself that the hand of fate would swoop
and scoop them from a cretaceous grave ‘
How do I say, ‘I feared appearing weak, and could not
admit our need, it tasted too much like failure ‘
How do I explain those long, useless days
of waiting, as the air ran out, vodka bitter
on my tongue and the hours ticking past in the pendulum
of my heart, every thin frantic breath drawn
within that tomb; my breath And the darkness pressing
insistent as death against the sides of that nuclear coffin,
the creaking and pinging sounding in my eardrums too And around my ankles, water rising cold How do I say that in my dreams, when I can sleep, 
118 voices plead, and I can only pray
to a god I never believed in that I won’t wake
to hear the accusations of their final silence.


Marcia Cohee
lagunapoets@mindspring.com

Bio (auto)

I live in Laguna Canyon with husband Pat and daughter Devin  We host the weekly Laguna Poets reading series on Friday nights  I have an MFA from the University of Massachusetts, and I teach poetry writing workshops at Learning Tree University in Irvine  My three books:  Sexual Terrain, Laguna Canyon Was Once a River, and Bonefire  My five chapbooks:  Eurydice, The Dead,  Improvised Night, Coheesion and Still Life (debuting 9/1/00)

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


Memory

If it is never night,
I cannot betray
myself  The recourse
of dreams works only
on blank window screens  

I put on
my turquoise dress
the way some people put on the sky
I cannot feel
the world’s edge  
or the blood of galaxies,
or the abundant sweat
of tonight
The moon is
a comma holding up
this town  Her
patient face,
the way it bites, thumbs
torn from your hands,
her teeth around
every finger
The familiar noise
silent and slim as
capillaries at the end
of mind
Everything is slow Every nuance,
every blood memory
I put on
my turquoise dress
the way some people put on the sky
And there is nothing solid.

No Help

The numb life of a suburb In every biography, evidence
peeking through, dim artifacts of life
This summer, no one moves Because we are all faithless,
mumbling like the first stake in eternity
Why there is not even
a chair to rest in  
Or a flower petal
jumping off the moon
No help in it, glasses twisted,
windowsills draped
in the light of sprinklers  
Explaining ourselves as centripetal
at the end  

This is about
pieces of life thrown back at us,
too many people in a small house What dew remains.

La Niña

Your harlequin haze descends
and, with it, night lifts,
scanning the busy lips of winter
I would like to say,
world without end,
pray to everything
that has gone before To the hungers
that leave us dry
But you are mute
as our hot December,
while the clouds speak
In the soot of the horizon I hear
an entire desert winter,
a teacup’s rattle
in the long afterdark,
one long intermission
between ice
and the ever fractal sea
The sun has not moved The earth is still  Owls sleep It’s a good day to be hungry.

Sense

i

Sky, and recently, fire,
arguments in this season of faith A climate sought
when no other will do
The grace
of sleepy nights, that desire
to make effortless sense of things,
to draft songs
from the starvation of memory
i i

On the land, the milk of almonds
washes your hands  Beer
and an apple of forgiveness
What do you see?
A long bird lasting
through the afternoon,
dinner in the middle of a lake,
vouchers for kindness
i i i

See what remains
after each property divides What will writers do
with their algebra,

hoarding it
under leaves of the moon?

i v

Camouflage and the body:
it is a waste of time Your subtle mass
fills the field of view
in all its disguises,
bends light
around the edges
Gravity, too, is a state of mind Old dark matter
holds the shape
of the universe, the bones,
the muscles of everything
v

We are all owners of silence,
soup and puddling, sour chronicles,
an apron of belief
The stomata of too long winters
in a southern climate
where sunflowers burst
into melodrama and seed

where people stop cars
for wild canyon fennel
and deer

where I have pruned my life
too small and too well Because of all that light.