CHRISTINA LOUISE SMITH
February 27, 2010
In the dry river where trees tangle
mmmmmrebar and skeleton leaves
mmmmmmmmake screens from their roots,
bassinets warm and matted
mmmmwith curled forms mmmnest diurnal sleepers
mmmmmnursed on forties or Thunderbird.
At the park,
wire twigs bound in smoke trees in spheres,
mmmmmmmmminvisible, mthe early dusk, green.
Ducks dodge a broken buoy
mmat an odd angle on the water,
random pivotsmmwanton cannonmmon cold bracken pond.
mbehind the automatic
mmmblack enamel handle
mmmHe faces west
eyes closed open to red world of sound.
The sun columnmmmswings back,
dangling betweenmmmderelict trees
rushes down through demolition,
extinguishes all day.
Small children bicker softly by a man-made brook.
mmmmmI wonder if we’ll hear the lions roar.
mmmmmWhy do you keep saying that.
mmmmmBecause a the lions in the park.
mmmmmThere are no lions in the park.
mmmmmYes there are.
after Elizabeth Bishop
From the chaparral and catclaw
the small town erupts in small clumps that cling sideways
to border of boiling monsoons and glimmering opuntia.
As if from a tin spring, they bubble
in white metal boxes up from dry dirt,
producing at last, a convenience store in one rare bloom.
In daylight it glistens in windshields that dart by,
upside-down damselflies on asphalt propellers,
but, sometimes, with cold white floor,
it beguiles. At night, by the roadside, it drowns
a galaxy in its fluorescence, while behind,
the moon must be tethered by purse strings.
By the parking lot streetlamp we hear
the twitter of nightjars, and only one register
below, the scuttle of tweakers peripherally keening.
By chance, if in wandering, you find a deer path
follow hoof-trammel softly (but do mind the diamondbacks
in foxglove) until, hearing earth groan
beneath shovel’s edge, a crackle of ions
arrests you. Amid mechanized clicking,
two hollow-boned locals flitter and busily scratch
around boulders for nurseries of garnets.
One perpetual woman, manic with chemical
industry, found a fossilized human footprint—
certified “over one million years old.”
We wanted the Grand Escape. mmOur economy
Cogwheels spin beneath the plastic skin
mmmmmas we stare at the reflections.
The click-neck of newsman
and depixelling sky distances storyline.
at four minute intervals.
mmmmmOn a bathroom segue
mmmmmI left off the lights.
mmmmmThe darkness impales me;
mmmmmthe porcelain sucks away my heart.
We called the Italian shaman
our metaphysical vortex.
The recycled silk garden hat
flirts with his immaculate dancehall hair,
but he was an expert.
Memory, sharp-set waves
mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmthat bump and swig the solid shore.
Below the surfacemmmmSea Monkey Queens wave
French fingernailsmmmmorays nimble fiddlehead fern
under sequin-scales,mmmmmmmm a moiré
mmmmmmmmma gold-green water-door.
I knew this, but to acknowledge is not
(Nostalgia deserves another
considered look, butmmmWhy
mmmwatch ads fifteen years old, keening
for transparency as if artifice
had grown feral overnight?
Minute, I will not grieve
mmmmmmmmmyou ellipse me.)
Thumbing through Vivre catalog
I order the bamboo sweater twin-set.
The Life-Size Topographical Map That Swallowed the Earth
There was tacks.
Those silly vampires broke our backs
over five-dollar cola.
One gave me:
mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmian.) oily 10
mmmmmmmmmmmiia.) plasma-dampened 20
mmmmmmmmiiii+ 2.) coupons for happiness
iiiiiiiiiiiiiiifor a total value of iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiforty
mmmmm4 which I relinquished my sea urchin.
The surveillors magic marker
but still had a really hard time listening.
A brass bow
light arcs on some hidden plain
a hazard rain is falling.
Christina Louise Smith is a writer and graphic designer in Tucson, AZ. She is pursuing an M.A. in Literature at the University of Arizona, from which she also received her B.A. in English and Creative Writing. She likes to show off her new book cover on Heather Cousins’ intriguing first full-length collection of poetry, Something in the Potato Room from Kore Press (2010), where Christina was Managing Editor until December 2009. She has a new series of very short fiction on Spork Press to accompany the radio plays they did for Powhaus Productions‘ POP!: A Celebration of the Cultural Contribution of Andy Warhol and His Factory, at the Rialto Theater, Feb 26, 2010.