February 27, 2010

Warm Carnivores

In the dry river where trees tangle

mmmmmrebar and skeleton leaves

mmmmmmmmake screens from their roots,

bassinets warm and matted

mmmmmmmmmhair, mmimpressed

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.

A man

mbehind the automatic

mmmblack enamel handle

mmmHe faces west

eyes closed open to red world of sound.

The sun columnmmmswings back,

mmmmmmmmma period

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.”

La Strada

We wanted the Grand Escape. mmOur economy


mmmbroke down

in segments.

Cogwheels spin beneath the plastic skin

mmmmmas we stare at the reflections.

The click-neck of newsman

and depixelling sky distances storyline.

Commercials comment

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

to unspin

our metaphysical vortex.

The recycled silk garden hat

flirts with his immaculate dancehall hair,

but he was an expert.

Desire whiles

mmmmmmmmmmmmmmfrom bridge-tops.

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

to resolve.

(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

mouth mouthed





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 ProductionsPOP!: A Celebration of the Cultural Contribution of Andy Warhol and His Factory, at the Rialto Theater, Feb 26, 2010.

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