Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review

Sample Poetry: Issue 16


Pears

The man who tossed
pears in his salad
with the skins still on
was in the kitchen
tossing pears
as the sky began to chip
and crack and fall
apart. It was the Sistene
Chapel with Adam's
wrist shaved into splintering
pieces and Eve shaken
loose with her one free hand
unrecognizable as the sum
of all its parts, and as the sky
tore itself from the confines
of the universe as we
know it, the incomprehensible
friction of light peeling
apart from the shadow
entered the calm
afternoon of the man's
kitchen, slowly peeling
the chalk paint of the
spattered ceiling, and Eve,
now entirely leafless and
hanging, is pitted
and trembling: The sky is
falling! The sky is falling!
All the while having no idea
it's her world that's cracking
down and splitting
into tiny shards of rock
and wood, that all the words
ever said to her about sex
and life and the way things are
were backwards words, were
empty words, and the longing
she felt as she maintained
her reach beside her gigantic
torso man was
suddenly chipping away,
suddenly shattered like wedding
glass like old leaves grated
to fine powder and
used for mulch
and the man
in the kitchen
was reduced to only
hands
wet and cupped
around the pale
fruits
which he took to juggling
arrantly
above the greens,
watching
the slow dismemberment
of his home,
failing
to drop
a single pear.

--by Eve Nicholas


Lion's Head Belt Buckle

My father bought it for me at a flea market in Spain,
     El Pulgero, where he also bought a gold finch
in a small cage. The bird survived the two years we lived

     in Madrid, then one morning, in a February cold snap,
my mother found it legs-up and stiff on the bottom
     of the cage. We never really spoke of what we missed

about that bird's song. The belt buckle, shiny brass,
     I wore to my seventh grade classes all of one year
until a man who worked with my father approached me

     and while touching the belt buckle with one hand,
rubbed my crotch with the other, and it felt good
     I thought. I heard a soft bird-like cadence in his voice.

His hand fluttered there by the buckle's fiery mane.
     Before he walked away he asked me not to say
a word about how much he liked my belt buckle.

     After that day I hung it behind my closet door.
Each time I opened and closed the door, it banged
     there like a clock's chime. No, I grew up straight,

though I learned to respect the passion one man shares
     with another, this incendiary map of the senses.
Whenever my father asked what had happened

     to my belt buckle, I would lie and tell him I'd lost
it in the school gym locker. I still have it as a reminder
     of those days of my youth when I could have easily

learned to love men in that way, one hand clasped
     around my throat, a dead bird forever cold in my grasp.

--by Virgil Suarez


Approach

Weave of white
pealed off above

foam blown
like old bone

a verging line
not tern nor gull

but lit by
something winged

known in approach
wheeling shy

sly wind blossoming,
a hand always

opening a door

--by Stan Crawford, Jr.


Tornadoes

I have met tornadoes in my dreams
in pine and pecan
columns, dancing
when I saw them first at college,
between the dorms,
dropping pots of battered rubble.

I have seen an eighteen-wheeler
flaming end to end
tumbling brightly in
Wyoming high prairie nighttime
Catherine-wheeling
hybris of the raging gods of sleep.

I have taken shelter in the stairways
have felt smug
behind concrete
in large and substantial buildings,
with steel rebar
holding shut the graven gates of horn.

Lately I find myself in dried-up
shotgun houses
with corrugated
roofs and windows opening upon
meadows of clarinets
as the black devil sings and dances.

Someday I will leave that house,
cast off the bark
of my repose,
take my motion and wit and will
across that meadow
and dance for my life and soul.

--by Frank Pool


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