Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review

Sample Poetry: Issue 18


And Here

the soft arcs of these peonies,
white, and peach, radiating from

the firm-held green. You have seen them
with me. The seeds gathering in

clusters at the core and holding
time. Now, as it once was, again.

--by Wendy Barker


Air-dancing Spring to the Names of New York

Spring flared yesterday in Washington Square, the Village's
Park, but no one was watching at four o'clock.

We were all too busy adorning our names like jewels in crowns,
We nations of races, of shimmery neighborhoods,

We blocks of fanfare and dazzle. Polished and jazzy
We reach skyscraper tall—air-dancing Spring to New York.

We are Gloria Wisdom and Chocolate Waters
Rolling by on our slick blades. We write monologues,

Conduct one-act plays and mime the oracle in Greek. We
Are unaware that the splayed-out clouds of pink cherry

Trees as they arabesque liquidly with bloom, are
Seen by no one at four o'clock in Washington Square. We

Are Irene Tomato and Carol Grape and honest-to-God
Amy Apple! We are all to busy to look.

Elizabeth Peabody and Eloise Fury
Spangling the names of New York, We shimmy our lindys,

Frolic like skylarks and two-step March into Spring. Yet
Who observes our air-madness dances at four o'clock

In Washington Square somewhere south of Twelfth and Fifth?
   Not
Juan Quadiro or Warrens Plaplas—whose dogs dress their

Entrances in scarves. Or Anna Zestodas, Candida
Rios—our names are New York songs. To repeat:

Patti Hussey and Pearly Shine, who like squirrels quixotic
Of earth and air—tap-dance their vernal equinoxes.

Lovers hold coffee. Pigeons cavort. And the cloud-rare
Trees from their pink-gladed recesses—hail Spring! To the

Village's New York. Where under an Arch, kept perfectly
Still and as yet not filigreed or overwrought, we

For-trot, gavotte, toe-heel, turkey-trot at four o'clock
In Washington Square. Although no one looks up. We are

Ricky Rabbits and Dear Feather Blue—our names are gifts
Bequeathed to New York. We frock in our histories,

Garlanded of dynasties—how we caper, frisk, plié!
Joggers and jivers lit incandescent, our names

No secrets to urbanite cities. To Hippolyte Bravo, George
George, Esther Anchor and Ira Malt.

While in this airy sward under pink perfumed bark at
Four o'clock in front of Ramona Cloritta Larue—

A Spring rechristens a park anew. Although no one
Was watching. We were far too busy. Even the trees air-dance.

-- by Anne Babson Carter


A Wag

My friends act like dogs
and could fill the phone booth
where each calls out to intimacy.
Human beings were sold for parts:

B-movie heroes, soap opera stars,
porn flick sequins. I'm greeted
from the shelters of marriages
that leak isolation on to bones

or from a pack that invites with lines
leashing lingerie to stones.
I'm supposed to sniff the low crotches
of trees and with fashion magazines

chase ministers and priests
before the limousine hits me,
but Superman doesn't use change
to fulfill his flesh with capers

of empathy's live transmigration.
Clerk Kent is a pile of pressed laundry
when I join a seducer's death-march
and am rejected for lack of blindness or fund.

Pst, pants do not exist here,
but hounded by the chill, mismatched
strangers on the holiday tear at the moon's
relentless stage direction.

-- by Rich Murphy


Before Dawn

At a window, facing east, a man, in his arms, a baby.
Both are sleepy, neither willing to sleep.
Watching one light, then another, tumble to stillness.

Gone from view, the maples, their susurrus persistence.
Arpeggios of redwings on wires, erased.
At a window, facing east, a man, in his arms, a baby,

this longing for nothing more than what must now end.
Birds will return bearing songs like catheters,
more lights will rise, fall, be still,

and then? Incredible to think there will one day be a fact of the
   matter.
This baby will or will not travel to Mount Ararat, learn the
   ways of cumin
   and joy, dance the rhumba, will or will not stand one night
at a window, facing east, watching lights fall, in his arms, a baby

held close, both of them sleepy, neither willing to sleep,
   beholding
the holding of hands, flowers, a resting place beneath sand or
   flood.
Watching now as one light then another tumbles to stillness,

each father foresees the rising of oceans. Tarmac tasted,
   consumed.
Shearwaters bringing their silences forth to fill the silences left
   behind
by a window, facing east, a man, and in his arms, a baby,
watching one light, then another, tumble to stillness.

-- by Philip Pardi


Hurricane and Full Moon, the Quay

Undistressed, the quay concerns us
not for its sake, really, but our own.
The swells bash and break, then swallow
the barrier, itself unmoved, but not
the almost daunting, only fixedness,
at the shore. It will not abandon
its silent purpose, save the earth
beneath to become shifty, sand
the way it belongs to no-one, home
a word spelled on a ship's bow,
purpose wrought of little more than weather.

-- by Robert Parham

 


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