The Act of Contrition – Sam Roderick Roxas-Chua
It’s hard to exorcise bees
you must start at a young age
and answer only to quiet things,
a hum from the television,
a wick’s last spark,
a pulse from a yolk,
study the many hues
of yellow and black,
climb atop a hill
and offer your body
as pollen, it is not
until then, their black
bean eyes appear and
your penance begins
with its sting.
Me and mine are set to hit the road this weekend – so I thought I would send us off with poems by two members of the Eugene writing group, The Red Sofa Poets.
Sam’s poem above moves me in the way that it creates a mood and engages you in images – goes from the small to the epic and back again all in the language of, not religion, but sacredness. The bees are both outside and inside the soul.
Toni Hanner’s poem below enacts the feel of a carnival ride – picking up images as it careens in its longer lines. The pull of the line is set against the lists detailed by the speaker, the associations of which charge the poem with an undercurrent of immediacy. In this way, the poem evokes the passing blur the world becomes in the movement and momentum of a carnival ride.
Carnival Ride – Toni Hanner
A dozen black tickets will cost you your shadow but weren’t you tired
of dragging it around anyway, ice box,
carbon paper, skate keys, chalk. Hand it to the crone smoking on the corner,
ric-rac, floor wax, linoleum, hair nets, she blows
a smoke ring deftly around your face already you’re inside,
there are the girls in silver masks and here comes the ice cream
man with his jingly bells playing a tune you recognize as one your mother
used to sing, you turn to look and there she is, your mother, in her housecoat
laced with burns. Typewriters, can of worms, chicken feed, fireflies,
and she is singing, your mother, but not that song.
Both of these poems were published in the first issue of Fault Lines Poetry. The release party/reading for this issue was the first poetry event I attended upon returning to Oregon a year ago.
It has been a good year for the page and for the Influence. We’ll be on the road for the next week. Wish us luck!
* painting found here.