Champlain, Branbury, The Lakes At Night

always women in the
dark on porches talking
as if in blackness their
secrets would be safe.
Cigarettes glowed like
Indian paintbrush.
Water slapped the
deck. Night flowers
full of things with wings,
something you almost
feel like the fingers
of a boy moving, as if
by accident, under
sheer nylon and felt
in the dark movie house
as the chase gets louder,
there and not there,
something miscarried
that maybe never was.
The mothers whispered
about a knife, blood.
Then, they were laughing
the way you sail out of
a dark movie theater
into wild light as if no
thing that happened
happened


 

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New Hampshire

wild cat in the
wood pile, deer

you can’t see.
I drift with

the poem you
sent into an

underground
river where

Indians eat
fish so old

they have no
eyes. If I

shut my eyes
I hear the

water that
flows under

the columbine.
When I touch

the chair I hear
bluebirds that

were wild in its
leaves when there

were red flowers
in its branches


 

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Middlebury Poem

Milky summer nights,
the men stay waiting, First National Corner
where the traffic light used to be, wait

as they have all June evenings of their lives.
Lilac moss and lily of the valley
sprout in the cooling air as

Miss Damon, never later for thirty years,
hurries to unlock the library, still
hoping for a sudden man to spring tall from the

locked dark of mysterious card catalogues to
come brightening her long dusty shelves.
And halfway to dark

boys with vacation bicycles
whistle flat stones over the bridge,
longing for secret places where
rocks are blossoming girls with damp thighs.

Then nine o’clock falls thick on lonely books
and all the unclaimed fingers and
as men move home through bluemetal light,
the Congregational Church bells

ringing as always four minutes late,
the first hayload of summer rumbles through
town and all the people shut their eyes
dreaming a wish


 

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Thirty Miles West of Chicago

paint chips slowly.
It’s so still you
can almost hear it
pull from a porch.

Cold grass claws
like fingers in a
wolf moon. A man
stands in corn bristles

listening, watching
as if something
could grow from
putting a dead child

in the ground


 

Moon Rise, Hernandez

 

Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico 1941 (Ansel Adams)

past adobe, deep behind tumbleweed
someone shuts off a radio, as if news
of war would come over the sage, slither thru
dust and locusts. Under a pale moon
crosses gleam, in streaked light

a young girl unbuttons a hand-me-down
blouse, lets it fall to the linoleum,
thinks of her brother crawling on his belly
in the South Pacific. Her breasts swell, her
hair smells of pinyon and agave.

She hears her father playing banjo on the front porch,
thinks of her mother’s leathery skin, lank hair,
swears it won’t always be like this: nights with
nothing but the wind in the mesquite,
vows to escape, make it to a place where there is more
than sky and mountains, where women dress in high heels
and smell of roses like in movie magazines

maybe get all the way to
Albuquerque


 

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Things that Shine in Quebec City as the Sun Falls

light on the ball
of glass, on
the puddles
under the Hilton.
The St Lawrence glows,
the flag poles,
edges of buildings.
A yellow car in the
salmon light.
Lights are starting to go on.
Green copper roofs glow,
shadows of clouds
over sailboats
on the water.
The smell of leaves,
cool wind blowing.
The water
a ripple of light
like a flag of glass.
Diamond ripples.
I think of Diamond Head,
light that seemed
magical in a strange
town. The only
familiar sign is
one that says
Kresge’s. Light
that will glow
when what
seems to
might not.
Green diamonds,
red diamonds,
blue diamonds
starting to cover
the hill


 

Lyn Lifshin

Lyn Lifshin

has published over 130 books and chapbooks including 3 from Black Sparrow Press: Cold Comfort, Before It's Light and Another Woman Who Looks Like Me. Before Secretariat: The Red Freak, The Miracle, Lifshin published her prize winning book about the short lived beautiful race horse Ruffian, The Licorice Daughter: My Year With Ruffian and Barbaro: Beyond Brokenness. Recent books include Ballroom, All the Poets Who Have Touched Me, Living and Dead. All True, Especially The Lies, Light At the End: The Jesus Poems, Katrina, Mirrors, Persphone, Lost In The Fog, Knife Edge & Absinthe: The Tango Poems . NYQ books published A Girl Goes into The Woods. Also just out: For the Roses poems after Joni Mitchell and Hitchcock Hotel from Danse Macabre. Secretariat: The Red Freak, The Miracle. And Tangled as the Alphabet,-- The Istanbul Poems from NightBallet Press. The Marilyn Poems was just released from Rubber Boots Press. An update to her Gale Research Autobiography is out: Lips, Blues, Blue Lace: On The Outside. Also just out is a dvd of the documentary film about her: Lyn Lifshin: Not Made Of Glass. Just out: Femme Eterna and Moving Through Stained Glass: the Maple Poems. Forthcoming: Degas Little Dancer.

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