TURTLE ISLAND QUARTERLY 9

Summer/2015

 

Chapter 2

 

 

 

Jared Carter (2 poems), Michael Spring (1 poem),

Kathleen S. Burgess (1 poem), J.D. Trejo-Maya (1 poem)

TWO POEMS BY JARED CARTER

 

 

 

 

 

October
 


Abandoned farm, where one can hear
          familiar strands
Of music gone astray. Draw near
          to harsh demands

Of wind – barn clapboard working loose,
          tin pail that crawls
Across the milking floor. Each goose
          aloft still calls

Ahead, and croaks – how far? As far
          as you can go
With shards of crock and Mason jar
          scattered below.

 

 

 

 

Spring
 


Ice, when the creek bed flows again,
          breaks up in panes
Of tarnished silver. Only when
          the darker veins

Of melted snow appear beneath
          that scattered world
Does wakening begin. The leaf,
          once frozen, whirls

Away; the feather, damp with snow,
          cannot descry
The wind, but finds, upon the flow,
          another sky.

 

 

 

Jared Carter lives in Indiana.  His most recent book is Darkened Rooms of Summer: New and Selected Poems (University of Nebraska Press).  He has received the Walt Whitman Award of the Academy of American Poets, the Poets' Prize, a fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, and two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

POEM BY MICHAEL SPRING

 

 

 

 

junco

 

 

for over a month its brassy-yellow beak

battles my window

 

hooded like a bandit, it stabs

staccato, with laconic heartbeats –

a complicated philosophy

 

Pueblos called it the snow bird

that drags rain and snow

like a blanket trailing behind a sleepy child

 

but this junco is not sleepy

it’s fixated on cracking open the beak

of its double

 

my neighbor said it must be a male thing

one attacked the side mirrors

of her Chevy truck all spring

 

I drink my coffee and tap the keypad

as the junco taps the window—

how long will this last?

will it damage its brain? will it

damage mine?

 

I wonder if I’ll soon find  

the poor bird knocked out

or dead. 

 

last week, in April,  snow fell for the first time

in over a year.

 

my wife says the snow bird has something to say

that I must capture its message

before it will leave

 

but I can’t imagine it gone –

every morning it drums

as I reflect

 

snow bird, stay as long as you can!

 

 

 

 

Michael Spring is the author of three poetry books and seven; chapbooks. His chapbook “Blue Wolf” won the 2013 Turtle Island Poetry Award. His latest, Ravenwood, has just been published by Left Fork Books. New poems have appeared (or are forthcoming) in: Absinthe Poetry Review, Chiron Review, Gargoyle, Hermes, and Modern Poetry Quarterly Review.

 

 

 

 

 

 

POEM BY KATHLEEN S. BURGESS

 

 

 

 

Rise  

 

 

By riverboat we reached Iquitos.

About two miles long, it was large 

for an Amazon settlement. And a theater

on the main street was the first we’d seen 

since Quito, a house of lights where                                                         

Peter Cushing’s Brides of Dracula gleamed

from the marquee. Or was it Dracula Has 

 

Risen from the Grave and Christopher Lee.

Whatever the movie, it didn’t matter.

We queued for tickets two blocks back. 

The line shuffled forward, stopped. 

I left Ted holding my place and found  

a man, hung horizontally like a flag 

in a hurricane, holding onto the window

 

for tickets with one hand and trying to pay 

for two tickets with the hand left free. 

Gripping each other’s waists, a phalanx 

of men tugged on his legs to dislodge him. 

Others leaped at the window to buy tickets

for themselves and girlfriends. So next night 

we came earlier. Americans, we were hated 

 

throughout the third world. Nixon ruled 

from the White House. Tens of thousands 

died in Vietnam. Dark skin against dark skin. 

And in Peru both indigenous and Latino 

were people of color. Sitting there in the dark, 

I gathered their tokens of gleeful protest: 

bubblegum on my shirt back and shoes. 

 

Next day we toured a local church. 

The Prince of Peace bled where thorns 

of a twisted coronet of vines pierced 

his forehead. Nailed to a wooden cross,

His arms, hands, and feet dripped blood,

wooden blood. In this sanctuary He was 

joined by men tortured into sainthood. 

 

Only blue-robed Mary posed inviolate 

in the painted light of grace. Her face 

radiated more than one pale woman’s share 

of the burden compassion is. Her statue, 

with its immaculate red heart, stood

for humanity, between martyrs and demons,

between blood let, and blood consumed.

 

 

 

Kathleen S. Burgess, editor, poet, and retired public school music teacher, has worked as clothes designer, musician, composer, factory solderer, administrator for developmentally disabled men, university secretary, waitress, union officer, and videographer who hitchhiked through North, Central, and South America. Nominated for a Pushcart Prize, she has won national and state poetry competitions. Her poems have appeared in North American Review, Main Street Rag, Malpaís Review, The Examined Life, Evening Street Review, other journals and anthologies. Her chapbook Shaping What Was Left and the anthology Reeds and Rushes—Pitch, Buzz, and Hum are Pudding House publications. New collections Hitchhiking Through Ruins and The Wonder Cupboard are forthcoming.

 

 

 

 

 

 

POEM BY J. D. TREJO-MAYA

 

 

 

 

                                         Identity: Tlaxcalteca

 

 

Brawn steel –silex

complexion earth tone.

Sunrise fire.

 

 

Matlacueye

          blue clouds/

                     skirt

          atop hills/

     below:

 

 

frost and green canopy shone.

Tlaxcala –hummingbirds flash

lightning vermillion.

 

 

See these words

shatter time.

Outside skin rainbows light:

                           11th full moon.

 

White sky

owls scatter gamma rays.

Super nova split/

              Constellations:

 

freeze frames

in between breaths

break suns.

 

Pen runs

cuts DNA

symmetry in jade iris glare.

                           c/s

..                           Macuil Ollin/

Chicoace Tecpatl

Tititl Ome Tochtli

 

 

 

J. D. Trejo-Maya was born in Celaya, Guanajuato Mexico and spent his first eight years in the small, neighboring rural pueblo of Tarimoro.   In 1988, his family and he migrated to California, where he would go on to earn three degrees and develop a passion for ethno-poetic language poetry. Among his inspirations, he includes the ancient poet Netzahualcoyotl, contemporary Guatemalan Humberto Ak’Abal and Blackfeet & Gros Ventre writer James Welch.  He has been published in the Nimrod International Poetry Journal, Belleville Park Pages, Star 82 Review, Visions International Review, Lost Coast Review, Redactions: Poetry, Poetics, & Prose, Altadena Poetry Review, Acentos Review, Mandala Review, Qua Literary Fine Arts Magazine, Five Quarterly, and The Voices Project.

 

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