Friday, May 8, 2015

1 Poem - "Legacy Tattoo"

If you ever want to check out a truly gorgeously made magazine, the Catamaran Literary Reader is it! Sumptuously produced, it features beautiful paintings on almost every spread, many of them local to Santa Cruz, where the magazine originates. The Spring 2015 issue features Rebecca Faust and Melissa Stein. Thanks to Zack Rogow for including my work in the Fall/Winter 2014 issue, a poem entitled "Legacy Tattoo."

Back story: the title originates from a time I spent with my sister a couple years ago. I visited her where she was living in Mynot, North Dakota. That spring in 2012, the ice pack up in Canada had held off melting until past its usual time, and then, suddenly in April, the ice melted with a vengeance. The waters thundered down from Canada and flooded the banks of the Souris River (yes, it means mouse in French). My sister had bought a house down in this area, and it was flooded to the point that it was uninhabitable. When I visited her, she was in a temporary rental.

One day, I went out running by myself, down to the Souris River. Even 500 feet from the river's banks, all was swept-over gravel, as if smoothed by once had been the river's rough and wild hand. It was still a vast, silent empty. The few businesses were closed, detritus of lumber and branches stacked to the side and in the front, clearly speaking to the nonoperational quality of what lay within.

One shuttered business, in a two-story wooden house with a porch, bore the sign, "Legacy Tattoo," in red letters on a white background, the lettering like that of a saloon. It was too evocative, that old tattoo parlor shuttered with the high plains eerie light hitting it. It got me moody, intrigued, and reflective on our legacies--ancestral and creaturely--and how they imprint us.

Read the poem here

2 Poems - "Sita and the Orangutans Sumatra Sutra" and "Lully Lullay"

Thanks to Alvin Pang and Ravi Shankar for publishing a couple poems in Drunken Boat, a special issue on the theme of Union, including poets from Singapore and the United States. I took the occasion to consider orangutans in Sumatra in "Sita and the Orangutans Sumatra Sutra."

I also included a poem "Lully Lullay," written Dec. 24, 2014, a jazzy livestream of upsetting headlines and songclips (Joni Mitchell and mournful Xmas tunes) and my neighborhood happenings including migrant birds' journeys, all against the background of the culture winding down to a standstill on the day before the holiday.

Read and Listen to the Poems Here