Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Death Cap

Death Cap

I am the old lady 
asked along to a brewery
to distract the child,
to nurse a half pint of
vaunted yet unwished for
ale, to be ignored
except when family 
points me to a chair.
I take in the crowd 
queued for another draft,
clustered around barrels
of bursty talk, of laughs.
The child & I 
discover nothing here
beyond noise & large bodies
in black clothing,
a barmaid’s tattooed 
arms & blued hair.
Then a table half empty,
a couple willing to share,
but first we marvel 
at two large mushrooms
someone’s left there,
not witches butter, 
not turkey tail
nor red-belted conk — 
names the child suggests
& stoutly denies
before switching focus
to morphological detail —
“This,” she says, “is the stalk.”
For the pocked crown
I posit cap, then balked,
we google, for the ring —
none — then gills,
mycelium, volva.
These must be death cap, we surmise.
Some mushrooms 
push straight up through soil,
she says, wonder 
blazing from her eyes.

Monday, December 21, 2015

William Meredith


The Illiterate 
by William Meredith 

Touching your goodness, I am like a man 
Who turns a letter over in his hand, 
And you might think this was because the hand 
Was unfamiliar, but truth is the man 
Has never had a letter from anyone; 
And now he is both afraid of what it means 
And ashamed because he has no other means 
To find out what it says than to ask someone. 

His uncle could have left the store to him, 
Or his parents died before he sent them word, 
Or the dark girl changed and want him for her lover. 
Afraid and letter-proud he keeps it with him. 
What would you call his pleasure in the words 
That keep him rich and orphaned and beloved?

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Kathleen Jamie

Kathleen Jamie [theguardian]

Fragment 2

Imagine we could begin
all over again; begin

afresh, like this February
dawn light, coaxing

from the Scots pines
their red ochre, burnt-earth glow.

All over again. South
— facing mountainsides, balcony

above balcony of pines — imagine
we could mend

whatever we heard fracture:
splintering of wood, a bird's

cry over still water, a sound
only reaching us now

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Alberto Ríos

Alberto Ríos [YouTube]

from Alberto Ríos's The Lime Orchard Woman:

Incident at Imuris

Mr. Aplinio Morales has reported this:
They were not after all 
Watermelons, it was not the wild
Fruit patch they at first had thought;
In the manner of what moths do,
These were cocoons, as every child has
Picked up and squeezed,
But from in these came and they saw
Thousands of green-winged half moths,
Half moths and not exactly butterflies,
Not exactly puppies —
A name for them did not exist here.
Half this and some of that,
What was familiar and what might be European.
And when the fruit rotted, or seemed to rot —
Almost all of them on the same day —
From out of each husk the beasts flew
Fat, equipped, at ease
So that they were not so much
Hungry as curious.
The watermelons had been generous homes.
These were not begging animals,
Not raccoons, nor rats,
Not second or third class;
These were the kind that if human
They would have worn dinner jackets
And sniffed, not at anything in particular,
Just as general commentary.
Animals who had time for tea.
Easily distracted and obviously educated
In some inexplicable manner,
The beasts of the watermelons left
The same day, after putting their heads
In windows, bored already
From chasing the horses
And drinking too much from the town well.