“I should” (Sharing an original poem.)

I knew. I heard you. You’ve been wanting a poetry post!

For something different and heretofore unseen in this space, I’m posting a form poem. That’s right: for today’s dug-up offering, I’ve got this poem I wrote in a grad school forms course. There’s actual rhyming in this poem, which most post-modern poets wouldn’t deign to write… they didn’t back in the early aughts, at least.

One of our assigned tasks in the forms course was to write a sonnet, and I do mean the standard English kind (iambic pentameter, 14 lines, three quatrains and a couplet).

It’s more difficult to do than you’d think.

I ended up with a sort of dark comedy in sonnet form. There’s something about a sonnet that brings out a degree of elevated language in conjunction with a built-in silliness, which I blame on Shakespeare. I thought I’d share this “gem” with you today. Also, I recently learned how to single-space within a WordPress post, which makes me wont to post more poems. Aren’t you lucky!

This one is called “I Should” ~Enjoy.

I Should

have known… when music caught my dream about
the street whose light emits from your garage.
When burns exposed the candlestick in house
arrest and prison sentence – more to dodge

– and stands of trees between o’clocks unpinned
themselves from dark alarms of your “awake.”
The only songs beneath the violin’s
remains are moments – those I need to take,

my blindfold off in order to see clear
the ash I’d presupposed, botanical
and all. Smoke that disappeared
before the instrumental, vagrant lull
resurfaced, asking for a newer room…
as I have wanted back the winter moon.

 

the end.

Mayhaps I took a small liberty or two with the form, but that’s what we’d call “creative license.” Or something like that.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

 

 

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From the “new poems” file. (Haiku 18: Regime)

Two years ago, I started writing haiku (poems) in sets of four. I stopped when I started work on my novel, and I’ve picked it up again now that the novel’s finished… in addition to the longer poems I’ve been writing, that is.

These haiku sets adhere to the classic three-line, 5-7-5 syllable count, with the four haiku centering on a single theme. This is just the way I’ve been working with the form. I’ve taken liberties with it. With each theme, I’m basically writing a poem with four stanzas that happen to follow haiku structure.

Anyway! I know I’d said I would no longer publish new work here, but it seems I’ve been doing it again, so here you go – today, I’m sharing “Regime,” one of my recently written haiku sets.

~~~~~

Haiku 18: Regime

Kristi Garboushian, August 11, 2018

 

1.

Vision: thresholds lost,

kindnesses overtaken,

old pockets ripping.

 

2.

Possibly, maybe

likely – blind faith severing

children’s daisy crowns.

 

3.

Redwoods on fire.

Semiotics gone awry.

Glass of cabernet.

 

4.

Otherwise in thrall.

Spinal columns buried deep

beneath lost cities.

 

roses (23 August 2018)

 

 

 

 

 

“Fallen Meditation” (Sharing an original poem.)

I write poems when I’m speechless, or otherwise at a loss for words whether spoken or not. This one is a re-write. I’ll just leave it here.

 

Fallen Meditation

 

I sit down to write a letter.

 

What I know from experience,

comfort a step off O Luxurious

a posteriori

where the realm of having-done

remarks to the inner sensibility

sensible enough to ask,

 

How is this known. How is that known.

 

– what was known before.

 

The door may offer possibilities:

it may swing open, or shut, or it may

start to close, then stop,

fall off its hinges into the “room of things known”

 

open for inspection, analysis,

asking what is this. An answer

tearing quietly through the air we breathe

toward how is this known, how is that known.

 

Other things coming through the doorway:

A nudge of ants.

A file of drizzle.

Second-hand smoke.

 

I sit down to write a letter.

 

What I know from experience:

Train. Open window. Night.

Unconscious and literal, the answer might be

my desk next to the window, a railroad

track going past, which I’ve come to expect,

love, the shaking of its rails

east, west –

 

What I mean to tell you is this:

when I sit down at my desk,

the window next to me is already open,

already the cool and dark star-glint, and since

I’m in some state of undress when writing at night,

all flickering finds my skin

open to gusts passing

probably to Quartzsite.

 

Anyway a train

stirs the air and the three become sublime –

train, open window, night – and then

I know why

 

and what I wanted to say.

 

What I do know.

What the aperture in the wall excludes from oblivions

more realized and independent of anyone’s

search for answers.

Nothing some particular.

Nothing some concept,

what kindred body of problem – what

passes through here, what filled the room before passing,

no longer known.

 

Look at it looking at itself –

 

then the phenomenon losing interest,

wandering out,

leaving muddy footprints where rain

moistened the tile.

 

(collage I made c. 2003)

“The Beast of Romance” (Sharing an original poem.)

I re-wrote an older poem of mine and thought I’d share it here today.

Let me re-phrase: I didn’t “re-write” this poem. I added two words… two words that I’d originally included, then removed at the suggestion of one of my MFA committee members. Reading it decades later, I wondered why I’d acquiesced. In most cases, I saw the light when a professor brought it to my attention. In other cases, I resisted. Acquiescing after resisting doesn’t mean that you want to do it. It means that you do it even though you don’t want to. You finally just do it. It’s the path of least resistance. Years later, you might look back and feel exactly the way you did before you acquiesced.

Especially if the matter was something profound, like two words. If it’s just giving in to Chinese food when you wanted Mexican, not so much.

Here’s the restored poem. The pic beneath it shows the printed version minus the line… the line missing its words.

 

The Beast of Romance

 

The camel fills what she emptied by lifting

a hoof, sand leveling the prints

across the dune to a vanishing –

the risk on the left with the right’s deflection.

 

When I decided to remove

myself from all of your embraces,

the sky wore its palm-stricken eclipse,

the circular ghost breaking into song, lunatique,

pallid Clouds of Eleven

careening to our old green and white names.

 

Weighing-in takes precedence:

readable things stowed away like water

in her bony satchel of a hump.

 

There is always this necessity.

 

She relinquishes what

she has stored. She comes to court

with all the evidence

locked tight in the file of her flesh.

 

[The Beast of Romance 1st version, Kristi Garboushian, early oughts]

 

The End.

“…Nor There” (Sharing an original poem.)

This one is from 2011.

 

“…Nor There”

 

…Nor There

 

Mid-morning, the groom waits for the arborist

while gifts begin to arrive.

Two days ahead, the wedding sways the house,

 

the green sputter of early spring

draping the tree.

 

He knew he’d get caught in the scrolls of rain

running down to the roots. He wants the tree scraped clean.

He’ll ask the arborist

(if he ever shows up)

to make a quick peel of the bark

before everything dries.

 

He spends the next day

turning from the rustic to prepare the wedding

ceremony, rinsing his shirt,

wringing it on the rail, because it’s all he can do.

 

There’s nothing to be done

about the brassiere, the lacy red one,

her last conversation with him

hooked around the handle of the remaining suitcase,

his…

 

at least she didn’t take all of her.

She left the halo of her voice,

her braided hair,

purple mouth, genitalia.

 

He thinks it happened

when she recognized the painted eggshell

as a favor.

He tries to take it back,

 

but she’s flown to the Himalayas

where she found ice reflecting a bride

poised with her soaked lungs

fueling the despondency of mountain goats.

 

In the crevasse, brindled in the cold,

she sets a lien on her bones

in the name of the groom

still waiting for the arborist’s call.

She separates her tendons,

weaves them into her shawl.

“Scene from a Traveling Play” (Sharing an original poem.)

I woke up thinking of this poem I’d written several years ago, then thought I’d re-write it and share it with you. This is my day: go to the gym, re-write a poem, feed a tortoise, play with a cat, work on a novel. There could be worse days.

Oh, and look for February Favorites next week Tuesday! The month ended before I could prepare. (Read: my time-management game left much to be desired these last few weeks.)

On with the poem, then.

 

Scene from a Traveling Play

 

Imagining you as a child: happy, climbing

a tree where you sit above the campfire

where your mother stirs

sunrise into wood beneath the flames.

 

If I were to sit next to you, I’d find the branch

no heavier with your lean form,

the pause before you take off like hundreds of birds,

weightless as sparks from the fire.

 

Years later, you’ll remember the moment you recognized

punk undertones in an Eagles song.

 

Later yet, you’ll find yourself startled to see the narrative

you’d left – you thought it’d flown off,

too, but it came back

before the wind could tear away the part

describing the fullness of the voice

your mother tried to keep.

 

You might be as tired as the ribcage of a boy

reaching upward through water, or tired with your eyes

dry in the desert city,

dry like horses

wild as news from town, the last thing you saw

before your canine pierced your tongue-tip –

dry like the cracked tooth, the crusted blood, the scarce rain –

dry like sepia grit and blur of hooves kicking to dust.

 

Dry like the hands of the last generation.

 

One thing’s for sure: you’re not an ember

burning slowly from air into the blindness of earth.

You’re the smolder of an oar dipping beneath

the water you’ll never forget.

“Harvest in Phases of Night” (Sharing another original poem.)

Revisiting some of my older work this morning, I came across a certain poem and decided to share it. I very rarely use this space to publish poetry previously unpublished, but for some reason, I wanted to share this one. This is for you who found me through poetry, you who enjoy poetry, and you who enjoy the art of words. I wrote “Harvest in Phases of Night” in 2011.

 

Harvest in Phases of Night

 

The old woman ought to be

guarding the flower beds,

not spilling from acres to plots

hawking for signs:

 

pumping blood, an earring of pulse,

a car in flame intersecting the right

passages of dark.

 

Later, flinging her tampered

sleep in the night, she opens

her eyes to the kettle detached,

spectators caught

overhanging the wood fire.

 

Before dawn, her three arms

have fallen asleep, the accidental one

blackened, smelling of gasoline;

 

she adjusts her blanket, keeps it close…

she waters the early

streets and telephone lines,

sparking fury and grail;

 

she says her crushed-metal

prayers at sunrise,

chewing breakfast of concrete

peeled from asphalt walks,

punishment for ignoring the grain,

 

her old shoe and its sole

gold for the wake,

nourishment boiling over.

 

The headline of the day passes

unnoticed by the draw,

by the brass shield clouding the tide –

 

the old woman’s spine a chain of goblets,

auric meningitis, dreadful error,

unfortunate ride down pitted roads.

 

By the time I get there

the next night,

she’s rid the yard of gawkers.

She’s doing penance,

threshing stalks, sugar cane,

wheat of heritable caution

under a half-moon.

 

She’s answering to the nobility

of chrysanthemums.

 

There are more ways than one

to crash an ending:

 

fitful meetings of burnt tire,

fragmented window, misfires of logic,

passion we’ve never imagined….

 

Ore and secrets. Who knows

what causes these accidents?

 

She sleeps while the killed

find their way to the sidewalk, stone above

sketches of lighting at midnight.

 

In the end, it’s garden

mower to traffic signal.

The moon makes the dying right.

 

by Kristi Garboushian, April 2011

 

[17 January 2018] [ETA: no filter… just weird lighting!]