Moving Words 1999 Poems
The Story Begins
The story begins with a word or a world:
roses, an old man carrying a bouquet
rushing down a cobblestone street in the rain
and a younger woman in red carrying a chandelier
down another street to a repair store,
or crystals in the rain, a worn tweed coat, hope,
a scherzo of rain and wind, a bouquet of glass,
rain bouncing off a red raincoat,
what was not said long ago at a dining room table,
a corner at which two people will meet.
My Eyes Slide East Toward Monet
Sunlight splashes the trees
with veneer. Persimmons.
Enchanted dogwood and sycamore.
Sailboats dot this harbor.
It’s not hard to imagine
scattering them with our breath.
A Man, A Woman and a Chair
It is man’s nature to rail at inanimate fate.
Woman looks for a closer culprit.
He, stubbing a toe in the dark, with blame
The wooden hardness of the chair.
Encountering the same, she will exclaim:
“Who left the @!#?&! chair there?”
the valley opens calmly
to the sea pushing back, pushing back,
digging at the gravelly beach, and,
to the shallow shoveling of your breathing
in, in sleep,
and out at the night.
I Have Hungered for the Flat Gold
I have hungered for the flat gold of your foot.
I have known myself indulgent, shivering
at the press of curved palm against flesh
that is planed, a breathing metal plate
yielding sharp current. It is the alien
quality of your heat that drives and grounds me.
Your body is a shadowless bronze desert.
Your coppery eyelid knows no fold.
We are trapped inside that hollow place
anger carves beneath the ground.
It is grey down there and the echo
of each word we say comes back
as if it were never spoken. New tears
drip from the ceiling,
joining old tears
hardened on the floor.
Only solid pillars meet
in the space between us.
About the Poets
Richard Peabody is the author of four books of poetry, most recently Bouyancy & Other Myths (Gut Punch Press, 1995). He is also the author of a book of fiction, Paraffin Days (Cumberland Press, 1995), and editor of six anthologies, including A Different Beat: Writings by Women of the Beat Generation (Serpent’s Tail, 1997). He is the founding editor of Gargoyle magazine.
Hilary Tham is the author of four books of poetry, most recently Men & Other Strange Myths (Three Continents Press, 1994), and a memoir, Lane With No Name (Lynne Rienner Pub., 1997). She is a poet-in-the-schools in Virginia, and on the Board of Directors of Words Works Press.
David McAleavey teaches English at George Washington University and is the author of four books of poetry, most recently Holding Obsidian (Washington Writers Publishing House, 1985). He has edited an anthology of Washington writers, Evidence of Community (GW University, 1984), and a collection of essays, Washington and Washington Writers (GW, 1986).
Jacqueline Jules is the author of two books for children, The Grey Striped Shirt (Ales Design, 1995) and Once Upon a Shabbos (Kar-Ben, 1998). She is pursuing a Masters of Library Science at the University of Maryland, and is a book reviewer for School Library Journal and Children’s Literature.