Moving Words 2003 Poems
NEAPOLITAN LOVE SONG
Dirty Napoli: couples in little fiats—Newspapers
visoring the windshields; laundry curtaining
the alleys; cameoed mamas arguing with
heavy hands; pickpockets and ordinary
cassanovas loving up bus-bound
tourists. Vesuvius visible only
after a thunderous rain, quietly
coughing fluttering ash; dead fish
floating in her bay.
SOUTH JERSEY SHORE
she sketches at dusk from the dunes fading lines
snow-crested sand in
morning light undisturbed
going home not quite ocean not quite bay
(Cape May – Lewes Ferry)
UNDER THE STREETLIGHT
Last moth of autumn,
feathery and golden as the now-turned oak,
with wings that brush the wind
as gently as a closing lash
against a cheek,
whose pheromone do you seek
on this damp and lonely night?
We both turn ragged
beneath this false moon
without promise of increase.
Two slight men lean
over their poles moving the boat
along. Only a single basket
on this floating dream.
Something raw and mean when
the basket has no fish.
Move, the retreat director said, beyond
words, images, concepts, and emotions,
and experience God in contemplation.
So I closed my eyes and moved beyond
the image of man and toward the woman
in the white cotton summer dress with little
purple tulips on it sitting across from me
in the meditation hall. The bell rang,
the retreat director asked us what happened,
and the woman said she felt a presence.
About the Poets
Karren LaLonde Alenier is author of five collections of poetry, including Looking for Divine Transportation, winner of the 2002 Towson University Prize for Literature. Her poetry and fiction have been published in such magazines as: the Mississippi Review, Jewish Currents, and Poet Lore. She is working with composer William Banfield and New York City’s Encompass New Opera Theatre artistic director Nancy Rhodes on the opera Gertrude Stein Invents a Jump Early On based on her verse play by the same name. She is president of The Word Works, a Washington, DC based literary organization that sponsors the Washington Prize.
John Elsberg has lived in Arlington since 1975. He is the long-time editor and publisher of Bogg Magazine. For a living, he directs a government publishing program. He is the author of fifteen chapbooks and book of poetry; the last three are OFFSETS (King’s Estate Press), A Week in the Lake District (Red Moon Press), and Sailor (New Hope International press, England). His next collection, a collaboration with New Jersey poet David Hovan Check, will be called South Jersey Shore. He and his wife (and two dogs) often escape to the Cape May area, where his parents once lived.
Daniel Gutstein's poetry and short-short fiction has appeared in dozens of publications, including TriQuarterly, Ploughshares, Prairie Schooner, The American Scholar, Fiction, New Orleans Review, and The Penguin Book of the Sonnet. He teaches creative writing and works with students who have disabilities at The George Washington University, and also serves the journal StoryQuarterly as an associate editor. He has also worked as a farmhand, international economist, tae kwon do instructor, and reporter.
Michael C. Davis’s work has been published in the journals Poet Lore, Lip Service, and Minimus. His work has also appeared in the anthologies Open Door and Winners. He is the author of a chapbook, Upon Waking, published by Mica Press in 1999. He has been active as a reader in the DC area as well as visiting writer in grade schools in Arlington, VA, Washington, DC, and Brattleboro, VT. In 2001, the Bureau of National Affairs, Inc., where he works as a copy editor, granted him a six-month paid sabbatical to teach poetry workshops to second and fifth graders in the Arlington Public Schools.
Patricia Garfinkel is a senior policy analyst and speechwriter at the National Science Foundation here in Arlington. Before that she spent 19 years as speechwriter for the Chairman of the Committee on Science in the House of Representatives. She has published three books of poetry: Ram's Horn, From the Red Eye of Jupiter, and the latest in 2000, titled Making the Skeleton Dance, published by George Braziller.
Douglas J. Wilkinson was born and raised in Los Angeles where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy and Theology from Loyola Marymount University. He moved to Washington, DC in 1986 and completed the course work for a Master of Arts degree in Spirituality at the Catholic University of America, and the course work for a Master of Arts degree in Hinduism at American University. For ten years he taught philosophy at the College of Southern Maryland and now works at the Arlington County Public Library. His poems have appeared in Heliotrope, Avatar, and Connections.