Lummox Number Nine: October 2020

Received this year’s issue of the Lummox Anthology today: Lummox Number Nine. I have all nine of these anthologies, and they are powerful collections of poetry, short stories, interviews and art. In the past 26 years, Lummox Press has published over 200 titles. What a great contribution to the poetry world!

I am honored to have these three poems in this year’s Lummox. More than that, I am honored to have “Morning Ghazal for Poison Ivy” and “Again” chosen for Honorable Mention in the Angela Consolo Mankiewicz Poetry Prize contest.

Morning Ghazal for Poison Ivy

A chameleon glowing green to rusty red, that’s poison ivy
From early Spring to first snow-fall, many shades of threat, that poison ivy

A snake that seeks the sun along a damp road waiting
as walkers pass their boots across the edge, that’s poison ivy

Heat lamp like a desert sun burned the blisters dry as I,
a restless child, lay confined in bed by poison ivy

My brother fell from the elm tree once—
of all the things he learned to dread, it wasn’t poison ivy

At my mother’s funeral, regrets appear
on the edge of words, unsaid, like poison ivy

Listen Francis Xavier, savor the light this morning
through dream-born half-flight, free of ghosts,
and that bastard poison ivy.

Again
after Joy Harjo

No matter what, we must cry to live
a family around a chrome-legged table
farmhouse groaning under winter wind
an empty chair, the sudden end of a world

No matter what, we must eat to live
the world a scared pine table
two of us in a cramped kitchen
that was one beginning
one long ago world

No matter what, we must shed our skin to live
at a maple table a few steps from the kitchen
morning light splashing
across the scratched wood floor
The world can begin here, at this table

where we two can say what can only be said here
as a day, a year, a world long enough to be a life
folds into the beginnings and endings
that stretch beyond our comprehension
perhaps the world ends here
again, and again.

Coffee Cup Rosary
after Juan Felipe Herrera

Our Father who sat in silence
hallowed by thy thoughts,
thy troubled times,
they meditations,
that haunt those who go on without you.
Give us this day thy spirit,
as we face our doubts and transgressions,
filter them through thy coffee and smoke,
let us find the strength you found,
in the dark of the early morning,
Amen.

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