Part 3 Contributors


Michelle Bitting
Laurel Ann Bogen
Laure-Anne Bosselaar
Lucille Lang Day
Corrinne Clegg Hales
Marsha De La O
Charles Jensen
Eloise Klein Healy
Glenna Luschei
Clint Margrave
Henry Morro
Alexis Rhone Fancher
Phil Taggart
David L. Ulin
Jonathan Yungkans
Lorene Zarou-Zouzounis

Part 1 Contributors

Rae Armantrout
Bart Edelman
David Garyan
Suzanne Lummis
Glenna Luschei
Bill Mohr
D. A. Powell
Amy Uyematsu
Paul Vangelisti
Charles Harper Webb
Bruce Willard
Gail Wronsky

Part 2 Contributors

Elena Karina Byrne
liz gonzález
Grant Hier
Lois P. Jones
Ron Koertge
Glenna Luschei
Rooja Mohassessy
Susan Rogers
Patty Seyburn
Maw Shein Win
Kim Shuck
Lynne Thompson
Carine Topal
Cecilia Woloch

Part 4 Contributors

Tony Barnstone
Willis Barnstone
Ellen Bass
Christopher Buckley
Neeli Cherkovski
Boris Dralyuk
Alicia Elkort
Mary Fitzpatrick
Michael C. Ford
Kate Gale
Frank X. Gaspar
Dana Gioia
Shotsie Gorman
S.A. Griffin
Donna Hilbert
Brenda Hillman
Glenna Luschei
Phoebe MacAdams
devorah major
Clive Matson
K. Silem Mohammad
Rusty Morrison
Harry Northup
Holly Prado Northup - In Memoriam
Cathie Sandstrom
Shelley Scott - In Memoriam
Daniel Shapiro
Mike Sonksen
Pam Ward
Sholeh Wolpe
Gary Young
Mariano Zaro

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Click to enlarge picture Laure-Anne Bosselaar
Laure-Anne Bosselaar
Californian Poets Part 3: Four Poems
Laure-Anne Bosselaar



Author’s Note: All poems have previously appeared in These Many Rooms (Four Way Books)

I Forget to Listen

           to the silence after the rain —
or to that particular silence,

                                 like a

when the wind dies.

And to the silence after a slammed door.
Or a telephone’s last unanswered ring.

           I forget to listen to you —
and to the silence in you, friend.

I make such noise, such noise,
           that I don’t hear the silence in you.

The Night Garden

Because everything you learned from the stained
                      glass windows you knelt under
still remains thorned & stained & torn,

& all the teachings you were expected
                      to believe still leave you dis-
believing & you wish this were not so,

& because one sparrow’s chirp can pour
                      gratitude into you like a drought-
dazzling rain, & you’d much rather

kneel for that — & you do,

there’s something appeased in the way you
                      get up again & brush the dirt
from your knees — that modest

dirt that belongs to no one & is yours so entirely

in this small lot — hedged, hidden,
                      with its offerings of fruit
& shade & song. So that later,

when evening brumes embrace all
                      you just praised,
you slip back into the night garden

to be blessed that way too.

Elegy on My Drive Home

for Larry Levis

When it rains on Las Positas Road,
          the trunk of a eucalyptus there turns
      blue — with a few blood-red streaks — but mostly
                    blue: a bright
                    hard cobalt,

             & it just stands there, bleeding that blue,
among the other eucalyptus in their safe
                    camouflage of beige & brown —

& I remember something Larry wrote about Caravaggio,
          how he painted his own face
                    in the decapitated head of Goliath,

      & how Larry wanted       to go up to it & close both eyelids
          because they were     still half-open & it seemed a little obscene
                                                                 to leave them like that.

           I planted a willow in a garden in Belgium when Larry died.
It grew by blue-painted shutters. I wanted that tree
           to keep weeping there after I left for America again —

America who had lost Larry too — & I thought about that,
                                & about his two trees, lost somewhere
           in Utah: the acer negundo, & the other one
whose name he could never remember.

           So that now, when I drive home I think of those trees:
the acer negundo, the other one, & my willow.

Brother limitation races beside me like a shadow too, Larry,
                    so that now, when it rains, I take

another way home, or look
                                away from the Las Positas eucalyptus
standing there soaked & so
           blue it seems a little obscene to leave it like that.

While There is Still Time

           let me waste it, take it outside & do nothing
but sit with it under the old vine’s nave
                                            & its chaotic choir of sparrows.

           It’s one of those days when nothing gets done,
                                            my head a constant whinge of worries.

           But a breeze drifts in from the East & inside it the distant peal
of church bells then — like a vague voice from afar —
                      a line from Apollinaire: You’re tired, finally,
of this ancient world.
                                  À la fin tu es las de ce monde ancien.

I had forgotten it for so long
                                              & here —
                                 six thousand miles away from Paris
                                 six thousand miles from a room in Antwerp
where I memorized Zone by heart —
                                                       I hear myself say it aloud
                                            to a dusty congregation of sparrows.

Some poems will never leave me — they are my other mother tongue —
           their scansion the beat & in my throat & wrists.

But these sparrows: how easily they come & go
                                 from gnarled darknesses into bright noon light.
How, if there is no water, they’ll bathe in dirt.

I watched a woman once, on a subway platform, grab
her screaming child’s wrist, twist it, & shake her,

pointing to a cat-sized rat chewing at something
between the rails: Stop it or I’ll throw you to that rat.

That woman. ¬She seemed so defeated, so beat.
That child. Her terror as she wrapped herself

around her mother’s legs: I stop, mama, I stop.

I recognized that terror — my whole body a gasp: it was
a station of my childhood, there, not three feet away,

as the train screeched out of the tunnel. I didn’t board it.
Joined the crowd toward the EXIT & its urban dispersal,

all of us strangers, worn, torn, mute, blinded by New York’s
noon, its chaos & roar — brief companions in a scattering flock.

The sparrows haven’t stopped their commute & —
                      again — it’s Apollinaire I remember:

You almost died of sorrow then,
A Lazarus bewildered by light

                      & as the birds bathe in their fonts
                      of dust & sun, another line:

Un instant voile tout de son ardente cendre
           An instant veils everything with its ardent ash

but can’t remember
           what came before that line.

           It doesn’t matter. There’s such quiet unimportance here,
                      my memory so generous, untangling
lines & languages—as I sit by a vine,
                      wasting time & taking my time to do it.