It is spring again, Love, and the earth has gone insane with color and scent. We will be lulled, forgetting death, and a forgetting of branches quivering in a wind, or land under fall of snow, or bleak sky against which we knew the small deaths that told of all the separate deaths we must dream alone.
Look, Love, at the lilac and the dog rose, look at the fledgling waking up to the world, a cluster of May blossoms, look at each tree create its own peculiar shape of leaf, each knowing which form to take, its part in a twelve act tragedy scripted in seed.
Look, Love, this rising of sap is not new. We have known it before, a prelude to all our summers. This is the growth of light and the diminishment of fear. Through silver pools and under birch we walk, as the sun drops bronzed pennies in our hands.
And at night among the warm sheets we spend our hoarded selves and lose in the forgetting and lose in the rising this knowledge that the path grows shorter in the greening year.
Gacela, and the Unfinished Heart
I want you to find me I want you to be married to me in time That we grow old and die Like the failing sun that recites Sappho so tenderly
I want you to hear me sing Like the burning peacock I am I want to stop writing these poems for you That leave hummingbird skeletons in my teeth
You do not touch anymore my long-traveled body With its long-suffering marrow You will not touch any part of the bloody mystery Or the Iris smoldering beneath you
I want you to understand That I have shed bouquets like feathers That I do not know why it is you do not know All the old news about me
How I trilled between the planets to charm a crescent moon How I gave away the weather and my hands—to die with you
Debussy snores in our red velvet chair— we dare not wake him from the dream.
Frida smokes in the tousled garden— draped alone in her golden shawl.
Diego drinks his pulque downtown— flirts with genius and some painted girls.
Levis pours another double scotch— lights a cigar before he writes another line.
Awake at 3:00 a.m., I watch you turn in old moonlight and away from me.
Another hummingbird dies inside the smolder of my orange mouth.
What Doesn’t Love You
L.A. is all about idiolatry. No point in the specifics. Perfect looks flash by like two a.m. sirens on Sunset. Love, you ask? Love slips sensation back in your body
and ecstasy in your mouth, as you gawk a fabulous B-Lister jaw about ambition or money. When you get your big break, luck will let you forget love—won’t
that be nice? Tell the truth, if you remember how: Isn’t Los Angeles a name for knowing you came here for the worst reasons? No amount of disappointment
can strip you clean as you need to be. Life flirts be- tween blue ambulance echoes, obscured by Hollywood distance. Or is it beginnings? Distinctions matter
less and less. Your favorite movie will end, its reels spilling out the window, into the desert street. The sad girl high above love on the ledge of the building
bends her legs and raises her arms to fly. You walk off the set, wondering why America wants to kill you.
About the Author: Michael Dwayne Smith has two full-length books in the bullpen: a poetry collection in collaboration with surrealist comic artist Evan R. Spears, Happy Good Time News (Devils Hole Press), and a collection of hybrid poetry/prose, What the Weather’s Like, Only Stranger (looking for new publisher since original deal fell out… hint hint). Post-hippie professor and editor-in-chief of Mojave River Press & Review, he’s been awarded both the Hinderaker Prize for poetry and the Polonsky Prize for fiction. His work appears in excellent journals like burntdistrict, Word Riot, Stone Highway Review, decomP, >kill author, and the Cortland Review. He lives near a ghost town in the Mojave Desert with his wife and rescued animals.
About the Photographer: Elisabeth Cox has been making art since she was old enough to sneak crayons into her bed during naptime. Though a Seattle native, she currently lives with her two cats and works from her home in Champaign, IL. You can find her geography art at poppyandpinecone.etsy.com.