How fun is it that our prompt highlighting stars was so closely followed by Robert Lee Brewer’s announcement of the 2013 Poetic Asides Poet Laureate, and April P.A.D. Top 25 list of poems. Congratulations once again to our own dazzling stars William Preston (Poet Laureate) and Top-25 “Bloomers” De Jackson, Nancy Posey, Jane Shlensky, William Preston, and Walt Wojtanik!
Now, on to this week’s Blooms!
MARIE ELENA’S PICK
In the midst of many poems I wished to feature today, Salvatore Buttaci‘s The Almost Star haunted me all week. But here’s the thing: I find myself at a loss to adequately promote this piece. I can use words like brilliant, uncommon, curious, or remarkable … but even as a collection, they do not explain how unique and absorbing this piece is to me. Nearly every phrase or line fascinates me, but the final stanza blows me away. Sal, I enthusiastically offer you my Bloom.
THE ALMOST STAR (by Salvatore Buttaci)
A new soon-to-be-announced star
lay ready to exit God’s Womb
one still twilight moment
with midwife stars attending
but the Great Infant Hope
overstepped feet first,
kicked its way to debut,
slipped buttocks forward
(two moon slices locked in
tugged taut the umbilical string
strangling the almost star to blue.
Fetus the Failure shook infant fists
at all creation, crawled up the canal route
then died there about three a.m.
swearing galactic blasphemy.
I selected Jane Shlensky’s What Shines, almost on a gut response, because it moved me deeply. As I said when I first read it, the imagery is profound: falling through the sky; reversing gravity; souls aglitter; carrying moon dust; tiny twinkles, longing for starlight; all these give the poem the brilliance and ambiance of the Milky Way on a moonless night. Jane is, in my view, not only a superb poet but a superb storyteller as well, and this poem captures and holds attention like a well-told story as it recounts the experiences of youth, the transition to an older age, and the link that binds them both. It is masterful work.
WHAT SHINES (by Jane Shlensky)
A need to get away from home a while,
if only on a hill beyond the house,
forced us to live in nature, making do:
collecting broken limbs to make a fire,
a few pine cones as kindling, a tent,
and rods to catch a willing supper fish.
But we took hot dogs, marshmallows, and chips
prepared to release anything with fins,
waiting for dark to wrap us in its light.
And lying on our backs we fell through sky,
a velvet basin pocked with many stars,
and named the ones we knew pointing at night.
We felt the universe pull at our eyes,
reversing gravity as we fell up,
our souls aglitter freed to float in space,
a seed of being in us taking root
until we lay still, filled with something right,
ourselves now heaven’s rib cage, arching out.
I’m old now, creaking bones keep me upright—
no sleeping on the ground, waking in dew.
But I still carry moon dust, starry night,
remembering how I felt we were part
of something big, mysterious, and true
we, tiny twinkles, longing for starlight.
Each week it just gets harder and harder to pick only one bloom. (Heavy sigh.)
My bloom this week, well, it just has a certain rhythm (with some soul) and when it’s mixed with ‘razzmatazz’ the music in the poem flows. So, Susan’s work is this week’s choice because this poet really shows she ‘gets’ jazz and the Beatles’ voice.
Congrats to Susan Schoeffield – my choice for Saraband.
MUSICAL PROGRESSION (by Susan Schoeffield)
I used to be a Beatles fan.
But as I aged, my tastes would move
far away from where they began.
In its every variation,
simplistic or complex pizzazz,
my ears feel a pure elation
whenever they listen to jazz.
There’s no point in me denying
my love for the famous Fab Four.
If I did, I would lying.
But my musical progression
to the beboppers’ razzmatazz
is now a growing obsession
and today I’m all about jazz.
Congratulations to Sal, Jane, and Susan!