THERMOS 2: Mary Margaret Alvarado

Each day this week, we’ll feature Mary Margaret Alvarado’s work on this blog. These first poems, two of which later appeared in Mia’s first full-length collection of poems (Hey Folly, published by Dos Madres earlier this year), originally appeared in our second issue, late in 2008. I neglected somehow to publish “First Hector, then Achilles, then Troy” on our old website at the time, so it makes its first web appearance today. Here’s to Mia, and a week of her poetry! — AS



[The Chapter of the Merciful]


All morning, birds fall past my face
The pretty bald babies are sunning like ducks

Who is the master of the 400 Sadnesses?
Let her let down her braid

I have had occasion to slip pears from their skin
I put the pears and my palms deep in great vats of wine

Ginger exists, ginger exists, ginger exists
But what’s killing me about these tapes
is that I can hear the cellist breathe



First Hector, then Achilles, then Troy


Here at the school of charity I'm chopping a carrot
   and failing again.
	         Hosea named his children
	            The Coming Destruction,
   Not Pitied, and Not My People.

                                    Remember when Chicken Little got it right?

                    At the cathedral,
	           night of the smash, we sang
    the Mass for the Dead.
	           Man in a Suit blew his nose
  on his sleeve. Beautiful Blonde would not be
			                            I was at the drive-thru liquor mart
	           when we bombed back. They played the sad music
          on NPR.


                                                          (Old film decaying. The old film
                                                               on fire--gangrene, time-lapse
                                                                         azaleas, electrified flies).

Everything changes in light.

                                                 Dying into a morning,
                                                                                  or a dialectic,
             BlackBerries beamed LOVE and luv,
                                                                            e-mail arteries clogged
                                            with the stuff.

                    Adored bones were bunting
                                   loosed across fields.

Inside the inside
of a being going,
                                                                  even the capillaries quiet.
                       The push.        The pink dilated world,
                                                                       the sudden stellular sight.

1st Guard, waving magnetic wand: What America needs
                                                                                   is another wake-up call.
  2nd Guard, sorting my bag: Does this pimple cream work?

         Somewhere in America a pet mealworm is eating its oats.
Somewhere a girl of means is pulling it out by the roots.

                    (Inject the un-
       memento mori in the crow's feet,
                                                                     at the eyes).

1st Clown: What is the human condition?
2nd Clown: Terminal.

Somewhere in America the airbrushed moons are glittering.

           What I meant to say
   about the crickets is that they never stop. What I meant to say
                                   about the ocean
                                                           is that it doesn't--.

                                                                              (All the times
                                                                             we were to die
                                                                 and were preserved).

   Who says
                     the world isn't salted? I'm salted
             as jerky, you're salted as boots.

                                      Who promised you lavender pillows?

                                                  Gala Apple 4133 is, says its sticker,
aromatic and sweet.

                                           The detainees
                                                          stitched their mouths shut
                    today. That means they can't speak,
              Won't eat.


Through pool-light
easing the flanks
through crenellated
pool-light a bead
a bead, kicked
long lit strands
To love my love
in a chair
to love just
walking around
It is a fierce, a fearsome
a stern, it is
like when Anna
took the two-day
bus to come burn
dinner all week long
like when, in an apron
she pumped the jams
Here comes another day
in which people carry bags
& empty trash cans roll
We move
from spot to spot
to get better
electric reception
The bed floats by
through the grove
of come over
to the seaside resort
of let’s hope
Is brown sugar
broiling on
winter’s roots?
Are roots chopped thin
like some moons?
At the museum
there’s a blue
chalk horizon
over which
glass disks
in variance
How the crenellated
& the sent-
light goes out
how the weave
I wear my rot
bones, loose-plaited
seep bones
mineral drip
How the lit gets in
where vertebrae warp
is a stern, a fierce
that out-sprints
death, had my lap
to be in
heard a piston
or a valve


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