Archive for the ‘From the Magazine’ Category

THERMOS 10: Hunter Deely, Corrido Coahuilteco (Notes by Pat Deely)

This poem, and the commentary by Pat Deely, comes from a special issue of THERMOS featuring Hunter Deely’s poetry. You can check back every couple days in the coming month for more of his poetry. For an introduction, see here.



Corrido Coahuilteco


As we approach the city of black rocks sunflowers
Rise from shoulders


And tiny coal-throated gold-winged warblers
Whirr between stalks.


They jerk their heads at night, like the boys
With tracks on their arms who breathe fire


For loose change, who lead us blindly towards
This border for love and


Money. Checkpoints close in on the road, the vein
At the blood-brain barrier as the eagle


Eats a rattler cut in three by a semi. Tell them we
Are on our way


To a wedding. Move along. Listen. We move. Tell
Me we are in love. We are still


Children rifling down the barrel of time, our eyes
Are sunflowers chasing nirvana


In an industrial field where the bodies of lost
Women decay like uneaten corn.


An eagle’s foot dances from the rearview mirror.
Good luck. Never look back.


We can cross this border once. At a certain angle
Light meets glass and the sun


Is reborn in the empty orb of the talons and dissolves
Before our eyes adjust.


The chaff in the air over the highway, the tires hum
Their corrido softly: No me olvides,


Forget me not for always you will ride over the melody
Of my heart, and my bones


The death I carry inside me like a secret knife
Waiting for release in the hot dust


Of Piedras Negras, Coahuila:
The meaningless


Name of a lost people inscribed as a line through
The desert where the eagles


Live on roadkill and we are brave, and young, and
Hurtling toward a border.




Corrido Coahuilteco


It strikes me that the speaker of this poem is a young man thinking about his girlfriend who he has left behind to find work along the U.S. – Mexico border. In the nature of a lament, the poet bemoans transition of the northern Mexican people from a resourceful indigenous culture to a groveling, industrialized and deathly existence.


The title is composed of the Spanish word “corrido” – a popular type of Mexican narrative song often about oppression, history, daily life for peasants, and other socially important information – and “Coahuilteco,” a Spanish adjective derived from Coahuila that was applied to certain indigenous Indian groups in the mid-19th century. “Coahuila” is from the Nahuatl “Kuahuilan” or “Cuahuilan” meaning “Place of Trees.” Coahuila is the name of a Mexican state that borders Texas and covers an area that – along with what is now south Texas – was an area inhabited by the Coahuiltecan Indians. Ted Ferenbach described the Coahuiltecans as follows in his best seller, Lone Star, A History of Texas and Texans:


“. . . no other species ever used the resources of a country more fully: the Coahuiltecans consumed spiders, ant eggs, lizards, rattlesnakes, worms, insects, rotting wood, and deer dung. . . . . They concocted a drink, mescal, from maguey leaves. . . . The Coahuiltecans also dissolved ground red Texas laurel beans in mescal, and produced real firewater. . . . and from another cactus, peyote, they produced what can only be called a very unusual tea.” [Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc. 1968, p. 14]


During the Spanish colonization of Mexico, a majority of the native Coahuiltecans were displaced by the Spanish advancing from the south and Apaches from the north Texas plains.


The poem opens with the speaker describing the scene as he is arriving at the bordertown city of Piedras Negras the name of which means “black stones” referring to the surrounding massive coal deposits. Piedras Negras and the state of Coahuila have become heavily industrialized through the maquiladora program. Along the roadside, sunflowers rise and Golden-Winged Warblers “whirr” among the sunflower stalks landing on the flower heads to pry loose the nutritious seeds. The sunflower originated in the Americas and was first domesticated in Mexico around 3578 B.C.E. Sunflowers were cultivated as a valuable food source and became the symbol of the Aztec solar deity.


The scene abruptly shifts to street entertainers turned human traffickers carrying the speaker and others to the border “for love and money.” Borders are a common symbol of the frontier between life and death or emotional states where we are close to the “edge” and encounter difficulties trying to move on. “Every major distinction and divide in human experience can be treated as a border, whether separating the present from the past or demarcating life from death.” [“Internal Borders as Naturalized Political Instruments” by Wayne Fife (quoting Oriol Pi-sunyer)] The U.S. – Mexico border generates especially difficult issues for many people given the costly violence that led to its geographical relocation in 1848 and today, of course, due to the vast differences in economic status and opportunities on one side versus the other. The poet uses the concept of crossing the border in this poem as the point at which there is no turning back; the ineluctable march of “civilization” into oblivion.


Continuing along the road, the speaker directs our attention to the “checkpoints” – places where military or police can interrogate you and search your vehicle for alien smuggling, narcotics, or firearms. The checkpoints are likened to veins at the “blood-brain barrier,” which is a layer of high-density cells restricting passage of substances from the bloodstream that protects the brain from bacterial infections. Then, the scene focuses on an eagle eating a rattlesnake cut in thirds by a semi-tractor trailer (symbols of industry destroying the sacred and devouring the divine trinity). In mythology, the eagle often is the sun, its talons lightning. It is an apex predator of the bird world. And snakes figure in myriad mythologies; for example, the Aztec god, Quetzalcoatl, was a feathered serpent. The Coat of Arms of Mexico depicts a Golden Eagle perched on a cactus holding a rattlesnake in its beak and one of its talons. The scene here, however, suggests that the power and glory of the Aztecs and more modern Mexicans symbolized by the eagle has been reduced to that of scavenging.


At the checkpoint, the speaker says to tell the authorities that they are on their way to a “wedding”; a union forced on them by the devolvement of Mexican civilization. So, they “move along” as the speaker asks his girlfriend to “Tell me we are in love.” But they really don’t know love because they are “still children rifling down the barrel of time” like bullets to certain destruction; their eyes like sunflowers following the sun chasing a state of transcendence from bondage to being free from suffering – nirvana. This “nirvana”, though, coexists with an industrial field where “lost women decay like uneaten corn”; an allusion to the 21st century narco deaths of women left in fields along the U.S. – Mexican border towns. The metaphorical reference to “uneaten corn” continues to underscore the vast distance between modern day Mexicans and their ancestors. Corn, or maize, was developed somewhere in Mexico thousands of years ago and was central to those peoples’ culture. In Aztec mythology, Centeotl was the maize diety, considered one of the most important, and Chicomecoatl was his female counterpart.


As the speaker is moving along, he notes a “good luck” talisman – an eagle’s foot – hanging from the rearview mirror, but we are admonished to “Never look back.” An ominous warning mirroring the admonition of Hades to Orpheus who was allowed to retrieve his wife, Eurydice, from the Underworld, but as he led her back to the Upper World could not look back at her without risk of terminating her release. We also are admonished that “We can cross this border once” because once you cross over there really is no turning back. A momentary glimpse of regeneration is presented as the poet describes a flash of sunlight through the once magnificent eagle’s foot, but it is just a flash.


Through litter – “chaff” – driven skyward over the highway by industrial progress we hear the modern day corrido as the hum of fast moving vehicle tires rolling onward. To the speaker, the corrido sings “No me olvides” – Forget me not – but the speaker acknowledges that he is on a certain path to a meaningless death like the long forgotten Coahuiltecans, where once mighty eagles now “live on roadkill” and the young people move in only one direction: “Hurtling towards a border.”


–Pat Deely


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THERMOS 10: Two Poems by Hunter Deely

Two poems from our special issue of THERMOS featuring Hunter Deely’s poetry. You can check back every couple days in the coming month for more of his poetry. For an introduction, see here.



the magnificent violence of birds


Some things mark you.


A dove in the jaws of a rattlesnake, the white
halo of feathers and the astounding


stillness as the two bones worked
the body down.


Pinned the neck with a cedar branch and cut it
with a dull axe.


Dropped the head and rattle in a mason jar with salt.


Some music in the scales’ pattern. How eyes
clip the evening light at the edge of the field,


and we turn in their gaze, sick
with dove meat and dry corn, how to set a blade


to flesh gets the blood thick in your arms.


From the radio tower we saw the city
like a yellow rose browning at the edges.


We saw redbirds vomit
white blood on a forest of invasive species.


Some years later I was on a train through Mississippi,
birds in the pine trees watched me pass


through a strange hill country, as I thought back to
the garden offset by stones in the woods,


how we stuck the feathers in our pores and climbed
the tower to see if the signal would carry us


with the poison bitter in our mouths, to our common
dream of safe passage


through the bird, into the snake.




the magnificent violence of birds


A bird on corroded tires.
Burning clover,               blue
                beach where birds go
when they sleep.


The logic of the swerve, to be / guided
by the chance of your
                              body detecting
      the echo of waves / on rising […]


We sleep in the dredging tower
laid on its side in the river, distant
                smoke. Look up
                                now. See—the space collapses.


                The insects all
      extend from a single body.


The cartwheeling girls
in the clover trying to forget […] / Leaves


unfurling from the rusty generator in sand.


Two bells tolling at the same time.


The same time.


Two bells unfurling,
one long


                O


                O


[…] Watch the insects through glass,
through a certain peace / staring up
                from the junkyard, disappears,
that is, to unexist,


one leaves unfurling
from a bell


echo of a shadow


                O


a dead bird in the waves.


THERMOS 10: Three Poems by Hunter Deely

These three poems are from a special issue of THERMOS featuring Hunter Deely’s poetry. You can check back every couple days in the coming month for more of his poetry. For an introduction, see here.



Bull Burning


I’d stopped between two mesquite
trees hung with seedpods and Roxanna
rode up beside me on her red mare.
A hum steady rose from the woods
around as beetles flush with oak wilt
bored holes through bark to leave
dead trees scattered like antlers
                                over the hills.


Roxanna led me out of the brush.
The dead oak at the center of
the pasture ahead pocked with
grubholes and boils. A dozen
buzzards with dark wings splayed
began to tremble, a shower of
dried blood dust fell like cold
smoke around the helix of wood.


No leaves to block the sun, she
said, or wind. So their feathers
can dry. So death attracts its own
practitioners: the hard, faceless
beetles that burn with vegetable
fever; the warm dust that billows
from the wings of carrion-eaters.


We untied the gascan from the
saddle and walked the rest of
the way to where we’d seen them
circling. The bull’s chest stood
open, a cave of anthrax and
shadows. The gasoline like distilled
moonlight. The bodily sound of
its drip and splatter. The fumes
like formless mushrooms growing
in time-lapse. The sulphur smell of
a pinewood match. I hate to see
them go this way, she said. Into
nothing. Roxanna’s dark eyes lit up
by the pyre. But God is good. He
provides. And the earth there
was charred till December.




Possibilities


Late at night you might hear a single bird singing.


The clouds move quickly, low to the ground, white on blue, and you are suspended in a lightbulb.


Sometimes past movements become imprinted in the air and it’s hard to tell how many people are in the room. Are they each one person or are their trails of color others altogether?


You might remember the smell of her scalp like midday linen.


Do the birds multiply or is it the sound slowing down as it enters your ears?


You might notice how amberly her eyes refract light on wood in the dark room, and how her gaze shifts with the wind coming in through the window with magnolia.


When you were sixteen you and your girlfriend parked your car on top of a hill looking out over the city and drank a bottle of cheap whiskey, the caliche road was white and the cedars that ran down half a mile were dark blue women dancing in the breath of something much bigger than you.


You might tell her about this and hope she understands.


She might, or she might not.


You might then try to explain how it felt when they started to sing Amazing Grace at Luther’s funeral, and the sound of his aunt and his mother wailing was so loud but not quite louder than the choir.


One morning you went to the graveyard and when the sun hit a certain angle you could see that there were thousands of spider webs strung between the blades of grass. You were still very young then and it was confusing, to be in love while you sat on a soldier’s bones. These things make more sense now. How there are cities of spiders that you never see until the light decides it wants you to. And you might wonder here if you is singular, or plural, and if there is a difference.


She might ask for help when the nightbird comes flying through the window and sets the lightbulb swinging wildly like a drunken satellite.


She might also disappear inside the bird, and your memories go with her.




Drinking Rain


The body becomes determined
as an imitation. Shift shadow on skin


to a fractal edge. A dove
asleep in the basil. How, swollen


with light, does your pupil rinse
the black coffee


seaward? That morning we woke
by an artificial river, the gar


fish thick in the mud. What
drove the silent


moss to song? On bicycles rushing
under dark leaves


and spiders.
Over water paths in the stone tongue.


Powder off the ibis’ wing
on our cold, bare arms.


How it met the earth around us, burst
the unfurling of a bean. If sleep


rose to us in the ragged
nest it was faithless, it was the story


of a dream told at a great distance.


THERMOS 10: Two Poems by Hunter Deely

Here are some more poems from a special issue of THERMOS featuring Hunter Deely’s poetry. You can check back every couple days in the coming month for more of his poetry. For an introduction, see here.



Three Hill Country Poems


1. human it hurts


Easy to get
      lost in
rooms and edges
both within
and out, in
      to chambers
back the skull.
The slouch beast,
the beautiful girl.


Emanates
      up from treeline
a deer’s scream so human it hurts.



2. Hunt, Texas, November, 2011


Rivers all across the state have run


dry these past months
as down across
      their pale


bones we walk, hand
      in hand


snakeskin, shells,
cracked beaks of waterbirds


highways, farm roads,
veins in an old hand
      as over
these lines we seek
the map in the edge
of the cypress leaf.


Splays the valley
      around us.
From a white
      branch a cactus
grows above the riverbed


with its white
needle you cut in my earlobes
      a hole.



3. wax-winged


layers between
my body and the cedar waxwings perched
      by the window to rest
on their way to Mexico over endless
fields and the covered
heads of migrant workers
and wanderers with long
beards, heavy packs
      on the shoulder
of highway, like Icarus
birds and travellers
      exhilarated, evoked
and disabused
of the notion, the bright
lights of the city always
more beautiful from far away, the dream
as it recedes
down to the borders
      and the blank space
in between.



blue hole


this is where it begins
uprisen from limestone
something beyond us pushing
into the light glint under elms


when i came back raw
from the hospital and focused
all the sensation i had discovered
within my body on the sting
of the fall air on my muscles
and i shook like the surface of the pool
you led me down a course of sand


and how badly i wanted
to put my arm around your waist then
as we stepped across the great
cavern there beneath us
trembling with the force of
what it contained


and we stopped and took a breath
before you told me this
was the tree they planted for your mother
at the headwaters


and how water is a kind of marrow
and we are the bone


and how cancer makes you wonder
why the inverse is contained
already in the expression


like here where the aquifer
opens to a city
covered over with a paper moon
atop an emptiness you know
is there but never think of


you know
they found the skeleton of a buffalo
right there
at the foot of that mulberry
waiting to drink
from the center of the incarnate word


THERMOS 10: Hunter Deely, “Ghost Hunting”

This is another poem from a special issue of THERMOS featuring Hunter Deely’s poetry. You can check back every couple days in the coming month for more of his poetry. For an introduction, see here.



Ghost Hunting


My mother is ghost hunting in Laredo,
in a white stucco house with fruit trees
in the yard. She created lemoranges
by graft of limb, as a child. For a year
they kept a pet white tailed deer
whose black and white picture still hovers
over the soft ashes in the fireplace.
Some things cannot last. First,
there was a murder in the workshop.


My grandfather killed a Mexican boy
who had snuck through a window
into his workshop at night. My grandmother
decided to leave him then, the lights
of Laredo illuminating the hot, sweaty
cheek of her husband, to leave him
because that night, as he set the gun
back in its case, she realized
that he felt no remorse.


Hunting disgusts me. Those who take pleasure
in death disgust me. I refuse to celebrate
the gun. I believe death is the only revolution.
Let it come in due time. We keep a gun
in our house as a thing to be reviled.
Any man who does not hunt for bare survival
is a fake and a coward, and I will say it
to his face. Let the lemon trees tell you why.


One night something happened in a bedroom.
My grandfather shot himself in the head
with his hunting rifle, while his new wife
and two daughters were in the next room.
His wife is still convinced it was a cartel
who wanted him dead because he volunteered
his medical services to the border patrol.
He also believed heroin should be legal
and all drug addicts should get free treatment
from the government. He loved the smell
of a deer’s intestines as they fell into a pile
of dried leaves of oak and mesquite.
Ghosts are created from the memories of the living.
My mother can’t finish her novel.
She can’t get past finding the ghost.


When a man poached a deer not two hundred
yards from our house one winter my father
walked across the field with a shotgun
and told the hunter not to come here again.
We don’t want bullets in our air.
My mother puts lemons on everything she eats.
I think the ghost has been with us all along.


THERMOS 10: Two Poems by Hunter Deely

These are the first two poems from a special issue of THERMOS featuring Hunter Deely’s poetry. You can check back every couple days in the coming month for more of his poetry. For an introduction, see here.



The Bombing of Alphabet City


1.
A flock of starlings descends on a dark tree.
A bomb detonates in reverse.


Drugged up and Texan and planning to join the Marines,
forget that once you bear witness to murder time


only moves one way.
Hold me close as you once did


his bloodstained jacket.
Force like birds the barrenness of memory upon this picture


until it shatters into a galaxy of dust in the lamplight. Think:
galaxies are just dust in many forms.


Think: Your skull a sheet of clear plastic
negatively charged, bristling with insomniac longings.


Remember the black boy who became a
constellation like the pattern on the starlings’ chests?


2.
Double vision, waking dream, let
the particles collect like starlings
with vowels of night
with violent eyes
anarchist starlings in the eternal war
zone of sleepless words.


All along we were looking in the birds and the bullets for this: a bit
of anti-matter that fits in our eyes and says


                                                                                              O,
                                                                                                                            I


                                                meant to tell you before we annihilate




Calacas


Men becomes coyotes every day.


A fern will curl inside an empty snail shell
if you are willing to ask it.


I watched a girl sprout wings with blue feathers.
There was blood, it was painful.


The scorpion and the lady. The ridges behind overlay
a love story that never happened.


A scorpion’s tail will become a fern if you ask it.


I like the feeling, when my teeth press against
someone else’s teeth. It’s like our deaths are touching.


It’s like the pressure is the plate at the Pacific rim
pushing up volcanoes. And at the feet of them
villages, a particular epic, seventeen species of songbird.


The last few mornings I vomited acorns and slept
the rest of the day. And then tonight, I opened the screen door
and felt the white paint rub off on my fingers, the wail
of it closing behind me, and I walked into the field
in blue light with my face aching. I saw an old man walking
at the edge of the field, stooped and wheezing, step behind
a cedar, from the west. A dog trotted out the other side.


I see the faces of my dead friends in animals. Deer
with green eyes and pale lips. Bears with broad noses.


In the evenings, we sit on the porch and listen
to country songs about bamboo.


You paint your nails with mercury.


I kiss your bones.


Your eyes are shells under invisible sand.


I’ve been a coyote. You were an antelope.


We go to sleep to the sound of hooves.


We push out of ourselves only to find we never existed.


THERMOS 10: Introduction to Hunter Deely

This is the introduction to a special issue of THERMOS, dedicated to Hunter Deely’s poetry and memory. We’ll publish the whole issue online in coming weeks. It’s an honor to be able to do so. — AS



Introduction to Hunter Deely


On the final day of the only class I ever had with Hunter Deely, we sat outside on the academic quad at Tulane University. It was late April, a few days after Hunter’s 22nd birthday, and the weather was gorgeous enough to eclipse the formal nature of our surroundings. His had been a tremendous class, full of impressive and various poets, all of whom had written memorably in the preceding months. I was eager to hear what plans they had for writing poetry during the rest of their lives, and asked them to each give a statement on the matter before we disbanded for the summer. Perhaps they were thrown off guard by my request that they think of anything other than the beautiful spring day: as we went around the circle, we heard a series of uncharacteristically muted statements. Some hoped to work on prose over the summer, others intended to write daily in a journal, one hoped to take some time off from writing, and a couple offered vague ambitions to perhaps apply for MFAs in a few years. Then it was Hunter’s turn, and he said “I want to be one of the all-time greats.” That’s all he said. It was not a hubristic statement, it was a practical ambition, and I don’t believe anyone there felt that it was ridiculous of him to say so. I believe we all believed him, and felt he would meet that goal. That he won’t is the single greatest regret I have at this point in my life.



*



What strikes me most about Hunter’s poems is their sheer achievement. Generally, of course, but also relative to age: that all but the last of these poems were written by someone not yet 22. For more than a decade, I’ve been either a young poet myself, a teacher of young poets, or both – I’ve worked with and among hundreds of poets at the same age and at the same point in their education as Hunter was when he died. Many have been extremely talented, many have written admirable, accomplished poems or groups of poems, many have demonstrated the spirit & the drive to be interesting, even exceptional poets. But none, by the age of 22, approached a body of work as realized and impressive as Hunter’s.


I sincerely expected to read his new poems for the remainder of my life. I looked forward to following the trajectory of his development, to conversing with him as he moved in new directions, and to being forced (as I have many times in preparing this collection) by his example to reconsider my own aesthetic direction. I felt fortunate to have stumbled, early in my teaching career, upon a student who I might soon consider my peer.


I did not know that he was addicted to heroin, though reading his poems today, it is painfully apparent. What would I have done, had I known? What would anyone have done? Aside from treating them like fellow humans, what can anyone do about another’s difficulties?


Nevertheless, I resent the guidelines, official and unofficial, that prevent students and teachers from talking about things like addiction. That restrict such conversations to therapy sessions, rehab centers, and twelve-step programs. I would have liked to talk to Hunter about heroin. I would have liked to have been able to do so.



*



How do you mourn a student? I mean: how do you mourn one who has been your student?


The term itself is belittling, hierarchical. It creates an unnecessary and even harmful gap into which the humanity of the learner vanishes. Sixty-five years ago, when Theodore Roethke wrote a poem called “Elegy for Jane” in honor of a deceased student, he managed (while surely meaning well) to express many of the terms that seem to have made this gap an officially necessary thing. “Neither father nor lover,” Roethke nevertheless posits Jane not as an autonomous being, a learner and a human, but rather as a kind of nervous bird, someone who can be seen only in terms of something else, and thereby possessed.


Of course this is problematic and unhelpful. Perhaps the complexity of the problem, and of our ability to respond, has increased since 1950, perhaps not. I do believe there is a generational shift underway in the universities, that the way we teach today in creative writing classrooms is not necessarily continuous with the way we were taught even fifteen years ago, let alone fifty.


But it’s true that the universities cast people in strange relation to one another. Over the course of a fifteen week semester, I spend more time with each group of students than I’ve spent with any of my own siblings during the entire six years since I began to teach. I learn more about each of them than I’ve ever known about any of my neighbors, or the majority of the people I’d comfortably call friends. Perhaps this is particularly the case because I teach poetry – after all, one only rarely hides themselves successfully in the language a poem demands.


And yet, in spite of the intimacy of the classroom, there’s no question that the true grieving is left to those who have had the immense privilege of knowing the student outside the context of their being a student.


One mourns a student, I suppose, by leaving the term aside. One doesn’t mourn a student: one mourns a person.



*



The pose of this collection – not of the poems, of their gathering – is a gaze steadily off into the distance to the right of the poems. The gaze is mine, and it’s caused by the poems, which astonish me, which cause me to stop reading, as the best poems do with regularity.


I suppose there’s a way in which I’m looking up from the poems Hunter did write in order to consider the poems he didn’t write, and won’t. I suppose there’s a way in which this is always the case: that we look up from poems that move us in order to consider poems that haven’t been written yet. That this is the origin of many poems.


It has been difficult to gather these poems and bring them to presentation. There’s a finality to it that opposes the generative relationship between written and unwritten poetry. I’ve struggled all along to feel grateful that he wrote as much, and as well, as he did before dying, because that gratitude gives too readily into the wish that, rather than dying, he’d been a little more careful, and lived to write more.


But of course, if Hunter had been a little more careful, he might not have lived the life he had to in order to write these poems.



*



Late in Hunter’s memorial service, an event deserving of its own introductory essay, someone whose name I have forgotten told a story about Hunter that I will never forget:


Hunter found me in the cafeteria one day and asked if I wanted to skip the rest of the day. This was in high school. I’d been missing a lot of classes so I wasn’t really sure I should, and I said so. But Hunter said “No, you’re going, come on.” And who can say no to Hunter? So I went. He had his mom’s old Dodge Durango, a big ungainly white car. So we drove off, and if you don’t know San Antonio, where we lived it’s really flat. But there are some railroad tracks, and they’re raised, so when the road comes to them there’s an incline. When we got near the tracks, Hunter just floored it. Suddenly we were going, like, seventy in a twenty-five zone and headed right for the incline. I yelled at him to slow down, but he didn’t, and we hit the incline full-speed. So there we were, hanging in midair in the middle of a residential neighborhood, and I’m thinking “I hate you, Hunter. I hate you,” and he turns and looks directly at me, and says “Yeah!” Then we landed, and took out two or three street signs, and broke the Durango, but of course we lived through it.


& if there’s an image I’d have you hold in mind while reading these poems, this is it: the young poet, in the middle of a reckless act he does not doubt he’ll land, suspended above the ground, mouth open in delight, exuberant, immortal, alive –


—Andy Stallings