What fish weave in clear water
doesn’t interest me much.
The same goes for the moon,
Coltrane’s jazz, theories of light.
The house is a conglomeration
of wood, glass. The sky isn’t blue,
it’s a variation on ice.
The other day I saw marbles in a basket,
a clutter of hurricane lamps, old chairs,
and I remembered how, at the end,
my grandmother was always entertaining.
Her mother would drop by and ask
for ten dollars to have her hair done.
Her father would stand beside her
at the sink, wiping cups and saucers,
I should mention here that she owned
a portable dishwasher—that her house
was quiet as a vacant rib cage.
I should also add that if my mind
appears to wander it’s only
because I’m considering earrings,
colors of scarves, the violent blooms
of select perennials.
Don’t take it personally.
Postcard from Reality Island
The sea’s so cold today
you could dip a ladle into water
and mix yourself a margarita on the rocks.
The lack of starfish is unfathomable
as is the inattention of sky.
Eleven sandpipers aren’t piping
Eight hotel maids are on extended cigarette breaks
and the only golden rings in sight are slipping off
your merry-go-round of defunct lovers.
Meanwhile your mind takes a wrong turn
into an infinity of red clouds
and you’ve been circling there ever since.
Your soft serve ice cream is a symbol for Lust’s
leaning tower of celibacy.
The diamond on the ring finger
of your fantasy is a reflecting pool
filled with charcoal fins
and it’s only a matter of time
until night’s jaw clamps down
to tear the light to shreds.
Meanwhile, the bulldog of broken dates
slobbers kisses across your face
and according to the sign there’s absolutely
NO TRESPASSING on beauty’s property.
Sunset shines its red STOP sign
and night locks its gate
but you hit the gas at the final moment anyway
and crash the wedding of words and vision,
spinning surreal donuts across forever’s darkened lawn.
Field Notes for Intensity
Another night spent dousing brush fires,
my mind flaming neon cotton candy—
thought clouds pumped so full of moonlight
they burst all at once, raining
lit matches onto clean suburban sheets.
Another night spent with a blowtorch,
carving insomniac hieroglyphics on matching trees.
This morning I practiced crossing sample oceans
while balancing distance on my head.
At every wave, I stopped and tried to perfect that barely
perceptible tilt of feeling,
that realm of queens and con-artists
but my mind’s a lopsided trunk, a clock that never stops
ticking. Its branches are full of barnacles
and telescopes, baked Alaska and tangled kites.
It magnifies everything,
scrapes tenderness across lust’s hot coals,
can’t play Frisbee or pick tentative April flowers.
I want to press the sea’s cool cloth against your forehead.
Lie out all night on the lawn chairs of repose,
leave night’s crossword gorgeously blank.
I want us to lean back against serenity
and sleep inside its pale kiss--
but every time I imagine your world twined with mine
my pulse starts racing the usual ragged tune,
telegraphing yet another series
of forked lightning landscapes.
Lori Lamothe's poetry has appeared in Blackbird, Canary,
DIAGRAM, Fogged Clarity, Notre Dame Review, Pirene's Fountain,
Wicked Alice and other magazines. She is a mentor for the Afghan
Women's Writing Project and has published a chapbook, Camera
Obscura (Finishing Line Press). She lives in New England with
her daughter and a red Siberian husky born on Halloween.