>> / Deena Linett

. Poems of Deena Linett



/ Deena Linett - .


A Loaf of Bread

I called him on the margins of his name
-- Vallejo


Yet again I have spent my last
twenty-five dollars on a book of poems,
fat yeasty rolls, stones
warmed by hands like these, lyric
gatherings like coral, that living
substance that hardens, as speech does,
into some kind of reality.

The gods are just. I left one man,
anothers leaving me. At the airport
in Atlanta, awash in rhythms past
remedy or remembering, Im closer
to R, whose southern sounds even Newark
couldnt harshen, Js too-easy invitations,
David the sharecroppers son. From filament
flung fluid till fine strands shine theyve spun
slender webs that catch the breath
in netted light and heavy air.

And I? I play with stones,
pile them up in cairns, arrange their runic lines
to make corridors, doorways, walls, shafts:
architecture of what I cannot know
for people who have not arrived.

It was going to be grief, perfect
as ripe fruit, unblemished but longer lasting.
It was going to be peonies, thick
with lust and sweet as my thighs.

Life rolls forward heavy, stupefied
by increasing velocity. Perhaps bread
in stead of buildings. The slow
invisible movement of yeast animals
engendering something we can savor but not save,
bread does not pretend to significance.


A recipe for loaves, time-worn and faithless:

for J: wildflowers dripping with color and the wet
from your mouth,

for A: music that throbs in your throat
and returns you to me
as to the clamor and necessity
of a holy city.

For Don: awe
which is love, and rage
to bake them in,

and for David: blood.

for Don Hall


Jury Duty


Your numbers up. Cliff edge
is a window-ledge, twelfth floor

New Courts Building, Essex
County. Below, the snows

been four feet deep for weeks.
Cops patrol and were locked in

as if by serving time
we would develop empathy.

Clouds sweet as cream drift
across the skies where they are free.

Twelve-eighteens my new I.D.,
hotel room, flight number, war lottery.


After the change of government
begin with the maps, newly revised.

Ignore the stars. They will not
be there when you need them.

Youre in altered relation
to the spray of light on dark. Now

you see the galaxy edge-on, spinning
all the way toward the beginning.

Your compass says south is a range
of mountains with a glacier whose flows

shape is music you know
but cant sing; you are west

of fields of purple flowers and east
of a salt sea. Where are you? Why

have they left you here? What is your task?
What will you devote yourself to?


What Takes Us Down

The weight, as of seas heaped with swells,
of history streaked with Baltic tourmaline, rose
quartz and cobalt seamed with gold, pyrite
sparkling here and there along corridors of dark
that go all the way back to the beginning
-- and perhaps beyond. Evil witnessed
and imagined, tides of vengeful wishes
those you know have told you
and intermittent daily showers of malice.
You thought it was Time. It is
these that crease flesh, loosen its hold
on your bones. These, wind in wild grasses,
creatures silver flickerings through groundwater
bearing blood and breath our Time is made of.



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