ISSN 1551-8086
return to home search for a contributing writer

seach for poems by title

archive of previous issues submissions information mailing list online store links to other interesting sites contact us  
  April 2007
volume 5 number 1
-table of contents-
  home   (archived)
  featured poets
  Lea Deschenes
  Jamie Asae FitzGerald
  Thomas KrÀmer
  Kirsten Ogden
  Traian Pop Traian
  Elisha Porot
  Ryan Tranquilla
  mailing list
Lea Deschenes April 2007



art by jared barbick

    Lea C. Deschenes lives in Worcester, MA and will emerge from her office after receiving her MFA in Poetry from New England College in July 2007. Author of eleven chapbooks, she was a 2004 Jacob Knight Award recipient and a 2000 Pushcart Prize nominee. Her work has appeared on-line and in print (Ballard Street Poetry Journal, Henniker Review, Spillway, Snakeskin, Incidental Buildings & Accidental Beauty, So Luminous the Wildflowers, etc.) She once found a five-leaf clover during a solar eclipse.



Laugh Tracks

Your laugh:
Steel shavings. Rust.
A rasp drawn too slowly
over the lobe of my left ear.

Your laugh
burnt-dregs coffee,
derisive fastball pitch
aimed square between each batters eyes.

Your laugh
kept me up nights
like a horror movie:
hidden beneath a comforter,

Your laugh
was a new moon
that never filled again,
midnight path you only followed

Your laugh
was always last,
a harsh act to follow.
Nothing so broken should sound so

Your needle wit would puncture my alarm.
I left when I found laugh tracks on my arm.

copyright 2005 Lea Deschenes



Soldier's Things

this one is for bravery / and this one is for me / and everything's a dollar / in this box Tom Waits

Sights I would spare you:
gasps of ghost dances in snow.

Peace requires accord. Explication.
Alone, I am mbius strip. History repeating.

My bandage-white flag, suspicious:
Mud and ripped scabs cling to its ragged point.

Its contaminated, complicated.
Pints bled to fly it.

Foxhole agnostic concluding divinitys touch
beyond knowingno point contemplating.

Accept unilateral, unconditional surrender.
Do what you must. Name your terms.

Tell me how misguided: primitive notions of sacred.
Make me generic. Consumer girl. Pills and soap.

Ill confess to any atrocity,
wear sin or sackcloth like a red velvet dress.

Lay sweating nightmares on my head.
Ill thank you for being definite.

I fear the end as all animals fear pain,
but cannot care.

This ground: clotted churn. Ghoul deli.
This place: once homeland.

I swear it by my bandaged throat and bad right hand.
I swear it like Juliet upon your name.

Rename it all: worthy beyond measure and lost.
A sword-shaped scar that pulls at every step.

Born under the hammer and the anvil:
Forcefully. Flattening. Violent.

Becoming harder, sharper.
Balanced in the hand.

You need no champion.
You are too precious to split.

Obsolete soldiers do not die.
We dance for ghosts in snow.

This war, kept in my borders.
I could not burn your town and cry victory.

You ate breakfast to shotgun clips.
Shook your head at the awful things war does.

Who can bear to feel for foreign countries
with all that pain, risk and talking?

I do not expect forgiveness. I do not expect:
Wait, head down for whatever comes.

Alls fair in love, war and writing.
I never achieved necessary ruthlessness.

Pull these strokes to knotted shoulders:
Snapshot of a soldier who couldnt follow through.

I twitch with this restraint.
I call it dancing.

Throw me a dollar for this dented purple heart.
Say you felt pity for the refugee. Shake your head.

Take comfort in how foolish you were not.
How fair. How removed.

Tell your grandchildren horror stories.
Sell souvenirs of the wreckage.

Tell them of tragedy too beautiful to stop.
Tell them of the benison of your shilling.

Bless you for your spare change.
Carve your leaders into my side. Call me monument.

Bless your wise, shut mouth.
No one can accuse you of misspeaking.

Bless you for remembering the real enemy,
keeping your diplomacy close to your own door.

Bless me for attempting to harrow the field
although I was not shaped well for this service.

Bless me for refusing to strike or lay down and die.
For the peace of it: everything sacrificed for your safety.

Bless me, brother. You can afford it.
You will be the one who writes the books.

copyright 2005 Lea Deschenes



The Bonobos

Rattling cage bars, mimicking
obscene gestures, they fling food bowls
until mystery bits splatter everywhere.

No meditation of careful posturing on hung rope
consoles the Bonobos, bereft of vines to cling to.

The Bonobos dont care if their screeching is useless,
their enclosure designed by important scientists
with innovative ideas on recreating environment.

They dont care if attendants minister to whim,
parading khaki nursemaids.

They feel enslavement and resent, bitterly,
wanting out among high branches: to leap,
to groom one another away from crowds
picking itches from parted black coats.

The Bonobos dont care about my errands,
now fifteen minutes late for an appointment
to have my teeth cleaned.

They search for loose bars or likely grates.
They search for escape until they die.

I have so much to do. Its gotten late.
Their enclosure holds no answers,
but I cant look away

They seem so driven toward freedom.
So familiar. So sad.

copyright 2005 Lea Deschenes