Week of March 8 - March 14, 1999
Hope Alvarado and Michael Rothenberg
BECOME A POET OF THE WEEK
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Hope Alvarado lives in Laguna Beach, California. Her poetry has appeared in Blue Satellite and Caffeine Magazine.
The following work is Copyright © 1999, and owned by Hope Alvarado and may not be distributed or reprinted in any formwhatsover without written permission from the author.
Sorry, I didn't see
you, 'cause I was too busy
looking at the moon.
to metal. Fingers graze jaw.
A small flame kindles.
I hit the ground hard
grieving and falling in love.
Slivers of the moon.
All these moths are drawn
to even a waning glow.
Will you tend the flame?
A gravid moon yields--
before sharp, scythed horizon.
The sky is empy.
This is how a ferret takes a bird--
It tears a hole in the breast, then it crawls inside and chews,
eats even the bones. It doesn't stop, until the bird is hollow.
Now, there's a place in my heart for you.
You broke the edges from my tongue. My teeth
are in your pocket. My lips, have lost all color.
I will not ask you again.
There is a scar here,
on my belly. It is the length of my open palm.
But you already know this,
you have seen me naked.
You have all the power.
I read labels, calculate the ratio of fat grams
to calories, check for dents and expiration. I shop only
when I can avoid the influence of the moon.
Have I eaten this before? And, did it make me sick
or change the color of my eyes? If I put it in my cart,
will it fall out, smash, and roll derry down the aisle?
I go by every row. There are too many choices.
I look, I taste, I throw away. Rarely clean my plate. Don't eat
anything blue. I have forgotten how to swallow. Children
are starving because of me.
I lived with a man from Wisconsin. He taught me where to
stroke a cow so that it would lick my hand. I have eaten tongue.
"They make cheese there.", was the first thing I said when we met.
Cheese is mostly fat. The moon, really is made of cheese.
I am afraid of the moon.
After a big lunch, my sister and I don our red capes, raise our arms and
up the escalator at Macy's. We are on our way to the ladies lounge,
thankful that we are no longer tethered.
We go to the beauty supply, where I get stuff
that keeps my hair from falling out when I don't eat enough
meat. We decide that, "ten thin tin things", said ten times, is better
"tea tree oil", for maintaining a flexible jaw.
"Ten thin tin things", said ten times, is better than "tea tree oil"
for maintaining a flexible jaw.
My sister is too skinny. Her breasts are bigger than mine.
I do fifty-two floors on the Stair-master. It tells me that I have
one-thousand, two-hundred and fifteen kilowatts, I have burned
three-hundred and eighty-two bridges. It counts the stairs I climb,
for every story. A firm butt and an aerobic heart are the only things I
When I leave the market, all I buy are a few pieces of fruit
and some bottled water.
A resident of Pacifica, CA. My poems have appeared in Sycamore Review, Exquisite Corpse, Berkeley Poetry Review, Lungfull!, Mudlark, Pearl, Pyrowords, Rockhurst Review, Snakeskin, Zuzu's Petals, and many other publications. I am editor and publisher of Big Bridge Press and Big Bridge, a webzine of poetry and everything else: http://www.bigbridge.org. I am most recently editor of Overtime, Selected Poems by Philip Whalen due out with Viking Penguin in 1999.
The following work is Copyright © 1999, and owned by Michael Rothenberg and may not be distributed or reprinted in any formwhatsover without written permission from the author.
Calls from that world!
Arguments of that world!
Fingers probe the fence
Music heard from a balcony
Dip a bucket in the river
Clear water and mud mix
Tilt the bucket over stones
Pieces of a dream float by
Bark on a river
I hear footsteps
A woman in high heels
In easy chairs, my analyst and I
He wants to know if I'll forgive the dead
Will the dead stop dying?
And what about wildflowers?
He asks, you like flowers don't you?
or sky of dried salami
or pink smoked salmon
The only way out of the forest is on foot
So quiet in the forest
clapping the dirt with her sandals
I swore as a teenager I'd never swoon
Black high heels
Crazy with love of plankton
Beached sea skeletons
Succulents on bluffs tanned by sea wind
Then I fall as in a real dream
but I can't hold anything
Calls from that world!
Argument of that world into this!
And the wound between
made of nothing I'm made of...
Crossing from that world
wakes me out of this
There's something clever about falling
And why are there seagulls and stars here
boats with full sails, flags and armies?
Why are there children falling without a sound
between trees in the forest
between building in the city
between loving arms?
Dance! Isabella, dance!
The lilies in the fountain are yellow
Pennies glint on blue tiles
under gold bellies of fish
Which way is north?
I could go south
Forest noises don't bother me
At night the noise especially clear
When I step on a branch it's like ice cracking
all the way to the edge of moonlight
At night there's nothing to see
except moonlight and the mountains
the moon makes out of tree tops
I wouldn't want to see anything else
Except fire, I could watch a fire
Feed it sticks and branches until morning
But night surrounding fire is frightening
I'll head east. By morning find
An eastern city, a telephone
I'll have breakfast
You could be in the middle of a forest
minding your own business
and an airplane falls and kills you
You're hit by radio waves
from six thousand miles in any direction
A crocodile gnawing
on the tail of a brontosaurus
Pain, you can have it, keep the change
When I was 18, I wanted to save the world
I thought, what's so funny
Why not save the world?
Me and the bears
Skeletons beaded on a rope
Shark at my doorstep
Sky heavy with piranha
All I wanted to do in life was travel
And what would I have if I had what I wanted?
A sailing ship
Encouragement from friends
A post office in every port
But I can't raise the anchor
Empty bottles and bones
There isn't cargo the sea can carry forever
And a shallow set of footprints
as I go from this world into that!