week of March 6 - 12, 2000
Clyde Tressler and Petra Klein
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Clyde Tressler lives in White Plains, NY. He teaches English at the secondary level, and he is a member of Marie Ponsot's X-Y Group. He has published in print magazines including New England Review, Commonweal, The Lyric, Gulfstream, and Salonika. His heart is in New Iberia, Louisiana.
The following work is Copyright © 2000, and owned by Clyde Tressler and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.
To run backward, I have to look
over my shoulder.
Rough sidewalks, kids on bicycles, fireplugs
are difficult to negotiate.
Still, after a while, it seems all right
for trees and fences with white pickets
to stream out of the dusk
back to front.
Abrasions, small cuts, a bruise
behind my knee, like a yellow-green fifty-cent piece
mark my stops,
moments when the trees follow the wind
and the fence slants toward a rotten post.
On Plympton Street
you stop me
and excuse yourself with faultless teeth,
laughing to show me your deepest molar.
Because it is my habit,
I ask after the best,
over my shoulder -
hair that flags down
a measured run, rhythms of breath,
breasts that pucker resolves
against a fall.
You use the word "perfect,"
adding that you are twenty.
I cannot make the pickets move,
nor the iron bars that guard
your summer dormitory
in Harvard Yard.
Stopped, I look at you
who need no metaphor.
Your teeth are simply untouched by decay
and your mouth looks softer
than I can imagine.
A Team of Scientists Decides to Hire an Artist
The ice floes stretch beyond sight.
When blizzard driven snow flies along its horizontal path,
we must bend over and think of direction.
In this cold we dare not spit.
Our instruments have failed to capture
the stark effect of a low sun
refracted through the sheared and frozen water's lens.
We point across a stretch of snow
at a dot moving, sometimes more than one,
to prove that we are not alone.
When the sun does not rise,
no explanation satisfies
after the second day.
Our mission is to record
Arctic phenomena, calculate degrees.
We snap images of relative size -
Max standing by the pressure ridges
of blue ice colliding. Beneath our feet, whips crack.
The data piles up in the cramped space
of temporary dwellings that will remain
preserved after we are gone.
Catalogued and ready for return,
something is missing.
We want the drift of imagination
that coils among the white wastes.
The tumbling wrench of gut
that hovers close to absolutes.
We have talked it over
and decided on a painter.
We have placed an ad:
Artist For Arctic Science Team.
Willing to work in extreme conditions.
You must choose color. Choose light.
We are interested in extending the limits of measurement.
What we want now is the experience.
In the water of the river,
the clear swift water
running after the storm,
we ride the current to the bend
where the rush has dug a hole
for swimming, father and daughter.
A log lodged in the bank
blocks the flow and shoots the water?s noise
in a narrow sluice along the other side.
The quiet eye for swimming, father and daughter,
is like a lens that makes us larger, refracted versions
of ourselves closer to the aquatic start,
legs that flex like frogs and water weeds for hair.
The bottom's messages are stones
that send us colors and smooth edges,
mica flashes coded to the summer sun.
And one shape that takes its alien form
only in the staring, wearing its umber camouflage
on spokes that were the stays of wheel and motor car.
"A Model T," I say out loud to no one,
and Hannah looks for the audience.
Finding only herself, she inquires after the prize
I have loosened with my toe, and dives like a Vermont Tahitian
to claim the jetsam from its bed.
The hub is crusty round and bleeds its oxides
down her arms while her fingers test the factors
of assembly and disassembly.
She wants to take it home.
I want to follow it back
to the arc that cast its discarded need
into the flow of this river,
see its vehicle before the newer version
came along. We could swim here again.
Hannah rolls what is left
on a narrow sand bar
swept up by the storm.
The wet spokes light her way.
Tasha AKA Petra Klein lives in the Chicagoland area and works
as a receptionist for a retirement facility and a small telecommunications
company. Her work has been published in www.conspire.org and other small Ezines.
The following work is Copyright © 2000, and owned by Petra Klein and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.
At The Edge of Day
You climb to my
herb scented cave --
you come with your
cat eyes, curling
mouth, and unnatural
wisdom. You speak in
shades, your voice
an invisible touch.
I bind your
dark hair in light.
Our mahogany hearts
shed the weight
of old tears
and silent sighs.
We eat dried fruit
watch sleeping doves,
Of Old Bodies & Passion
Every flaw a burden
stilted, covered, tied together
for society's eyes,
dying parts unloved --
day after day
by stone fingers
and, oddly kissed,
consoled, by water's
While you are in the clinic
I stay in the car to read
tips on how to save myself:
If stranded in cold water,
rock with the waves, place
arms tightly across the chest,
legs tucked together, ankles
Startled out of my lesson
by a ringing church bell
I notice a sticker on the
jeep parked next to me,
it says, "Black Widow".
Filling the blue room
cigarette smoke curls around
light hearted laughter,
the regulars comment on
how it all worked out for the best,
I watch their giddy self importance
through the eye of my pen
sip my smooth black coffee
and miss you, my friend.