Poet Of The Week

Week of June 23 - June 29

Amber Cartwright
and Steven Kellmeyer

Past Poets Of The Week

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Amber Cartwright
Amzams@aol.com

Bio(auto)

Amber Cartwright is a Southern Ca. native currently planning to move to the more serene surroundings of Sonoma County in Northern Ca. She has been writing since age 15, but did not pursue publication till 1995. A former business owner, she is treading through the occupational muck looking for meaningful employment that will also allow her time to persue more writing endeavors. (aren't we all!) Clad in what seems to be a rather cloying conservative persona, bits of various bohemian urges occassionally boil there way to the surface, resulting in the poems she writes. -"In my next life, I will come back as Anais Nin or Gertrude Stein."

The following work is Copyright © 1997 and owned by Amber Cartwright and may not be distributed or reprinted in any manner whatsover without written permission from the author.


Just Drive He Said

It's fate,
when a misplaced can of tuna
beats to death the flower bouquet
that I spent twenty minutes choosing
I have the same problem driving with melons escaping their thin recyclable constraints turning the romaine into inevitably impotent Caesar -sans the anchovies

but I can play along
hoping for a red light
when I've managed to fish out a pen
and a piece of stray mail
to record thoughts like these on.
I do this when in a hurry
making lights forever green
the same effect can be achieved
by trying to open a difficult gum wrapper while driving - if you have an appointment that requires fresh breath, you're guaranteed a timely arrival
but with gum on your thumbs.


Mango

Peel away each segment of skin
Put to your mouth and strip away
its sticky sweetness with your teeth
Following each motion with a firm press of the lips so as to catch any
escaping droplets of flavor

Then slice meaty segments of fruit
off of the oblong pit. save these.
Rape pit with teeth
Sucking away the juicy pulp on all sides pushing through fibrous honey with the tongue

Let juice run down your hands to the heels of your palms and down the side of your mouth
Raise a fork and pierce a segment of saved mango flesh place this in the mouth and crush its essence out all over your tongue
Swallow and sigh.


Holding Up the Bar

The straw that broke
stands upright
about a meter away
from my pack of Camels
and conducts 80 proof peace
past my jaded lips
This sorrow won't drown
I think it can tread water indefinitely
the alcohol adding buoyancy
to this craft of melancholy.

Finite sources
of faded green papyrus
wedged between
I.D.'s, lipstick and aspirin
dictate how much deeper
this well can get
but it doesn't define for me
the very limits
of rock bottom.
But why should I worry,
when all I really need
is another round.


Death and Taxes

I will strip myself naked
to absolve your false doubt
Let you look inside, although
hesitant like an eight year old
that submits to her large uncle
who wields authority too strong
and without necessity for conscience
In the words of social security
it's as plain as black and white
but it makes me feel less secure
to know that my misfortune
my misguided attempts at the American Dream my subsequent death of pride and honor
are no excuse, no reason to be pardoned
but rather justification to be further financially stripped because no legal ruse
can disarm you, my debtor
you are omnipotent and immortal
and will wait forever
to pick this bone clean.

Steven Kellmeyer
skellmeyer@turner.odos.uiuc.edu

Bio(auto)

I'm an orthodox Catholic who wrote these poems while still an agnostic. Looking back on the verses, I see a lot of resonance between Catholic teaching and the ideas I'm trying to express. While I am currently living and working as a computer network analyst in Champaign, IL, I am quitting my job the week these poems are published and moving to Steubenville, Ohio, to pursue a theology MA at one of the most orthodox Catholic institutions in the nation, Franciscan University. Previous education includes: associate's in medical lab technology, bachelor's in computer science, teaching certificate (secondary ed) in mathematics, master's in modern European history, and a year's work on a doctorate in the history of science and technology. I have worked in every field in which I received a degree. I won a 1990 university-wide essay competition at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, am the 1991 winner of the Milly Southwood poetry award (also from SIU-E) and was published in their chapbook, "Blue Guitar". Other publications include a personality article on General John Turchin in the October, 1992 issue of Military History, and an article on how to argue the pro-life position coming out in the 1997 June/July issue of Envoy magazine.

The following work is Copyright © 1997 and owned by Steven Kellmeyer and may not be distributed or reprinted in any manner whatsover without written permission from the author.


Matchless Beauty

The knurled fingers of his calloused hand
Have raised the leathered cover of the book.
They follow page by page the storied strand
Of jet-black ink that curls and dots and hooks
Each sun-white page with shadow-threaded words.
They grasp the square cut thickness of the leaf
And feel the weighty echoes of the wood
Whose shadows limn the wordless soul of grief.
The poet says each book's a candle, lit.
This book is dark, this man illiterate.


Love's Labor Lost

Our love will not die.
It has grown slowly between us, rooted
Almost unnoticed
in the union of our lives and ourselves.
Our love will not die.
It is grown large. Their whispers are useless,
Their knives abandoned,
As I lie, legs wide, languidly watching,
Our love will not die.
Sow salt in the crystal waters, make the
Primordial, sea -
Yet Achilles emerged from this Lethe.
Our love will not die.
Though the hands of masked Aesculapius
Cinch the suture-thin
Noose tight around the tissue's fetal throat,
Our love will not die.


I have much to do.
The office memos are waiting, neatly
Ordered, stacked, and grouped
Upon the desk, and my coffee mug steams.
Eagle flies today.
The columns of my paycheck, carefully
Aligned, show each small
Deduction and the payment that remains.
I closed these blinds, though
Light streams through the shutters of our kitchen
Window, where rooms are
Brightly silent, awaiting our return.
Another memo.
The ticking hands of the office clock point
Out that my love no
Longer carries part of me within her.
The coffee is cold.


Starstruck

Think of the long ascension of the light,
The photons formed within the sun's white core,
Borne through the silent plasm's glowing roar,
Expelled in streaming plumes into the night;
The nomad journey through the lonely deep,
Through constant, aching darkness, desert-cold;
As miles lengthen, and the years unfold,
Do particles despair? Do photons weep?
But time must wait for those born of the sun;
Eternal present carved, with polished art
The day they seize is chiselled in their heart,
A gift to match the distance they must run.
Above, the myriad suns - I stand below,
My fingers tingle in the starlights' glow.


The Narrow Road

A fallen sparrow
Once struggled between my cupped
Hands, trembling with fear.

Exhausted, it soon lay still,
Heartbeat its only movement.


The surgeon's scalpel
Slices cleanly through the man's
Silent white torso,

The screen's craggy line now flat,
Its warble, a steady tone.

His hand slips between
Bone and spongy lungs to grasp
The chambered muscle,

Fingers of muscle-wrapped bone
Cup silent, muscle-wrapped blood.

Now. Careful double
Squeeze - atria, ventricles
Firmly delicate,

His own heart beating as though
He were captured in curved hands.

Moth white fingers in
The chest's dark cavern flutter
Around a still flame,

Stubby wings fanning the spark,
Bellows to sputtering life.

The red wind rushes
Through the darkness to the coffined
Brain, while far away

A deaf man signs, arm outstretched
Over the most red of seas.

With a single hand
Whose fingers hub the tidal
Flow, both flood and neap,

This Canute commands the tide
And weeps at the silent shore.


In A Drugstore

They say this sheath of latex creates safety.

I must decide what safety it provides from
the heat of cold anger,
the warmth of a smile,
meeting the parents.


They say that salt was sown on ruined Carthage.

I must decide what our sterility leaves us,
what is conquered between us,
what we fail to harvest,
what ruins are left behind.


They say that walls are founded upon fear.
I must decide who fears the other more.