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Friday, November 22, 2013

Joanna Sit -- two poems


When Michael Johnson of English

Comp. 150 asked what it meant,

I told him, “something

that doesn’t last long. You know,

like the half-life

of a dream, a bubble

that you pop

inside childhood,

some would say that

another word for it

is ‘fleeting,’ but it’s not

a synonym

‘cause ‘fleeting’ implies

flight, movement, a kind

of elusiveness, and if you

really want to look into it,

‘fleeting’ is a word made

dishonorable by Jason

and all pirates of his kind,

fleet stealing the fleece plus

the killer girl (later he’d be sorry –

but more on that in your Intro.

to Lit class), birth of Aphrodite

and the Trojan War, blood soaked

ships sailing on winds of sacrifice,

sands of Iwo Jima, smell of napalm

on China Beach, the word

is different from that, as you see,

‘cause it has no movement,

no history, no promise

of violence, maybe a trace

of pink in the sea foam

from a dying soldier…

note that it is constant,

but not, it’s there but for a moment,

and the moment depends

on what you think of time -

long enough, not enough,

but it’s enough, as in the relativity

of time, which you can read

about in your advanced physics

class, except you wouldn’t learn

about the mass of loss, how

much that weighs, and the speed

in which it travels in

its own light, or missing

something that was never there,

a word whose noun you can collect

in plural, bid on its history, which

brings me back to

the point that it’s not

like the idea of the temporary

even though neither can be

traced. We, shameless, try to

give it time, or definition,

like jail in place of guilt.

At the end, temporary only implies

coming constancy and promise,

rewards of waiting for another

that’s not and so in this case

there’s hope and in that, a sense

of return, so temporary is the lover

filling in for love (the word made

flesh, the word made mortal), a way

to wait for reincarnation, some

redemption when you keep the moment

for more permanence, like

the cotyledons of ferns,

the coleoptiles of grass,

the true subject of Whitman as opposed

to the true cause of Dai Yue’s Lament

of the Flowers in Dream of the Red

Chamber (also later, when you take World

Lit in your Junior year) would be

the leaves of the cactus pear,

blooms on the cherry tree

and everything you see

and everything you know.


Daylight Saving Time

It’s going to get dark

early soon, night barging

in before we have a chance

to eat at the table, even if

by “we” I mean

the rest of the world

outside these windows, even

if by “eat” I mean drink,

even if by “chance” I mean

no choice but

all of this, without

invitation or rejection

a gust of wind raises

the curtain, a leaf having enough

looses itself from the elm

and the end of day.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Poems by John Burgess



make my heart
beat irregular

take off
at crazy speed

murmur and stutter

slam against
my breath

beat me
wild drummer

skip and skip and skip



Like Apollo's capsule
the angle has to be right

A slant of light thru fogged goggles
exaggerates visionary tendencies

Sun spinning in syringe rituals
& everyone a Security guard 

Not all places signed
are signed correctly

In a circle beneath a streetlight
on the lawn beside the chapel



Our fathers and their fathers
what passes in the veins
brutality a blood bondage
always did look good in heels

to get at something common
dig around the root
indifference is symptomatic
Mr. Reed is dead

velvet can cause arousal
epic only comes in metal



Always stand waiting vigilant at the edge. Patrol the border where light of conflagration and reason no longer reaches. Set camp at darkness. Look homeward for the durable unmet pattern of night. Say nothing. Cradle him. Circle his halo. Remember that meaning is in things you carry in your back pocket. Anticipate the full force of his open hand against your body. Be there when stumbling and mud-stomped the angelic makes his way toward light.



What once signaled the end of buffoonery has become a ritual of black wearing. Can emotions be provoked by a noun? Tripping dazed down confused hallways and expanding sidewalks. You remind me of her. The good moon that wanes fatigued. Her white-linen face blushed with deciduous imagination. You slouch. Once the recorder of lost incidents you can't name which morning sun you're remembering. You're a faker. And this is fiction.


You will come to love this land as much as I do. How hard it can be! Tolerance can't be taught. It's not about me, it never was. Subterranean isn't a state of mind here. It’s as big as myth or as real as any street name. It hardens thru repeated administrations like stacking stones or laying bricks. It's the reason for 12-packs and carryout. I see it in your face. There will be stories written someday.



The way she exhales as if growling or beating a cymbal. Using the leverage capabilities associated with screwdrivers to get at things. There is an opening and closing to each scene. Level 20 is required and its weight of 20 comes with 32 defense points. You are thinking about something practical not decorative. It's not sentimentality that makes me keep the cut-glass decanter on display. I will flatten my memories to the thickness of paper. Pleasure comes from seeing context for determining scale, you say. A dog sniffing for explosives at the Post. A biscuit.