Monday, March 30, 2009


Today is Elliott's funeral.

He is twenty-years
to the minister who droned through the twenty-third psalm at the prayer service
last night.

I warm to myth
although it's frightening

Eighth grade,
Elliott is ADD
and Caleb, labeled

They make an odd pair:
Elliott, 5 feet
Caleb, 6 feet 5

Elliott, adopted
Caleb, his mother's prize

The three of us drive
this highway everyday.
We pass the anti-abortion

It's a yard ornament
in a politically active
farmer's front yard

This month
the image pasted-
up depicts
a rotted fetus
in a woman's outstretched
hand. Her nails are perfectly
painted red.

The caption reads
God knows all that you do

What was that character's name
in the Great Gatsby?

The music plays too loudly,
the corn, on either side
of the shoulderless roadway,
looms, an unbroken wall
of green. The sky scintillate.
A few clouds cast quick
shadows that run ahead of us
across the landscape.

We pass our opinions
to our kids.

Caleb scoffs at the image.

Elliott is quiet.
The music roars,
the car flashes east,
the wind sends the clouds wherever it blows them,

And then he speaks,
and the story is all cliche,
except the part when
his grandparents get political,
pound an "it's a boy"
sign in the sixteen-year-old,
rich jock's yard. Unless that's
cliche, too.

She could have aborted me.
Those who consider their lives accidental.

Baptism is language.
We're a group
of adults driving east.

Then four years pass.
Then an ice-blue dawn sky.
Then the car rises-up
like a monster
writhing from earth
and leaps into the air
and it's too late
and it's always dark
and Elliott is a little drunk
and they've all just graduated
from high school
and the minister browbeats
us, everyone one of us,
for over an hour
and the car writhes
and Myrtle couldn't stop Tom
and Elliott couldn't stop Myrtle
and he was born
and now he's dead
and today is his funeral
in a church the shape of Noah's Ark

Writing Exercise

What type of cage
will you build for it

The compost
The orphanage


Or a scabiosa?
The mourning bride
The mournful widow
The pincushion flower.

Have them bring their own
and cut them up.

Put the tissue-like
petals in a box.

See what you get,
not what's right
in front of you.

What else is there
What else can we do
What if we said this:

The longer you write,
the quicker you are
to detect your own bullshit.

The Tram Dream

Climbing over people
at several hundred feet

the fair-like atmosphere
and lederhosen

the woman next to me
has a rubber-band
stretched around
her head

she's wearing an operating-
room mask

she complains
that the grass
needs mowing

and she points
"See," she says,
"a shame"

so I look
it's too far down
and I see something
like the Royal Gorge
through the space between
the wooden-plank deck
of a suspension

"Don't worry,"
you say. You
are always
saying that

bird-like, loud.

When I rented
the place, and
called out,
looked up,
waved too

black hair
round head


white tail-

blue sky

wooden bench
arms stretched
its length

blue sky

"Don't worry
you can fly."


The first meaning for bury 
in this dictionary
is "to hide underground"

In the store
at the mall,
I try to buy chicken.

Drove the car
to the black guys house,
inside his friend 
keeps telling him
I am going to get 
a bra-job,
but he means 

He said this
and pinched 
my nipple.


being late,
driving off
with the keys
you needed,

or worried 
that you had,

the store 
was closed.

We both knew
it would be.   

In Even Measure

In Even Measure

The sun rises
the moon sets
in even measure

the grass is brown
the grass  is green
in even measure

you press violence
into my open palm

source energy
in even measure 

Friday, February 6, 2009

poem by Denise C. Banker

All one thing

A field sloped 
to form a gully
along bottom land;
water gathered 
in spring,
wild poppies,
red and orange, 
clotted in among shy-green
blades of buffalo grass.

Life maintained the mare
there, or so we thought,
confined, as we are 
in our minds,
and we delighted
somewhere deeper.

At one time 
horses crowded
a field 

Presence leapt
and ran; nudged
and hid. 

Pranced alone,
too, and bucked
at branches, 
wild in the wind.

And we saw 
all that we saw 
was us. 

And, grimly, we 
kept moving 
in our direction
along the indifferent 

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Poem By Denise C. Banker: After the Funeral

After the Funeral

Grace says to Sarah:
Who would have believed
she'd stand there alone
(for too long a time)
to hug every guest
(they formed a long line)
and not notice the pervert
who paused there three times.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

poem by Denise C. Banker

In the Produce Aisle

a woman's grapes,
unbeknownst to her, 
through the wire squares
of her grocery basket,
and the wobbly wheels 
of the cart a man pushes
up behind her
crush them,
as though deliberate. 
This wouldn't happen
with plums and peaches
too big to slip between
the cage-like, 
crisscross bindings. 

Denise Banker