Monday, July 16, 2012

Two Poems by John Casquarelli

answers move the silt downstream
this highway is beat-up concrete we pass at eight-thirty cool morning toward the Dakotas
free of billboards and advertisements and you say “Go away, I’m seeking truth.”
so we drive on
willing to get lost in some farmer’s backyard
discuss memories, birth control,
and I confess to being an unfeeling, ignorant clod, a sort of trousered ape to whom it is obviously a waste of time to take an interest in anything higher than Lady Gaga's underwear
isn’t it enough to know the engine is flooded?
but, of course, that’s technology
it’s so simple when you see it
barbed-wire fences
locked gates
signs that say NO TRESPASSING
fewer trees and a sudden feeling of being a spectator amid the rattles near cottonwoods
after a while we whisper to mountain sunlight
run down each other’s ghosts
move to the bed by the window
I read a sentence or two from an old butterfly journal
afraid that voices will be silent if I let them
as soon as the wind stops
we rest our heads on the sleeve of my jacket
think of the empty road in the photograph
“Is there anything more,” you ask,
“besides one tiny refuge of scrub pines and mosquito repellent?”
familiarity makes it hard to see
past shady curbstone behind hotel
where you can throw a penny onto a small green plain
reach some temporary goal
that explains how much better it is to travel
than to arrive

Line is
a breath
before you glance
scarlet branch
on white wall
because you were
eaten on sweet bread
you are spine
wrapped in
skin’s image
form bone
flute cadence
let loose
rain water
the woods
fill up
merge sound
convey a bow of
burning gold
sword in hand
speak through
other character

John Casquarelli is an English professor at Boricua College in New York. He received his M.F.A. in the Creative Writing program at Long Island University. He was awarded the 2010 Esther Hyneman Award for poetry. His work has appeared in several publications including Downtown Brooklyn, Kinship of Rivers, By The Overpass, Brooklyn Paramount, Pulp, The International Rebecca West Society, and Sun’s Skeleton. His first full-length book, On Equilibrium of Song, was published by Overpass Books (2011).

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