Saturday, May 16, 2015

The Verses That Bloom in the Spring

I found many things to like in the poems that appear in the May edition of the online poetry journal Verse-Virtual. Among them...
             Poet Karla Huston's choice words to the "Man in Gorilla Suit on the Corner with Balloons" in the poem of that name that begins: "Was it the smell of fur that drew you/ to it, years of it embracing/ the swelter of this day..."

            The imagery Trish Hopkinson finds to talk about the sensation of loss in her moving poem "The Seams":

When you lose
the loss of others
in waves,
a crushing longing
of memories
seeps in under
the floorboards,
warps each plank
and raises
the seams.

            Barbara Crooker's apt comment on what draws and holds your attention in a great painting, in her poem "Manet and the Sea":

Who cares about those convicts rowing a path in the moonlight?
It’s the water we want to look at, taking its own sweet time
as it steps up to the microphone to solo, an improvisation in blue...

            What Chris Anderson does with the discovery of a tail feather from a hawk, "gray and black and dirty white":

I like how hard and stiff the quill is, like bone,
and yet how light, too, how hollow.

Holding it, you think of flight— 

though you also think of Dante
and Shakespeare and Keats,
dipping it in ink and starting to write.
             From a the quill of a bird feather we're carried to a contemplation of the greatest artists working with the simplest of tools.
            Lex Runciman's catalogue of inspired pairings that constitute, in the alchemy of verse, "one thing" in the poem of that name:

Pears and the mayfly hatch were one thing.
And plums withering and olives littering the floor
Were one thing.  And what the spiders said spinning,
What slugs intoned, what onions in their harmonies grew,
What a kestrel’s eye understood and the mosquitoes knew
And what leeches and eels contemplated in their solitude
Was one thing.  The arc of the sun rising and Venus rising
And the moon peering at us with its rheumy eye
And papyrus in the backwash, the kelp forest
And the swoop of bats and their dreamless sleep
And the open mouths of poppies, and sand dunes,
A drift of camas, a cane thicket, jackrabbits
And purple vetch, a stand of wheat or mustard or daisies,
A horse with its nostrils flared to the wind
Was one thing.

Hila Ratzabi's superb, unsentimental observation of a hawk eating a fish it has caught, in a poem that concludes:

The fish has quieted down
Under the biting beak

As bits of itself
Drop back to the canal.

Jeff Worley's grimly amusing poem, mockingly titled "So You Want to Be a Teaching Assistant in English," especially his depiction of the mood of a seven a.m. class in Witchita:

And they really hate this first assignment—  Write about your most intense personal experience— 
because their most intense personal experiences
were lips-stuck-to-frozen-lampposts
kinds of things, or, worse, they’re still waiting
for an intense moment to occur to them,
some razory lightning bolt of experience
to rearrange their bland circuitry.

The music of the language in Kevin Heaton's depiction of a vow that's serious as an oak tree, solid as earth, in "I Plight Thee My Troth":

But oaken vows; seminal
and lovely. Fluent vows that intertwine and add

ring years to shaded valleys that tenure gracefully--
imparted faithfully from loblolly bridges

into brook shadow unisons.

Robert Wexelblatt's frank evocation ("In May") of the 'shameless' eruptions of those first fleshy days of spring, when we get a visit from our old friend "protean Eros":

All life is shamelessly on display
in halter-tops, myrtle blooms,
as if bared flesh were normal, erupting
spirea, impudent smooth thighs;
sober grey magnolia branches break out
in sudden tulip truths like jokes of which
every punch line is protean Eros.

And poet Luis Neer's response to "the fangs of the void" in a poem addressed to himself:

Blink your eyes, Luis Neer:
your feet have bumped against 
solid soil.

The walls
are solid,
the record player
is solid,
the pages
are solid,

the typewriter wails,
the ocean is howling--

the soul of the universe
fills up
the entire universe.

These poems fill up my universe.
Take a look at the poems in Verse-Virtual and you're likely to find others to fill up yours. 
The link is: