Horizon lines: by Bonnie McClellan

the world is dark.
shutters open.
the sky’s glacial pool opens.
three morning stars laugh
over the horizon line.

* * *

this copse of time
this stand of hours
………..between nows
becomes a minute
………..thicket
bristling towards the moon.

STANDING POWER FIGURE (NKISI-NKONDI): by Bonnie McClellan

NKISI–NKONDI
The contract is only valid
when everyone believes
in the same magic.

MONEY
…..“With whom is the Courtesan’s contract made?”

She whose business is:
the manipulation of all parties
(including herself)
to her own best advantage.
Christlike she is
hero + victim of her own story.

……“The party of the second part is the Blacksmith.”

He whose hands are rough,
hard and dark as the hammer
he brings against the red point
of the witnessing nail.

NKISI–NKONDI
The contract is only valid
when everyone believes
in the same magic.

MONEY
LANGUAGE

A mantra to keep her head
above water : old words
– the end justifies the means
– one must hold power to create it
– an unalienable right to the pursuit of happiness
she reasons along the switch-back,
forked path,
the yellow wood;
…..worn thin by fine-shod feet of
…..courtesan,
…..consul,
…..cardinal,
……………..the prime minister
……………..the snake in the garden.
Things fall apart.

NKISI–NKONDI
The contract is only valid
when everyone believes
in the same magic.

MONEY
LANGUAGE
ETHICS

Forged of finer stuff
her slender circle glints around
the blacksmith’s rough hands
hard and dark as the hammer he rings
against the truth of the nail.
Iron wedges open wood’s yellow grain.
The courtesan’s ring corrupts his grip.
Yet, the nail is driven –
…..her gaze darts away from
…..open eyes || death’s mirror
He sees.

He sees.
Yet,
He believes.

The courtesan’s ring corrupts his grip
…………………………………corrupts the nail
…………………………………denies the magic
…………………………………of open eyes:

it’s all for sale.

 

To hear a reading of this poem, click on the player below:

To read more poems by this poet, click HERE.

Standing power figure (nkisi nkondi)

The Housewife’s Lament: Guest – by Bonnie McClellan

Having left my eyes ajar,
night falls in:
drunk and tired as ever,
asking me to tend
the electric altar of his current stars.

It’s been days since
you packed up the suitcase
of your kiss.
I’m here with the night,
catching the anti-meridian in my arms.

Solareclipse 2105

Sonnet on Descartes’ Vinyard / Sonetto sul Vigneto di Cartesio: by Bonnie McClellan

SONETTO SUL VIGNETO DI CARTESIO

Paesaggio trascrive in polvere il fantasma del tempo
Tratto manomesso; friabile, reticolo evidente.
Maledizione di Jahweh, o di Minerva fatidico dono
Nudo frutto d’Eden, nel lavoro ridefinito.
Asse cartesiana della mente ben ordita
Contro il caos verdeggiante; la ruota della ragione.
EGO SUM dell’uomo tirato in campo ardente
Morbida, intransigente linea infinita.

Cosa abbiamo perso in questo mondo ben composto,
Arato dalla nostra razza divisa e consapevole?
Beatitudine incolta, dura, senza nome;
Primo bacio selvaggio tra Adamo ed Eva d’ossa fine;
Frusciante betulla sbiancata, mai scritta;
Panno primale della lingua, tessuto ma ancora spiegato.

*****     *****     *****

SONNET ON DESCARTES’ VINEYARD

Landscape writes out in dust the ghost of time
Well-fingered tract; friable, forceful grid.
Yahweh’s curse or Minerva’s fateful gift
Naked fruit of Eden, in labour, redefined.
Cartesian axle of the ordered mind
Brought against verdant chaos, reason’s wheel.
Man’s own I AM scratched out in burning field
Soft, intransigent infinity of line.

What have we lost in this well-structured world
Ploughed out by our sentient, divided kind?
A hard, unnamed, uncultivated bliss;
Adam and fine-boned Eve’s first savage kiss;
Clattering, chalky aspen undescribed;
Primal cloth of language, woven, yet unfurled.

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IPM 2015: Where do we go from here?

Before the Simplon pass at the Italian-Swiss border, is a Roman bridge over the Diveria River. It's called the "new" bridge, because it was built in 1300 c.e. to replace the previous bridge built in the reign of Emperor Augustus that was destroyed by a flood.
Before the Simplon pass at the Italian-Swiss border, is a Roman bridge over the Diveria River. It’s called the “new” bridge, because it was built in 1300 c.e. to replace the previous bridge built in the reign of Emperor Augustus that was destroyed by a flood.

 

“Poetry gives us the opportunity to offer our observations to present and future readers, be they from the perspective of one standing on the bridge watching events or of one standing below and taking on the current. I’m looking forward to a month of editing and I know that my IPM readers are standing on the bridge waiting for the flow of poems to begin…”

So began International Poetry Month 2015 and the flow of poems was fascinating for me to edit and I hope that both Readers and Poets enjoyed getting their feet wet. I offer my most sincere thanks to the participating poets and to the more than 1000 readers who came from the United States, England, Australia, Brazil, Italy, Pakistan, Canada, Denmark, France, India, Luxembourg, Singapore, the UAE, New Zealand, Trinidad & Tobago, Japan, Germany, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Switzerland, Israel, Ghana, the Philippines, Belgium, Peru, Romania, Serbia and Portugal to read their work.

Today is the fourth of March and Spring seems only a few days away here in Northern Italy while I know those in other places are still slogging through the snow. Regardless of the temperature, here the snows have begun to melt and these poems will begin to erode away, disappearing a few at a time and leaving only the voices behind. Some you will still be able to find on the web, or in a book. Some will be gone for good. Where do we go from here? Why across the bridge and in search of new images, new experiences and new poetry. Following is an alphabetical list of the participating poets; each name is also a link to the poet’s work posted at IPM where you will find additional links to individual blogs or published works:

Aleppo Galls or The Theater Way: by Bonnie McClellan

 

Some mornings when I go walking,
on my promenade sauvage,
you are my mind’s companion.
Not today, à cause de la pluie;
It was Monday that we walked together.
I said to you,
nothing of any real importance.

I pointed out a pleasing branch,
winter-bare, cracking the sky’s solid blue
into angular panes.
All the while, the curious eye of a downy woodpecker
peered at us across the top of a telephone pole.

(“Amazing that telephone poles still are,” I say.
you nod agreeably, watching the bird away.)

Houseman goes jogging by;
In my mind’s eye
he turns his head across his shoulder and
back to us in lovely iambs shouts:
“Loveliest of trees the cherry now…”

(steam rising from his mouth into the frigid air.)
I look down;

Lady Murasaki is at my elbow,
kimonos layered seventeen deep.
At her neck and sleeve
a pulsing chromatic order
from bamboo’s winter gold to white,
honors the season with
the echo of its colours.
She raises not her eyes to me.
I glimpse the iron black
of her eleventh century teeth
as she murmurs,
“Golden bamboo sighs
beneath winter’s white weight.”
Recalling to me Friday’s now absent snow.

(Matter never lost, transformed to water.)

She takes her cordial, silent leave
of me, still standing on the bridge.

I press deep-coated ribcage
against the galvanized steel
that keeps us seekers
on the middle path.
Now it holds me from falling to the street below,
leaning out to show you the galls
among my favorite live-oak’s leaves.

(you have turned from whatever personal curiosity held you back while Murasaki and I had our tête-à-tête.)

I tell you: in a housewife’s notebook
that comes to pieces in my hands, I have found
(along with a laudanum label from 1832,
instructions for concocting
A Paste for Cleaning Gloves,
Court Plaster, and
Essence for the Handkerchief,)
her recipe for SOLID INK.
It requires 42 parts Aleppo Galls to
3 parts Dutch Madder.

“Would this work,” I ask
“if we soaked live-oak galls in vinegar
and warm water?”

What could be drawn with such an ink,
bitter recriminations?
rancorous, impudent washes?
We laugh together at this unlikely experiment,
After all, the galls rest too far off the path to reach.

I leave you to work that out, bridge-bound.
Maybe you will have an answer for us tomorrow.

“A Demain.”
I smile to you and,
hands pocketed in the cold,
amble towards home.

Water Under the Bridge: IPM 2015 is open for Submissions

IPM 2015 - Water Under The Bridge

Jump right in, the water is full of poetry…

Splash! Throw the poems out with the bath water and see what you can fish up; IPM 2015 is open for submissions. I’m late with posting the call for submissions because I’ve been immersed in reading Zola’s Au Bonheur des Dames a series of entrancing social and political observations of turn of the century Paris and the rise of the department store in the guise of a romance novel. His mesmerizing descriptions of the ‘new’ architecture captures the theme of this year’s IPM perfectly:

“The iron staircases developed bold curves, multiplying the landings; the iron bridges suspended in space, ran straight along, very high up; and all this iron formed, beneath the white light of the windows, an excessively light architecture, a complicated lace-work through which the daylight penetrated, the modern realisation of a dreamed-of palace, of a Babel-like heaping up of the storeys, enlarging the rooms, opening up glimpses on to other floors and into other rooms without end.”

It’s all water under the bridge

Poetry gives us the opportunity to offer our observations to present and future readers, be they from the perspective of one standing on the bridge watching events or of one standing below and taking on the current. I’m looking forward to a month of editing and I know that my IPM readers are standing on the bridge waiting for the flow of poems to begin.

Find the submission guidelines and info about IPM HERE.