Here are selected works by a few participants in the inaugural Lawrence Poetry Series, to be held Friday nights in April, National Poetry Month, at the Lawrence Arts Center:
Whale Watching: Farallon Islands
By Denise Low
Now my grown son is a well known
stranger. We go whale watching
together, close again as we were
when he was small and never
left my side. Whales swim
in family groups. From the boat
we see two adults, their spray
smelling of sea-plants.
They wash through waves and dive,
spotted flukes the last sign
before they disappear. We lower
binoculars and I feel
underwater movements like giants
rumbling through a cavern.
The ship monitor shows knolls
below, in a rocky landscape.
The boat motor is too loud
to talk over but we wait together
until they rise to the surface and blow
exhaled breath alongside,
and again the grassy smell.
The procession of behemoths
meanders, and our slow boat follows,
slapping swells, an awkward cousin,
clumsy on the ceiling of their world.
By Brian Daldorph
He needed to write.
He'd sit at the kitchen table late night
and his wife would say, "I'm turning in,"
and he'd not stop writing or look up, "Fine.
You do that. I'll see you soon."
He knew she wished he'd come to her
but left him to his "Melancholy Blues," that old jazz tune
they'd listened to so often that first summer.
She was always asleep by the time he came to bed.
Sometimes she wished she could look inside his head
to see what was happening there that he could not show.
His poems, yes, occasionally. But no
poem was worth the way he had of being off-limits to her.
The way he'd sit in the kitchen with razor-wire perimeter.
After The Fall
By Jason Wesco
The sudden stop of the street
sped toward a balcony
on the 29th floor
not so softly
scattering pieces puzzled over pavement
stained with memories
in 1,000 jigsaw shapes
that will never
fit together again
into the shape of you
Celery Stalks at Midnight
By Thomas Zvi Wilson
"like many other favorite gorilla foods,
peucedanum linderil is very succulent;"
-- Dian Fossey
For an hour he tracks moonlight
as it crawls the ceiling, nibbles darkness.
Leaving his bed, he wills old limbs
through streetlight spills to kitchen.
The refrigerator broadcasts votive light;
its ice maker drops modest alms.
In produce drawer, he jostles lettuce,
half waxed cube, two tomatoes,
curling fingers to pull celery, his prize,
from transparent, clinging bag;
he inhales ruffles of fresh leaves.
The calico cat rubs his ankles.
Through the glazed front door he surveys
passing cars unzipping fresh snow.
Cold chews the fingers of his feet.
He grinds pale stalks, cogitates on
families of gorillas in Rwanda mists
doing what he's doing in solitude.
By Jeanie Wilson
Tonight, not long before
the first hard frost,
we swing to raspy dog-day cicadas
seesawing a slow cadence.
Aunt Roma bequeaths me her secrets,
shows me how to spread
my apron in the light of October moon.
Her porch swings sways
the night song of gray squirrels.
She looks at something far away,
beyond the hills.