THE FORCED ENCORE
by Scott Laudati
you were a kid once
and named songs like
epitaphs because the gun
was always against
your head and the hourglass
drained faster then.
but the gods are unkind
and the streets crack
from wheels dragging under
the crowds count down now
but the fat lady never sings.
there was a poem you
put into every song
about an early death
like a warmer winter
or the gideon's bible
life rarely seems like a gift.
and even when the lights come on
the crowd still has some beer
in their cups.
they paid the cover
your sweat wasn't enough.
get back out there.
pull the ghosts from the 8-track.
you can sleep tomorrow as the van
pulls headfirst into a sunrise
and somewhere long ago
you might remember a kid
whose only dream was this life
SECRET GARDEN by Brent Wiggans
by Ann Wehrman
Through the windows of the bus,
driving to classes, driving home
bones of winter trees interminable.
Then comes spring,
and a pair of mockingbirds
in crisp black tie
leap from branch to stark branch
against a gray pearl sky;
white birch leaves
are grains of green, wild rice,
drops of rain,
grassy pattering of willow.
Magnolias bloom like coy southern belles,
the dwarf trees in the corner lot
rich bouquets of baby's breath,
bunches of snowy broccoli,
more delicate than snowflakes
READY FOR BEES by Timothy Pilgrim
WHERE BEELINES END|
by Jeanine Stevens
I saw once, in what had been the pleasure-garden
of the popes at Avignon,
blond bell-pulls of bloom. The mid-air
resort of honeybees' hirsute cotillion.
Let gardens grow where beelines end,
sighing in roses, saffron blooms, buddleia;
where bees pray on their knees.
Some, even now, are dying at the end
of their few weeks, some being born in the dark.
Bees have gathered somewhere like petals
closing for the coming of the cold.
The silhouette of a sphinx moth swerves
to drink at the flowerhead
From: Amy Clampett, "Lindenbloom." Carol Ann Duffy, "Virgil's Bees."
David Waggoner, "Falling Asleep in the Garden."