“Doorjamb” at Bandit Fiction

Been meaning to share. This is a personal favorite, and I’m proud to have it at Bandit Fiction.

Doorjamb

In the summer, when school was over,
we picked mulberries in the yard
and spun in circles on the grass.
It was soft and living, warm on our bare feet,
and every day the sun was lightening your hair.
Your mom, she was playing Brian Wilson, and we listened to his brothers intervene. 

In the summer, when we were older,
we smoked kreteks in the street
and the road between your mom’s house and the lake was painted by the moon. 
It was grey and broken, a hubcap glinted in the switchgrass
cracking through the shoulder. 
Our friends, almost at the water, crashed and laughed
against the tyranny of neighbors.

In the fall, when you had gone, 
I struggled doing pull-ups in the doorjamb,
and the attic smelled like pine and lemon. 
I was thinking of all you’d written on the blue path of my forearm
on the gray road to the lake
the pale night you first squared the pattern of my breathing
and began the long division of your forehead and my shoulder.

“To a Contemporary Bunkshooter” by Carl Sandburg

I was given recently 15 bags of books, all kinds, from a newly-retired pastor. The first one I happened to open is a 1923 edition of “The World’s Great Religious Poetry” from Macmillan. How delighted I was to find Carl Sandburg included the volume.

“To A Contemporary Bunkshooter” was apparently originally called “To Billy Sunday,” but changed because of concerns about libel.

It’s powerful, and it’s one of the few plainspoken, modern pieces in this 99-year-old collection. Read it here on Bartleby.

“Great Dams on the Land” at Belt Magazine

Sometimes a piece finds a perfect home.

“Belt Magazine is a digital publication by and for the Rust Belt and greater Midwest. Founded in 2013 as an antidote to shallow, distorted representations of the region, we challenge simplistic national narratives by paying local journalists, writers, photographers, and poets to cover their communities with depth, context, and the kind of rich insight that can only come from a deep relationship with a place.”

Please read more about Belt’s mission here. It hits very close to home, and I’m so proud to now be part of it. Thank you, Ryan and Belt!

Love After Love by Derek Walcott

The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,

and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.

Collected Poems 1948-1984, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1986