Friday, May 1, 2009

Ren Powell

Losing My Religion

I joined the flat earth society
and at the first meeting they fed
me pancakes and sliced pepperoni
they asked me if I wanted to remain anonymous
if I wanted to lie on my back and make angels
in the corn fields

then we held pennies between our flat palms
we felt the cool of metal

we felt the dome of space
between the flat copper coin and palm
fill with the inexpressible

Bus Number 642 is Given a Disposable Camera

My eyes are in my stomach
and that explains this unintentional intrusion
of self portrait
it’s just a consequence
of the way I’ve been put together
you seehow a product of modern society
is driven by bulimic obsession
this cycle of standing room only
empty seatsnever precisely capacity
never precisely stopping
just pausing long enoughto exhale
to let downfor the hope of token fairs
of finding that cold balance of design
to lubricate the warm stomach lining
the ulcer of this city
this mutual foster care

Sight Seeing

monks in sneakers took the steps
four at a time while balancing teacup
son their noses and outstretched palms
and I remember you said
I wish I had a camera
and you framed them
with your fingers and thumbs
tilted your head to the side
squinting and you clicked your tongue
will you remember thisyou asked

-all three poems previously published at GHOTI


Toby snapped the fryers’ necks
Helping to butcher them
One by one by one
So proud
When we ate the first one
I was envious
It was like overcoming
A virginity

Four Saj
(the saj is a traditional Arab poem form: rhyming prose)

Saj 1

Fern is a wisp-green word wriggled loose of an
earth run through with the
goddess’s red fingers pointing to her ever-redder
fingers closing
around an iron crystal―not a core, but a poem.

Saj 2

Knee-deep in the North Sea, Sigyn empties the
bowl of venom. The earth
shakes; the water trembles words. Ever cold,
ever rounder: rolled by the ebb, a cursive she grabs
by the tail and hangs to dry. Not a fish, but a poem.

Saj 3

In the Sahara the word ravishing can be held like
a musk globe in a man’s
hand and acquire a tenderness.
His cupped palm is a pale crucible. The ash offered up,
not as a sacrifice, but as a poem.

Saj 4

In October a farmer parts the husk, and his fingernail
pierces a milky kernel. A poem catches, like silk, in his teeth.

-previously published in The Salt River Review

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