Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Alicia Hoffman

This Earth Is A Novel

at all, but small and fine like the lines flowing
from a ball point pen; our lives are being crafted

carefully, the paper we rest upon is more
like a poem about a snow-capped mountain

in Alaska, about how we dance there
on its crags and warm our bodies as characters

light fires that glow near the crevasse, about
how we learn to speak the language

of snow: utvak, pirta, muruaneq — snow carved
in block, light snowstorm, soft deep snow.

And as the snow fades to damp rain,
(kanevvluk) I am ready to be convinced

there will always be more stanzas, that
the poets will continue to master the language

of alder, aster, iris and the flakes will continue
to drift and curve the stems in the vowels of snow.

-previously published in The Centrifugal Eye's


Light, take us beyond
this ordinary day.

In a novel I am reading,
a bone doctor becomes

a photographer, a student
of natural duality—veins

and roots, flesh and earth.
Bodies mirroring universe.

It’s not a far stretch, this dark
room of ourselves. Come,

jump in the bath of the lake,
feel the color rising, there,

at the top corner, a curve
of shoulder, smooth stone.

If you concentrate enough on
the composition we will emerge.

-previously published in Writer's Bloc


If I told you we are only
so much noise, that when

we are gone our chatter
still soars through seamless

nights towards distant satellites
would you wonder how much

of this talk is worthwhile?
I've always admired the monks

who take the vow of silence.
If I had, would monastic bells

ring clearer? There is so much
noise. Forests know better.

Fern unfurling, speak for me.


Your song does not escape me,
though your motions may

move to construe many masks
I am not a fool. Underneath

the stage, the music orchestrates
its magic. Always, what is over –

looked is what is never so easy
to see. There is a full band here,

trumpets and oboes and the snare
of the drum. And there, pitted

beneath the waves of so much sound
is one chord being strummed, alone

in its pitch and sway, a singular
achievement and marvelous in its quiet

intensity, like a low bass beat blooming
from the back row of a noisy auditorium.

When everyone is watching your face,
face forward for the quirks and antics

of your act, I will show you, I will
be the one to turn back and take note.

-both poems previously published in Pirene's Fountain

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