Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Welcome to Carol Alexander!

Tonight I'd like to welcome Carol Alexander, a wonderful poet from Resurrection of a Sunflower, Catfish McDaris and Dr. Marc Pietrzykowski's anthology of works inspired by Vincent Van Gogh.  Reading Carol's poems in the anthology, I was impressed.  I am happy to publish her poems this evening.


We climb the bluffs, greedy for fish gut, tinny brash arcades,
houses stilted in the swamp. A brown run-off: mortality.
Litter lines the beach. Crawl backwards into history.
When light first gilded soil, spoor warped into the weave.
Later, corals branched, small fishes mouthing silvery weeds.
See the whole works flittering. First fingers plucked at vines,
testing swollen grapes. We spelled out humble in our palms
(signing terror and desire, words torn from ruddy flesh).
Our fingers flicked a lipless song. How the fierce storm
muddied all outside the cave.  The youngest warrior died.
Our breasts and foreheads scarified, we mumbled
bones at the pyre, to hills and clouds with pretty nomens.
From the corpus rose a wail, some atonal hymn.

Each animal we butchered fled as smoke, as stars. 

Photo by The Meat Case

Last Show

I strike myself, a circus tent.
The ground is littered with paper cups,
and the salt sea tang's tamped down
by a fug of crushed popcorn and beer.
Three black poodles keen for their meat
while the strong man
cleans his nails with a bowie knife.
A calliope drones in the head.
I remember my dislike of circuses,
await the sharp cries of foxes
when the truck rolls off.
What will they do, the elephant
and the trained ponies,
dogs and dancers and acrobats?
Where will the caravan retreat
after oceans fall oily and flat;
even a fulsome word dries up
when the spider webs
jettison their small aerialists.
Damp hands clutch
at fusty crumbs of the feast;
I won't say how species fade
and blow away, how a puzzled wind
spirals through the hulls of bone.
Oh we are afraid of the dust.

Even our distractions fail to please.

Essential Oils

Ease the way with lemon, lull with cardamom.
Dying. I rub oil into his stiffening feet.
I do not wipe them with my hair. Who is this I
returned from death's lair, close to it
as a paper mask. Melancholia also has a reek.
Swab it down with alcohol. Trailing clods of dirt,
a body needs anointment, bitter vials --
the night nurse with her golden horse.
Dying, he is mythic. I sprang from a grizzled head
when his migraine labored, lumbering me
with his knowledge. Consult his chart.
There is no pill or probe for this bad break.

Mouths stuffed with coins and plums,
shades rise from streams below the streets:
chill, puissant heroes harrying the earth,
their noses keen as hunting hounds', truffle pigs',
or the ancient diviners of disease.
Shades. From bronze lamps the scents diffuse
filling the mirrored halls, perfuming kings
as alembic distills the rich, rare oils.
Dormant fields keep their vegetal cold.
A stink of burning leaves in the room--
so quickly, it is cleansed of us.

If a biker pauses on the bridge
for the sake of day's last gold,
her soul floats expansive, replete.
She might recall a koan
about the self/no-self
and offer up her lungs
to the gray particulates.
What is the meaning
of a cat become a body of thought,
sliced in two by the sword
of abstract argument?
It's healthy to bike the bridge,
not so to breathe this air.
She thinks how they struggled
to breathe. Under a drawn sheet,
feet identical to her feet.
To die, just die. Still.
The witness--neither more
nor less than what she sees.


Carol Alexander's poetry appears in anthologies including the 2017 Resurrection of a Sunflower (Pski's Porch Publishing), Broken Circles (Cave Moon Press), Through a Distant Lens (Write Wing Publishing) and Proud to Be: Writing by American Warriors, Vol. 1. Her work can be found in numerous print and online journals such as Bluestem, Caesura, Canary, Chiron Review, The Common, Matter, Poetrybay, San Pedro River Review, Split Rock Review, The New Verse News, Soundings East and forthcoming in The High WindowSouthern Humanities Review, J Journal, The Main Street Rag and elsewhereShe is the author of the chapbook BRIDAL VEIL FALLS (Flutter Press). HABITAT LOST, Alexander's first full-length collection of poems, is available from Cave Moon Press and Amazon (2017). All proceeds from HABITAT LOST benefit Waterkeeper Alliance.


Like many musicians born in the 1940s, John Abercrombie played the guitar.  However, he played jazz guitar, exploring a number of different styles.

Here is his "Backwoods Song" from 1975:

"Up and Coming" is from his 2017 album of the same name: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fTNqluawm88

Here he plays "Homecoming" with Dave Holland and Jack DeJohnette.  Not sure when this performance took place.  It might be the 1990s.

The John Abercrombie Quartet plays "Alchemy": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zP9o8ymviJ4

I'll finish with a 1986 performance by Abercrombie and Michael Brecker: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9E9eA-RmY4k

1 comment:

  1. I am amazed reading Carol Alexander's poems. They are a rich tapestry of meaning, sound and image. I also love how she weaves the ecological crisis as part of the experience of various species (including us) in subtle ways.