Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Welcome to John L. Stanizzi!

Many of you may know John L. Stanizzi for his current POND series, four-line acrostic poems that have appeared in Verse-Virtual, Amethyst Review, Halfway Down the Stairs, and most recently One-Sentence Poems.  Here are some longer poems, meditations on feathers, bones, and the natural world.

                                              I thought of the coarse white flesh
                                              packed in like feathers,
                                              the big bones and the little bones…
                                              -The Fish
                                              -Elizabeth Bishop 

Banking around the yard, arms straight across,
airplane wings, bombs dropping on the cities
miles down, in alliance with my tank-feet,
and the sounds we are born with, the wailing
airplane noises, the shells’ piercing whistles.


Or in the river, raising up one arm,
in an attitude reminiscent of
a striking cobra.  But this no snake;
it’s a periscope searching for its foe,
the sub of my body cruising for war.


Either way, there is no “settling for” here
among gliding flashes of winged silver, 
avian cosmopolitans, or the
cormorants crashing and crashing into
the bight, flight becoming an ancient stroke.


Whether hollow or light as a feather,
bones’ roads intersect, cross paths, bring us all
together in bewilderment between
sky and the ocean, adapting, dreaming,
becoming what we’ve witnessed, what we’ve loved.


Birds entered the sea; fish have gone ashore,
their imperceptible seeking after
water or air to swaddle in safety,
or its illusion, the living creatures
with bones like feathers and feathers like bones.


Banking around the yard, arms straight across
in an attitude reminiscent of
avian cosmopolitans, or the
sky and the ocean, adapting, dreaming
of bones like feathers and feathers like bones.

                           -O yes, our lives are going on without us.
                           -O no, we never finish chasing.
                           -Hidden Drives
                           -James Tate from Absences

James Tate and I were dear friends, though we never met.
I called on his wisdom when the two lovers met.

The landscape would grow more strange as the weather cooled.
Remember November’s kiss; lips shivering, met.

The city was charming and the years passed as air.
We would sit on the hill where sky and river met.

Were we so blind we couldn’t see the snow or rain?
Were we deaf -- couldn’t hear when fear and weather met?

Father of a small city, my back is aching,
even now, when morning denies endeavors met.

My bones have become feathers; they’re the weight of light,
and from shade one comes to harvest all pleasure met. 

James would joke that our lives will go on without us.
Don’t ever pretend, John, that you two never met.


This very short piece is violinist David Schulman's improvisation, "Music at the Canopy," performed in the Chicago studio of artist Tina Tahir: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UtrPTpMyqT4

"Anhinga" is a longer piece by Schulman's group Quiet Life Motel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pB-rBbbHuJU

I'll add two more songs, taking the music in a different direction.  The first is Gary Burton's version of "Chega de Saudade":  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rHR3F7vp1uc

The next is a version of "The Moontrane" with Larry Young and Woody Shaw:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LnIWn2kqHsY


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