When: Sunday, November 3, 2019, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Where: Escondido Arts Partnership Escondido Municipal Gallery 262 E. Grand Avenue, Escondido, 92025 Get directions

Poets, INC (Inland North County)

SUNY English professor, and award-winning poet Shannon Tate Jonas visits from Buffalo to read poems from his new manuscript “The Rake” for our first hour this afternoon. He will also read from, and be signing copies of, his book “Battle Sleep” (amazon.com) during the intermission. Jonas also received an Honorable Mention in the 2019 SDPA Steve Kowit Prize for his poem ‘The Forest Torso’. As always, an open mic for everyone on the sign-up board follows in the second hour of the afternoon.

When: Sunday, November 3, 2019, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Where:
Escondido Arts Partnership Escondido Municipal Gallery
262 E. Grand Avenue, Escondido, 92025Battle Sleep

The Summers I Mowed the High School Grounds

I’ve smeared my blood on the front door of a stranger.
Anything that means something has layers to its music.
Those who are quiet enough know this.
The tractor turned over as I was mowing
the hill above the football practice field.
I taught myself how to mimic birds
I admired during the summers. The birds follow
the tractor. They swallow the insects
the blades toss up. This behavior makes me love the birds.
Later, strangers pretend that they visit the capital city
where I’ve moved on to. I let them believe, almost happily so.
They ask me the progress of certain civic projects there.
I project the news for them & they listen as one. The woods sound within & the birds never vanish.

The Correlation 

So these are the night’s final stars.
So my voice has changed.

There is no lack of music in my youth.
I will count my age by the length of my hair.

Doctors do not lie
but they do.

The shadow is precious because you can see
it. It is not what you wish, but it is.

When we bid goodnight to the night’s final stars,
the doctor had what he called a “change of mind.”

According to him, the organic
relationship was reversed:

the health of the solar helix hinged on the health of the boscage on earth.

The Anniversary

You look down the road

& don’t remember the car

that doesn’t come.

You still don’t remember.

 

Birds scatter.

Naked field.

Dead skin.

Shed feathers.

Less weight to manage.

 

Something about corrupted cells,

Last Days & terrifying dreams

though what can be recollected

cannot be terrifying.

Nonetheless, you say.

You still don’t remember.

 

Even though that’s not what I said

you say, you still don’t.

 

Something about wild fire,

a horse named Spook & white eyes,

dead milk, if milk can be dead.

 

You are in the field, you are in the field,

as I was there.

Talking Shop

The silent isolated farms

are covered by a sea of haze

from a wildfire somewhere

to the west of town.

 

The smoke fills the world

the way the heiligenschein

of the woman who lived

in this house before me

 

inhabits my liver.  I could sit

in the mechanic’s shop & listen

to the passerby’s stories

of hotwired boats & squandered

 

family fortune for hours

but the evening draws out

vulgar language from the calendar

peddler in the corner who knew

 

my father.  Walking home I see

diseased faces wheezing

in the branches.  On the porch

a spider lets herself down

 

from the eaves.  She falls

like an ember in the dark

from the celibate woman

ranger’s watchtower.

 

People say after the farms

the town will be next to go.

I open the windows & mind

the whispers & breathing I hear outside.

The Other

 

say the mind is a crutch

 

—a tool for navigation

—an end table

 

say the imagination is an eye

no: say a hand

 

fondle a stone and say I’ve forgotten how to think

 

kiss the lover’s mouth & say you are god to me

say you are a warm smooth stone on my tongue

 

—say I do not choose you

—I need you—I feel pain most because you exist

 

 

The Book of the Wind. 17

17.

Had my son or daughter ever become

old, I would have liked them

to be able to return

to the first door they opened,

on their own, and entered through.

I would have marked it,

as a witness, so they could know

for certain.

 

For me, in this house, the door

to the wind is the first door

I have chosen to open.

The door to the wind

is the door to the tilled fields.

The door is the first door

because

it is the last door.

 

That Which Guards the Borders in My Mind

A nacreous though sanctimonious voice issues ledgers from the closet & a nacreous thought.

 

I tried not to describe the small man, gnome really,

crouched inside our fence in the backyard corner,

but here it is, in a long line:

 

I said to the gnome, “Gnome, I used to wonder what you did around here all day & after         having spent a day with you now I know what you do do around here.  You guard the     house when we sleep.  Perhaps you arrange our dreaming.”

 

I thanked him, & good for him, that gnome, looking, not at me, but at the air in between, a pearl of sweat on a Titan’s chest, a shark following lethargically the wake of the swimmer in the center of the sea.

 

For an exercise in ecphrasis, air the blood.

 

Ennui Within the Son

My son complains there is nothing to do, that he is bored to death.

I tell him to study the dictionary.

He ascends to his room upstairs.  I don’t see him for days.

I begin to worry about his absence & he returns

to tell me something, perhaps what he has learned, I hope.

He says, We are the moral liars, of which little is writ of our true selves.

I say, Every single line is connected to every single line.

He says, You invent meaning to suit you.  We all do.  What makes the connections real?

I say, What I wanted you to capture from the exercise was knowledge.

He asks, So why do you snigger above what you have created?

I leave the question unanswered & step outside into the yard.

I realize my son has more potential than I.

But I wonder if he is too serious to ever be content or content others.

Writ is a lovely word.