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George Wallace 

Author of fourteen chapbooks of poetry, published in the US, UK and Italy, including the award-winning Burn My Heart In Wet Sand, George Wallace is editor of Poetry Bay. A Pushcart nominee, he has read his poetry at Carnegie Hall and the Algonquin Club, across the US, and from London and Belfast to Rome, Athens and Paris, France. He has conducted poetry workshops worldwide at universities and writers' retreats; appeared at such events as Bradstock, Lowell Celebrates Kerouac, Howlfest and the Woody Guthrie Festival in Okemah, Ok. In 2003 George Wallace was named the first Poet Laureate for Suffolk County, New York. 



JASMINE FLOWER 


sometimes when i hold you 
you are paleolithic 
you are african village 
you are queen high 
you are room full of strangers 
you are missionary 
you are snow-swept plateau 
you are construction worker 
you are black ant 
sometimes when i hold you 
you are grain of rice 
you are bowl of sugar 
you are boat on the thames 
you are coral necklace 
you are daughter of the sky 
you are wind carrying a prelate 
like an oakleaf 
back to the capital city 
sometimes when i hold you 
five fingers are not enough 
ten fingers are not enough 
a room full of fingers 
the grip of opposable thumbs 
the distance between 
a man and his capacity to 
love his fellow man 
is not enough 
and you become injectible 
you become habitual 
you become casual 
you become a reflection of an owl 
in a bowl of kiffisia water 
sometimes when i hold you 
you are broken tablet 
your are dutch chocolate 
you are two halves of a honeycomb 
stuck back together by a child 
you are french revolution 
you are sunlight on the sahara 
you are the unforgiving wanderer 
the dictatorship of men 
the spun poppy 
the yellow cornfield 
and i am aware that my palms are not enough 
neither is the breadth of my hands 
or the life force that flows 
from bone to bone 
from nerve to nerve 
from flesh to flesh 
not enough! 
but you are teacup 
you are blue autumn 
you are fresh clay 
you are spinning wheel 
you are bakery truck 
you are cement mixer 
you are airplane propeller 
you are shunted maple 
and i want to hold you forever 
and memorize your name 
and never let you go 

baby sparrow 
shaft of barley 
paper doll 
book of untranslatable plays 
seashell 
quartz crystal 
lock of hair 
mouthful of ashes 


RHYTHM OR BREAD 


you always bring something back to me 
from the street or from a kitchen 
from the arms of prison 
or the arms of the sun 
from the smell of churchwax 
or woodsmoke or leather 
from chimney soot or snowflakes 
from that flatfall mountaintop i have never seen 
from the dark embrace of jamaican rum 
from the eyes of a newt 
staring back at you 
under a rock 
in new hampshire 
from bangkok 
from mexico 
from india 
from new orleans 
i listen all night 
for your skip shuffle 
your hotel corridor 
your out into 
your hypodermic night 
i reach for you 
your breasts 
your pillowcase 
your stomach 
your ridiculous knees 
you're not there 
but in my sleep 
i taste you 
your sincerity 
your poetry 
your seasalt 
your unwavering 
your rhythm or bread 
your fascination 
with strangers 
your latin dancing 
your skip-step 
your up and gone 
and your return, yes 
your inevitable return 

 


THE INDIANA BRIDE 


she buried the hatchet 
she strangled the gravedigger 
she interrupted the murder 
she ran away with the cook 
she spilled the marriage gravy 
on her grandpa's vest 
she wore a coral necklace 
she danced with her soccer coach 
she undid her sister's braids 
and displayed her breasts at the pulpit 
like a pair of immaculate crystals 
she tossed her bouquet 
into the nuptial salad 
she laid her head down 
in a bed of plastic explosives 
she gave away her high school iud 
she kissed her godmother 
she kissed her college room mate 
she kissed somebody named walter 
she kissed her college room mate again 
because one afternoon they were stuck together 
in a phone booth on the interstate 
outside of dayton ohio 
and it was there 
that she experienced 
her first amazing 
abandoned moment 
moment of cyclones 
moment of barn doors 
moment of galloping horses 
moment of turquoise sun 
that tasted of mountains 
that tasted of sulfur 
that tasted of lemons 
and future snow storms 
and canadian whiskey 
and no more weaknesses 
and no more football stadiums 
and no more mid-west unmade beds 
and all night incomplete highways 
moment of expanding forever sky 
that tasted like ripe mango 
sailing over gulf of mexico waters 
on incredible pelican wings

 

 

 

 

 

copyright George Wallace