Thursday, April 11, 2013

A Taste of Silano & Williams

 The Big Rock Reading Series Announces
A Joint Reading
With the Arkansas Literary Festival
Poets Martha Silano and Johnathon Williams
Friday, April 19, 2013 @ 11:00 a.m.

To whet the appetite, we offer poems by Silano and Williams.  Hope to see you at the reading.

A Country Wedding

The JP is drunk, and my father
dying, the embryonic clot
destined for his lungs
already cooing beneath his scarred left calf.
I wear a T-shirt. Her parents
are late, their stop at the Elks Lodge
extended when the tap struck air.
Moths and mosquito killers
light our vows, their procession
into the bug zapper a parable
of obsession and sacrifice.
Someone’s aunt plays the parlor
piano, middle C lost months ago,
and the tune unnamable.

Hours later, we sit upright
on my twin bed like witnesses
to a car accident where no one
was at fault. A school night, and tomorrow
we still won’t be allowed to kiss in the cafeteria,
so we compare notes on two years
of sex in station wagons and graveyards,
dress her dolls in the diapers
everyone assumed we needed.
Headlights wash the window in bridal white,
then disappear.  We stand as a truck turns
and travels back into its own dusty wake.
The highway is miles from our dirt road.
None find it in the dark.

Johnathon Williams, from The Road to Happiness  (Antilever Press, 2012)

It's All Gravy

a gravy with little brown specks       
a gravy from the juices in a pan

the pan you could have dumped in the sink
now a carnival of flavor waiting to be scraped 

loosened with splashes of milk of water of wine
let it cook let it thicken let it be spooned or poured

over bird over bovine over swine
the gravy of the cosmos bubbling

beside the resting now lifted to the table 
gravy like an ongoing conversation    

Uncle Benny's pork-pie hat    
a child's peculiar way of saying emergency  

seamlessly        with sides of potato of carrot of corn
seamlessly        while each door handle sings its own song

while giant cicadas ricochet off cycads and jellyfish sting
a gravy like the ether they swore the planets swam through

luminiferous      millions of times less dense than air       
ubiquitous         impossible to define   a gravy like the God

Newton paid respect to when he argued 
that to keep it all in balance to keep it from collapsing

to keep all the stars and planets from colliding
sometimes He had to intervene

a benevolent meddling like the hand 
that stirs and stirs as the liquid steams

obvious and simple        everything and nothing
my gravy your gravy our gravy      the cosmological constant's 

glutinous gravy       an iridescent and variably pulsing gravy    
the gravy of implosion      a dying-that-births-dueodenoms gravy  

gravy of doulas of dictionaries and of gold 
the hand stirs        the liquid steams 

and we heap the groaning platter with glistening
the celestial chef looking on as we lift our plates

lick them like a cat come back from a heavenly spin
because there is oxygen in our blood

because there is calcium in our bones   
because all of us were cooked

in the gleaming Viking range
of the stars

Martha Silano, from The Little Office of the Immaculate Conception (Saturnalia Books 2011).

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