Monday, January 31, 2011

NEW! 3 poems by Stephanie Burns

Stephanie Burns


The Park

This is the day for a newfound gorgeous melody.
I guess I don’t mean that.
I guess I mean it’s a day that should be captured—
This park, its strollers and one-handed bikers.
Everything is just fractionally above disaster
and that is, of course, why it works.
Babies are creaking into their shoulders
and dogs squat in painful contemplation.
It’s the traffic that blesses this spot—
the red-bottomed sailboats and two-
tiered zephyrs. Airplanes and helicopters
and truant little islands straining to sea.
Here, the hair before its first cut,
she’s allowed cappuccino.
There, two boys with sweaters tied
around their necks.

Some buildings will slide off each other,
but some will cling and pull us all down.
We are all thinking about each other—
caught in wonder—and the horizon
conceals all the more obvious paint jobs.

Route 66 in Decent Light

Sweet-toothed drumbeat in the desert―billboard
of dinosaurs and the cut-glass sky.

The mesas in their ignorance upend
the road out of town. Soldiers and nuns―

our scented headache. We are unscathed
in the hungry nunnery of the soul. The food

is good. Tumbleweeds loop themselves into repeat
behind the only two cacti available.

My snaps pop and drop―no revelation
in this swimming pool of sand. The chalk

of possible endings unfolds without glamor.
The charge is only so high. Earlier flights

and histories are available upon request,
as well as bathrobed blue skulls.

They are subject to change.
No touching, no pictures, no faces.

The salt-soaked sky taps
these questions, and is sullen.

Desks, insults, movie sets--the things stripped
and shouldered forth. We are the fish.

The ink and paste we’ve produced mix
into my coffee with subtle soft curls.

At the gas stations,
we sew ourselves into each eye.


This is not unlike what I wanted you to know.

I am saucy (drunk), fatigued,
Talkative in the times we grasp for silence--
the clumsy piano player
in the red-lit bar at the back of your mind--
all you never knew you
always wanted.

I know all the neat lines
in your gardens--the way you order
memories (playground--hot dog--pretzel).
I negotiate these sandboxes
but these are not the secrets
as I want them.

You flinch at me. I buy you presents
but they dissolve at your harsh touch--
so much burning paper. I keep
to the middle of your thoughts,
listening for the right instructions.
is there something you want known?

You shrug at us, the world, yourself.
You come to the part where you must
walk a tightrope above yourself
and I just want you to know
I wasn’t going anywhere with that question.

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