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Feb 11th
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Poetry of Brendan Constantine

AE-2

 

This week’s Poetry Corner features the work of Brendan Constantine, a poet based in Los Angeles. His work has appeared in Ploughshares, Ninth Letter, The Cortland Review, and other journals. His collection, “Letters To Guns,” was released in February from Red Hen Press.


Fall Memo
Please be aware of the following students and their sensitivities
Miranda R.    peanuts, common wheat
Lucas P.    dogs, strawberries
Kimmy D.     aspirin, penicillin, rhubarb
Alexis M.    trees, grass, sunlight
Hilary M.    gift soap
Bethany M.    old skin
Jennifer K.    wool, cotton, anything yellow, anything
Cody R.     cuttlefish, handshakes, eyeteeth
Dylan H.     the mere mention of hornets
Brandon L.    foam pillows, roach motels
Susan W.    Indians, music, Indian Music
Lauren B.     twice sealed letters
Grace J.    candles, perfume, party sounds over water

The Things
The things I gave you—Victorian postcards, 
a wind-up bird, the marzipan skull from Mexico
—don’t recognize me

When I come to visit, Buddha slouches 
in his ashtray, the wind mobile chimes 
among itself  
What have you told them

In my room, your picture looks me in the eye
I don’t know who it’s seeing

The things you gave me—a cup, a compass, 
the tiniest flashlight—are all about going
What do I tell them

Even now, your music waits in the car


Cold Reading
It’s really cold in here now,
easily forty below something,
and half the class is asleep.

Snow dazzles in the windows,
makes a cake of each desk.
It’s really cold in here now.

I’ve been lecturing on the same
poem for twenty six hours
and half the class is asleep.

I want them to get it. I start
to talk about death again
and it’s really cold in here now.

One student has frozen solid,
her hair snapping off in the wind
and half the class is asleep.

“See that” I say, “Lisa gets it.”
But it’s so cold in here now
half the class are white dunes
shifting to the sea.

Aubade
My love,
you have the right to remain
silent. Anything you say
can and will be recorded
in my pillow. If you desire,
you may request a transcript
of every crushed feather.
You have that right, too.

Knowing
and understanding these
rights as I sing them,
are you willing to answer
without a moon present?
Put your hands in the air
and walk toward me.
Tell me what you know.

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Heart Me Up

In defense of Valentine’s Day

 

“be(ing) of love (a little) more careful”—e.e. cummings

Wednesday (Feb. 10) is Ash Wednesday, when Lent begins. Friday (Feb. 12) is Lincoln’s 207th birthday. Sunday is Valentine’s Day. On Ash Wednesday, with foreheads marked with a cross of ashes, we hear the words, “From dust thou art and unto dust thou shalt return.” Reminding us that our bodies, made of matter, will remain here on Earth when we are called back. It is our Soul that will take us home again. Lent offers us 40 days and nights of purification in preparation for the Resurrection (Easter) festival (an initiation) and for the Three Spring Festivals (at the time of the full moon)—Aries, Taurus, Gemini. The New Group of World Servers have been preparing since Winter Solstice. The number 40 is significant. The Christ (Pisces World Teacher) was in the desert for 40 days and 40 nights prior to His three-year ministry. The purpose of this desert exile was to prepare his Archangel (light) body to withstand the pressures of the Earth plane (form and matter). We, too, in our intentional purifications and prayers during the 40 days of Lent, prepare ourselves (physical body, emotions, lower mind) to receive and be able to withstand the irradiation of will, love/wisdom and light streaming into the Earth at spring equinox, Easter, and the Three Spiritual Festivals. What is Lent? The Anglo-Saxon word, lencten, comes from an ancient spring festival, agricultural rites marking the transition between winter and summer. The seasons reflect changes in nature (physical world) and humanity responds with social festivals of gratitude and of renewal. There is a purification process, prayerfulness in nature and in humanity in preparation for a great flow of spiritual energies during springtime. Valentine’s Day: Aquarius Sun, Taurus moon. Let us offer gifts of comfort, ease, harmony, beauty and satisfaction. Things chocolate and golden. Venus and Taurus things.

 

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