Santa Cruz Good Times

Saturday
Feb 13th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Poetry - When Just a Sentence Changes

AE_poetryEditor’s note: Juanita Brunk  grew up in Virginia. These poems are from her collection of poetry, “Brief Landing On The Earth’s Surface,” which was chosen by Philip Levine for a Brittiingham Prize.  She recently returned from a year in Asia with her teenage son and is back in New York City, where she has lived for many years.

ON THIS EARTH

To love my own, my body,

to know without saying, legs, you are good legs,

and feet and stomach and arms, good, and the spaces

under my arms, and the brown pigments

splashed across my back like tea leaves.

To love my body the way

I sometimes love a stranger’s:  a woman

on the subway, tired, holding her two bags,

a child slumped against her like another sack

as the train stops and starts and the child says something

so quietly no one else can hear it,

but she leans down, and whispers back,

and the child curls closer.  I would love my body

the way a mother can love her child, or the way

a child will love anyone

who gives it a home on this earth, a place

without which it would be nothing, a dry branch

at the window of a lit room.

FLOOD

The baby blooms beside me

on the cross-town bus, powdered skin

and laundered bunting,

someone else’s creampuff.

I haven’t combed my hair today or washed my face,

still raw from last night’s quarrel.

The problem:  I won’t move in,

or leave my clothes at his place.

What weary stuff.  Truth is, I’m lacking.

There are times when just a sentence

changes the whole story

and rearranges all that’s come before.

I long for that upheaval.  Call it a warm spell

early in the season:  water floods the house.

The kitchen table, liberated,

floats across a vanished lawn.

It must be similar to being born,

the old surroundings turned mysterious and new.

A miracle, or maybe just what happens.

The little stranger, for example,

perched here beside me in this funny world,

fist curled, patting her toothless gums.

Each time the bus hits a pothole

her eyes open wide, each time,

again and again, luminous, surprised.

CAN

Losing you is a tin can

clinking against a barbed wire fence

in the middle of the night.

A farmer with piss on his pants

tied it there and laid it open with his shotgun

late one Saturday, drunk and with nothing inside

to talk to but the linoleum floor.

Now someone in a neighboring house can’t sleep

and is lying awake listening

to it clatter, not constantly,

but whenever the wind knocks it around.

After awhile it will be morning,

and I can get up, and light will come in,

not the kind that makes the world look large

and possible, but the kind a camera uses

to turn an event into chemicals

and paper, reduced,

so you can file it in a drawer

or frame it:  small tin can,

small fence, small farmer.

BRIEF LANDING ON THE EARTH’S SURFACE

Even sometimes on a sidewalk

in the middle of everything

you feel it happening.

As though you were already moving on

the world recedes, the iron balconies

glitter like black sand

and the corners of tablecloths

lift and wave,

clairvoyant as handkerchiefs.

HEARTBREAK

A pigeon

walks with bound feet

along a precipice;

the next minute, gone.


There will always be a moment

that I will miss


when, on the next street, a girl

in an orange flared skirt

steps from a shop;

the wind lifts her skirt


as it grows dark,

as the rain gathers

and begins

in the city where I love


her polka-dot kerchief

from another time


though I am so near


watching from a window

around the corner

a pigeon

who steps like a geisha girl

along a railing

looking away

at the moment she flies.

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

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.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of February 12

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Pub Watch

Mega gastro pub-in-progress at the Old Sash Mill, plus the best pasta dish downtown

 

How do you know love is real?

When you feel the groove in your heart and you’re inspired to dance. Becca Bing, Boulder Creek, Teacher

 

Temple of Umami

Watsonville’s Miyuki is homestyle cooking, Japanese-style

 

How would you stop people from littering?

Teach them from the time that they’re small that it’s not an appropriate behavior. Juliet Jones, Santa Cruz, Claims Adjuster