Friday, August 20, 2010

Rooms With No Air

Connie Post

—Connie Post, Livermore

All the rooms in the house
are flooding
but there is no water

all of the people are drowning
but the lifeguard
is in an irreversible coma

We walk around
as if floating matters
as if there is a surface
to find

we look for a syringe of air,
a breathing tube of decency
but there are barely audible gasps
that pretend to be language

there are lost fish
swimming at our feet

It’s as if only the walls understand
why we get the bends every morning
when we rise too fast

It’s as if
the last boat
has pulled up its anchor

we are left
to watch the ceilings crumble
with the weight of our own water

we sink to the bottom,
grow gills
and swim past the lifeguard
who has forgotten
how to survive
in a room
with no air

(Special Merit: Comstock Review Muriel Craft Bailey Awards 2008;
Published in Jan. 2009 issue)


Thanks, Connie! Connie Post served as Poet Laureate of Livermore, California from 2005 to June, 2009. Her work has appeared in Calyx, Kalliope, Cold Mountain Review, Chiron Review, Crab Creek Review, Comstock Review, DMQ Review, Dogwood, Iodine Poetry Journal, Main Street Rag, Tipton Poetry Journal, RiverSedge, Up The Staircase, Wild Goose Poetry Review, The Pedestal Magazine and The Toronto Quarterly. She was the winner of the Cover Prize for the Spring 2009 issue of The Dirty Napkin and the winner of the 2009 Caesura Poetry Awards from Poetry Center of San Jose. She currently hosts the popular Valona Deli Second Sunday Poetry Series in Crockett. For more about Connie, go to

This Saturday (8/21), you can hear Connie read (along with several other Bay Area poets) at the Celebration of the Arts in the Blackhawk Plaza in Danville: A day of art, poetry, dance, music, and wine tasting presented by the Alamo-Danville Artists' Society ( and the Blackhawk Plaza Management ( During the Celebration, the Poets Society of Danville will give two poetry readings at The Read Bookstore in Danville (3630 Blackhawk Plaza Circle). See last Monday’s post for a list of readers.

Looking for a workshop this Fall?

There are plenty around; click on Workshops/Retreats over to the right, under the Snake on a Rod. Here are two out-of-town self-publishing ‘shops: The first is more technically oriented, and not for beginners:

•••8/28-29: Be Your Own Publisher workshop w/Tom Johnson in Mokelumne Hill:

•••Sun. (9/19), 2-4pm: How to Self-Publish a Poetry Chapbook, Benicia Public Library, 150 E. L St., Benicia in the Dona Benicia Room ( Taught by past Bay Area Poets Laureate Robert Shelby and Joel Fallon. This workshop will present ways to make your own book from start to finish.

Where did the Big Blue Box go???

Well, it's no longer down there on the floor of the Kitchen; its parts have been absorbed into the Snake on a Rod section of the b-board. Click on Current Snake News and Placating the Gorgon for all those meanderings—and more!


—Connie Post

All of the telephone booths
are disappearing

the sidewalks
have forgotten how to

there will be no businessmen
finding shelter
during the rain
calling wives, girlfriends
kids they have forgotten

people will pass and never
notice him crying into the receiver
saying he never meant
for it to turn out this way

there will be no mothers
making sure their daughters
have dimes, quarters
—a pocket with no holes

the hinges have rusted
like years we cannot close
the curbs are growing
and there is no place for
old women to put on their coats
after dusk

there is no where to go
when you need
one person to hand you
a slim coin, nod silently
and understand

watch you close
the thin doors around you

(First published in Oberon, 2008)


—Connie Post

I drank the sky today

emulsified blue
frosty, hazy shake
melting in my paper cup

clouds so thick
they stuck in my straw

so cold, I froze my forehead

I polished it off
in ten minutes
ingesting the wing of a lost bird,
a tornado never descended

It was the last item
on the menu
in a café of crumbling counters

It was the last chance
for a horizon to feign liquidity

as the quiet, small framed
handed me the cup

I asked her to drink with me
but she turned away

told me
from the silence of her swollen back

that not moments ago
she swallowed
the last crumb of earth

(First published in Karamu, Spring 2010)


—Connie Post

I still see you
sitting on the back porch
putting on your work boots
glaring at me
as if I had sinned for being young

I wondered why
you sat there, for so long
before you left for work

fastening each leather lace
as if it were a sacrament

Each morning
you would leave me
and my dented Charlie Brown
lunch pail
waiting for the bus,
the milk in the thermos
already turning warm
the bread hardening

I can still hear the gravel
beneath the bus tires
as if each stone
knew the weight of a child

As I walk paved streets
more often these days

my feet hurt every night

I look back and realize,
you already understood
the ground,
how the earthworms
were laced inside of it

how they were begging
for quieter steps
from you and I

(First published in Cold Mountain Review, Fall 2008)


“Their Plane Crashed into a Cemetery in Montana”
—, Mar. 2009

If the earth had arms
would they have encircled the plane
held it close

smothered the flames
with its own blanket

If the earth had language
would it translate
the dialect of endings

would the scattered flowers
around the grave sites
remember how they too
were brought here
carried by shaking hands
then—left behind on a
crumbling Saturday afternoon

how each stem
was plucked from the ground
too soon

how each yearned
for the placenta of soil

each one knowing
how to break
into bloom
like a body
upon arrival

—Connie Post
(First published in California Quarterly, Summer 2010)


Today's LittleNip:

—Joyce Odam, Sacramento

Everything is too far.
Why do I know that now
after the longest
and the briefest farewell?


Time is not traveled alone.
It goes between us
like wind in the years . . .
like conversation.



Photo by D.R. Wagner, Elk Grove