International des écrivains et artistes
in Val-David, Canada, 2014
—Photo by Flavia Cosma
—Poems by Alan Britt, Reisterstown, MD
When you sigh.
How can I make it up to you?
When you went away this morning, that’s
when I inhaled bricks like braille wedged
between the Hoover Dam, fused bricks
creating a bond—that’s when I realized
what I see could be you & me stuck waist
deep in a quicksand called miasma.
I’ve missed a few things, but I just spotted
something that jiggles the membrane of our
quantum universe on a 3-D hook, something
resembling a bright yellow raincoat sagging
from the brass hook over our front door.
After Paul McCartney
You sang that night before like it was
the night before & night before
the night before that.
You were so sincere, so sincere
the night before.
But now it’s time to batten down the hatches,
unfurl the sails, & ride out the storm.
Now it’s time to say I might’ve found someone
new through magneto thick & titanium dew,
& looks like I’m headed for one last subterranean
waltz beneath moonlight bleeding from the night
before &, hopefully, many nights afterward.
WHAT’S IN A NAME?
Richard the Lionheart to Richard II, followed
by scoliosis the III, then a succession of Henrys.
Like soccer affiliations these bloodlines of Jameses
& Georges forged alliances for genocidal namesakes
long before tropical disturbances littered a necklace
of coconuts across the concrete throat of a West
Palm curb one day, 1956 or so, thus vomiting
jewel-encrusted crowns before clogging up the
gold-plated bowels of the kings.
There was this beetle, cedar wings hunkered below a concrete
step for the short haul, minding his business, before tapping,
I hazard, tapping an IED. Guess what happened—shards of
wings, antennae, plus a transmitter discarded by the Dumont
Corporation—before they sold Jackie, they pawned Babe for
a minor fortune—but those days are passé.
Aluminum ladder, with its stained tarpaulin, prepares to escort
beetle beyond his dilemma, but all beetle wants is the truth,
unspun by trained spinners, paid liars, & prostitutes of the
cross. All he wants is one single drop of truth, one shimmering
photon, one strand of DNA that stayed out late & met the
ghost of Christmas Future.
Be that as it may, beetle begins crooning, crooning his ass off,
panting for all his worth until one fatal sunrise resembling
roseate spoonbills tattoos beetle’s dreaming wings. You
could’ve lit a torch that dawn. I saw it but didn’t light up. No,
sir. Not anymore.
NEVER TOO EARLY FOR HALLOWEEN
Mask of walrus curdles your blood,
fumbling for icebergs resembling
Styrofoam huddling corals & coiling
mangroves shin deep around a tropical
disturbance whose name is long forgotten,
though, I tracked her, ‘65, the year
of Help, the year of napalm, the year
of joy, the year we embraced the years
becoming orphans while goblins steeped
in astrological algorithms frothed our
coffees & decaffeinated our dreams.
EL GRECO SKY
December moon trolls an El Greco sky.
Carves clouds’ mother-of-pearl hips
into diaphanous silk robes.
Tourmaline moonlight drenches the hemlines
of the robes and sizzles the elongated
waists of these clouds.
Welcome to a new poet at the Kitchen table, Alan Britt, and many thanks to him for the poems! In August 2015, Alan was invited to Ecuador in a cultural exchange of poets between Ecuador and the United States. His interview at The Library of Congress for "The Poet and the Poem" aired on Pacifica Radio January, 2013 (see www.loc.gov/poetry/media/avfiles/poet-poem-alan-britt.mp3). Besides 16 books of poetry, he has published over 3,000 poems nationally and internationally in Agni, Bitter Oleander, Bloomsbury Review, Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, Christian Science Monitor, Confrontation, English Journal, Epoch, Flint Hills Review, International Gallerie (India), Kansas Quarterly, Letras (Chile), Magyar Naplo (Hungary), Midwest Quarterly, Minnesota Review, Missouri Review, New Letters, Northwest Review, Osiris, Pedrada Zurda (Ecuador), Poet’s Market, Queen’s Quarterly (Canada), Revista/Review Interamericana (Puerto Rico), Revista Solar (Mexico), Roanoke Review, Tampa Tribune, The Sunday Sun, Steaua (Romania), Sunstone, Tulane Review, Wasafiri (UK), and The Writer’s Journal. He teaches English/Creative Writing at Towson University. Welcome to the Kitchen, Alan, and don't be a stranger!
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