tribes like ours

Californian - Brian Teare


It began like this: a radio
midday, heat—remember?—a shriek

on the highway, and in the yard 
Steller’s jays chafing over haggle, nag, their claims

a lyric tableau—pretty for the eye—how
sun for months stuck aureoles

of chrome around everything, even
your poems, omens

so no other disaster would happen.
But that there was dust—

it had not been so before in June,
grass dead at edges

where a dirt spread had begun, feral
cats interring piss into nasturtiums.

His death had become 
the dropped side of a song, melody 

undone by damage 
exactly the feel of teeth entering 

an apple’s bruise. The trellis kept 
the jasmine rapt 

as it collapsed in its own odor; so ardor also
trained the spine 

of your weeping into a mind, 
confluence of fumes and confusion. Over sills, 

jambs, silt sent collusion: thistle, burr, mouse 
turds, urine’s lingering funk in rooms

where to write was a widow 
alone with the last broom she’d bought. Heat, 

with its missing finger 
and nine filed nails, tuned all afternoon 

its blue note: horizon a slack string tautening 
against asphalt, whose sound 

was drought, marsh departed 
before August began, black-outs rolled 

house to house, how perfect the fraud and emergencies. 
So there were two songs 

sung in counterpoint 
to jays, argument about belonging to 

a place,—remember—
prey and prayer, one struck 

the other beneath the lyric image, playing flint 
to tinder until on the radio 

eastern hills caught fire: extremis, 
excelsis, that is 

how summer, all veils 
and exhalations, courted the hills. How 

already the church was burning 
when your soul went out to meet him, to marry 

his new weather—

       —- Brian Teare, “Californian” from his book entitled Pleasure

gender issues.




They call me coffee cuz I grind so fine

They call me coffee I keep you up past 2 am

They call me coffee because I’m really bitter and most people don’t like me without changing some aspect of what I am

(via coffeeandtarot)

Out of salt marsh, out of flat and reed,
out of crabgrass and black pine

they looked like swans
an archipelago of upturned sinks

dumped in a field. And I—
out of Meth, out on bail,

crank-addled, flannel-clad,
my punked-out throat slaked

threadbare— What made me
perch heel on wing above their necks?

Master, Miscreant— my body
buckling as I arched and wailed

a sledge into the porcelain birds—
I was what I heard looping in my head:

Anger is an energy. Mother,

I wasn’t born as much as I fell out.
Mother, it’s morning.

I don’t know what’s left to praise.
Your child’s home, a blistered sun

tattooed over a sacral crest.

—— James Hoch, Leda’s Aubade of Sink and Sledge, from Miscreants

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