Friday, August 25, 2017

Poems I Admire #40

The Velvet Peaches of August
Penelope Schambly Schott

When stars rise over the mountain,
fruit gleams in the half-picked orchard.

As I wait for you among velvet peaches,
I stand in darkness on their bruised flesh.

Sweetness. Sweetness gathers like bees
at the mouth of juice. I meant to want you,

yes, but never this much.


From “May the Generations Die in the Right Order.”

Penelope Scambly Schott’s two new books are Bailing the River, a collection about what can and can’t be done, and Serpent Love: A Mother-Daughter Epic, poems about a difficult period in her relationship with her adult daughter and the daughter’s essay in response. Penelope lives in Portland and Dufur, Oregon where she teaches an annual poetry workshop.

Friday, August 18, 2017

On Hatred and a Sister’s Glare

I saw her green eyes glare.
Cindy’s eyes. My little sister. My Irish twin.
Not little now.

Grown and glaring with a glare that hurt
for the hurt it craved. A jaded rage
lush with a need

for gnawing gristle while glaring
the way hatred turns into something matter-like,
an emerald beam of heat and slicing.

She’d assumed that man had died, but
he lived – lacking legs, a working bladder,
memory. Nevertheless, alive.

So she glared at me, her Irish twin,
for being unaware
that this was such bad, bad news.


First appeared in The Main Street Rag

Friday, August 11, 2017

Poems I Admire #39

Dear Mom

My old body shuffles absently
through these cluttered rooms.
I’m older than you when you died.

Owl murmur weaves through
a shaky, dark wind tonight.
There is so much unsaid.

Your muted love was never
enough to fill jagged wounds,
turned now to lovely scars.

I am exiled to a frozen land,
but the winter sun lightens
my scars, rekindles my love

& I am a smiling child again.
This is no convenient copout
& not a classical suppression.

Dear Mom, the sun is afire
like the place I suspect we will
meet up at. I love you still. 


First appeared in San Pedro River Review

Adrian C. Louis grew in northern Nevada and is an enrolled member of the Lovelock Paiute Tribe. From 1984-97, Louis taught at Oglala Lakota College on the Pine Ridge Reservation. He recently retired as Professor of English at Minnesota State University in Marshall. His most recent book of poems is Random Exorcisms (Pleiades Press, 2016). More info at Adrian-C-Louis.com

Thursday, August 3, 2017

All the Heat I Have

Watching the crush of a sick yellow foam
from a sandy blanket whose grit we ignore,
we spin inside daytime dreams like the eerie

twirl of twilight as it dares to climb all the way
to the top just to watch us sink. We drift, oblivious

to better names, to warmth, to a history lacking
fables in which we feign regret. We acquiesce, always,
like half-opened parachutes finding their way

to the top of the ocean’s bottom, like tuxedoed escorts
wearing plaster smiles, like the rattling deep inside

that we can never let admit your love of cigarettes –
the taste, the red tip, the red-stained end, the blood-black tar
that sticks me to you and lets you take all the heat I have.

Included in my chapbook "The Allness of Everything" (Maverick Duck Press)
(To learn more about "The Allness of Everything," click here.)