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John Benditt in conversation with Nancy Pearl - University Bookstore Wednesday, February 25th, 7:00pm
From issue 36, Oliver De La Paz’s wonderful explanation as to why the letter has yet to arrive.
I was planning on writing you but
the hawthorns were like blown fuses.
The energy in the room was a bad kite
and the clock around my neck chimed
as I fingered the Kmart blouses.
Clothespins held me as a call
from a conch shell holds a ship.
I was a madman, dressed to go out,
but the houseplants were on fire.
The salmon were lustrous like diamonds
in the gutter and I had to cradle each one.
I was drunk on crème de menthe
and roomfuls of my furniture shadowed
my every move. Oh sad evening,
the meatpacking trucks were at my door!
The books were slapping like cowboys
in their leather chaps! I was hot
as six reading lamps. I was sad and dirty
like my big-haired rock loves. Breath,
oh breath, I was kept alive like a queen
on horseback. I was floured
and I was finched. I was zephyred, alas,
blown back to Hellenic ruin.
Oliver de la Paz is the author of three collections of poetry. Names Above Houses , Furious Lullaby , and Requiem for the Orchard, winner of the Akron Prize for poetry chosen by Martìn Espada. He teaches at Western Washington University.