misty lavender lips
burst open exhaling
of a thousand tiny throats
fills the air
had a lilac bush
whose aromatic seduction
surrounded me each spring
with a heady fragrance
as I rode my bicycle
hands free eyes closed
through the neighborhood
that rich attar
filled my nose
dove into my lungs
entered my bloodstream
pulsing purple perfume particulate
throughout my body
disappearing into the air
with heart-shaped leaves
wilted no matter how
quickly I put them into water
burying my face in a fistful of blooms
running to find vase, jar, anything
as quickly as possible
smashing the stems with a hammer
adding sugar, aspirin
hoping such injury and ameliorative efforts
would force more liquid
into the stems
up into the blossoms and leaves
so that for one more day
just one more day I could sink
into the glorious redolence on my bed
flowers next to it
on the dresser
fill the room with the same
that carried me down the street
drunk on the scent coming
from every yard
hold it in my head in my mind in my body
as I fell into my dreams
to satisfy the senses needing more wanting more
deliciously delicate florescence
from reality to fantasy
leaves grew limp
blossoms toppled and drooped
on skinny-necked stems
never enough water
to maintain turgidity
shriveled like spent penises
like sagging old breasts
given up their milk
the lilacs faded
unable to satisfy the craving
for the sweet sweet fragrance
of a thousand grandmothers
now the cultivars are sophisticated
shades of designer colors french
white expensive perfumes
launch runway shows
anorexic models strut
kick out legs as thin
arms as fragile as lilac stems
no sensuous emanations enrapture
sub-divisions as air-conditioned cars
transport toddlers to grandmothers in condos
living in another state not on the next block
no lilac essence floats appreciated on the wind
no lungs fill but mine in memory
until I spy one bush then another
flanking empty city lots
abandoned houses torn down
spring grass grown over old foundations
neighborhoods devoid of life
save for the lilacs
poor women’s frangipani
where yards used to be
I walk over pull down a branch of blossoms
breathe in that familiar fragrance
make no attempt to pick
bouquets of futile efforts to trap
the scent of a thousand sweet grandmothers
for my dreams
I sniff, drink, gulp, swim
drown in the sweetness
kick off my shoes
throw off my jacket
perfumed wind caressing my face
misty lavendar lips
burst open exhaling
of a thousand tiny throats
fills the air.
Dolores S. Slowinski, artist/writer anticipating lilac season in the midst of gray Detroit.
by John Jeffire
Bulimic Michigan winter belches
Gusting bowels of whiteout fury,
Green Ford pick-up engulfed
Beneath blind waves of ice,
Neighbors’ homes capsized
In a squalling January tempest.
Wife marooned at work,
Kids swept away to college,
I abandon ship through the front
Door portal, wind tidalwaving
Into the foyer, intruder shouldering
Into the house, until I find myself
Cast adrift in the driveway
Clinging to a rusted shovel.
Cheekskin freeze-dried in air,
Fingertips vaporized in thermal glove—
There is absolutely no point
To what I am about to do.
It’ll make it easier when the snow
Finally does stop someone who looks like me
Says inside my brain, the stupidest idea I’ve
Tried to convince myself of in months.
A snowmobile sails by in the street
And a mitten waves joyously.
I’ve shoveled snow my whole life
And where has it gotten me?
More snow always falls.
Shovels break, back muscles give,
Breath lost in a flurry of grief.
I awaken to the sound of aluminum
Scraping along frozen cement.
The sky is an ocean of whirling stars.
It’s snowing out. And me? I shovel snow.
John Jeffire’s debut novel, Motown Burning, won Grand Prize in the 2005 Mount Arrowsmith Novel Competition and the 2007 Independent Publishing Awards Gold Medal for Regional Fiction. His stories, poems, and essays have appeared in Parenting, The English Journal, America, and The Peralta Press. His first book of poetry, Stone + Fist + Brick + Bone, will be released in March of 2008.
Last summer, an excerpt from his second novel, River Rouge, won first prize in the 2007 Springfed Arts Metro Detroit Fiction Contest. Visit his website at http://johnjeffire.com.
Welcome to a new year of monthly literature from thedetroiter.com. This month we bring you three selected poems by Nicolas Canton.
Initially, what draws me to them is their ability to mend a rather contemporary sense of spirituality (small ‘s’) with the struggles of a rather timeless narrator, one who seems fettered to a dense and oft foggy world of self-companionship. Where I am inclined to revisit these works over and again is in their softness; a certain quiet that, provoked by Canton’s effortless lyricism, makes me want to stand on the hood of my car and belt them out to the world; a world that benefits from these poems whether it hears them or not. These qualities, I find, are paramount in Canton’s work.
Enjoy, and to be a part of thedetroiter.com’s lit section, see guidelines in our call for submissions here.
Poetry & Fiction Editor
He takes her breast in his mouth
and weeps for the uncertainty of tomorrow.
As confident as he is in that nurturing mound,
this could be the last feeding.
This could be the last taste.
Like his Father before him,
he never took the time to nurture
that which nurtured him.
Eventually abandoning co-dependence.
Robbing him of true independence,
and fostering an unfounded righteousness that cripples the soul.
My head aches from logic.
While so much insanity surrounds me
like fluid…drowns me.
An unknown hand lustfully embraces my ankle,
seducing my submersion,
preventing me from surfacing.
I can see peace and serenity through the liquid ceiling.
Panic becomes my friend.
What was once a hindrance,
now becomes an invitation…
a welcoming initiation to a world
free of misery, contradiction, and well…Logic.
I crave you.
I am enslaved by the idea of you.
I long to drink in your essence;
to wash down the meal of your presence.
Allow me to ingest scorched Earth
and experience a re-birth
into a world of Forever you.
Day passes into night, and you exit
before I have fully appreciated your entrance.
I bask in your smile and revel in your gaze
that a creature so heavenly
recognizes admirable “Me".
Words float past cherry lips
as do leaves on the wind of a Perfect Storm.
Only sweeter, and more deadly.
Because they are your words,
and carry the wit and lethality to slay me.
My love and inner being bleed heavier with each kiss…
with each utterance and spoken word…with each death!
I would breathe the scorched Earth to die that death each day,
and to be reborn into a world of, Forever You.
Nicolas Canton is a writer/poet, and a student of the human condition. He works in finance but continues to write in hope that his voice will bring to light everyday issues that relate to the human condition and transcend race, economic status, and religion.
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