Terry Wolverton: Four Poems
The old cat re-appears at the screen door
Relax in green shade with an Eskimo pie
Hiding in a bed of grass and leaves
Orange sun begins to fall into the neglected street
My grandmother’s open hands at the end of her life
Sounds of bells outside the window—I hold my breath
Gratitude for its cool, lavender light
Exuberant music of the freeway
A birthday, a party dress, a glass of ginger ale
Hems of the trees promise a deeper gold
The body a wooden puppet, trying to embrace air before disappearing
Ed the Hype dies from the sting of vision;
he will not mourn the passing of autumn
Crows tell jokes to naked gods who gather
on the corner in the green morning rain
In the parking lot of the liquor store,
matron plays chess with an exhausted thief
All afternoon, two Chihuahuas, little
rats, lick the tears of a wino in the park
The pallbearer’s face is sealed; he catches
the hummingbird rising to the new moon.
Bare-limbed girls eat cake like kittens, clicking
heels against moments of the night sidewalk
After work, the workers dress like ladies
for the bonfires on Skid Row at midnight.
Prayers of the lonely go unnoticed;
Star People lift up the sky, flood our eyes.
Scrapes of the world do not erase me. I
find my sunglasses, snatch an hour of song.
If I owned a glass spaceship
I could see all the sad flowers
of the spinning universe.
I would not suffer this world
as a jail or hospital,
nothing but walls of data
to escape. Sickness would leave
my mind, its factoids dispersed
into substance-less vapor.
My eyes would wake to gardens
of milk blue clouds, ice crystals
dissolving like my heartbeats.
I’d visit your atmosphere
to borrow a cup of rain.
Jesus was carrying blind kittens down
to the radioactive ocean
to wash their wounds in the troubled waters.
They churned in silver, each wet and howling
until I plucked them out, hidden in my
green sweater, promised not to forget, served
up cream and tears. I noticed Jesus had
no shadow; his flesh evaporated
into another world; spine became a
river, arms a dim road under moonlight.
Who could follow into eternity?
Some think it mysterious, but I will
be left behind, eating my dusty words,
red lips shiny with honey, eyes on fire.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Terry Wolverton is author of eleven books of fiction, poetry and creative nonfiction, including Embers, a novel in poems, and Insurgent Muse: Life and Art at the Woman’s Building. In addition, she has edited fifteen successful compilations, including (with Robert Drake) the Lambda Literary Award-winning His: brilliant new fiction by gay men and Hers: brilliant new fiction by lesbians, volumes 1, 2, and 3. She has also collaborated with composer David Ornette Cherry to adapt Embers as a jazz opera. Terry has received the Judy Grahn Award for nonfiction from the Publishing Triangle, a fellowship in poetry from the California Arts Council, and a COLA Fellowship from the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, among other acknowledgments. Terry has taught creative writing in community settings for over three decades; in 1997, she founded Writers at Work, a creative writing studio in Los Angeles, where she teaches fiction, creative nonfiction and poetry. She is also an Associate Faculty Mentor for the MFA Writing Program at Antioch University Los Angeles. Additionally, she is also a certified instructor of Kundalini Yoga. From 1976-1989, she was an active participant at the Woman’s Building, a public center for women’s culture, creating art projects, teaching, serving on the Board of Directors, and as the organization’s Development Director and Executive Director. Since 1982, she has also provided management consulting services to nonprofit organizations, sole proprietor businesses and individual artists.