Three Poems by Susan Briante

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7th Day of the Rainy Season

Between the window washer and curb, a galaxy swirls.

Between windshield and rag, office towers sway.

Old ladies pluck orange candies from pink market tubs.

Passionflower vines capture red and blue wavelengths of light.

Any search requires a preposition as in “Estoy buscando a mi amigo”.

Tradewinds skirt a Flamazul truck with its license plates from the interior.

Water trembles in a cistern with nothing to heat it.

The frigid woman, writes André Tridon, is a cripple or a neurotic.

Jacaranda trees bloom like lightning strikes.

“To the girl with the prettiest eyes,” he says handing me his knife.

Nutrient cycling occurs through a process similar to valet parking.

Between my lover and myself, a preposition stiffens like cinderblock brick.

A guard in a bulletproof vest hoses a pick-up.

Every time he’s out of my sight: “Estoy buscando a mi querido”.

The window washer slaps a twisted red rag against the curb.

A broom licks the sidewalk. A slice of flesh-red mamey slips from his blade.

— Originally published in Pioneers in the Study of Motion (Ahsahta, 2007)



11 Railway Lines Stretch from Chicago by 1861 

an adolescent daughter slutting around
showing off        her terrible,        a pine tree
gone rusty          in winter time,      sun
seeps under her sweater,
ribbon development     and the public
realm opens up to cars
              deracinated country folk
could be wooed
by linotype, steam engines, turbines,
two tree trunks grope and bind
when you slice off a piece of crazy tail, he warns me,
know what the fence post knows
              you can drive
for an hour south of Charlottesville
watch a skinny girl walk a long road
recently paved, worried about loyalty
tar clings to fence weeds,
              unmoored from the nation,
the thickly-accented philosopher explained
we could find hope        rich light
on the stable roof
a boy from down the road
who will read you differently
who steps out of the trees responsible
for love, under a system that pays him
no mind            no heed               no blossoms
yet on the redbud
but space cleared for their coming

— Originally published in Utopia Minus (Ahsahta, 2011)



October 1 —- The Dow Closes Down 9509

In the dream, I queue with a pane of glass in my hand.
Next to me: a child and a mirror.

Then we stand at the edge of an accident.
I pick up a sliver of windshield, place it on my tongue.
The glass tastes like cold stone and dirt and I love
the way it fractures in my mouth.

Glass often indicates a strong psychic or intuitive ability.
Broken glass predicts change, not necessarily beneficial.
To receive cut glass means you will be admired
              for your brilliance and talent.
To dream you eat glass signals vulnerability,
              confusion, frailty.

9+5+0+9=23                                2+3=5
5=freedom, adaptability, unpredictable travel, abuse
of the senses.

In a Sufi proverb, the bear must deal with 20 obstacles,
each one of them involves pears
because the bear adores pears.

— Originally published in Eleven Eleven




Susan Briante is the author of two books of poetry: Utopia Minus (Ahsahta Press, 2011) and Pioneers in the Study of Motion (Ahsahta Press, 2007). She also writes essays on documentary poetics as well as on the relationship between place and cultural memory, and is finishing work on a new collection of poems, The Market Wonders, inspired by the current economic crisis.

Read the interview with Susan Briante.

Photo credit: ebbandflowphotography via photopin cc. is the world’s first online journal of place, publishing a rich mix of literature, artwork, case studies, and more since 1997.