Mad Hatters' Review Issue 10, Fall 2008
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Poetry by
Simon Perchik
Music by Donald C. Meyer
Artworks by Carolyn Adams

Flow by Carolyn AdamsD35

Forget the instructions, the walls
should be painted first
pulled upward so the ceiling
curves and the gloss
half white, half emptiness
–you don't see yourself yet
or how you grip the brush
with just one hand, the other
slack till a slow climbing turn
waits to be born, grasping for air
–trust as if the corners
were already hollowed out
and the room kept not yet dry
grown safe with purpose and cradle snow.

 

 

 

Map by Carolyn AdamsD92

You've done it before, the horse
lowers its head heavier and heavier
–you know some wagon
is always getting lost, its wheels
rotted out, wobbling and pull
the same overloaded sun
–you know how it ends, the horse
falls on its side, the whip
criss crosses, not sure
how far before it can recognize
the road from the living
from the stomping in the open
desperate for the loose dirt
that flows back, taken in
as if an ancient sea
is still struggling in your hand
though you sift this still damp grass
for hooves, reminded over and over
by waves, and the evenings
now on their own without you
already know what to do.

 

I Minus Me by Carolyn Adams

D146

You were so sure! the boxes
sealed and no one
getting a bead on you
–wherever you're moving
it would be by air –not the kind
that comes from runways
but cardboard, corrugated
where its turbulence is hidden
at least till high enough
safely under your arms
still closing the flaps
and though the wings are taped
they're already breaking apart
held the heading too long
–you thought this place
would last out the month
not burn to the floor
become winds and your emptiness

 

*

Guise by Carolyn AdamsAnd wet your thumb on your finger
the way Narcissus leaned
even in his sleep --it takes years
to turn the page, afraid you'll drown
and the night fill with its echo
and your other hand
--you almost reach in --even the voice
sounds like you, has that hesitation
dampness --careful, it's not yet moonlight
just thin paper, just a calendar
where floating and over its gloss
a photograph shows off the moon
and never looks away --the splash you hear
comes from your finger bending down
the way the moon stares over its shoulder
--there's nothing for you to remember :the moon
is constantly around you
and you need this darkness even in your shadow
even for your finger and slowly all water
smelling from moonlight and alone.

 

Powers That Be by Carolyn Adams

*

You must use shadows to build
and bedrock breaking loose
--your black satin jacket, the white shirt
are what steady each new room
the way embryos, awash, not sure
once they leave and no one remembers
except when a firestorm, uncontrolled
locked all those nights
and some undersea fissure in the brain
opens underfoot --suddenly even water
is terrified, breaks apart
unable to regroup for that first rain
they almost remember in the morning.
Even now this small, cluttered plot
rejects the unfamiliar --each Spring
wild flowers --not till Winter
will their sheen be taken in
though you still bathe the jacket and the shirt
together --you must use
the nightmare :each shadow will harden
--for a long time hold the house
over the sea --with both hands
over that first stone still weeping
and no one can remember.

 

*

Cliff Dwellers by Carolyn AdamsWith those hefty walls a bank
will save forever
–no one is running away.
You leave a flower
to take root :her grave
under construction, the 3 X 5 card
the wood stave –by Spring
her name in thickset stone
and you can trust this place.
The walking away never ends
–each night the way a wolf yodels
lifts the moon closer
–jaws apart, your hairs bristle
rear up –your chest seems huge.
They leave you alone
a monster! hunched full length
braced with a flimsy stick
and the soft hum when to meet
–you walk away even when the bus
will stop, when the driver is new
not used to your enormous throat
overflowing with moonlight
and anything is possible
–you will meet and her grave
open up for all the world
the way a mother fills both breasts
–twins are still expected
and now the Earth has been enlarged
has already begun to breathe –the foam
still in your mouth
calling her name loose and the stone.

 
Edgy and Enlightened Literature, Art and Music in the Age of Dementia
   
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last update: October 14, 2008