Update: Due to the hazardous driving conditions predicted for tomorrow, the Abbot Cutler and Diane Wald reading scheduled for Thursday, March 1, at 7PM has been postponed until a later date. (Details of the rescheduling to come soon!)
Thursday, March 1, 2012, at 7:00 pm, poets Abbot Cutler and Diane Wald will continue the fifth season of the Collected Poets Series. Mocha Maya’s Coffee House, 47 Bridge St, Shelburne Falls, MA. ($2-5 suggested donation)
Abbot Cutler is the author of 1843 Rebecca 1847 (Rowan Tree Press, 1982) and The Dog Isn’t Going Anywhere (Mad River Press, 2001), and his poems have appeared in various anthologies and journals, including Ploughshares and Orion Magazine. He received a B.A. from Harvard University, and then an M.F.A. from Sarah Lawrence College following stints in the Peace Corps, which he spent in Malaysia, and teaching junior high school in Brooklyn, NY. He just retired from Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in North Adams, where he taught for over thirty years. He is a member of Slate Roof Press, a poetry collective in Franklin County, and lives in Ashfield, MA, with his wife, the photographer, Sarah Holbrook.
Diane Wald was born in Paterson, NJ, and has lived in Massachusetts since 1972. She holds a B.A. from Montclair University and an M.F.A. degree from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She has published over 250 poems in literary magazines since 1966. She was the recipient of a two-year fellowship in poetry from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown and has been awarded the Grolier Poetry Prize, The Denny Award, The Open Voice Award, and the Anne Halley Award. She also received a state grant from the Artists Foundation (Massachusetts Council on the Arts). She has published three chapbooks (Target of Roses from Grande Ronde Press, My Hat That Was Dreaming from White Fields Press, and Double Mirror from Runaway Spoon Press) and won the Green Lake Chapbook Award from Owl Creek Press. An electronic chapbook (Improvisations on Titles of Works by Jean Dubuffet) appears on the Mudlark website. Her book Lucid Suitcase was published by Red Hen Press in 1999 and her second book, The Yellow Hotel, was published by Verse Press in the fall of 2002. WONDERBENDER, her third collection, was published by 1913 Press in 2011. She works for animal welfare.
WHAT HAPPENS / Abbot Cutler
is that the air is full of words and phrases no one
believes. Caverns and crevices groan open.
Small creatures tumble along the canyon floor
trying to get out of the way. The heart of the great
whale bursts onto dry sand at the sound waves
of the shiny machines coursing the oceans. The black
dog whimpers in the heat. We speak in whispers
in the hope they will lean closer, climb down,
climb down. But,
they are walking faster, they are climbing in
and out of black cars, they are having microphones
attached, they are brushing off any small insects
that land on them and never looking
where they step. They are gazing at the monitors,
looking to the sensors, the earphones, the memory chips.
If their eyes would turn toward us … and what
of the heart, the warm heart in its dark cave?
It’s right here in this box which the huntsman
brings into the vast hall, the glass and cement,
the echoing footsteps, the temple of figures.
He has the heart in a box and opens it
for the black queen, for the senators and congressmen.
They take pictures of it. Maybe one of them
will put a picture up on his refrigerator,
the heart of the beast far from the haven
where the maiden spins out her innocence
in pure threads. Maybe he will look at it
every day and learn to say what it says.
Praise the heart of the beast, lift it up
and the distances will begin to lessen,
lift it up and the little snails will continue
on their slow shiny trails, lift it up
and a million tiny creatures will glisten
in a cold Pacific cove, lift it up
and maybe it will be possible to begin to say
something that you believe in.
A SILENT WIND OVER THE ISLET / Diane Wald
I’d forgotten you so liked art. And many things
advanced in those days to a point of consciousness
beyond any speech or understanding
the nerves could utter. Yet when I designed
the fine-blown glassware you impressed
upon each piece a delicate leaf, a hand,
a monstrous kiss that marked each one’s
relief from the next, an individual differing
so slightly from its kin, but greatly,
that every one-celled stem
floated its flower-house into a globe, a fishbowl end,
resting at last at level on the table.
Tigers love water. They sleep with their heads
towards the outside wall, and write with blue chalk
on the sidewalk. Outside blue. Eagerly I hand over
the lights to you, but soundless now,
as the man with his ear to the floor must be disowned
and drowned and downed by the giant. Once
you healed a woman twice. The color teal. The crayfish
glimmering in still pools and insect wings
of mica. And the hush. The awful stars. It all
comes back to me now in a wind-up of clouds
as softly they fall to your tie, to your shoulders.
How shall we move from one height to the next
except by the dark back stairs? A wooden linkage
creaks, a figure moves in violets and regrets,
pressing its face to the wall along the steps
so that the dreamers on the other side can hear
the contours of a presence at once kind and cold.
I remember you loved the hour without name
and every shade behind the purchased mask
with both its mouths. The clocks we found
moved backwards, moved in unison once a year,
and we’ve survived that moment in the mirror
as amber acquaintances. In the very end
you will be made to speak of me, you will
entirely forget, in every case, the distance
from the liquid to the rim, And you will then
believe we really did all the things we imagined.