Thursday, February 7, 2013, at 7:00 pm, poets Cindy Snow and Betsy Wheeler will continue the sixth season of the Collected Poets Series. Mocha Maya’s Coffee House, 47 Bridge St, Shelburne Falls, MA. ($2-5 suggested donation)
Cindy Snow’s writing has appeared in the Massachusetts Review, Peace Review, Worcester Review, and elsewhere. Her poetry has been nominated for a Pushcart, and she is the recipient of writing residencies at the Vermont Studio Center and Cill Rialaig. She co-coordinates the Poet’s Seat Poetry Contest for the Greenfield Public Library, has a book coming out in 2013 with Slate Roof Press, and lives with her family in Shelburne Falls. Cindy has worked as an editor, a teacher, an advocate for pregnant and parenting teens, and a trip leader in Nicaragua. Currently, she directs the Writing Center at Antioch University in Keene, juggles part time teaching gigs, and writes poetry about the life of 17th Century naturalist and botanical artist Maria Sibylla Merian.
Betsy Wheeler is the author of the poetry collection Loud Dreaming in a Quiet Room and Start Here, a poetry chapbook. Her poems have appeared innotnostrums, Bat City Review, Forklift Ohio, The Journal, and elsewhere. From 2005-2007, she served as the Stadler Fellow at Bucknell University. She is editor of the limited-edition poetry chapbook publisher Pilot Books, and Managing Director of the Juniper Summer Writing Institute. Visit her website for more.
ON THE PLANTATION NEAR THE CARIB CAMP / Cindy Snow
Before the murderous night
I listened. I was good
at listening. People who watch
often are, and I came here to watch.
I’m told the Bird of Paradise looks
like purple elegance, croaks
like a frog. I searched for it once, squatted
among leaves as broad as eggplants,
fat as fingers, watched
jungle mosquitoes land on my
damp wrists, simper and settle, ready to punch
holes in my skin. I wanted
bird strut and tilt, blurt and holler. I wanted
leaves to part, bird mid-ponder.
After the murderous night,
I wanted to cut off my own ears.
BUFFALO CHURCH / Betsy Wheeler
By and by the sound of women’s singing presses its gentle knees to my ears.
By the river they wanted to lead me.
Past the groundswell; little homes stuffed into hillsides.
The silence between high-notes was scary-scary.
The air terrarium-still, or stuck like jellyfish poison slowly sewing its way through the ocean’s deep breezes.
Pioneers no doubt would have fled.
But look at us standing here, remembering 1773 as a year of great darkness; the foreman all broken up about something or other, his hands steamy and sad, brushing away brown rivulets of sweat.
Flung into thirst, we ride through past and present all at once.
Church me, you say. Church me the hell out of here.
And I will.
Replace my heart with stone and I will.
I will fling me, church you, toward that light stands a mile to the north.
(First published in The Journal. Used by permission of the poet.)