Thursday, May 1, 2014, at 7:00 pm, poets Patricia Fargnoli and Dennis Finnell will continue the seventh season of the Collected Poets Series. Mocha Maya’s Coffee House, 47 Bridge St, Shelburne Falls, MA. ($2-5 suggested donation)
Patricia Fargnoli, from Walpole, New Hampshire was the New Hampshire Poet Laureate from 2006-2009. She’s published four books and three chapbooks of poetry and has won the May Swenson Book Award, the Foreword Magazine Silver Book Award, the New Hampshire Literary Award for Poetry and the Sheila Mooton Book Award. She’s published over 300 poems in literary journals such as Poetry, Ploughshares, Massachusetts Review, Harvard Review, et al. A Macdowell Fellow and retired social worker, she’s taught poetry in the Call Program at Keene State College, the New Hampshire Institute of Art, and at an Elderhostel. Most of the poems she’ll be reading are from her latest book Winter (Hobblebush Books, 2013) and new work.
Dennis Finnell has published four books of poems before Ruins Assembling, winner of the Things to Come Poetry Prize from Shape&Nature Press, 2014. The most recent is Pie 8, winner of the 2012 Bellday Prize. His first book is Red Cottage, which won the Juniper Prize from the University of Massachusetts Press. His next two books, Belovèd Beast and The Gauguin Answer Sheet, were selected for the Contemporary Poetry Series from the University of Georgia Press. He has received grants and fellowships from the Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation, The Ragdale Foundation, and the MacDowell Foundation, and taught at the University of Tennessee, Mount Holyoke College, Wesleyan University, and Greenfield Community College, where he also served as Co-Director of Financial Aid. Born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri, he now lives in western Massachusetts.
HUNGER / Patricia Fargnoli
It is the gnawing within the silence
of the deep body which is like
the pool a waterfall replenishes
but can never fill.
The watery room of the body
and its voices who call and call
wanting something more, always more.
Once in a dream, the trees in a peach orchard
called out saying: Here, this bright fruit,
hold its roundness in your palm,
and I held one, wanting
the others I could not hold,
as the light fell through the trees,
one cascade after another.
Now, the wind from the hurricane
that veered out to sea,
and the hard rain blow through the space
where yesterday men felled the spruce,
its height and beauty, for no good reason.
Where it was, only emptiness remains,
and the stump level with the ground.
The wind finds its own place
and waits there holding its breath
for a moment, calling to no one,
surprising us by its stillness,
surprising even the rain which comes in
to my house through the untidy gardens
where it has been sending its life breath
over the dying mint and blood red daylilies.
Summer is dying and I grow closer
to the shadow moving toward me
like the small spiders
that inhabit and hunt in the corners.
And the wind stirs, rattles the panels
singing its own hunger, its own water song.
TO THE RUINS OF THE REPUTED SLAUGHTERHOUSE / Dennis Finnell
On our walk we committed
a misdemeanor, stepping over the rusting chain.
It hung in a reddening equation, spiked between two bull pines.
First the left foot, then the right, so
(Which neighbor had said, O, that old pile was a slaughterhouse?
B. ’s sister, who owned the black deaf dog
who curled like a welcome mat on her sidewalk?
Or G. walking little Misty until she’d beg
with both front paws, Carry Me!?
Did G. tell me it was a slaughterhouse from his
slouched shoulders, news from a cave?)
left foot, then the right, . . . ,
tipping our hats to gravity, stepping past the No Trespassing sign,
(Andy later, It felt like we had to weigh
belief, knowing a rule, breaking it.)
then something ruptured the visual,
and squatting Andy and I saw the one who had ripped our eyes—
a foot-long suspect camouflaged in the duff of pine needles,
fleeing in an electro-chemical reaction: We would
eat him into non-snake.
(Or Mrs. S. just over the way, always well-to-do
with words, who is dogless,
Did Mrs. S. say, O that old shambles?)
Andy and I sidestepped the rotting
2x4s, booby-trapped with rusting nails.
Festooning the glass block windows, were those
old strings of Christmas lights?
Maybe just dead ivy, or old wire that once held a sign
advertising some special on spring lambs?
Inside the ruins the sky took over as roof, fallen on an old pickup.
It stood on four rotting tires — whitewalls!?
And a sumac — of course — sapling shooting
upward through the windshield
(and now F. the snow blower
repair guy tells me the reputed murderer
Mark Branch hid in the slaughterhouse until
he hung himself from a pine,
murderer, self-murderer, the blackening humor of a Branch
hanging until dead from a large coniferous bough.
Is that nomicide?) And next what will neighbors tell me?
That oversized woman who walks home weekdays for lunch
is the eternal mother of the murdered girl.
The ruins are assembling the neighborhood.