Please join us Thursday, April 5, 2018, at 7:00 pm, when poets Liz Ahl and Charlie Rossiter will read for the Collected Poets Series. Mocha Maya’s Coffee House, 47 Bridge St, Shelburne Falls, MA. ($2-5 suggested donation)
Liz Ahl is the author of Beating the Bounds (Hobblebush Books, 2017), Home Economics (Seven Kitchens Press, 2016), Talking About the Weather (Seven Kitchens Press, 2012), Luck (Pecan Grove Press, 2010), and A Thirst That’s Partly Mine (winner of the 2008 Slapering Hol Press chapbook contest). Luck received the “Reader’s Choice in Poetry” award at the 2011 New Hampshire Literary Awards. Her poems have appeared recently or are forthcoming in Sinister Wisdom, Atlanta Review, The Lavender Review, Able Muse, Nimrod, and The Good Men Project, among others. Her work has also been included in several anthologies, including This Assignment is So Gay: LGBTIQ Poets on the Art of Teaching (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2013), Mischief, Caprice, and Other Poetic Strategies (Red Hen Press, 2004), A Face to Meet the Faces: An Anthology of Contemporary Persona Poetry (University of Akron Press, 2012) and Like Thunder: Poets Respond to Violence (University of Iowa Press, 2002). She has been awarded residencies at Playa, Jentel, The Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts, and The Vermont Studio Center. She teaches at Plymouth State University in Plymouth, New Hampshire.Charles Rossiter, National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship Recipient, hosts the twice- monthly podcast series at www.PoetrySpokenHere.com. His work has been featured on NPR’s “Poet and the Poem.” and he’s taught and led workshops at literary festivals, senior centers, community organizations, libraries, prisons and schools throughout the Eastern and Midwestern U.S. During the 1990s he produced and hosted Poetry Motel, a cable television program seen on community access stations around the Northeast. His recent books include: All Over America: Road Poems; Winter Poems; Cold Mountain 2000: Han Shan in the City and Lakeside Poems.
TRANSFER STATION / Liz Ahl
There is a place for everything.
Divided neatly, all the bins
are labeled, one for anything
you’d think of. And a man to ask
when you’re not sure. “If it can tear,”
is what the dump attendant says
about what paper is allowed.
He’ll also clarify that “dump”
is not what we should call this place
from which all leavings are removed
to distant, dumpish parts unnamed
and scarcely known. It’s all transferred.
All swept away. Except, of course,
for items left in the single-wide
identified as the “Swop Shoppe.”
We’re Yankees, still beholden to
the old proverbs and promises
to use it up, to wear it out
to make it do or do without.
So here we leave what can’t be trash,
the artifacts for which no bins
exist: old corporate coffee mugs,
cassette tapes, china, blenders, books,
and plastic corded telephones;
small furniture and Scrabble boards,
red-eyed alarm clocks, pots and pans.
And from these shelves and tables take
for free whatever things we want
to bring to useful life again.
Our waffle iron, hand mixer,
the extra wine glasses, the pot
we plant with flowers every year—
all came from here. I don’t recall
what all we’ve left behind in trade.
I guess this is a transfer, too—
from someone else’s life to this
way station at the edge of town
and then at last to us, to ours,
this pot I fill with snapdragons,
this glass from which I drink my wine.
from Beating the Bounds (Hobblebush Books, 2017)
ON MEETING WITH AN OLD FRIEND
FOR AN OVERNIGHT: A POEM
ON HIS RECENT LIFE / Charlie Rossiter
(for Tom (after Yuan Hung-tao)
more at home with Baudelaire
than a financial statement
you’ve turned your back
on the world of 9 to 5
to pursue poetry
a noble goal
to be good at something
before you die,
and an uphill struggle
but then. . .
the way you’ve chosen
opens out to the wild
and the path you’ve given up
stick it out–
you’ll meet the beast
you’re looking for
you’re looking for