Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Three Poems by Andy Stallings


          Only sad things,
like: the tea is not
        coffee. Silence
              arrives, sudden
        as mail. Only magic
              things, like: if
you’d only say so…
        (You: say so.)
              How feeling is
        ‘the useless cry
              of a bird’ /
                    a sort of
              nowhere including
        Each song the choir
              sings sounds like
        the end of service.
              Enter the city:
delivery trucks
        drag concrete over
cobbles, over
        curbs where I
              wander with my
gigantic dome umbrella,
        alive as in a
              tenancy to silence.
        Rocks stacked on
              stovepipes. Windows:
                    debts I pay
        again and again.
                The rain has no
                    idea –


Tiny city on the inside
of an ember: model for
that other city, memory.

                                                        Conversations we pass,
                                                        like beliefs, down through

                            An orange in frosty grass, rotting slowly.

                            So cold I’d steal my brother’s clothes, so quiet
                            I hear the dim electric crackling of power lines,
                            headed who knows where.

Whatever disappears
      becomes a mirror.
              Still talking
      about the world
though it vanishes.

      In the distance,
              graceful skater.

                              City of pigeons frozen in fountains at night, singing:

                                                        What finally
                                                        our lives must
                                                        correspond to,
                                                        the sky

Shadows even in darkness.
Snow: the great equal.
No two stillnesses alike.


Nothing changed: it ached away.
You cried all night last night
about your dreams. Under
ether, sound elongates, bells
like tulip bulbs. I am
easily broken, or moved.
I spoke today with a man
who no longer speaks.
We walked around defying.
Winter: cat past lit
doorway. Sunlight:
counterfeit. Journey
begins in winter as
despair. The city contains
a second, sleeping city
where, stranded near
the bakery, we buy it
entire. There are days
for an old-fashioned
silk-lined suit; days for
vanishing. Approaching
the new city in conversation,
we catch a coming hymn
and fall silent. Together
we enter the bright gymnasium.

Andy Stallings lives in New Orleans, where he teaches creative writing at Tulane University, co-edits Thermos Magazine, and curates Exploding Swan Operations. His poems have appeared or will soon appear in Mid-American Review, Bat City Review, Seattle Review, Crab Creek Review, Hubbub, and Clementine Magazine.