ALAN BRITT was invited, in 2015, to Ecuador by the Ecuadorian House of Culture Benjamín Carrión in Quito, Ecuador as part of the first cultural exchange of poets between Ecuador and the United States. During his visit, he participated in events all across the country including the international literary conference sponsored by La hermandad de las palabras 2015 in Babahoyo, Ecuador. In 2013 he served as judge for the The Bitter Oleander Press Library of Poetry Book Award. His interview at The Library of Congress for The Poet and the Poem aired on Pacifica Radio, January 2013. His latest books include Violin Smoke (Translated into Hungarian by Paul Sohar and published in Romania, 2015); Lost Among the Hours, 2015; Parabola Dreams (with Silvia Scheibli), 2013; and Alone with the Terrible Universe, 2011. He teaches English/Creative Writing at Towson University.
Eternity in a Flower
(For Nikolai Buglaj)
My neighbor’s motorized string trimmer cannot vanquish glorious moments of watching a bumbler rummage goldenrod stamens of eggplant blossoms. Lavender eggplant blossoms, more beautiful than slender women in waterfall gowns attending Lulu at Lincoln Center, women fluffing accordion chiffon above their knees as they step from taxis onto rain-soaked curbs, women with ruby & emerald broaches in classical designs that mimic the cross in one manner or another. This bumbler buzzes lavender blossom to blossom, hugging each tented goldenrod stamen & blending forelegs into a tornado of pollen fastened to right knee, second ball to left knee before zigzagging furry, purple-veined leaves—leaves shaped like a demure white-gloved hand lilted across a chauffer’s black-gloved hand—away into the ether. About when my neighbor’s motorized string trimmer presses its sputtering thumb against the tiny brass plunger on the sun’s stopwatch to resume the afternoon’s mundane activities.
4th of July
Braided raindrops tap tap tap the curved white ankle of an aluminum gutter. Six dozen rose-of-Sharon, bruised lavender, breathe thick humidity that resembles a stick of butter abandoned upon a slate countertop beside a simmering stove.
Drops of crystal, from the wound as Lorca said, hang from gutter bottoms. Hand-held machines turning things—drills, sanders, routers—whine everywhere. Abundant rain yellows the garden from ground up. Buff-colored elephant cucumber ears rest chins upon the wire mesh that encloses them. Cabbage leaves like wrinkled tobacco droop the edges of their terracotta containers.
One mockingbird, hunkered below shadows of thick maples & black walnuts, arrows his metallic ribbon across the gunmetal afternoon. Female cardinal, wings resembling a lit cigarette, scrapes her beak against the outstretched thigh of a split-rail fence before bolting across the emerald backyard dotted with white plastic lawn chair overturned atop rain-soaked picnic table & ghostly barbeque grill protected by black petroleum hood.
Braided drops lick the rain gutter’s curved white ankle—ashen dragonfly circles the yard—& like a torch male cardinal greets his mate atop ghostly barbeque grill before branding his scar across the thick flesh of a gunmetal afternoon.
I just want you to hurt like I do,
honest I do, honest I do.
Our kingdom might as well abandon
its glory years in the sentimental rubble
of tattered yearbooks.
Do you have an arrow in your quiver
or a quiver in your arrow?
I’m afraid Vaudeville humor won’t get us
through this one.
Reminds me of the WWE, Friday night,
bouncing rope to rope, fake folding chair
to bank vault . . . hostages
all too willing to accommodate.
Paramour sunset . . . teeth of breakers
foaming moonlit hips, a howling sunrise
& the flash of goggle-eye through
a magician’s mirror . . . paramour!
You never know when love will leap
from your throat expelling flames
the color of October gourds
with snowy stripes of Dada DNA . . . ♣
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