RED LETTER POEMS
A Feast of Words
One project that will have its first presentation shortly is “A Feast of Words” – three-minute pop-up poetry readings taking place in area restaurants. Diners will enjoy the surprise of having three of Arlington’s prominent poets appear unexpectedly, each reading a single poem, before they disappear for another venue.
Authors Fred Marchant and Susan Donnelly will join our Laureate for the first evening’s round of Feasts. “The poems we’ll choose will be about food, family and friends, our shared time together. It’s our hope that this unexpected gift of words will not only enhance their dining experience but will remind even the poetry-phobes in the room (those, perhaps, turned-off to poetry by early and less-than-enjoyable experiences in a school setting) that there is a deep pleasure in a moment’s calm, in being read to aloud, in feeling how words connect our separate worlds, stir the imagination and memory.”
Selected Poems by Steven Ratiner
were touting on the news but
in the pond’s black skies which
in his small fist. Opening it slowly
and by what he’s possessed
I kiss the moon there.
the downpour has let up
and sail blades divide
one blue from another.
The eye bathes in light’s
Like carved figureheads,
bearded iguanas stare out from
the smooth limbs of the turpentine.
This whole island is a prow
rocking at anchor. You’d
have loved this blue stillness.
I’d have loved any weather
which delayed your departure.
froze over in this throat, he had a hard timewith the snow — He couldn’t say,
and the sky wouldn’t stop saying —
We went walking, and the tracks
in our wake — And the cardinal-
red calligraphy scribbled between trees —
And the ticking like Morse across hat brim —
And the time I was certain his hiss
was about to coalesce into Steven —
And the dream I kept having: moon-
slick trail rising between birch ribs, breath
becoming smoke, ink becoming breath —
Writing these words across the page —
And even before the sentence is complete,
the footprints filling up with white —
So It Goes
dipping a wing, leveling off,
great feather-light planes of color
threaded together like a Miró
mobile suspended in a gulf
of darkness inside some museum
of forgotten days, the faces of strangers
gazing upward, mouthing words you
cannot make out from this all-
consuming distance: hospice, the bed-
side gathering, the long night followed
by the even longer morning.