Poetry — December 29, 2014 11:23 — 0 Comments

5 Poems – Martha Silano

Does anyone in the neighborhood go by the name Smurf? 

I’m partial to the Presley version of Blue
Christmas, and I’ve been known to stain

blue at the touch, to go electric indigo
when my honey ho-ho hums, but it can’t

be me: I’m not quite that diminutive, don’t
own a floppy stocking cap. I’d been lazuli

for eons, child of cobalt and bruise, but my eyes,
my eyes are vermillion tinged with gray.

Someone else must be the Smurf of Mount Baker,
of Walker and 30th, Smurf of Horton and Hanford,

Smurf of the 76 Station on MLK, the Dose Steps
Smurf. I wanted to be the Smurf, but they could smell

the height in my soup, sense my uncerulean tune.
I failed true deep sky so badly, 2 out of 10.

I was an ugly pee-stained throw, throw-up beige.
I wanted to say That’s me! That’s me! Grab the letter

in her hand, claim it mine, but I possessed not a lick
of iris flame. I was no Smurf on Smurf Avenue, not

living in a giant cartoon mushroom, no North Pole
intoning Slide down! Slide down! I can’t stop you!



There is another world / but it is inside this one 


Inside the hamster’s cage, beneath its glowing-
igloo hideaway, there is another. Underneath

the stack of substantial orange paperbacks,
realms of highly intelligent dwellers. Beside

the fish bowl, a portal to three doors down
where the potter resides in her basement

of blue ceramic Buddhas. Deep in the gut
of a jay, a delectable station. The other world

is inside this screen door, so come on in.
Here, where I stash three kinds of milieu,

several twisted, fleshy roots. Over here,
where there’s this other, where language

waxes, where impermanence isn’t a word,
where the chief inhabitants have no tongue.

Inside this crevice, where intonations
coalesce in a place that’s here and not.



Twenty Questions

What do you want for dinner?
Have you called 1-800-GOT-JUNK?
Did you plant the mustard and arugula?
Are the cats inside or out?

Should we just have leftovers?
Have they picked up the broken Weber?
Have you weeded the raised bed?
Who’s picking up Boots?

Did you eat that last piece of lasagna?
How did the microwave break?
Has this row been mulched?
Will it knock me out?

Where were those chickens going?
Do you think it’s worth fixing?
Have you watered the front?
How much should I take?

Are you going back to the kitchen?
Could we make it a little less Appalachian?
Did we make the cut off date?
What time do you need to be up?



Alternate Names for Orbiting Spacecraft 

1. Lone bulb over Siberia
2. Hurl of eternal returns
3. Over here/over there flashlight
4. Push-button anxiety cruiser
5. Leveled-off martini shaker
6. Somersaulting shuttlecock
7. Eyeball in a teacup
8. Hoodwinked into perpetual piety
9. Canary in a capsule
10. Seagull’s preferred perch
11. Revolving snickerdoodle
12. Silent Avenue
13. Dinged dinner bell hovers above the habitable blue
14. No huff, no puff, no blow
15. Consciousness-raising contraption
16. Unloosed from ubiquitous yank
17. Home of the atrophying quadriceps
18. Self in an upside down barrel
19. She Who Enters Shaves with a Dancing Razor
20. Forever fling in a forest of deadly dots
21. Mission suppose nobody knows



Space Probe Pantoum

Voyager 1 is leaving home.
Solar winds have slackened.
We didn’t know; we didn’t know
there’d be a transition zone.

Solar winds have slackened.
Particles from here and there: hello!
Who knew there’d be a transition zone
at the edge of a windless edge.

Particles from here and there: hello!
When the poles switch we’ll be certain.
At the edge of a windless edge,
in a zone we’ve never known.

When the poles switch we’ll be certain.
Unexpected, this zipping and zooming
in a zone we’ve never known.
We call this part the bow shock.

Unexpected, this zipping and zooming.
We’re safe here with our sun.
We call this part the bow shock.
The exit, they say, will be rough.

We’re safe here with our sun.
Not like a footprint on the moon.
The exit will be rough,
won’t be all at once,

not like a footprint on the moon.
Like some strange angel
it won’t be all at once.
Flitting around on the fringe

like some strange angel,
we know we’re nearly there,
flitting around on the fringe.
Us stuff nearly gone,

we know we’re nearly there.
Voyager is leaving home,
us stuff nearly gone:
we didn’t know; we didn’t know.


Martha Silano’s books include The Little Office of the Immaculate Conception, Reckless Lovely, both from Saturnalia Books, and, with Kelli Russell Agodon, The Daily Poet: Day-By-Day Prompts For Your Writing Practice (Two Sylvias Press). Her poems have appeared in Poetry, Paris Review, American Poetry Review, and elsewhere. Martha teaches at Bellevue College.

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What am I?

Bioluminescent eye
That sees by the shine
Of its own light. Lies

Blind me. I am the seventh human sense
And my stepchild,

Scientists can't find me.

Januswise I make us men;
Was my image then—

Remind me:

The awful fall up off all fours
From the forest
To the hours…

Tick, Tock: Divine me.

-- Richard Kenney