Apr/May 2004 Poetry


by Shann Palmer

Art by Janet L. Snell



All my poems scamble in shrimp nets, full
and fishy, tossed across the deck of boats

where lazy afternoons sway honky-tonk music.
Sometimes in the middle of a dream I'll hear

a Cajun tune I can't remember when I'm awake.
Makes me wonder what else I've forgotten, who sang.

When I shut my eyes I see grainy 8mm movies,
stop-action black and white flashbacks in wonky angles,

smooth pine floors, a single bed in a back room;
somewhere there's a party in progress.

Thinking about it arouses me, and I don't know why.
It was Tucson in the spring or an East Texas summer.

Some men wear the smell of their work: creosote,
wet peat, fresh cut wood, motor oil and sweat—

I'm in line at the movies when I torque into a faded Polaroid
and try to inch my way closer to the guy in front of me.

His smell snaps me back into the arms of that mechanic.
We fucked all night in a rollaway bed a million years ago.

The rug was olive green, the wine was fruity and dark,
words are vivid colors and fais-dodo lovers who wait

dancing on the other side of a closed door,
at the end of the dock, in an elevator going up.


Previous Piece Next Piece