Tuesday May 21

wallace.jpg Joni Wallace's poetry collection, Blinking Ephemeral Valentine, was selected by Mary Jo Bang for the 2009 Levis Prize and is forthcoming from Four Way Books. She holds an MFA from the University of Montana and a BA and JD from the University of New Mexico. She currently lives between Tucson, Arizona and Telluride, Colorado, where she teaches poetry in the schools, community and detention centers.  Joni is also a musician and co-founder of the Poets’ Studio.  For more information visit www.roster.azarts.gov and Poets’ Studio. 
Star spangled valentine shagged in drab  
Crescent train, a.m., heads west,
little o for a headlight, little robber’s
gashed glare. I put my ear
to the singing, lean into the going. 
America, I’ve learned
your image-traffic – 
ashen pigeons trilling
electric lines, razor wire looped over
fences, satellites blinking
into gasoline rings.
I fell hard for the Wide Open,
your scrap yards and tree-lined rivers,
parking lots etched into prairies.   
All this inside myself, a broken
bottle gleaming. Tell me a story,
begin with a flag unfurled
and a sun-warmed body of cows,
black/white and black. 
Tell me another where you’re something
flamed and spinning, top or superhero,
now the ticker tape fall,
now the remnant float,
a boxcar graffitied, aluminum clouds.

Narrative poem left out in the rain
Choose an ending
from the Book of Endings,
which the most guttural,
which the most vanished-into-air?
Dog circles,
halos above a Rainbird,
a mischief of mice,
too-fast mouse (disappeared),
a-little-too-sad mouse.
Could it be summer,
a ladder to nowhere, 
in a tin can of rain?
Mother, mother,
beginning of sadness,
you are, an apron to sing it, 
a house and a housecoat
part light, part rust,
dismantling the frame. 
Walk into the backdrop.
Screen porch, willow tree’s
silhouette against a marbled thunderhead.
Alone, I make a door
in the jewelweed. 
So summer ends: