Wednesday Feb 08

Newberry-Poetry Martina Reisz Newberry’s most recent book is Learning By Rote (Deerbrook Press). She is also the author of What We Can’t Forgive, Late Night Radio, Perhaps You Could Breathe For Me. Hunger, After The Earthquake: Poems 1996-2006, Not Untrue & Not Unkind (Arabesques Press, Amari Hamadene, editor) and Running Like A Woman With Her Hair On Fire: Collected Poems (Red Hen Press). Ms. Newberry is the winner of i.e. magazine’s Editor’s Choice Poetry Chapbook Prize for 1998: An Apparent, Approachable Light. She is the also the author of Lima Beans And City Chicken: Memories Of The Open Hearth—a memoir of her father—published by E.P. Dutton and Co. in 1989. She has written four novels and several books of poetry, has been included in Ascent Aspirations’ first hard-copy Anthology and in the anthology In The Company Of Women, and has been widely published in literary magazines such as: Ascent Aspirations, Bellingham Review, Blessed Are These Hands, Cape Rock, Connecticut Poetry Review, Cenacle, Counterpunch, Current Accounts, Divine Femme, Haight Ashbury, Iota, Istanbul Literary Review, Niche, Piedmont Literary Review, Southern Review of Poetry, Shot of Ink, Smiling Politely, Touchstone, Women's Work, Yet Another Small Magazine, and others. Martina lives in Hollywood, California, with her husband Brian and their benevolent dictator/cat, Gato.

                                                                    ---------
 
On The Trail
 
 
On my walk up the mountain
I met Sadie on the trail.
She was just sitting on a
rock there. She said I’m a down-
growing tree. I am growing
the wrong direction. I tried
to make this fucking desert
bloom but I just can’t do it.
No one can, I said, at least
no one I know.
Sadie coughed and coughed. She’d put
on a few pounds, her under-
eyes were puffy. I saw Mars
last night she said all lit up
like a Polish Church. They were
having a dance up there. They
didn’t invite me because
I’m fat. She began to weep—
immense, helpless sobs and loud
choking too. I felt frightened,
open to her pain in a
way I didn’t choose. There was
only room for one on the
rock, so I stayed on my feet.
You have to stop, Sadie,
I said. You have the soul of
a poet and the sky above
and the earth below and the
rain and clouds.
She continued to weep. I knew
that the merest touch would bruise
her so I refrained. I saw
that her oval eyes were blank
with grief and it was only
through salt water that she could
see at all. Does your family
love you? (she asked me this) I
said yes. Do they defer their
judgments and criticisms
for another century?
(she asked me this) I said yes.
I am living my mother’s recollections she said.
All her unhappiness, her
failures, she left to me. My
own child has escaped to avoid
the same fate. She wiped her eyes
on her sleeve. Look down there at
that desert she said. The wind
is so strong sometimes, it pulls
needles from the cacti and
sends them straight through our hearts. We’re
bleeding to death. Don’t you see?
No I said. Say, I’ve got an
idea: how about I
buy us a sandwich at Loo’s
Sandwich Shop. They put baby
spinach on their sandwiches
instead of lettuce.
Yeah, she said that would be fine.
When Sadie stood up all her
clothes were stiff with salt. She crackled
we walked back the way I’d come
Sadie left white sprinkles there.

 

 
Redhead—Three About Sadie and Me
 
 
When I saw her at the Coffee Bean Café
& asked her how she was
her hair blazed crazy
& her fingers grew brittle
& she said she just didn’t believe
in the whole thing anymore
& I said I guessed things
weren’t so good then huh
& she said she was tired
of being the last clean towel
in the damn linen closet
& I just nodded like I understood
& she said making poems was worse
than shoveling shit in a chicken coop
the famous writers ignored you
wouldn’t help you with so much
as a fucking endorsement
& her work meant nothing to nobody
& failure surrounded her
came at her like a tidal wave
& was drowning her
& I said I knew how that was
& she said she doubted that
& she said she would believe
her number was up if she’d ever been
given a number in the 1st place
which she hadn’t (been given)
& I said Sadie I’m sorry
how about I buy you a coffee
& she said yeah that would be fine
& while we drank it I noticed
her fingers     like dried vines
how they would snap off
if I took her hand

  

 
July 2012

 
I can write love into this dark hotel,
talk of all that has been lived so far and
will be lived tomorrow & the tomorrow
after that. The words, repetitive, strong,
 
deliberate as summer’s heat, might
stir this room into life—a kind of life—
open the blinds, turn the bed down with cool,
dreamy hands and kind gestures. I can write
 
a doorway into this hotel’s bedroom
where warm stones have eyes & watch our entrance
& later, our exit. The speechless Aspen
trees outside this hotel are waiting for

revolution and then resurrection.
I can write purpose into them, put my
human mind into their deciduous mouths,
write madras shirts and sheets into these dark

beds. I can look into the dusk-covered sky
for some gift not like any other. For
you, I say. For you and no one else: the
secret samba from this dark hotel to your eyes.
 

 

 
About the Rain
 

 
Dark, rainy morning
My coat, a closeted slash
Blood-red reminder
 
Wet sand, so cheerless,
The desert is too honest
When it’s sad, it weeps
 
Ragweed sends great sighs
Lightning brings out its muscle
It’s never afraid
 
A white crane   out there
The sand doesn’t even stir
Crane bringing showers