Diann Blakely

Santa Anna

The scrub pines burn like matchsticks, the houses tinder
When fall's dry winds howl through the faux desert
And pound on redwood doors. Fixing dinner,

Meek wives take carving knives from kitchen drawers
And eye their husbands' necks. What's for dessert
When scrub pines burn like matchsticks, the houses tinder?--

Your husband's nightly beers and Raymond Chandler,
Who wrote of knives and the flesh they hurt,
Rage pounding at redwood doors. Fixing dinner,

You phone a friend in Long Beach: her breasts are sore
But larger. Today she bought some new tight white shirts
Though scrub pines burned like matchsticks, the houses tinder

On her drive to Rodeo. When husbands wander
As if blown by hot gales, some wives, still sutured,
Pound at redwood doors. Or fix dinner,

Pretend nothing's wrong, and grow thinner.
"Get pregnant," your friend says. "Buy a new hat."
The scrub pines burn like matchsticks, the houses tinder.
She pounds at redwood doors. You fix dinner.

Charlotte Bronte's Gloves

Hands lower to touch that wedding dress
And silk-draped hat on Jane Eyre's bed.
Beyond windows, what should be the dead
Of winter comforts us with moony pollens,
A few blossoms on mostly still-bare limbs.
Last week's snow melts. "Reader, I married him."

Also last week, a stunt pilot's fiery crash
Consumed five houses only blocks from here.
Black jacket, silk gloves. Did he know Jane Eyre?
You want me to stop reading, get undressed,
Four hundred pages and just one real joke:
I flip back to the house where Brock-

lehurst--a cruel, vicious minister--quizzes
The orphaned Jane on hell. What must she do
To avoid the demon-heated stew
Of fumes and ash? Forswear the body's lusts?
"I must keep in good health, sir, and not die."
Silk sheets, your winter-leathered hands on mine:

To rebuild one house? Her gloves on show.
The pilot looped and swirled to spell out
A message. "Jane loves Eddie," he wrote
In letters pale as those blossoms the moon shadows,
As my own hands, reclutching this book.
And what of poor Bertha, excaped from the attic?--

She'd grown too mad to inscribe her portraits
On virginal white paper. And with words.
In just a few hours, befuddled birds
Flown back too soon from Florida marshes,
Will sing back-up for the dawn, its red flames
Burning the sky. Should I have changed my name

When we married, long ago? (To digress
Is human, to forgive, divine.) How long
Till you'll be blind with sleep, bent arm tingling
With the blood pooled and vein-congested?
A girl from the tropics, I miss the sun
But love, like Charlotte Bronte, to read till dawn;

And once I loved to touch you, my hands gloveless
And burning with cold. O remember how
We traipsed across the moors, and kissed? And now
I want to rebuild this winter-battered house:
An attic bedroom, warmed by a fireplace,
New bookshelves, where mirrors hold both faces.

Another Art

Voicelessness. The snow has no voice.
The walls, also, seem to be warming themselves,
My heart opens and closes: awareness,

Or protection, month after month, to no purpose?
In Munich, morgue between Rome and Paris,
Voicelessness reigns. The snow has no voice,

And I have wanted to efface myself. Tulips
Forced open in the domesticity of windows!--
The walls warm themselves like dangerous animals,

But mannequins lean in their furs, orange lollies
Where light slowly widens and slowly thins.
The walls, also, seem to be warming themselves

Where the yew trees blow like sulfur hydras
Or the fanged mouths of great African cats,
If not where snow drops its pieces of darkness.

Why bother to keep the bureaus and teasets,
Or months, tamped shoes, Stolzes, orange lollies--
All voiceless! The snow has no voice,
But my heart opens: why close awareness?


Diann Blakely's work has won two Pushcarts; the Poetry Society of America's Alice Fay di Castagnola Award, given annually for a best manuscript-in-progress; and Elixir Press's 7th Publication Prize. She has appeared in numerous anthologies, including Best American Poetry and Orpheus and Co.: Contemporary Poems on Greek Mythology. Poems from her latest manuscripts--Rain in Our Door: Duets with Robert Johnson and Lost Addresses--have been featured twice in Greil Marcus's "Hard Rock Top Ten" as well as in Lisa Russ Spaar's Chronicle of Higher Education poetry column and Frederick Barthelme's Blip Magazine; Blakely has been also published at Callaloo, Harvard Review Online, the Nation, the Paris Review, the Oxford American, Triquarterly, Shenandoah, the Southern Review, the Yale Review, and Verse, among others.


Diann Blakely
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Mezzo Cammin is proud to announce the third anniversary of The Mezzo Cammin Women Poets Timeline Project, which will be celebrated on Thursday, March 21, from 6:00-9:00 at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, as part of its PAFA After Dark series and in affiliation with its exhibition The Female Gaze. Featured readers will include Rachel Hadas, Marilyn Nelson, and Sonia Sanchez. Also performing will be singer Suzzette Ortiz and poets from the Philadelphia Youth Movement. The event is open to the public.
Jean Shin: Much of my work is site-specific, establishing a dialogue with not only architecture and outdoor spaces, but also the communities that inhabit and activate them. By reinserting used, familiar materials back into the public realm, I invite a large, diverse audience to bring their own histories to the work. Through these encounters each installation forms its own imagined community, revealing new associations and meanings for ephemera, and speaking to our shared experiences.
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