The Londonberry Salon showed up at the Sacramento Poetry Center on August 23, 2010. The salon was responsible for putting out The Larkfield Review in 20o9 which was edited by husband and wife team Greg Randall and Toni Wilkes and featured four poets: Shawn Pittard, Mary Petrosky, Roy Mash, and Christina Hutchins. These four poets were the featured readers, introduced by Randall and Wilkes, on this night at SPC.
Why I Don't Write Confessional Poetry
So many laws argue so many sins — Milton, Paradise Lost
When I was nineteen, I confessed my sexual indiscretions to an eighty-year-old High Priest — a Latter-Day Apostle — who wrote them all down on a long, yellow pad. He meticulously transcribed each incident, by category, while asking clarifying questions. Was that you on her? Or her on you? His Mont Blanc scribbled furiously.
Below a painting of the blue-eyed Jesus, praying desperately for His own deliverance in Gethsemane, I could taste the contents of that bitter cup.
The old man pushed a box of Kleenex across the cluttered desktop. Sometimes, he said, people show sorrow for their sins. The second hand ticked on the wall clock. Basketballs bounced on the hardwood floor down the hallway — Church League. He nodded toward the white tissue with a thin smile of encouragement. It's a matter of excommunication.
Lot's wife was told do not look back or she would be turned into a pillar of salt. Some days, I can feel the heat of that burning city in the middle of my back — as I walk, and walk, and walk away.
— Shawn Pittard
Alberto's Love Song
When Lena turns,
rises slowly onto her toes
above the other young women,
Alberto is mesmerized
by the arc of her calves
through yellow cotton, by
her stillness, this cactus flower
barely open to the sun amid red
poppies whose flutter and nod
tantalizes the passing Sunday crowds.
Again and again, he watches Lena
glide from her canvas-covered soles
to point. Each time catches
the quiver of her jaw
just as she breaks
pose and slides down
into the bevy of skirts.
He know how small
is the gate to vulnerability.
Knows Lena is a thorn bird,
weaves her nest into a dome
of barbed twigs. He doesn't
mind getting his hand pricked
out, little camastero
he can make fly.
here's my pinkie finger
weakest of any
I use it
for entering small places
nose holes eye nooks ear mazes
immaculate pal o' mine
always at the end of things
like an aisle seat
always coy always
the lilting one
junior partner of the firm
the one who attends to the details
itself a detail
daughter I must leave out
of the boy scout salute
who flirts with my thumb
when I'm nervous
definitive unit of etiquette
I've tried to teach it guitar
make it type
It wants to be insignificant or nothing
to know at the end no one
have no one
unfamous as a thread
ninny of my care
stick without width.
—Roy Mash (first published in miller's pond)
A Way Back To Life
From Russians I learned never to shake hands
across a threshold, but a half-hour after
rising, I return to set my cool hand into the bed
where a river of a dreamheat lingers, the still-warm
flank of our horse's dark gallop.
To make sure it was me they got, my parents
put up all night with a mockingbird
perched aloud in one of three liquid birches
a handspan from their open window. Do you
I'd make that up? Ask me,
and I might tell you the joke that rolls
like a yellow marble from all that I have made.
A cloak of lightning around my shoulders,
I can slip like a drumbeat into the actual world.
If only making love did not
also make loss. If only a curtain call
and the dead lifted their bodies,
lithe. From the surprise taxi emerged a child
beautiful in her buttoned coat, but on the stones
even her small feet sang
the terrible clatter. You have suggested we
take the floating trip, meaning, perhaps, without
formal destination. Will you bury your head
in the softness of my belly where old
yearnings still sleep? Continent
to continent, homeless and without
fixed beliefs, perhaps a large part laughter,
there is nowhere loss will refuse
to take us. I have decided to trust
the late night horse and its riders.
—Christina Hutchins (first published in The Missouri Review)
All poems were published in The Larkfield Review 2009 and were read on August 23, 2010.