Letter From the Editor:
Sunday, June 3rd, marks our eighth issue released in The Poetry Loft! Today was remarkable — afternoon hours with Zachery Abramson conversing solely of poetry over coffee, shrimp tacos, and broadsides. His poems featured in this issue are selected from his recently completed manuscript, Each Shadow Has Color — to be printed and bound this week. In his humble approach to friendship, O’Hara-contexts, and coy observations, Zach’s beautiful language reads effortlessly. On the contrary, he rallies his strength in editing. Zach admitted to working on his five-part piece Landscapes every day for over a month.
His impressive role as a poet is striking and so very respectable. His control over coordinates of words, symmetrical assonance, and breath marks ( ‘ ), give his poetry an experimental flare — his poems always fresh, always alive. In this California moment, we are lucky to have the dialectic of a poet like Zachery, living and documenting today.
The Poetry Loft
from Each Shadow Has Color
by Zachery Abramson
I want to pull you apart like a pomegranate & see how your shadow breaks
the terraced flesh of canyons & seeds. I can count the seconds
between each reflection, held in each shard like the side view mirror of cars
& the women sunning themselves on the rooftops of Pine street:
The light reflecting off their skin, glasses & teeth. Off the shine of their red lipstick.
Off the individual pulp of their lips.
Each heart occupying a small pocket of space, in the heat of the sun.
I am ritually sacrificing pieces of myself all the time – Aztec mentality:
my nerves are beginning to wreck me, I can no longer handle the coffee janky
& my tiny heart, it cannot support anything substantial or whole. Much less
the movement of the sun. ‘What a shame, no more beer.’
Drank it all, regretted it. Wished it was back. Cannot save a thing.
Only my healthy amount of self-loathing to propel me. ‘It’s not all bad’, there is a twisting
wonderful in foliage caught between reflecting back blue light & the shadows,
in eggplant cooked with proper stove heat – tasty squid clear, soft, green
& the moment before you convert into sleep & your mind begins to spill into the puddle
of unconscious & you begin to recognize the moments amidst the timid confused always
& your awful scowling reflection, when you are a beautiful & living thing.
Winter came & coaxed out the vague flowers seen along the riverbank, lavender. Today I sat down at the face of the San Lorenzo, watched the swallows loop & collide into surface with a splash. The air rolling on heavy like wrinkles in rice paper as the river flowed beach bound at my feet. I slide by ghost-like, sun licks right through me.
If I were to combine your blood, toes, & hair it might not be you, but it would be enough to satisfy my basic desires.
Time spent around town with names in your mouth, crossing the wet streets being absorbed into the morning’s atmosphere. While crows cozy in electrical hammocks. I haven’t made enough people uncomfortable at the supermarket. Whole slabs of human crazy tucked snug into wallpaper flesh – I feel like a baby being subjected to a giant polygraph machine. It’s hard to be sentimental without developing a dark sense of humor.
In the meadow the wild lupin are pulling themseles apart at their blue crowns spouting out cones manufactured & fringed with white ‘ dapples of blossom umbrella between long columns of grass toward sky ‘ the colors lifted amid the shadows slant with ozone puff ‘ When I grow up I want to watch grass move within the air interludes:
(phenomenas sealed away by the soil ‘ surface rippling
fallowed ‘ snakes coiled round
the blades intertwined in patterns ‘ feel the torque barrel
cross the mutilated lace of grass ‘ wind droning between the sleeves
flickered against the sun’s delicate lacerations
only reaching the broiling dust ‘ strung out in
discs wheeling heavy under breath)’
or I can become the fertilizer in your garden ‘ realize sense of purpose
I listened to the changing dialects of the sea murmuring inside a shell. Will you devour me when my reclining bones disturb your ears & skull? How many hours have you spent in bed? A sleepy golden storm layered with archways & leading towards neck – could I have kept you here while the lupins blanket four and a half miles away? I already know that affections cannot be hoarded, but when I sleep alone my knees grow cold. The tide of bedsheets encase our lives like a veil; & not sure to do with that moment under the skylight I started to peel the film of my vision away – to see what kind of stream flowed underneath, I never wanted the future to be my fault.
POEMS FOR AN AFTERNOON SPENT IN BED
There are treasures contained in the morning that last until the late afternoon
as columns of dust in the background continue to draw
slow to the left. Black
crows try to blow the windows in. I cry great sea-troughs
as the rain picks up, for a while it hollows out the sky’s fragile grey. The joy remains
in the reflections on glass ceilings of puddles, heavy until they evaporate.
The most modern way to affirm someone is to let them know that they are desired:
Seven people cuddling close & drinking coffee mixed with rye.
On the bed the different colored spools of hair elaborate their ears and faces
where I fell in love with each one & became determined to understand their features;
tiny oases I’ve become better able to recognize, each time I have returned to them.
DEAD CAT & THE CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI
Walking down Broadway with Justin in silence, drunk after too much whiskey
I had to restrain myself from talking about the orange of streetlights
& how they’d swing our shadows around their feral halos on the cement.
Watching him watch his feet fall on the sidewalk I wanted to put my arm
around his shoulders & kiss him on the eyes as a reward for having absolutely no use for
In front of our crooked house a dead cat is left in the gutter looking unnatural & the
of a palm tree remains.
We considered the cat as Justin took his phone out for a picture.
“We have to bury it,” he said. “We can’t let the children see.”
NEW YEARS DAY 2011
The morning is bright with overripe pomegranates rotting on the tree – so clumpy, their red crowns cracking, while my mother makes french toast & I drink coffee. It’s all a method of revival, the canyon stretches from windowsill to windowsill in a nice big grin – purple & green between the backyard & trees. My sister heats up tamales, I can smell them.
A bird collides with a branch and bends it back – it takes a quick peck at the red fruit’s fold & flies off into the purple, green & blue. My mother returns to flipping the toast, golden with broken egg yoke while I make cinnamon sugar in a ’2010 blackberry preserves’ jar. Isn’t it exciting to be alive when the sky is wide & the cold air clears through to your nostrils? Yum. I put cream in my coffee, ritualistically.
Someone says something boring about the Chargers. Someone says, shut up & grab some milk, but there’s not enough. Benjamin will have to go door to door asking the neighbors, watching his feet take up a different space on a small segment of cement, never thinking of looking up & picking apart leaves or letting the shape of clouds into the space of his daydreams. He ignores everything behind his book, scratching at his lower lip. Isn’t it exciting to be alive & wonderful & strange?
The birds have moved on to the rotting apples as my mother applies the toast to each plate. Everyone is set into motion – wild blackberries with no regard for personal space.
by Brian Merrill
When it stopped raining this afternoon, I went for a run.
I go for runs when I lose my desire,
wanting to run away and never come back,
to empty memory like water from a basin.
Halfway between walking and flying
I remember how to quiet my mind and smile.
Funny how reluctant I was to do myself good.
While passing the auto shop this afternoon
it started to rain again. With the smell, I felt dirty,
as if oil was falling on my face.
After the auto shop, I passed a house with flowers —
their scents, the rain, and I felt clean.