The POETIC DIALOGUE PROJECT
an exhibition of collaborative works by artists and poets

POETS

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THE EMPIRICAL


I peek in a window ajar.  Trespassing.  
Leaving stones turned, a garden of footprints, the trampled rose bush
I meant to protect.  Not picking the roses, their little spiked handshakes
pricking the reddening hand, red as the velvet, scented labyrinths.  
I thought the house brick, but it’s a
trompe l’œil.  Up close, red paint

peeling, and inside, people sitting in circles, things (not tea cups)
balanced on knees, and flashing—
a long white dress, someone caught in its sweep.  Someone fainting.  
When she’s lifted, the dress V’s beneath her,
the scene choreographed.  Candles light up the stairs, the sills.

I might be watched from the street, or a car, looking silly looking.

The odd murmurs sound like prayers but tell me nothing.  
The O O O of the circles,
the awkward postures leaning in.
What am I seeing? I think.  Who’s stepping from the edge into a circle’s ring?

And to see it, even outside, with partial view.  The window closing, or opening.


copyright Cynthia Hogue
Cynthia Hogue
NOTES FROM THE BOOK OF FRAILTY



                       I am the Tuvan muezzin, calling the camels and the horses of the steppes.


I see the silver-sandaled shadow slip away,
Who in another generation will carry my name.
Oh if we could die more than once, who

Would I not have make the round-trip?
In the next visit we arrive in our own country.
Your happiness passing through me.

As if there were suddenly a roof, a bed,
A terrace on the sea, a table, shared—
Everything there wasn’t this time, this

Winter, a country shaped inside us
Where we have unknown appetites:
The sudden desire to write ten different books

At the same time, but fruits of the same winter,
To have ten hands, or perhaps ten voices,
Never had there been so many bursts to pluck,

And without convincing explanation, but only dreams
To tear us open, and from inside we already see
How the first thought already sees the first meters

Of the next and in it the premonition
Of the first outstretched hand, that first
Contact, so slight, so cautious, this union

Between the existing and the nonexisting,
This exhausting invention of each fistful
Of earth, each mouthful of air and the taste

Of devouring, the taste of being devoured.
Yelling louder than God, no longer the first
To sing in his language while he worked,

To become the night peacock circling
Around a light, and going mad
In a forest of reflections.


copyright  Jeffrey Levine
L. Lindsey Mears
www.inliquid.com
www.cynthiahogue.com
Jeffrey Levine
FABRE'S MOTH (sixth sense)


It was a May morning when she emerged from a cocoon on Fabre’s laboratory table—
She was a great peacock moth.

He put her under glass and left her to spread her wings to dry,
then opened the window to the night.

When he returned to the room,
Fabre found it a wild flutter of wings—
hundreds of male moths had come to call upon their lady,
bidden by some sixth sense,

but she was gone…


copyright L. Lindsey Mears

                    
Steve Orlen
THE ADVANTAGES OF THE BARBARIANS



I had been reading History and gotten lost, so took my glasses off
And saw, not the eras described, their lists of terrible events,
But the moments shrunken and passed over, in footnotes with their asides
That tease the imagination. Not the great rivers,  
But the drowned dragged out of the river into my little room,
Where they mill around and complain. Not the ancient map
But that dip between mountains so narrow the cartographers overlooked it
On their lunch break, and there they are, that one man and that one woman,
Overlooked by History because, when they hoe a rocky field, they’re so tiny,  
And when they sleep in their straw mats they forget who they are.


                  
copyright Steve Orlen
THAT SPACE INSIDE THEM



There is a space up in the air
where the hundred and seventh floor was,

where Rosy and her lover
sit waiting at a small table with wine glasses

and white napkins folded like flowers.
They sip the wine and look into each other’s

eyes, and it is as if no one else is there.
Two glasses of red wine, two of ice water,

two eager young bodies dressed for the evening,
two pairs of lips saying words they won’t remember.

Somewhat shy and momentarily at a loss,
they hold hands across the table, gaze

out the windows at black water
rimmed with lights.  Two tugs and two barges

barely moving, and down below
on her little island, dressed

in green lights, Liberty looks small,
vulnerable, a charm on a bracelet.

Now, and years from now
they will hold that space inside them,

their own faces reflected in the glass
they look through into lighted distances,

and they will hold that image of tender
Liberty against the other.


copyright Greg Pape
Greg Pape