Five Poems by Susan Scarlata
Today in the PEN Poetry Series, guest editor C.D. Wright features three poems by Susan Scarlata. About Scarlata’s work Wright says: “Susan Scarlata has taught in Hong Kong, San Francisco and Wyoming. All ages, all sizes. She is the editor of the independent literary press Lost Roads Publishers. Her collection It Might Turn Out We Are Real (Horse Less Press, 2011) is a swallow of what is to come. The poems are curious and curiouser. The language is Sapphic and tech-tracked. Something old, something new. The poems are wittily laced with forewarnings, and ire discharged with due fastidiousness. She reveals the red under the ribs. Were we all so wakefully exposed, we would be obliged to meet our numbered days with more regard. Were we all so wakeful the recognition that “no other planet meets our needs” would have to be heeded.”
That was the time the deity dressed
in the shepherd’s gray cloak, and we wore
our lion skins and wolf suits.
And it was all
Arcadia that whole day long.
If the satyrs are still in the hills,
do you think they are standing and dancing?
Hoof crunk. To find out
offer a wreath of dandelion pollen
put upon the graves of something scared.
And can you procure that dime bag?
Can you get us that bong
to put in the poem? And tell me
how are your feet about to plead?
The red behind my ribs is crawling
back toward what it needs.
It was a machine that asked, “Did you really think
you could scan our reverse zones?”
Which told us something (though what
I am not sure) about pulling
ourselves together. For the well planned mash-up,
the elephant carrying astronauts,
that their spines become the ridge lines.
Hear it. For the army
of aubergine plants, the bees
being born out of lions. Hear it. That that
one frog keeps throwing up its offspring. Hear it.
That no one uploads
this moth dust or downloads that bear strut.
Hear it. That we use our intricate moves for
something with succor. Hear it. The poets says, “West,”
and beyond a white field’s a white sky.
beyond a white field.
Of Sewers and Sales
Air for sale.
The magic of
Listen, this is how it is. There is
jellyfish thrive, but bees being strangled
and big mammals are hanging out
I am on your machine saying
the micro-chip will release what it holds
only if we cover our
mirrors, and catch
luminous things on our tongues.
the false prophet is prepared
to offer you a thick-legged cow; a
barren cow; a black cow;
A cow that brought forth but once;
a cow having two colors; and a white barren cow.
When you see us burn things read the smoke
as what we want.
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