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Poetry at the Carnegie - The Jackson Wheeler Series

Carnegie Art Museum
Event organized by Carnegie Art Museum

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Saturday, April 14 - Patty Seyburn and Dian Sousa and
CSU Channel Islands Student, Jose-Noel Rocha
Poetry at the Carnegie Art Museum
The Jackson Wheeler Series 2018
424 South C Street, Oxnard
Host: Marsha de la O

the reading start at 6pm
costs $5 / members free

Patty Seyburn


We turned the boat back
to the heart of the bay,
the buoy’s staccato light
bobbing as night invited
a drama of wind that ruched
the water with millions of pins.

My daughter said, look,
we are running away
from the darkness. She spoke
to a duck, watched a fish jump
arcs in the air by a schooner called
Dragonfly beached on a sandbar,

out of gas, smarts or luck,
scuttled, the locals might say
and as all the facades turned
to stark silhouettes – mythical
palms, crafts with ropes taut
that bind them to unyielding

docks, parked in overpriced slips –
she said, look, it’s following,
not just behind us – I find myself
thinking of places I’ve never
been to. Look, mama, she said again,
we are running into the darkness.

Acusmata (I)

Pour libations to gods
from the ear of the cup;
don’t craft their images
to wear on your fingers.
Make any sacrifice
barefoot. Put your right shoe
on first, eschew public
roads. Remember, planets
do not love you – they are
vehicles of divine
vengeance: only the moon
and sun can be trusted.
Marvel at silence, try
to be silent for five
years and if all else fails,
recall the tetraktys:
the first four numbers, which
when added together,
equal ten, the perfect
digits – the tetraktys,
the very harmony,
believed Pythagoras
(“chief of the charlatans,”
eye-rolled Heraclitus)
in which the Sirens sing.

Dian Sousa

The Furies

If we skin ourselves with poisoned knives
and write a different story on our veins
will it be a better one?

The Furies are heading east in an appropriated Cadillac,
longer and blacker than the bottom of the Mariana Trench. They could have flown;
they love the freezing justice of snow flurrying in their pin-wings,
but they are carrying a quarter-ton of cataclysmic paraphernalia
in boxes assembled from broken teeth and bone marrow, so they had to take the car,
plus, they've got a bottle of Bushmills now and a cooler of longnecks,
and they can't quit chanting, "got to think like us to drink like us."
And if one of them gets it wrong, "got to drink like us to think like us,"
of course she has to take a shot.

Half a millennia and 5,000,000 drinks later,
one of them chucks a bottle at a store window.
She hates the mannequin's unwomanly hips
and incinerates it from the khaki's up when she learns how its clothes were made.

"They don't have to be a goddesses," she smolders, "but they shouldn't be pigs."

Her heart is the same heart, the same temperature, the same beat
as the heart caged in the boiling throat of the sun.
Her words flare and awe and alter the landscape.
Listen hard, but stand back.

If we cut off our eyelids,
if we pound nails into our joints
so that our arms stay open wide again,
will we catch a glimpse of our soul,
barely bigger than an ash now,
and beg it to return?
Somewhere around the 3 quarter millennia mark,
the second one pulls a muttering sick man from a doorway.
She cradles him with one hand and makes soap to bath him with in the other,
distilling a little whiskey with sweet orange oil, boiling down the lye.

This one's bones are Stonehenge. Her blood is cayenne.
Strong as the bare arms of August,
she will clean the world off of you. Mend you.
Carry you to safety. Or kill you.

If we kneel in pools of filthy ice and broken glass,
if we beat our backs with clothes hangars and electrical wire
until we pass out and the bad ideas drain from us,
in the wounds will we feel a faint surge of light
and remember who we are?
The third Fury never drinks as much as the other two.
Her fingers are long and agile, but burned on the tips
from beading hot coal and bits of comet
to make her volcanic necklaces.
If she winds one around your neck while you are sleeping,
you will fall through the floor
and wake up tethered to your guilt.

But now, she is stringing ocean glass and amethyst across the black arc of midnight,
leaving long strands of silence on either side.
"I know what they deserve," she tells her sisters, "but I'll try this first,
after all, they have not had a good dream in such a long time."

Dian Sousa reads her poem, Good Luck

poetry coming up

May 12 Kim Young and Sara Borjas
CSU Channel Islands Student, Teresa Gonzales

June 23 Laure-Anne Bosselaar and Mary Ann McFadden
Oxnard & Ventura Colleges and CSU Channel Islands
Student, Tessa Ramirez

Carnegie Art Museum

AskewPoetryJournal youtube page

Organized and Hosted by Marsha de la O
This event is supported in part by Poets & Writers, Carnegie Art Museum Cornerstones and Generous Donors and Friends.