Summer is here in full, which means that many of us are embarking on journeys of various distances and complexities. For most of us, summer is a time of motion, full of sensation; we savor warmth and coolness and embrace breakdown and repair. We’re gliding down rivers and jetting up high in airplanes. And sometimes we’re just savoring fleeting moments of pure ease and pleasure.
I hope you’re having a fine summer, and I hope you enjoy this sampling of poems.
Loving the Way
There must be something better
But I’m satisfied just as I am.
Sitting outside this afternoon
drinking my small town coffee
I’m trying to get over being happy
simply because the empty street
is patched and re-patched, showing
what went slowly asunder in the asphalt.
I know there are people I love
nearby and at some distance,
along with wars, with earthquakes burying
strangers, whole families broken,
and all that is what matters,
but I can’t help it: now it’s the street, worn
out, worn down, with its tarry cracks,
that comes to my attention.
I know this is incompletely ordinary
but I’m not over loving the way
I take heart, and an old one
at that, at how we repair upon repair.
The First Sign Among the Men
Such things as this need happen only once.
Drifting our canoes on a Nebraska river
we put in early for the night, allowing
the younger set to swim across and sail
plastic saucers airily at each other
on the sand-flat, the older to open
the cooler of beer and sit in folding chairs
on the shore and I, not young but also
not half-drunk, figured I’d swim across
the braided stream, with shallows and depths,
and halfway across I realized, the way
a muscle realizes something, my arms
weighed heavier, my legs too tired to make
the distance and when I reached a halfway
hump of sand and stood up to my ankles,
staring at the next deep dividing current,
I faked a satisfied look around as if
that had always been my plan and struggled back
and when I sat with my old drinking friends
I found they hadn’t noticed, nor did I tell them.
Summertime one mile high
city, red bricks tell the history.
Heat strokez begin to fade
and we bid her farewell,
as yellow school busses cast 7PM shadowz
on the wide eyez of the winged.
They began to believe they ran everything
under longer dayz,
wearing their youth on their browz
running from time,
running from each other at play.
Laz vocez de los inmigrantes spilling out
into the streetz,
alongside the thick thump of el loco’s bass
cruizing by helado carts and lemonade standz
watching the street signz change,
Star signs shifting abovehead, dancing with sliver moonz
under grass blanketz,
Even the grown folk, we thought we could do anything
like mountain streamz running and running
running like lil Carlos running from Jalene,
like lil Chris running from Esperanza,
running up and down the sizzling streetz,
el jefe grilling carne asada,
mama boiling greens from the community farm,
Joslyn juicing fresh beetz and carrotz
at the pop-up market on Welton Street,
summer setting on the North Side, South Denver,
West Side, East Side, Park Hill,
Montbello, out to Aurora
where suburbz are becoming inner-city,
where schoolz close and reopen under new names
with welcome back barbeques para las familiaz.
Everything changing, remembering
how the hood felt so good
under the banner of summertime—
fall winter spring we daydream
chanting down the autumn sun.
Honeyed lips saturated in yours – so lemony and tart.
There was nothing to say. Reduced to crooked smiles,
we tasted one another down smoggy summer streets.
On the ride home, sentences grew saturated with lies.
They rattled in the highway air, tearing at the seams—
just as we were becoming.
Heavy clouds saturated the autumn sky the day you left.
I looked up and wondered how something
so beautiful could later be
As the gold-speckled
sliver of urban earth
escapes my peripheral vision,
all familiarity strays,
catching new verve
between state lines
and time zones.
(I am higher
I used to be.)
Veils of virga over the Ute Mountain
like gauzy curtains on the horizon,
like half-formed dreams billowing
in one corner of the Four Corners.
Powwow drums of thunder,
lightning sharp enough to bead
the rain, a zigzag pattern against
the shawl of this sleeping earth.
David Feela resides in Arriola, Colorado. He is the author of The Home Atlas (poetry) and How Delicate These Arches (essays), a finalist for the Colorado Book Award. Visit his website here.
Lauren Kessler grew up in New York and currently lives in California, where she studies English and World Literature at Pitzer College. Her poetry has appeared in Neat Magazine.
Robert King’s latest book is Some of These Days, from Conundrum Press. He directs the Colorado Poets Center.
Molina Speaks is a poet, recording artist and performing artist. He has released many albums, critically acclaimed by the Denver Post, Westword, and Colorado Music Buzz. He has been booked to speak and perform at dozens of festivals, cultural institutions, and universities. Molina blogs at The Artist Lens.