NewPoetry

Game of Life: A User’s Manual

Derek Beaulieu

derek beaulieu

The Manly Arts

Carmine Starnino

*

Most lawns are shit.
People mow too short, mow
one way,
use dull blades, over-water,
never topdress,
grow the wrong grass.
They let their rugrats run
on shaggy, dun turf
gouged with dead spots
they’re too lazy
to seed. Gone to hell, yards
flower
and flutter in the breeze.
I’ve set my jaw
against such slovenly tricks.
My lawn?
A quarter-acre slice
of coiffed
carpet. Barefoot, you float
on tight-bundled
packets of air.
A lawn like this, my friend,
doesn’t come free.
Weekends, you’ll find me
on my stomach, tweezering weeds.
A man
who close-crops his land
is a man you can trust.
He bends to his duty: turns his allotted
fraction of earth
into perfection’s address.
This afternoon, after my ministrations,
I held my dozing
month-old daughter
and gazed out on my oeuvre,
inhaling
the just-cut scent,
getting high on the sense
of order it exhaled:
sward pulled tight and tucked in
at each corner,
flat as billiard baize;
a plain Canadian yard
made new.

Fleets of Nouns 2-3

Sina Queyras

2.

White with my son flushed, white with my son in emerald; white with a streak
…..of melancholy my son,

White with horsetails, hoary, white with my daughter in crimson, white
…..thinking of azure, flight of stork

White expanse, white, white, with other white lines, fainter, a linen room with
…..crisp words folded neatly,

White with a smidgen of something assembled, white with white lines, not
…..lineated, not like the screen of a television,

White lines on a screen, white assemblage of pixels, white with a grey nod of
…..lineage, white with a column in the centre,

White lines with a scrawl of black just above the window, white with a scrawl
…..of black sperm exploding into a

Willing pocket of air, white with a wild stretch of grey whale, white with a
…..streak of green barely recognizable as Oleander,

White with the word Oleander, or Lysander, or any of the many sturdy couplets
…..knit in the seam, folded over, a rap of silver

White in the seams with my son, white hidden in the crevasse with my
…..daughter, white with the thought of seeds,

White with fur thick on my back, white with something sprouting in the
…..distance, but still, white,

White with Louise Bourgeois rearranging the ice flows, white with a slight
…..arousal under fur, white with a tongue ready to clean

White with a tongue and a gaze in the heat of the day, white under a neon
…..martini glass, white

With a gilt frame on board, white and clear diamonds in a pattern, white bowls
…..on a mantle, white chairs painted

White with a corset of propriety in hand, white with small orbs glowing in
…..windows, not fireflies, the sort of summer that is a

White inversion of extreme cold, white with my daughter catching a current,
…..white imagining her future,

White future with daughter holding a red kite, white with my daughter as kite,
…..lifting off into swirl of pink text, white next to a green

Fish, vertical in a white fame, white lilies in a tall vase, white lamps hanging
…..over a cream colored sofa, white bowls, thirty-six of them,

On clean white shelves, a white fireplace with stacks of wood and soot on the
…..upper front, white pillows, white feathered lamps, white roses

Next to white books, or white utensils in a white kitchen white salted and flour
…..in beakers lined at the sill

White with a single orange Henry Miller Chair, white with my son in green
…..socks chasing a monkey through Cathedral Grove,

White with no sense of proportion, no willingness to be useful, white with the
…..after burn of clear cut,

White under a corduroy sky, white with these lines like small traffic lights
…..nodding,

White like hooded robbers at the roadside, nodding, white with a blur of night
…..in the centre,

White erasing all other colours, white with a scruff at the neck, white in Nikes,
…..white with a hungry belly wanting more

White with a line of unused credit, white as the ladies line up at WalMart, white
…..where my daughter is sleeping,

White with two or three options, white with blistering indifference, white
…..where all the colours meet,

White where my son and daughter sleep, where they are building something
…..new, where they see beyond themselves,

White for escape.

3.

Or maybe these lines are my son’s, thumbing through screens, what an Apple is
…..to him, the same fresh crunch, a screen that

Snap of the laptop opening, my biting through, and my not-yet one-son
…..swimming across the floor to an iPod.

Or maybe these lines are my daughter swiping to the past through the iPhone,
…..thumbing like a man

In a magazine store, feet pegged on the woolen carpet, pink monkeys a green
…..somber

Clothed in newspapers and crinkling her way past her mother’s MacBook Air,
…..thinner than a pad of squirming

On the floor beside the teething ring, there are no rabbits, or robins in Café
…..Lapin or Robin des Bois, just the looped

Sound of my daughter’s thinking, bit, and bit, and bit, and bit, and bit and bit
…..and bit, and that

Or mine, maybe I am writing these lines! These lines are going, these lines
…..braiding like threads of barnacles pinch boulders

Upright as foundry workers, gray in their welding caps, muscled men, holding
…..their breath in the sun, lines to mark the day,

Lines to mark the scent of violas and lilacs and June, these lines that thwack out
…..across white space

Today and today and today, I will note and add the glimmer and the selves that
…..leap out, the woman in the blue sailor suit, her

Black hair tinged with blue, her blue texting thumbs, her blue shoes, and blue
…..earrings, her blue lined black her

Eyes, the splashes of red at her throat. I will bemoan as lilacs would, the lost
…..girls along northern highways

Always with one eye on the side of the road, to remember is not to indulge,
…..though today I will admit to googling old loves,

Always surprised to find obituaries instead of updates, notices from their
…..grown sons and daughters.

Of course to live is to die, so I will not turn on death, snap at her jaws, or you, or
…..life, make the feeling a wall, a raft of light,

Bemoan like lava; oil my tongue, my teeth grind and spark, and tar: some days
…..even the pavement is heaving for loss,

Loss, melting hot as August how the radiant lines hovered like aliens always
…..ever always just out of reach.

 

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