25 June 2009

Featured Poet: Naomi Buck Palagi


by the time even

I set my love afire

there is the stink

and no hold

of male

coffee grounds

in fresh coffee


and old wood smoke is man

we all fall in love

and again

says guinevere

but in May we smell the stink

the overdone tree blossoms the fecund



on a grill

love is smell and smell is memory and memory is stink and funk

what did the baby goat say to her mother?


she said


and how did the tree fall down the hill?

no roots

they say

no roots

the wool of the lamb was rotting and I wrestled

with it while my father rubbed the iodine

the mud was made of shit and pee and the tingle

of fresh rain a moat

of earthen muck

before I set my love afire

there were blazes

in the valley

and even as my love flagrated dewdrops

sizzled wind

what else

would make such smell?

Path as is

This is not the river of my night

I am not standing here singing

beneath the river-trees

My father swam with the current and stopped

My mother washed away, she said

This is not the river of my night and

River rats do not make their homes here and

lovers do not kiss on these banks

From my shoulders flows a long white dress and yet

underneath their beauty-bare there is stubble

in my pits and my simple swing

keeps slipping to the left


calabash still the night in black

memoralia pretending to the evening light

and mimosas fall from cliff to sea

with no splash

all is night

or early dawn

mud madonna watching

from her tower

the grain mill smooth and worn

early dawn the softness of nightgown

and stone

azaleas arresting

follow the water and not trickle, tickle

our words with morning coffee-foam and a light brush

of long hair

nothing, nothing but mudded flesh

sunwarmed in shower in view of the sea oh see

as far as it is

mimosa stills and nothing, nothing

not taken in and consumed, gusto

early tea and binoculars to moonlight


that easy foam and feel


through torso

gametes and monacles

touch the old wall


over all

Naomi Buck Palagi has made her way to Northwest Indiana via many stops, including a "homesteader" childhood in rural Kentucky, complete with goats and lots of bare feet, some years in the Mississippi Delta as, among other things, a furniture maker and ballet teacher, and several years in Chicago doing the small theater rounds as an actor and director. She enjoys shaping tangible things—wood, fabric, sound, words. She has work published or upcoming in the journals Otoliths, Big Toe Review, Moria, P.F.S. Post, and Blue Fifth Review, among others.

© Copyright 2009 Naomi Buck Palagi