is the author of three novels and nine books of poetry, most recently two collections of poetry and prose, A Swift Passage
(Quale Press) and Cities & Memory
(Chax Press); a novel, Thirty Miles to Rosebud
(BlazeVOX); and a collection of object-sonnets, My Autobiography
(United Artists). A Day Like Today
is forthcoming from Negative Capability Press. Born in Detroit, she has lived in New York City since 1983. She teaches for writers.com and Long Island University in Brooklyn, where she is Professor Emerita; you can read more at her web site
Liz Mehl is the cofounder and director of Poetry Press Week. She lives in Portland, Oregon, where she was born and raised. She's currently exploring the subject of unmitigated human terror and its correlative expression(s) in the arts. Her new chapbook, Sixes, is forthcoming from Spiral House Press.
A BEDOUIN MAN
A Bedouin man isn't certain
whether joining a revolt was
life's proudest moment or its
ruination. The object in your
pocket is a tracking device
that just happens to make calls.
Just perch the clock near the bed
and put your phone on the stand
and it will record your sleep
patterns. Hello. Good night.
The days are going so quickly.
Perhaps we perceive quickness
more in our busy lives than
people did in previous centuries.
Yesterday, Americans used
their sizable advantage to run
others ragged. We lay the child
down into his bed and find
each other under the sheet.
Now with four arms, four legs
and two heads, we circulate qi.
Then the arm starts turning
sideways in a gentle curve, tracing
an S shape, the thumb heading
up as the palm turns parallel,
our bodies and souls parallel.
Oh, the grief of separation.
Don't think, dear, stay here.
THE WALLINGFORD FAMILY PARADE
Who is going to help me
when I'm frail;
I have no children.
Who's to say they would've loved me
anyway, I would have been itinerant
mother. Going away
when they needed me,
flapping my hands like a goddamn
bird instead of wiping drippy noses.
I might have dressed them up
in doll's clothes because it pleased me.
I might have marched them down
the street, single file, as a family parade.
If I had been a young
mother I would have raised them,
backs straight, in wooden pews.
If I had been an older mother
I would have raised them
in the high church of literature.
I still decide to spare the world
my children. I will never
give the world a new mouth.
And as such, there is no one
to thank me either way.