November 6, 2005
Catherine Wagner, Geoffrey Nutter & Joshua Beckman
Sunday, November 6th
New American Art Union
922 SE Ankeny Street
$5 suggested donation.
CATHERINE WAGNER was born in Burma and grew up in Baltimore. She is the
author of two books of poems, Macular Hole (Fence 2004) and Miss
America (Fence 2001), and many chapbooks, recently including Exercises
(811 Books) and Imitating (Leafe Press, England). New work appears in
Black Clock, The Hat, and Electronic Poetry Review; more is
forthcoming in The New Review, Five Fingers Review, Fourteen Hills,
and Soft Targets. She lives in Boise, Idaho.
GEOFFREY NUTTER was born in Sacramento, California. He is the author
of A Summer Evening, winner of the 2001 Colorado Prize (Center for
Literary Publishing, 2001). His poems have appeared in many journals
and anthologies, including The Best American Poetry 1997 and The Iowa
Anthology of New American Poetries. He lives in Manhattan with his
wife, daughter and son.
JOSHUA BECKMAN is the author of four books of poems, most recently
YOUR TIME HAS COME (Verse Press, 2004). He is an editor at WAVE BOOKS
in Seattle WA.
A splat of mud and stones electrolaced
Began to crawl.
Somersaulted out on a cord of blood
Hit a climax of discomfiture
And recomposed itself to rot.
Make me an animal better than that.
Everyone loves Titan Cement.
The houses half-build, bristling
with steel rods in the sun beating down
on the asphalt will be made whole,
and all will be made whole.
And construction on the airport
is scattered across the horizon
like the brought points of the naked trees,
and Titan Cement will complete
its acrostic, which will spell out
something like a long dark column
and its shadow on the macadam.
It is broad daylight.
It is the whole world and headlessness.
It is broad sunlight, and long,
and past the signs for zinc and black tubes
rush the trucks bearing bags
of Titan Cement to the horizon.
Past the sad brick factory
and black cisterns, Titan Cement
Unslide the door,
uncap the lazy little coffee cup.
The pasty people must be part of the dinner.
And a city turns its incapacity in,
foolish city. She was naked
and her halo all crushed against
the pillow while she slept, but I
didn't care. Wake and totter.
Place a hand over your mouth,
a hand over another.
A killing pain, a bag all organized,
an inch of skin along your leg.
It's like they kept making babies
and stopped making baby whistles.
Doable, yes, but here they
teach us something different.
It's a battery. It's a garden.
The glass box in which the lettuce grew
was broken by nasty raccoons
and we turned the other cheek.
The sun does rise and melt the frost,
the frost in little drops does fill
the empty lettuce, and in this way
the world is truly nourished.
No incredible silence, no
intangible calorie, just
bad raccoon in a good world.
Just coverless table and
silent drape awaiting breakfast.
Imagine how mean people
can be in dreams, and how
kind sleeping seems later.