From the archives – Dance Scene 1989 — NYC by Annie Bien

Dance Scene 1989 — NYC

Take the F train to Manhattan to 23rd Street,
walk to Nineteenth Street between Fifth Avenue

and Avenue of the Americas – the map of North
South and Central Americas in the faces

of the dancers squeezing into the elevator, bubbles
of laughter, to the eleventh floor: Alina from Cuba,

Beatriz from Puerto Rico, Julio from Argentina,
Robert from Texas, Kevin from Massachusetts,

the motley modern dance ladies with unshaved
armpits, Mother Gaia thighs next to the sylphs

in pink silk ribboned toe-shoes grey plastic pants
to take off more sweat on already evaporated frames.

Ernie tells me – The word is don’t pick up the lettuce girl
too quickly or she’ll fart, and then you have to carry

her all across the stage with your head hid under her
skirt. He winks. Then Ernie, Jack, Harry, Greg, don’t come

to class anymore, I visit them in hospitals look at
their wan smiles, faces pale then dot with lesions.

At One-Hundred and Fifty-Ninth Street in the Harkness
Pavilion, suitable for ballet dancers, I sit with John

wearing a New York City Ballet cap. He takes off
the cap and shows me the X and O circles on his head

marked for radiation. He holds my hand and weeps
– no tears – they’ve all dried now.

I remember him in class, long legs start at my waist,
in black tights and white t-shirt, giacometti-slim

but elastic like a rubber band. He always says hello
calls my name like I’m his best friend in the world.

My mother – he says – won’t visit me, she doesn’t believe
in my illness. Sit with me, please.

We sit together. And then his bed is gone.
I still see him: his legs make semaphores, mid-leap.

— dedicated to Johnny B.

from Autumn Sky Poetry 7 — by Annie Bien

Sergei Polunin dances to Take Me to Church by Hozier.

From the archives – The Kiss by Diane Sahms-Guarnieri

The Kiss

Ivy halos his hair.
Draped over her ankles
vines dangle like willow leaves
there is immortality here
entwined outwardly — inwardly

White as moonlight on limbs
she is kneeling-death beside him
corpse face, eyelids closed
wears a shoulder-less robe
with tangent circles, some red as poppies,
no beginnings — no endings

Coal-curly hair. He is centered.
Face, a hidden sunrise
rectangles on his heavy robe
strength upon pillar of strength
black — white: absence — presence

Below their waists: circles — rectangles
merge, patterns intermingling,
as if his rectangles were doors
her circles — knobs
shapes fitting together, into each other
harmonious as sun, moon

One of his hands supports her cheek
the other like a weathervane points
to the temple of her wisdom, where
embedded flowers encircle her thoughts
as his lips, light as fallen leaves,
press against her snow covered cheek
they have entered each other: they are air

from Autumn Sky Poetry 19 — by Diane Sahms-Guarnieri

Gustav Klimt’s “The Kiss.” 1907-1908. Oil and gold leaf on canvas. Österreichische Galerie Belvedere, Vienna, Austria.

From the archives – Tide and Terrain by Jean Kreiling

Long Beach, Plymouth


Tide and Terrain

(Long Beach, Plymouth, MA)

I didn’t know that it would be high tide;
I never check the charts. I felt the need
for salt air and drove east to walk a wide
soft swath of gold dust—but twice-daily greed
for territory had provoked the bay
to occupy the shore right to the rocks,
the beach now intermittent, and my way
a mix of grainy mud and granite blocks.
Compelled by this terrain to improvise,
I strolled through water, then on well-soaked sand,
then on the jetty. As the shoreline sifted
itself, I did the same, my feet and eyes
adjusting as each moment made its stand
against the last, then drowned as power shifted.

from Autumn Sky Poetry 23 — by Jean Kreiling

photo by Jean Kreiling

From the archives – Exit Wounds by Stephen Bunch

exit wounds


Exit Wounds

It’s out, out, one’s going.” —Robert Creeley

A driftwood angel washed out
of the arroyo, anything green
gone into the sun.

A stars-and-stripes butterfly
decal departs in finished ambiguity
in the rear window of an old Ford pickup.

Fingers bent, then extended,
everything is edges, as the difference
between hand and mirror, regret
before it bleeds into dread,
ice cube and water.

Perhaps a page is torn
or missing here or there,
but the story still plays out
its diaspora of words.

A sign on an abandoned shack
says OPEN.

from Autumn Sky Poetry 19 — by Stephen Bunch

photo by Dianne Wilson