Featuring Al DeGenova & Barb Germiat
Albert DeGenova is an award-winning poet, publisher, and teacher. He is the author of three books of poetry and three chapbooks. His most recent book is, Black Pearl: poems of love, sex and regret, released in late 2016; his chapbook Postcards to Jack was recently re-released in a second expanded edition in late 2017. DeGenova is the founder and co-editor of After Hours magazine, a journal of Chicago writing and art, which launched in June of 2000. He received his MFA from Spalding University in Louisville and leads several writing workshops throughout the year at WriteOn Door County and an annual writing week at The Clearing Folk School in Ellison Bay, WI. He hosts the monthly Traveling Mollys reading series (Oak Park, IL) which is now in its 20th year. He is also a blues saxophonist and one-time contributing editor to Down Beat magazine. DeGenova splits his time between Sturgeon Bay, WI, and the metro Chicago area.
I hear a faraway cello
legato tone as long as life itself it seems –
the horsehair bow turns
on edge, the timbre winces
to the wind, to the thunder.
The Pacific reshapes miles of beach
overnight, sometimes in minutes. Waves,
their sucking recoil, the salty tumult
teases me today
with nothing more than a bruised hip –
how dare I rest against a rock.
From within the splashing crash
I hear a muffled baritone’s tempt, what
waits for you within the churning wave?
I’ve heard love sound like this. My god
is not this heaving brute of sea, but a quiet
black pearl in the shell of my heart.
I feel the hair on my arm move as it dries,
the flies bite my ankles. Too much love
in my one stormy life to ever deny god.
The night the wind
The night the wind left you on my doorstep
drenched, shivering with rain and tears
you carried a small brown paper bag
stuffed with toothbrush, underwear,
white silk nightgown
hasty luggage, narrow escape
night flight from a hospital.
Prison you called it
where they put you
because you bought a dog
and maybe a dog was a crazy friend to make
at this precarious point in your life
but did they need to lock you up
without phone, wine, or pills
or your daughters, or me, or
all the hims that haunted your
inability to say no.
The night the wind carried you through my door,
you stood in the middle of the living room
alone you stripped
naked, your wet clothes in a pile at your feet,
you let the nightgown cascade over you
arms above your head as if
standing in a waterfall, as if
you might be cleansed by white silk.
I watched from the doorway. Did you hear
my gasp, know my impotence? The wind
leaving you here tonight to unfurl
your madness, your whispers, you
gliding into your darkness,
sad white sails full.
Barb is a Fox Valley poet. Her poetry has been published in WFOP Calendar, Fox Cry Literary Review, Portage, Creative Wisconsin Literary Journal, Appleton Post-Crescent, Sisters Today, St. Anthony Messenger, and elsewhere. She published a chapbook in 2017 Look, the Silence.
I could comb Roget’s Thesaurus,
search the edges of my memory,
hunt for words to tell you how this snowfall
honeycombs the dome in which we breathe,
saturates the air with quiet crystals,
muffles customary noises.
Or I could whisper
-- Barb Germiat