Murray, KY – Alice Friman has won the Ezra Pound Poetry Award and the 2002 James Boatwright Prize from Shenandoah. She'll read poems at Murray State Monday (Jan. 4). Kate Lochte has Ms. Friman reading in advance.
When I think of that summer, it opens
like a pleat in cloth: lake, tree, out-
blooming itself. What deep delicious
yardage of suffering: the virginal
July we defended, all the while itching
willful and goatish. Five hundred larks rising from the fields and all I could do was stare at the scar on your arm the gold embroidery I longed to touch.
What difference that time and pharmacology delivered too late? I loved you then in the old way of longing. Four wars, nine recessions, ten presidents: patches.
Each year another July flings her ribboned hat into the ring, another summer trying to duplicate ours. Who were we on that park bench that defies being folded and put away?
Forget it. Are you still alive? The rest is gibberish.
AF: That poem comes from something that really happened, in love, 19, Lived for sitting on that bench with him.
KBL: I get the impression you're pretty tough yes, I've been around the block a few times but yet there's a gentle sweetness there.
AF: I hope I haven't lost that.
KBL:Please read "Snow."
Let us speak of love and weather
Let us put your mother and mine
away for a while. Your dying father,
my dead one.
Let us watch
from our bedroom window how a slow
falling snow crowns all nakedness in ermine.
Do not look at me yet. Your face is flushed,
your eyes too love-soaked, too blue.
Outside is white on black
and still. The sky, deaf with stillness.
Don't let it frighten you.
Hush. There's time enough for that.
Be content for now to watch the maples
fill with snow, how they spread themselves,
each naked limb making itself accessible.
KBL: So that's very sensual, very warm and cold at the same time.
AF: Right it's about death.
KBL: Please seeing it through.
Seeing It Through
Presto the magician
drops his handkerchief
and amazingly I'm looking down
seventy years. Down
as from the top of a winding stair
vertigoing to the bottom
where the child struggles to mount
crawling on her knees that first step.
And I want to say Wait
I'll come down
carry you up
for I need you here
now that the banister is nearing
its finial and I can see
the rituals of the sky
speeding up through the almost
Honey hair and the sunsuit
Mother made from a scrap. Come.
If I hold you high, you can touch
the glass. Let the last contact
be a baby's hand. Why not?
All things come around
replete with rage and rattle.
AF: That poem was written in answer to a poem by Louise Glick who is my favorite poet writing today and she has a poem called Birthday that begins "amazingly I'm looking down 50 years." and when I read that I started laughing. That's nothing.