Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Mark J. Mitchell- Three Poems

Mark J. Mitchell studied writing at UC Santa Cruz under Raymond Carver, George Hitchcock and Barbara Hull. His work has appeared in various periodicals over the last thirty five years, as well as the anthologies Good Poems, American Places, Hunger Enough, Retail Woes and Line Drives. It has also been nominated for both Pushcart Prizes and The Best of the Net. He is the author of two full-length collections, Lent 1999 (Leaf Garden Press) and Soren Kierkegaard Witnesses an Execution (Local Gems) and two chapbooks, Three Visitors (Negative Capability Press) and Artifacts and Relics, (Folded Word). His novel, Knight Prisoner, is available from Vagabondage Press and two more novels are forthcoming: A Book of Lost Songs (Wild Child Publishing) and The Magic War (Loose Leaves). He lives in San Francisco with his wife, the documentarian and filmmaker Joan Juster.
                                    LAZY ANGELS
                                    just outside time
                                    as a sky before airplanes
                                    they propel the colors of butterflies.
                                    breaths snag on mountains, tides.
                                    can wake them up.
                                     DAILY REPORT
                                    It’s simple to forget morning
                                    already absent from rear-view mirrors.
                                    Afternoons have no voice,
                                    unless baseball is played below the sun.
                                    A littered table is all that’s left
                                    this evening—names escape lightly
                                    as butterflies. Dreams are scattered
                                    like pennies from a child’s broken bank.
                                    WILLING VICTIM
                                    Io n’aggio poste in core Dio servire
                                    (I have set my heart to serving God)
                                                                        --Giacomo Lentino
                                   The burning stopped. He wondered why—A god
                                   was saving him—closing off the furnace
                                   and wiping flames from his skin. So beyond
                                   this earth, suffering must be of less use
                                   than priests told him. He thought it was quite odd
                                   though, sure as he was of Hell. Endurance
                                   was his prayer—that was his skill—he’d plod
                                   along steady, he never needed rest.
                                   His eyes stayed closed, held fast. He wondered why—
                                   Maybe a goddess dropping a cool tear
                                   to soothe his lids so he could learn to cry
                                   again (a quiet child, mother said—she feared
                                   demons at night). His head jerks to the sky.
                                   A knife from nowhere cuts too quick for fear.

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