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C.D. Wright: Online Poems


Bent Tones 

There was a dance at the black school.
In the shot houses people were busy. 

A woman washed her boy in a basin, sucking
a cube of ice to get the cool. 

The sun drove a man in the ground like a stake.
Before his short breath climbed the kitchen's steps 

She skipped down the walk in a clean dress.
Bad meat on the counter. In the sky, broken glass. 

When the local hit the trestle everything trembled
The trees she blew out of, the shiver owl, 

Lights next door With her fast eye
She could see Floyd Little
Changing his shirt for the umpteenth time. 

Copyright C. D. Wright. From Ploughshares (Fall 1983). Online Source


only the crossing counts

It's not how we leave one's life. How go off
the air. You never know do you. You think you're ready
for anything; then it happens, and you're not. You're really
not. The genesis of an ending, nothing
but a feeling, a slow movement, the dusting
of furniture with a remnant of the revenant's shirt.
Seeing the candles sink in their sockets; we turn
away, yet the music never quits. The fire kisses our face.
O phthsis, o lotharian dead eye, no longer
will you gaze on the baize of the billiard table. No more
shooting butter dishes out of the sky. Scattering light.
Between snatches of poetry and penitence you left
the brumal wood of men and women. Snow drove
the butterflies home. You must know
how it goes, known all along what to expect,
sooner or later the faded cadence of anonymity.
Frankly, my dear, frankly, my dear, frankly

C.D. Wright. Online Source


from Deepstep Come Shining

Everyone in their car needs love. Car love. Meat love. Money
love. Pass with care.

Deepstep, Baby. Deepstep.

The boneman said he would take the blinded driver to the river. With
a mirror. And then what.

The boneman said he would take the blinded into a darkened
room. And put a hot-herb poultice on their sightless face.

Mellein for this mullein for that. We called it flannel.

Then leave them there.

The baby sister of the color photographer had a baby girl in the 
hills. Born with scooped-out sockets in the head. Born near the
tracks they sprayed with Agent Orange. The railroad's denials,
ditto the army's.

They would have been blue. The eyes. She did not have. Blue
as the chicory in yonder ditch.

            We see a little further now and a little further still

            She said her lights would be on and they were
            
            Groping around the sleeping house in our gowns

            Peeping into the unseen

            Beautiful things fill every vacancy

C.D. Wright. Online Source


From Deepstep Come Shining

First visual memory: one of vagrant white splotches in a clear-
ing, a fat, diapered baby in a field of timothy chasing another
diapered bottom through the timothy. Last visual memory:
one of vagrant white splotches in a clearing, a fat, diapered
baby in a field of timothy chasing another diapered bottom
through the timothy. When it's mowed, and the fodder's
fresh. I remember. I was there. No other features vex the
view. Not the barn, the Gold Bond Medicated Powder sign
fading from its highway plane. The black dog tearing after us.
(Night, the black lab, the family's ecstatic.) The specific light-
ing from the sky never impinged upon the eye. Not individ-
ualized rocks. Split-rail fencing edged with fleabane. The
proximity of a neglected pitchfork. Never never never . . .

Alligator couple bowed up and trolling the swamp alongside.
Can they reach the shore before we can reach the car door.
Watching them watching us plan our getaway.

This is where Michael Jordan's father napped in his Lexus.
Near Lumberton where Shelby's darling was born. Lexus love.

Everyone in their convertible needs love.

So what did you think of the movie Smoke.

I liked the business about Bakhtin rotting in prison, fresh out of
rolling papers. Smoking his manuscript.

Morning glories. What's your favorite.

Pull in at Chuck's Dollar Store I want to buy some Visine, some
X-acto blades.

The land obtained in exchange for two blind horses. This land
became known as Wrens.

If you bought that bobcat you could set it free. Then you would
need to go back and turn the dogs loose. They're just as
miserable. Pet one pet the other. And the chickens on top of
each other in the miniature coop in the Red Flyer. One of those
chickens could be Becky's kin. Chicken love.

Since he left my Red Flyer out for trash pickup I've been
shouldering one rock at a time. Never throw out any thing
whatsoever on wheels.

He was here; then he was gone. He came for his money. Name
of Broomhead. I said, O go on.

Love it Leave it Love it Leave it Love it Love it Leave it Love it

And we all shine on.

The boneman hung up a sheet, slashed it, and ordered the
blinded one stick his arm through, then he stuck thorns in their
sightless arm.

From Deepstep Come Shining by C.D. Wright. 1998 C.D. Wright. Online Source


from Deepstep Come Shining

This is where Michael Jordan's father napped in his Lexus.
Near Lumberton where Shelby's darling was born. Lexus love.

Everyone in their convertible needs love.

So what did you think of the movie Smoke.

I like the business about Bakhtin rotting in prison, fresh out of
rolling papers. Smoking his manuscript.

Morning glories. What's your favorite.

Pull in at Chuck's Dollar Store I want to buy some Visine, some
X-acto blades.

The land obtained in exchange for two blind horses. This land 
became known as Wrens.

If you bought that bobcat you could set it free. Then you would
need to go back and turn the dogs loose. They're just as
miserable. Pet one pet the other. And the chickens on top of
each other in the miniature coop in the Red Flyer. One of those
chickens could be Becky's kin. Chicken love.

C.D. Wright. Online Source


from Deepstep Come Shining

here are enough signs. Of lack of tenderness in the
world. And yet. And yet. All you have to do is ask. Anyone
here can extol the virtues of an onion. Where to get barbecue
minced, pulled, or chopped. The hour of the day they have
known the thorn of love.

C.D. Wright. Online Source


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