archives winter 2008



The Caption Changes but the Picture Stays the Same

When he leaves her
The weather is glorious of course

Unblinking sunshine

           He walks away
           She touches the edge of his sleeve               I touch his sleeve
           Black jacket flung over his shoulder             Black jacket over his shoulder

She is not a beautiful Buddhist
The sound of crickets pisses her off

Fragment of a dream scene comes back to her
As she writes this a veil lifts:

To move forward into words is to accept the sentence


           Wild elsewhere
           As if . . .

Green rectangles of grass
Separate her from her neighbors
She walks the sidewalks of separateness

The Freudians were right
So were the spiritual teachers whose feet she kissed

           Kissing up to the authorities


God’s eyes are hidden in the face of man


Too many layers to our relationship now
I present you with ideas instead of my hand

All ideas are seedy in themselves
And the heart, ungenerous, is a trigger for tragedy


Now is not a doctrine

No words can touch the rim of this city
Shrouded in leaf fragrance


Return to Prague

She missed her train
at Hradanska

and the pre-communist world

around her
the memories

the lingering loss
of a life grinding down
in its bodily

not wanting any longer

but fed by images filling her . . .

steep dive
of the escalator
into the underground

the polyester skirts
and plastic shoes the women
wear, carrying branches
of bread
like forests sprouting

Nothing but

the hot realness
pressing down
waiting for the train

women standing
light on their faces
growing clearer

Her apartment on the long block
of buildings once she rose out
of the underground

rose up to the habits
the habitat enclosing her
onto the steps
and the mailbox

bottle of milk

bottle bruised with the scent of
her mouth
after drinking it

It was the same square of darkness
                       then light
where she waited for him
though he never came

though her body bent to
the mechanical


to forget herself
remember him

but gone


Soft Fibers Adorn the Diminishing Landscape

When they finally dragged me in, pinned with stars and a promiscuous love
for the mentholated bushes, I was willing to admit anything:
that my life was persistent, that my arms were meticulously rendered
and quelling with haste,
that my stone heart feasted on solitary meals
fed through a slot in the door,

That I am my own suffering.

It wasn’t so bad. My time here was limited.

To be healed completely I needed things: a red plastic handbag filled with copper pennies,
The ginger and gentian of another’s eyes,
A man’s face pressed between black pages.

But in the story by the time he decides to love me,
I’ve already left, bereft of him, floating through halls, talking to God.

In the end I searched through hidden drawers, avoiding the FM voice in my head, and there, beneath the creased papers and illuminated manuscripts, with the sugar,
some loose change.
And I found the dark spelling of my life.  


Bobbi Lurie is author of Letter From The Lawn (CustomWords, 2006) and The Book I Never Read (CustomWords, 2003). Her work has appeared in numerous print and online journals including APR, New American Writing, and Shampoo.