you are in the diode archives fall 2009



Love Poem at Edge of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch

                        In the northern Pacific Ocean, there is a subtropical gyre filled with millions                         
                        of pounds of trash, most of it plastic. It’s the largest landfill in the world.

Not a solid, sweetheart. Nothing we could land a plane on.
More like plastic soup spinning in a salt-stun cauldron—

flip-flops and orphaned toothpaste caps, pill bottles with
Hindi labels, the ones I ordered off the internet in college.

Like sex, like Xanex, the soup has ways of making us dumb
and chatty all afternoon on deck, the sleeves of your ochre

windbreaker darkening with spray. Mt. Everest must look
cathartic from outer space, all those empty oxygen bottles

rusting at the summit, you say. The world is very small,
suddenly, and duct tape is not biodegradable. Still, God is love

and love is the mercury swimming through my bloodstream.
With this finger under your tongue, I can almost taste your

temperature. With this finger, I can conjure Travel & Leisure
beaches peppered with paper lanterns and the kinds

of creatures that make marine biologists hold their breath.
So, let us follow the converging paths of bikini lines

and fortune cookies: You will enter an age of abundance. 
If abundance is a oceanic desert on a dune-colored planet,

then a standing ovation. Maybe this is no place for ceremony.
Maybe this is the only place for it—here, where everything

we waste aches with phantom music, the sexual squeals
of toothless eels writhing beneath the waves. 

When the albatross, envious of our stamina, drops a disposable
razor on your brow, we will dream the coming parousia,

just the two of us—skewed edges of an abyss, the last, lonely
pathogens loosed from the chamber of a secondhand syringe.


Poetry Is the Supreme Nonsense, Stevens

I learned this sophomore year, reading Harmonium
in the Department of Maps and Microscopes—
a scab within in a scab within the profane
basement of a Jesuit institution, where the one
we called Father Fondle kept a falcon named
Mussolini who devoured the pigeons that shat
upon our neo-classical chapel. Much like yours,

Mussolini’s work was ridiculous and admirable,
both of you weekend warriors at a fictive resort
where wit husbands the celibate torch of spectacle,
then drops it on an ermine altar, and the direction
of the blaze conjures the Creator’s mood that day.
The ideal, therefore, becomes the urge to find some
arcane word for a lighthouse on a condemned island,

or the shadow of a groundhog smugly striking
a cistern on February 3rd. So, the sublime drowns
in the deep end of a kiddy pool in a waspy yard
with a bipolar dog and a blessed rage for petunias.
And this explains how to sleep with a boss you
don’t respect without giggling over his webbed feet
at the water cooler the next day. Or, how to burn

a stranger’s bank statements in a dark kitchen,
with a monogrammed Zippo and a baseball game
buzzing in the background. How everything ignites
until it’s just embers, soot and symbolism you can’t
warm your hands against.  And if a friend shows up
at your door with a dead body before the fire turns
                              to ash, tell him to make ice cream.  


Kara Candito is the author of Taste of Cherry, winner of the 2008 Prairie Schooner Book Prize (University of Nebraska Press, August 2009). Her work has appeared or will appear in such journals as Blackbird, AGNI, Prairie Schooner, Gulf Coast, Nimrod, and Best New Poets 2007. She has received awards for her poetry, including an Academy of American Poets Prize and scholarships from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference.