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J A C K E T   #   E L E V E N   |    A P R I L   2 0 0 0  


Marcella Durand

Three poems


Reading Postures 1

while driving down the mississippi, that road
along the river, and studying the shacks, a tune
comes on the radio, while cruising thru the
countryside, say, beside the waters, something
to sing along, if you arrive in a city, late at night,
& ask some of the strangers, if you sit at a counter
and pretend it's another time, if while driving you
can say you're a mechanic, while thinking about
the hills & the mountains, you can enter that place
under the vivid signs, and while agitating you think
about war, seeing the trees with the marked branches,
and wish you could handle a wrench, while looking
at your own body, particularly the wrists & thighs,
the most powerful parts of the tendons, lifting open
the window, the driver looks back into the mirror,
while getting out the map, the person next to you
whispers something about the horizon, and seeing
your watch is gone, you think about silence &
murder, your book lies in the luggage rack, the
ending is all about solutions, someone's cellphone
lets out a loud connection to the universe, while
conferring with her daughter, the mother watches
her own shadow thru the bathroom window, while
motionless on the highway, while you are on a bus,
with several others hoping to make it to a city,
the movie comes on, the driver begins a speech,
you take notes, the estimation of your time of arrival.

                                      [In the city an old-fashioned sort of movie house
                                      a character steps out of a plywood doorway
                                      the avenues end in a certain line, a telephone]

Reading Postures 2


This character reclines into a sentence:
by the fire the safety whirling about
or weather balloon mounts the lighthouse,
a pleasant australian guides us to the
rubber rafts, marking, notation, a familiar
quotation, sinking into punctuation, a moat
surrounds us, while you lie sleeping, I describe
your face, in the drift of sheets & pillows,
a lighthouse with turbine lamps, in daytime
the sun lights the glass on fire, the fishing
fleet, by regarding the darkness, the pupil
becomes perceptive, a highlighter, a question
mark, some pleasant grecian slipped this
into our purse, declined to teach us about
worldliness, some peace corps volunteers
trashed the place, somebody's speaking
on the telephone, somewhere is that phone
booth, and making out inside, I can't make
out inside, the interior of this paragraph,
beside the telephone receiver, some pleasant
turn of phrase led us to this bed, and while
we lie here making out, the dog-earing
happens to this fine book, the silverfish
crawl along the margins, the pages cut
and uncut, dent, brittle, sticking to hands.

Reading Postures 3

this sort of position uncomfortable allows me to speak
more comfortably with you, the one I love, this placement
of arms upon legs and cheeks upon mouths, and tumbled
together like clothes in a dryer, gives a permission as free
as a dog in a park, or picking up a hand and letting it
drop away, and then grabbing it again, tight enough, to
feel all the extremities & the weather changes, while draped
over two beings think of several more and not just positions
but locale, as of this writing, we can think of several more
museums with exhibitions of bodies in just about every
sort of posture, and while admiring their spines, one eye
wanders off, as the french say, to check out the small lake
shimmering thru the artificial ballrooms & bedrooms &
rooms of reoff ception & even the small shopfront hidden away
here down this hallway, ripped off during some war and brought
over in pieces, just like the multistory wooden lattice stolen from
a church, whether it was bought, stolen & tossed on waves
like matchsticks, like wood, with gilded corners and eggshell
touches and the artist's name hidden somewhere like a tattoo
somewhere on your body, some unexplored fold, some intrusion
of ink & spray, some artist touched you before I touched you,
some boat brought you over the waters.


Marcella Durand

Marcella Durand is the Program Coordinator and Web-site Editor for the Poetry Project at St Mark's-in-the-Bowery, New York City. She is the author of Lapsus Linguae and City of Ports (Situations Press) and the poetry editor of Erato Press. Her work has appeared, or is forthcoming in 6ix, Outlet, Chain, The Germ, The World, The Transcendental Friend, Talisman, XCP: Streetnotes, and other journals. You can read her interview with poet and publisher Maureen Owen in this issue of Jacket.
You can read two other poems by Marcella Durand in Jacket 14.


J A C K E T  # 11 
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