Lynn Strongin


Distance – is not the Realm of Fox Nor by Relay of Bird Abated – Distance is Until thyself, Beloved. Emily Dickinson I tell you it has taken me all my life to arrive at the vision of gas lamps as angels, Lisel Mueller: "Monet Refuses the Operation"
I ONCE HAD windows & a mother I could look thru glass. Waiting for what would buoy me Not the moon in all its butters. Unbroken. Unlost. I had a pony & I had a prairie. Historians bleed their eyes dry over vellums, Monks transcribe Amens. A market for millet evolves While in the planetarium stars revolve, in England Annie, a land girl switches on her           bike light in the dark. One shatters a glass. Life shatters a mother: I throw my hair forward, praying to a window & a mother, that translucency once again. STRENGTH BLOOMS entering my hands My lover is deconditioned from taking care of me. It is a while before a hospital bed becomes free Flying, white. Quiet, vulnerable strong remnants, despite ruin. Many-roofed buildings in moonlight out my window. I shake free of the pain in my back, opioids wearing off: I see Buildings, childhood, night, thoughts Non-militant soldiers reflected in the penny-colored eyes of my ragdoll It’s the ordinary furnace, moths flickering: I flick my bicycle light on Strength blooms, my hands shaping a small Buda: one boychild holding dove re-entering love. BOAR BRISTLES soaking in turpentine, A day’s work done Milky light floods the muntin panes Slowly Like a child drinking: Slowly, holy, all burners of the four-burner woodstove glowing like coke. We each hold the tiny bottle, Burnout, in our hands Cupped For the arrival of a small bird, or babe Instead, Bristles scented of delicious linseed oil men the day’s work, burndown discouragement,           all exile painted like.a child drinking, nourished, wholly, slowly. I CAME DOWN in the storm for you Can’t quite see the prairie sky So listen for it in music A hand-holding terror Strikes while you are near. A bullet of pure energy Sucked in. In the storm I came down for you Driving Like the firebox glowing, coal alive While all else failed to thrive. I came down. Storm, bike lantern to prove life to grieve. ARE YOU A LILAC? or a lady bending toward me In a glass jar Water cloudy? Late life love, tender. You folding: tall, I small, speed. Are you in silks Or jeans Tied around the belly? Your bling Shining against increased heart medicine I rise from age-aches, Opened more each night curled, embryonic in morning. WELCOME TO MY DAZZLING, dangerous world Make lace Take place: Those spaces Which let light in. I am like a detective after informal codes of behavior: But not about a body covered in blood: About the hoods, the little bits & bobs. The English robin, diminutive, heartbreatkingly small. Worn by words. The way we go down one avenue, in disguise After the unseen world, palpable, dazzling, but not visible to our eyes. NEXT, A BOWL OF SOUP Reluctantly, tearfully I move out, my inspiration high as a snowdrift. Dream Of one British Square which houses women who want a room of their own Into copper-colored veins Of struggle, hope “The Sealark” was the trip I traveled in dream: In dream it peaked, It sank into water green, ocean become ravine: listening month-after-month to the same grooves:                     I fly over a radiance of rooves. My ship was not sized that small: I looked back, I travel as far as this room’ S corner. I cry until my eyes are more green. HIS CIGARETTE glowing on the dusk, the dawn I’d come to a different land. Like a bicycle torch or firebox glowing. Now, blue larkspur time I miss him. Accepting, embracing hardship again and again: sunset a thorn around torn memory, bruise blooms. Its ritual, the handshake. Tweed collar up, head bent His mind always weighing a dilemma. Now, age a drift of ash on one side the scale Youth, feathers on the other. Our eyes meeting, a blown spark, a memory cinder, the only way           we acknowledge each other. THERE IS A BEE SWARM & outside the small boutique store A sculpture. Borodin would fall asleep on the bed When he came home from his chemist’s lab Because his house was filled with people Grandmother’s boudoir Walnut So polished, brought over the ocean, shone like an ocean. There is a bee swarm to which I am sworn Outside death, inside breathing. EMILY Dickinson has a very creative relationship with paper Lines written on back of a chocolate wrapper Inspire a universe of speculation. And the knowledge chocolate from Paris was available in Amherst at that time. “The things that never can come back are several.” The humorous treatment of meeting a spider in the privy. Logically I know the way out of this life is death. I chose breath After breath Prayer upon prayer Stacked like Amens to a God one can only sketch in water, remotely imagine.. I AM YOUR REDFOX Your dreadlocks Take me to the temple My homelife is a beehive Pacing my bedroom Ceiling with my eyes Hiving honey as I can Comb Incandescent, private, immediate grief, a short time only As the tomb Moss covering the name. SUNSET is a thorn Around torn memory, Bruise blooms, blossoms redden ground. The realm of fox, beloved Must be without sound Else how could I go my sorrow in camouflage of snow and rain Sorrows whiten to ivory Rain chains With hardly visible. So I go forth each morning of the world to evening, disappointment swallowed by the moon. WHEN THE NEWS STOPPED & the dial still glowed It snowed I was a child I prayed for more voices in our household Brave is what one can be When what fails is love Like light in the eastern window. Bed is best Sun sets in the west Reddening the last of supper things The longing for a father’s love too, though our mother wore her brightest vest. I TAKE MY Shadow home Begging to reconsider my boundaries Inlets of ocean, lace on spring trees. Wrinkled, it is smoothed, shadow: My buttoned-up love, Look The lunch we never had: every zany element counts, a brooch, eye-shadow. The private tears of a child Very small, in the corner: Major Music stirs in me against the dance, last saved for best, we never had. IF LIFE is a sadness that unspools, My rising up is my bending Down a dancer’s position Silk flares Not to be put out Against darkness of morning. War accustomed me to rations: I rip out an hour for an outing. Night Autumn Winter best, my feast of energy, exhilaration. You hear the robin, see the fog. I feast on starvation. Snow falling upon the English robin who sings. You in raspberry winter, vest embroidered, mobile. breathless, in plan muslin, I wait my cue          silent in the wings. UNDOCUMENTED Your name climbed off the page The realm of fox The sublimes of childhood Not like now, ravage of age: waiting for a specialist No specialist exists for this relay: It still pierces Poignant: A world populated by outsiders: ventriloquiets, puppeteers One wants something nobody ever had: unwritten history of the heart, inked in blood & tears. ALL GOD’S creatures The baby albatross Looks like an angelic scrub brush. Sky, color flax, mulberry silk locks. Bristle fledgling wrens breasts color of wild rice fields. On sand, plover. On heather, lover. My gymnastic energies plowed back under. Monk’s tea-blotched vellum notes blown asunder. Above, Below God’s wonder all speckled wild things moored by desire. I GIVE YOU THESE Clous-tapestries, Milk bottle blue-greys The wax paper cup at top An aged beauty’s bunnet; Wild clover, a bee upon it; The lifelong struggle to rise From love truths And lies; The prayer for a dress of coral linen Bone-china wondrous in its simplicity; is divinity a given. CARRYING ABOUT your bruised heart in your body God’s shadow Monarch butterfly open as a wound: Hound belling in autumn woods, a sound disguised in winter, Down the road the dry goods store Bulk rice, Sunflower seeds A mother’s flour for baking, a child’s needs, a toy; lead hope home, the last straw, a hoop the bruised heart at honeycomb, love’s mead. TO SOFTEN, blur, & finally banish what you regret No haloes around old age I will not return to a universe without love Of islands of lost children I am no longer going to the pain clinic for injections In frozen winter. I miss that elation, your buying me a pullover black dress with turquoise flowers. Alone & in a honeycomb The sweetness frozen in the cold We taxied home Too traumatized to talk Sign language, a smile, you carving a heart in the windowfrost; me inserting the           arrow-knife laughing. THE BLINDMAN at the Gate The contemplative we failed to be Transparent Each gesture It takes a cosmos to make a human. We turned on the hall light when someone was coming up the stairs, the dark climb. The slow one now will soon be fast. Gas lamps as angels. The ancient pills I took alone, the hills I drove to and owned. The blindman is coming down: The Florida key was dark & unpopulated: triage existed you could see the sky.           God take us home. YOUR HAND in our hand, one by one, transparently, take us home. Home along the highway Home along the sand. Offerings of water bottles to migrants at border crossings Visiting military cemeteries KKK book in giftshops. At eleven, I sat cross-legged in the camp’s forest ground Sweater tied around my hips, looped in front I drank up the clouds Their milk Wildlife on my door step: my last to be earthly, workboots clad, steps. I USED TO dread getting up in a house without wine My shirttails tied around my jeans. God, I wanted to be a good person. I wanted to be hugged by a storm. I wanted to be unparalyzed Reversal I hid my tears under shade The number is sublime A little glass of wine. ARMS AKIMBO I said “Welcome” Shirt tucked in jeans Don’t forget what you come from Canvases up against walls I’m a bad girl Bought a black diamond with my wheelchair money Rather sparkle than roll O my soul. What I came for, what I came from Was music Running, hitting the wall heart bursting open. RIPPED THE BLINDERS off for the whole world to see, acts of violence: what relents? how hide my death from me Parents, from thee? In sequestration Your scarlet borders enchant me: The children of Cloth farm loved the Chocolate Box charm of an English village And to bathe in the pond Like life Breath-taking in its breadth and emptiness restoration is painstaking like no other…task but it was done to preserve the quality of unworldliness that had           so disturbed his mother. IN THE ROUGH SILKS of my life I bend Wealth beyond sand Grains Or ink. Europe out of the question due to architecture A few strands have been saved: Above all the ones Despite paralysis, priorities on back shelves, above all, the ones I loved.
A Pulitzer Prize nominee several years ago for SPECTRAL FREEDOM, Lynn Strongin has been nominated five times for the Pushcart Prize, and this year for the Lambda Award. Received an NEA creative writing grant in New Mexico in the seventies. Studied with Denise Levertov, Robert Duncan, and others.

Strongin’s work has been featured recently in UK’s "Poetry Kit" as well as winning second poetry prize in ART4US, in DC, for "Flowers Swallowing Bees." Mike Maggio said of it: "This poem uses language and imagery in new and fresh ways. Language flows across the page almost like the bees it evokes. . ." She has been featured in Brett Alan Sander’s blog with her cycles "A Wondrous Thing" and "Saturday Afternoon Taffetas." Her forthcoming chapbook, SLOW DARK FILM, will be published by Right Hand Pointing.
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