March 14, 2015

Barbara Henning & Liz Mehl


Saturday, March 14
7:00 pm

523 SE Morrison

Barbara Henning is the author of three novels and nine books of poetry, most recently two collections of poetry and prose, A Swift Passage (Quale Press) and Cities & Memory (Chax Press); a novel, Thirty Miles to Rosebud (BlazeVOX); and a collection of object-sonnets, My Autobiography (United Artists). A Day Like Today is forthcoming from Negative Capability Press. Born in Detroit, she has lived in New York City since 1983. She teaches for writers.com and Long Island University in Brooklyn, where she is Professor Emerita; you can read more at her web site.

Liz Mehl is the cofounder and director of Poetry Press Week. She lives in Portland, Oregon, where she was born and raised. She's currently exploring the subject of  unmitigated human terror and its correlative expression(s) in the arts. Her new chapbook, Sixes, is forthcoming from Spiral House Press. 


A BEDOUIN MAN

A Bedouin man isn't certain 
whether joining a revolt was 
life's proudest moment or its 
ruination. The object in your
pocket is a tracking device 
that just happens to make calls. 
Just perch the clock near the bed 
and put your phone on the stand 
and it will record your sleep 
patterns. Hello. Good night. 
The days are going so quickly. 
Perhaps we perceive quickness 
more in our busy lives than 
people did in previous centuries. 
Yesterday, Americans used 
their sizable advantage to run 
others ragged. We lay the child 
down into his bed and find 
each other under the sheet. 
Now with four arms, four legs 
and two heads, we circulate qi. 
Then the arm starts turning 
sideways in a gentle curve, tracing 
an S shape, the thumb heading 
up as the palm turns parallel, 
our bodies and souls parallel. 
Oh, the grief of separation. 
Don't think, dear, stay here.

Barbara Henning


THE WALLINGFORD FAMILY PARADE

Who is going to help me
when I'm frail;
I have no children.

Who's to say they would've loved me
anyway, I would have been itinerant 
mother. Going away
when they needed me,
flapping my hands like a goddamn
bird instead of wiping drippy noses.

I might have dressed them up
in doll's clothes because it pleased me.
I might have marched them down
the street, single file, as a family parade.

If I had been a young
mother I would have raised them,
backs straight, in wooden pews.
If I had been an older mother
I would have raised them
in the high church of literature.

I still decide to spare the world
my children. I will never
give the world a new mouth.
And as such, there is no one
to thank me either way.

Liz Mehl