Jul 102017


.Sounds with the Wind

This April rain
sounds with the wind
It could be Inverness
in the brown hills
with mounds of green
The rain sounds smooth
in the trees
in the fresh dark
sky the thunder
sounds low and far,
gurgle and swill
soft in the still.

Suddenly I feel life
pass out through my lips
As though there were no song left to sing
And a wind rasps, “Enkidu,” “Enkidu”
What I most loved about you.
And a crimson rainbow like a Valentine bow
Cries out “weep no more my lady”
And the simple rain continues
To sound smooth here just like crickets.


Being out West When Time Stood Still

Once she had a seamless mind.
Clouds rolled into her thinking
like opposites attracting. And hitching.
There was that openness of beginning.
Those crisp little white cockle shells. And then
that low fog.  Spreading around
like when once you could touch time without rules or referees,
like when you used to dance alone with your eyes closed
serenading crazy in your room late, doors shut, the music on fire,
and you moved around in there, bumping the walls
like salmon swarming and flopping up the ladder.

Just that. Somehow just
to be seamless that way. Fiercely in the free.

Clouding in open fog.


In the Light of Dreaming Rinny

She was a lens in the sun
in a corner fitting into herself
settling in like batter. Smooth and easy.

And music. Oh, the music everywhere.

Romantic Russian anguish
splaying loud—
like hearing your dreams
turned up loud for all to read.

At night in a quiet room
she sank into a light of dreaming

her dreams she now thinks
were black and white
photographs of a stilled history.
Of the wars–D-Day, Dachau, Hiroshima
All that drama frozen in those faces looking.

Like she is
Her coffee eyes staring out
into the flat-screens of time.

And now– closed doors and the whispers,
Horrible hush of  home movies happening.
Large photos of Jews pressing against each other gasping for space,
Joe Stalin looming terrible and gritty in his large wool clothes.
And her mother hiding alone by herself
For hours here in the afternoon. Kooklah Fran and Ollie.

Pain prick-points. Where she is
in a corner.  Not knowing how to.
Her thick braids itching against this quiet.

Holding on to the sun. Which she can taste fading on her lips.
Sometimes in those pictures, some times,
dark women with bright bandanas.
She thinks she sees the sister she never knew, fitting into herself.

Guessing into all this past, her paprika eyes mazing
about how to know the bold darkness of this light.
and the tremulous force driving all the flowers of all her feeling.


When I think of yesterday today

Light on water. Moon in the air.
A time to change
everything in a high sky.

Somehow when
I think of yesterday
today changes and
the sea  erupts
there, then,

at night
under a full moon
in Conil,
the smells of honeysuckle
Our sweet tobacco lips.

You said in Spain
the world was real.
You liked that.
The sky could fall and touch us


Before, When the Sun

On this gray night of robin winter
a time of birds and sudden change

swan nests and gopher songs about
dream lovers without memory linger in a barn

before the sun fell into a new kind of longing
for it was totally gray at night in this robin winter

when I opened my heart out in my pocket
and fell hard with the sun into the white of morning


On the other side of language
…………I speak only one language, and that is not my own. —Jacques Derrida

That way too white tree
may not be natural.  It was
sure to be a penance, too much of itself,
like some kind of permanent stand out.
A piece of sharp metal grating
on a dark hill sparse with weeds,
which were pale to a curious
buckskin-man who fingered them
as he felt. Among the bare weeds. Discontent.
Somehow he had learned that disgust for outcasts.
A contempt for cripples.  For all those who do not fit.
all the unmatched, born-to-be-groping-souls
like we are, stranded on the other side of language,
bleached in that daily clumsiness of trying to say our own.
To find a way to speak sure.
To fasten the sun once and for all.

So that unsymbolic white tree there
in the silence without branching to bear any leaves or shade
reminded him of a childless woman drying in hard light.
Hard to bear her white aging.
Hard to detoxify such solitude
speaking in the sun without taking off
To him she was like a bird spinning inchoate,
trapped as she seemed to him to be
in such naked speech without any saying,
words without sounds, all-day-long Latin monologues
swirled, speaking themselves silent, he thought.

But she was burrowing and drew her language in from
the blue sky she slept in and came out to plant and sow
what she had to say for herself in the clear darkness
of muses and mystery. In her whitest way, she raged over the edges
of what she was to be.  Of all that could be said to say. In her quiet white,
she burned a hole in the dark to go beyond men and women, words and children and
time, and whatever is lonely, to well herself up accidentally in the air
a free-to-be white beyond owners and words and withering,
white in the ways of dreamers and whales and misfits,
white to hold on and white to let be. White to burn a saying,
white as a language she could sleep with as her own, gone lucid in the fog.

—Linda E. Chown

Linda E. Chown has published three books of poems, Buildings and Ways, Inside In, and All the Way up The Sky, also a critical book, Narrative Authority and Homeostasis in Selected Works of Doris Lessing and Carmen Martín Gaite. She spent 18 years living, writing, and teaching in southern Spain where she was betimes a Fullbright professor of America lit, one year at the University of Deusto, one year at the University of Salamanca. Subsequently, she taught for many hears at Grand Valley State University in Michigan. She has published a multitude of talks and papers on the likes of Virginia Woolf, Doris Lessing, Willa Cather, Kirsty Gunn, Katherine Mansfield, Oliver Sacks, Albert Camus, Susan Glaspell, and many others. She holds a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from from the University of Washington. She grew up in the San Francisco Bay area, did creative writing at San Francisco State University, and worked in the fabled Poetry Center. She now lives in Michigan. Her newest poems were recently published in Poethead.


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