Naomi Buck Palagi
everything I write, I write it for you. pineapples, toreadors, wood grain—this is for you. siestas in a hammock of love—for you. parachutes dripping through the sky, like rain. powerful men in cadillacs, like rain. hood ornaments. this is for you. the air has gotten cleaner despite my constant puffing and every tree was once in service, against its will, to those of my kind. this is for you. makeup drawn on a face, morphine on a gray, drawn face, bringing it back to life, to livelihood, the likelihood of violence, so much of it avoidable, on an even playing field. kicking the ball. hard. physics falling like a balloon. the largest of large men launching products lines that someone buys, someone installs. chrome faucet—this is for you. gavel—for you. the iron bell and bright lights and loud speaker and twang. I’ve had cowboy boots that were as much for you as my words, the heels wore down from my travels. this country? yours. if you love something, write it down. if it flies from the page, I wrote it for you.
when winter comes
so hard. shuddering
with aftershocks well
into spring and even
august, we feel
what happened then.
the rain slapping hard
on a tin roof frightening us
to the window, watching
or other revolution.
Voice 1 Voice 2
twenty dollars would buy your rent and
carry you to
infantaland, the after road, as poll takers.
princely? Yes, and caveated too, as are all
we wandered in backlog for over a year, it
fault is dealt as snow comes down and
the road rings. we go uphill.
custom infant to infant, wandering
playpen-like, it was playpen and
impermanence; the roads carried high on
shoulders, swallowing into mouths and
lights from houses moving, target-like,
the sky already gone, the ocean yanking
each playpen babied til it no more
under thundersky growling their way
home, water belittling us and our
watchdog moving, the awesome rent
paid by calling, a calling, the ocean
pulling, calling, calling
treatise on fibered walk and on that
which we walk, long strands of hair,
princely, in the afternoons, long, long,
in the after road.
Voice 1 Voice 2 Voice 3
Your thoughts wound slowly round the
room like beasts rubbing against the
So she had nothing left but words.
Many parents pile up words in an
and you don't have to wonder if I'm a
fool for love and if'n I am does that
make me country
She is said to guide the hands of the
midwife, to open the pathways of the
mother's milk in the breasts, as well as
to comfort anyone who weeps alone.
She observed several females
unknown to her flitting dejectedly
about in the gloom, replenishing
plates with bread and butter and
occasionally weeping in corners.
Who's that? she asked Elfine.
There was no real reason why he couldn't
play on the swing.
the old woman leaned for me in her
Make requests reasonable and sparse
The bike stayed half-hidden, and
Mother refrained from making any
A part of every woman and every man
resists knowing that in all love
relationships Death must have her share.
all one's craft and wisdom must be called
Naomi Buck Palagi has work published in journals such as Spoon River Review, Otoliths, Moria, Eleven Eleven, Blue Fifth Review and Requited. Additionally, she has two chapbooks, Silver Roof Tantrum (dancing girl press, 2010), and Darkness in the Tent (Dusie Kollectiv 5, 2011).