Presenting the winner of Boston Reviews Second
Annual Poetry Contest: Stephanie Strickland
This poem is also
available as hypertext
The Ballad of Sand
and Harry Soot
Sand was a gourd fanatic
and she played
loved to listen.
When Sand shook,
ribbon of rainsound
rose and fell in the air,
she let her mallet
fall, the palest of violets, a screen of violet
defacing his MetroCard.
Should Sand sing,
himself leaning over a piano
his tie. As he reached out
it was as if the inside of seventeen
balloons expanded past ivory,
past transparence. A single spot,
the chrome scaffolding, bore
on the hoof
of his nail.
Sand had a wardrobe
made of twirlies.
find a center. Beneath or beyond.
to yield or resist.
ballast. Contour cups
of constructed silk.
that flung itself into a cusp of droplets.
Harry Soot was a handsome man,
woody and gaunt.
A blue-eyed boy.
Sand was hard to say.
horns. Some saw
acknowledged them diversions.
Sand panned speed. Languid was she. Oh
fast, fine foil for
lay, lo, slow. Some slipp
hurried, harried host.
Sands similarity to scarabs?
Or a rosa dolorosa, every petal
thorned? Or swallows up close.
"The tail is forked and as elegant
as a trouts, but more attenuated,
just short of baroque," says the
naturist. I quote.
to the lake
with his tackle
for lily berries,
for blue pearls. Water
eyes. A silver weir.
Sand incessantly beckoning. Sandpipers
scurry to erase the loss of their faint
print at the foaming margin.
put a toe in.
unclear, of course, about fire.
it really was
aflame. Resinous clubs.
In the dark paneled reading room,
a green shade.
cats cradle fan and economic.
and a haircut, fifteen cents;
nodes of knot
in the dark
apparatus, all one, all
nano-rope. This point
Harry. Harry preferred Ouija
Harry is no fool. Harry Soot is shrewd.
Harry has allergies and moods.
Harry lieshe cant
Harry has structuregenes and grammar.
Harry is a detective, but he cant find
Harry is violent
and violently quiet;
Sand insinuated herself. ZaumZoom in,
she has gone ahead. ZoomTzim out,
she is not behind. To hear,
in her gourd, her mallet-fall, a relation to
emptiness, finest gauze, so finely
believes he is watching.
he is in Times Square.
He is. She
Twirly languid blue-eyed blue pearls clearly not
Down on the fourth harmonic she simply singly
for a second
stood, so symmetric, second subsequent swiftly
riding slamjamming shivering switching
Sand sings Nessun dorma long summer
afternoons in the music room. Heavy red
curtains, gilded chairs, portraits of dead
children. Sand in a window seat
looking out on roses;
in a seersucker suit
at the far
Sand seeks the scent
of the ringneck doves soft
gurgle as they walk on the wall
and their syllables spill over and
down a column
Midnight blue of Krishnas
Sometimes Sand doesnt come. Fatally
Splurt of sign signage red/blue blood
on the grisly snow. Minutes of arc off.
Sand might be getting restless.
How does Sand feel about insects
as companions? Does she take
her cue from the alkaloid plants?
What seems to Soot revenge may
seem to her survival. Or
is she incapable of refusal?
Sand. Every tree,
a target inscription, pierced
weapon. Turn me on,
sound Soot hears Sand
Hold me down, Sand prays, to dusk &
musk, purple black sheathed with frost,
the Concord grape of Krishnas shoes
tips and toes
and soles. The stars are variable sprays,
golden geometric rays
of twisted silk. Crimson lining unfolding.
Achtung! Loose lips. Beware.
Sand resounds as long as a whale song
passed along and around the waters
of the world. Like a motherchild pod, she/they
both threatened and succored by the
coasts. Alone in the bay, rolling over and
back beneath the moon, as
his cohort heave
traveling in a pack,
A housedress of dotted Swiss with a lace
collar. A curling iron, to refresh
marcelled hair. Account books with black,
placeholder ribbons. Linoleum
made to look like a brick floor. Sand
could be retro.
Sands relation to dreams bears
repeating. Was it mentioned?
As albino cave bats who let go
of coloration, but develop keener
seeks to catch a falling star
in the monitoring
Harry Soot is that kind of guy. Despite
his lust for lime, despite a savvy sense
of what goes down around such light, Harry
Soot is attached to his memory lines,
crows feet crinkle, scar arroyos, worry
furrows, wry sag, time written in skin,
in bone, in blood. Chemical peels do not
appeal to him. Nor implant chips (wait until
he gets sick!).
Sand an infinite receiver
infinitely flexible. Beyond
in fact, an infinite
deceiver: Proteus at home.
Golda called Moshe that Arab.
Golda, schoolteacher, thought
Is Golda Sand?
a mass of human names
Is Sand (a wafer/chip good as) Gold?
Sands never the sameness fleeter than
anything Soot could get a hand, a handle,
on. Flickery swift. And yet. One finger
brings her crashing down. Hump Dump.
againso fast it made Soot
arcade thrill. Cheaper than
or bootleg. Purer, too, potent
color blocked her light.
Harry Soot from time to time in the market for swoon.
ever more often. In his dream,
just a year or two ago, he remembered edge, it being
People who forget the art
of navigation come to believe the island has sunken;
smile at this juncture, Mona Lisan.
Harry Soots grandmama, Muck Raker Ida Tar
What a falling off there.
gramp, grep, Pythagoras.
done him proud. It sims.
Tangy Soot. Tang-I-Bull Soot.
Trua-vir Sand. Liv-a-Tru
Physics: The Movie. R.I.P.,
crown assays in a bathtub,
or Galileo trekking to the far side
of the valley to touch that blue
boulder on the ridge.
And would this prove he saw
mountains on the moon in any case,
Sand, as I said, a marimba player;
Oozy Soot, Uzi Soot, born to swim,
born to dance, to paint his face, to lay
flowers by the dead. Soot will say,
on any given day, born to fly,
born to riseborn to escape.
Sands whimsy and scarcity/value? Sand
paints daffodils on the deck of an aircraft
carrier, caps the age of the unknown
Soot is running out of numbersnot
populace. Lively virus.
If a silly con were all Sand were.
If an ashy trash were all of Soot.
Sand religiously stops. And starts the next thing.
Bluesy Soot cant conclude.