Kyle G. Dargan is the Managing Editor of Callaloo and Distinguished Adjunct-in-Residence at American University, where he coordinates the Bishop McCabe Lecture Series. His debut collection of poems, The Listening, was awarded the 2003 Cave Canem Prize, and his forthcoming book, Bouquet of Hungers, will be published in late 2007 by the University of Georgia Press. His poems and non-fiction have appeared in such publications as Denver Quarterly, The Newark Star-Ledger, Ploughshares, and Shenandoah. He has received a scholarship to the Fine Arts Work Center and a fellowship to attend the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference. A native of Newark, NJ, Dargan holds degrees from the University of Virginia and Indiana University's MFA Program in Creative Writing, where he was a Yusef Komunyakaa Fellow and Poetry Editor at Indiana Review. He is currently a master’s candidate in American University’s Arts Management program.

Links:
Kyle's website, The K-BLOG
Audio archive at From the Fishouse
Callaloo
Bishop McCabe Lecture Series

Three Poems by Kyle Dargan


The Battlefield
~ for Darrell Burton

That night a mantle of snow fell over all of the bodies, sharp
and fine like sky grating itself. Limbs twice brittle, cold on
corpus morta, sunk while ground and horizon grew
to touch each other. Five months, the icy shards fell like one name,
cataloguing every breathless man as one casualty. It dissolved
with their flesh and seeped into the pores beneath the grass.

Widows flocked to the wells, to the rivers—scooping hands and buckets,
shoes and skirt bottoms. Each poured what they gathered
into wooden bowls, flexed forearms with the alchemy of making
dough they’d feed to pear-shaped kilns. When the bread had baked,
they gathered all the daughters, made them watch while the boys ate.

[Reprinted from The Listening (University of Georgia Press, 2004).]


Semiotics or After Gangs Came from the West
~ Essex County, NJ

The graphite of winter hedges
stuffed with sparrows and rustling

trash gives way to the 3 o’clock
flood of little suns escaping the globes

and algebra books which orbit them
all day. They clot on corners, claiming rival

hues of hemoglobin. They bounce-walk
and break into an origami of bone—

fold their hands into birds, fingers flapping
and preening. A red feather tags

danger, as does blue—what irrigates
their bodies so dooms them. It seems

affectionate enough at first—chatty
hands and hugs which end in thumps

on backs—but a darker exchange ensues
when one sun is red, the other blue,

when bird hands dive below waists
to emerge with fire in their beaks.

Someteen, these young suns set with their light
splattered about the bushes—

a cold ignition of color. We blot it
with stuffed bears and wind-scarred roses

until leaves migrate back to branches—
spring’s green shroud saying forgive me

you shouldn’t have to see this
.


Karaoke
~ The Office Lounge—Bloomington, IN

Here’s to backriffs, the Japanese, naval
baseball caps, pack-a-day rasp, thanking god
for being a boy, a country, tonight (no liquor
sold on Sundays), cracking the fire
exit, the Beethoven cellular opus
stubborn as a canker sore, Tom (going once,
going twice…), contagious slow dancing
in the kitchen entrance, yellow tint spilling through
the white lyrics, 80’s catalogues, hands colliding
a beat too late, contemplating Lou Rawls,
forearm hair, STIHL patches, stars
and bars pulsing on pick-up windows
in the dirt lot, Indiana, Johnny
                                        Cash and believing
that the lord was on their side
, sunset
drawl, three-drink-makeovers, (instrumental
break), men in each other’s blank
embrace, cigarette burns
and no pain, Bette Midler
and chorus mentality, stripes
really making you feel thinner,
playing the air guitar like a penis
and redmen singing western, the last pair
of Levi’s stitched in the states,
America the plaid, saliva forgotten and the soldiers
coming home
. Maybe next Wednesday     I sing.