Susan Briante's first collection of poetry, Pioneers in the Study of Motion, was recently published by Ahsahta Press.
Poet CD Wright describes the book as "a work of shuddering velocity... an ode, a screed, a lament, a love song of
'pristine and inarticulate mornings.'" Briante's poetry, essays and translations, have recently appeared in Damn the Caesars,
Fascicle, Bombay Gin and The Believer. From 1992-1997, she lived in Mexico City where she worked for
the magazines Artes de Mťxico and Mandorla. Briante is an assistant professor of aesthetic studies at the University of
Texas at Dallas.
Three poems by Susan Briante
This morning, a red woodpecker scales the live oak
the phone rings
makes its erasures:
a dream in which Iím revising a list with my father—gone
the way of whole neighborhoods in the Bronx.
Robert Moses shrugs his concrete shoulders
Robert Moses, I say, drop the knife.
In the summer of 2001, I lived in the Bowery, took photographs
of police call boxes,
took the train through Newark, NJ: warehouse, community college, broadface
of the projects irregardless of choices. I was a lonely child, loved looking
at things no one would notice: Rahway, Linden, Elizabeth: the many-eyed, bricked-up, gold-domed, on the platform waiting.
So far as we feel sympathy, we are not accomplices.
Thick rain and tree roots knuckle the sidewalk.
In Newark, NJ, the sidewalks were slate gray, dark as thunderheads
big bang big theory of charge/discharge.
As a child, I thought I could save my motherís life by stepping in front of her.
Chalk Marks On The Front Walk
Calendula by the curb an empty watering can
As I pull him across the lawn, the toddler
holds on to one side of his wagon
cups his balls with the other hand
July wren on a telephone wire. A silver
less of each day. Whatís next?
From a bird by the hydrant, 3 trills the last one-clipped.
In The Field
by the osage orange tree I found a snakeskin: coiled, transparent, glistening, cresting
on clipped grass, black snake nowhere to be found.
With plywood a barn becomes history,
with stories to add to the building A family
traffics in burden and grief—what a mother carried for hers, what a father hands you
in a parking lot: weeds buckle concrete.
In Virginia, not family
individual shaped the settlement
not bound by religion or kinship; in Jamestown men outnumbered women
20-1, slaves by 1619, allowing a plantation:
carpenters, coopers, wheelwrights, millers, blacksmiths, midwifes.
When Marion went with her friend, a meth-addict, to talk to his therapist
about seeing ghosts, the therapist asked: "Do they talk?"
"You need to call me as soon as they start talking."
This room used to be the stable, without mini-blinds or surge protector
without barbed-wired framing the meadow.
Born in Newark, NJ, I see loss even
in this view to a cow pasture—generations past larkspur.
Boys in Jamestown dreamed in petticoat, woke to armor.
In ref. to our previous conversations, to whose ancients should I direct my inquiries?