Wednesday, August 31, 2016
Hawk Season Notebook #252
Short Film. Holding a relationship up to a mirror: molten-red background and overhead light, half a year's unopened mortgage bills on an entryway table, window frame wood burning in a cracked-brick fireplace. The man is a middle-aged corn farmer. He is an ice cube dropped into a glass of bargain bourbon. The woman is leafy, like a June poplar, with exaggerated gestures. They board a Ferris wheel, sit beside each other... hold hands. The small town below them resembles shards of a broken vase... vanilla-white roofs... slash-crimson roofs. The woman takes a mirror from a small purse, holds it up. It is night. The silver stars behind and over them are, one by one, dimming-out.
Monday, August 29, 2016
Barbara Brinson Curiel
Bunchgrass Press is proud to publish a new poetry chapbook by Barbara Brinson Curiel, Summer Highway.
The poems included are:
Highway 5: Winters to Lodi, California.
Poem Written in the Shadow
of the Longhorns for Christ Campus Center
at the University of Texas at Austin
Driving Highway 290, Going West,
Houston to Austin
Barbara Brinson Curiel
Barbara Brinson Curiel won the Philip Levine Prize for her book Mexican Jenny and Other Poems (Anhinga Press, 2014). Summer Highway is her second chapbook with Bunchgrass Press. Curiel teaches English and Creative Writing at Humboldt State University.
Sunday, August 28, 2016
Hawk Season Notebook # 251
Play. Or Film. She leaves home at sixteen to waitress in Reno, never a further thought for the suburbs of Boise. She calls her breasts teakettles, I am visually appetizing. A dog comes along with its leash unattended... a liver-brown Australian Shepherd-Chocolate Lab mix. It answers to Boomer. Her apartment lease has a No Pets clause. She moves into the garden, hangs a tarp over playground equipment. The landlord soon chokes-to-death on a fast food chicken bone... is not discovered in his apartment for six weeks. Marginalia: selfies get sent to far-off movie studios, there are dates with chino-wearing sporting goods salesclerks, plastic coin-filled mayo jars get buried below the swing set. The spirit lives on isolation. She walks her Boomer to Fallon that winter, buys a canvas tent and a small wood stove, squats to the north on a 40 Acres for Sale lot. A realtor stops by... comes by again... leaves canned meat and carbohydrates from the third visit onward, but it never eases into love. Peyote. An antique store burglary for a pair of moth-eaten bearskin rugs. Chemically-induced changes in starlight. Old Testament orange clouds. Solitude as an American Dream.
Tuesday, August 23, 2016
Hawk Season Notebook #233
Subtitles for a motel afternoon movie posing as a foreign film attempt at a contemporary Western by a European orange-cheeked auteur cinema director. I lurk in the blues. Also: Your tropical legs, baby, and the years so overlaid with Amarillo poignancy. Wyatt Earp's last days come to mind, his prostate cancer, the first Hollywood starlets not quite getting it... not quite getting that Wyatt.... So: Yes... volcanic bedsprings, please, yes, and a Tombstone-like sidelong glance, baby. Subtitles for....
Sunday, August 21, 2016
Hawk Season Notebook #226
In the old days, there were ladders and reindeer on Christmas Eve. Other children had roots. School was Ground Zero... with weekly civil defense drills. You and your classmates went fetal under your desks, teachers instructing, Cover your eyes against the blast flash. In the old days, the next messiah did not require a scalpel or ghost writers or recycled wedding rice. On Christmas Eve you watched a stepfather's home movies: public stonings, raggedy people eating stewed cat, elevators dropping down shafts for miles and miles. Laugh-track screamer films. School lunch was always a bowl of reheated orange spaghetti. You asked, and no one could explain, where the spaghetti had been heated the first time.
Friday, August 19, 2016
Hawk Season Notebook #213
You were never good with microphones... either too close or fearful-distant. Strong winds tonight through your non-native evergreens. It is county fair week in town. Home, you cut a slice of white cake, break it in half and share with the dog. Too old and late to worry about cavities. The other morning you stumbled (pill-stoned for tooth extraction) into an oral surgeon's office... carrying both a six-foot leash and a small digital camera. The leash was confiscated, even though you assured everyone it was only a prop. But a beautiful nurse took selfies with you before the procedure. Afterward, the dentist posed, big smile of success. You were never good... speaking or singing into a microphone. Once, when fourteen, you made a wax (minute and a half) 45 rpm record in a carnival recording booth, a cover of Old Shep, a sentimental loss-of-dog Red Foley lyric. Tone deaf, with a yowl for a song, you mailed your well-packed (only copy) 45 to a radio station. You listened to their early morning DJ, dialed-in for weeks... relieved eventually that you had not told classmates to listen.
Sunday, August 14, 2016
Hawk Season Notebook #183
August morning. Move the irrigation hoses and sprinklers. Keep the non-native evergreens alive. Seek particular meaning in it all, no generalities. Yet: string theory and warped circles of time and space... comprehension... awareness. Perhaps: at the center of black holes... a white floral mosaic. Or there is a backlot with lounging, between-takes Hollywood extras smoking cigarettes... drinking almost-cold, whiskey-laced coffee. Morning: the poignancy of all who are gone. You cannot find lost loves at the nearby train station. One last hose-end sprinkler to drag to beneath the Japanese maple.
Saturday, August 13, 2016
Hawk Season Notebook #162
The brain rolls-over the old material: thunder from 1950's stagecoach robbery movies, Lone Ranger masks in a San Francisco novelty store window, your summer 1962 golden girlfriend with short-cropped blonde hair... leaving you... moving cross-country. She said, not quite breaking-up, Your expansiveness is craziness. Months later, a bus ride to San Jose, with many stops on El Camino Real, was tedious, but there was a rummage store... a dead man's tar-black Tom Mix Stetson that fit you. You wanted to be a desperado... needed to find and love a girl scented-eager... patchouli and pine.
Friday, August 12, 2016
Hawk Season Notebook #159
Had the ambition, she said, but you know.... Behind her was a square powder-white place with a rain-stained front door. It had been a small-congregation country church. The wooden front steps were broken and kicked aside and replaced with cinder blocks. Across a dusty yellowish road was an abandoned 1970's sheet metal confinement hog operation. Traveled a bit, but I'm still intact. In her middle thirties, scrawny with stringy brown hair streaked blonde, dressed in sort of a thrift store prom dress, she was walking circles on a patchy lawn, watching surveyors up the road. Bastards are making marks. Smell the turpentine on 'em. Ever'body tryin' to catch a dollar. In a few days, semis with trailers would bring bulldozers and a portable module office for a construction company. She looked back at her place, grinned and waved at a little kid holding an empty wire bird cage against a filmy window.
Saturday, August 6, 2016
Hawk Season Notebook #134
The clapboard house was appraised. Then the family moved. Cotton curtains. A closet-pisser brown pound mutt you loved. The coroner's children next door. You heard their toys came from the homes of the dead. When your bedroom was not bleach-clean, your toys went up the chimney in smoke. Smile and grumble. You saw a black snake in a nearby potato field. You were a moody child. An ingrown toenail... an office surgery did little to make your spirit fly. The old house sold in a blink. The mutt was disappeared. Your stepfather said, Don't press your luck. The new house was glazed gray... antique copper lamps... a no-context World War II Italian naval officer's sword over the fireplace. You were about ten. Someone gave your stepfather a clear wine bottle with a miniature sailing ship inside. Your mother gave him vinegar salad dressing. A Greyhound bus schedule came your way... a treasure. You understood the word Family as something On the Rocks.
Hawk Season Notebook # 125
Exceptionally glamorous women at a Sunday morning Sixties museum... a sunlit semicircle... an outdoor charity art fair. Paintings of barns, homage to Monet, horses at ponds. The women (Junior Leaguers) were giggles and smirks, buzzed-in on caffeine. The girl at your side was in silver lingerie with a black velvet cape. No discomfort. Your vocabulary was in the future. It was summer. Perhaps you were briefly married. Fired from every job. The sinuous girl at your side was in candy-colored short-shorts, aqua bikini top. It was a small town museum... hawk desert all around. It was a summer morning and there was fresh ink in your notebook. You were reading Trakl and Catullus. The girl at your side was on the boundary between good friend and overlooked loved. She said, I can work with it... formal or... personal. It was a summer morning and you were cowboy-backlash at a museum... big Stetson... and beyond serious consideration by older beautiful women. The girl beside you said she liked dark and funny... and intimate. You reckoned you had everything.
Thursday, August 4, 2016
Benbradagh Mountain, Dungiven, County Derry, Ireland, 1972
Hawk Season Notebook #124
Gaunt, dead or on parole from a home for the mad or for dumb beasts, in a dream you are hiking up a gentle Irish mountain... a good wide path... a rock to two to kick aside... purple heather. You are being helped along by a florid-face, blubber-neck hospital orderly in starched white, Ah, sir, it's a life of tramp, tramp, tramp-along. It's that life, sir, or the life of being trampled, aye.
Monday, August 1, 2016
Old Stone House, Collapsed,
Arranmore Island, County Donegal, Ireland, 1969
(photo by Red Shuttleworth)
Hawk Season Notebook #112
Clang-echo on stone... a church bell... rubble of an ancient Irish village facing the Atlantic. The cry of a black-capped tern. You are writing a shadow-gaze poem in a large gray notebook. A girl with brown braids bicycles to you from the Youth Hostel. You unfold wax paper from around a pork sausage sandwich. The girl, like you, is a stranger. You have not told her that you will soon catch a boat... hike-on... without her. She kisses your neck, speaks of home... rosy-sunset Norwegian fields. It is August. You are rolling happy in youth. You and the girl sit beside each other, take turns reading aloud Peadar O'Donnell. Wind gust... Gaelic famine-cry of those who ate grass.