THE YEAR OF THE MONKEY
She was born during a conference of shadows,
behind cataracts which rumbled and roared
to announce her arrival, in a year of chittering,
primate madness, born without mischief,
seen only behind her own eyes. She grew
but did not prosper, broke her terrors into
small squares, ate them one at a time
when her manic forces were at a high point;
glory times when she danced and laughed heartily,
rose toward the moon for no reason.
A bite or two of those fears, her laughter
failed her and she was back down to earth,
like everyone else.
THERE IS ALWAYS A CROW
I have tried to share my stories, poems
with a tree, an ugly pond, and a Gladiolus,
but they were not welcoming.
“Your sentences,” said the tree,
“roll up together, become stones
on the trail to prophesy.”
The Gladiolus said, “Voyager, your slip
is showing, your left shoe is untied,
the button at your bustline is hanging on
by a thread. Best you shape up,
wise up, wake up; this world
makes no promises.”
But my stories, I said, and my poems,
my sentences which jostle each other
when they enter or leave my head–
what of them? Will they survive translation?
Will I be exiled because of them?
Then a crow, (there is always a crow),
said in its tribal tongue which is stained
with spirit, “Time to leave.
You’ve worn out your welcome.
We don’t need your stories, your poems;
We have enough of our own,
and there are very few who listen to them.”
The ugly pond, embarrassed
by its green scum and dark odors,
had been silent. It rippled in a breeze,
whispered, “Oh! If you could read my heart,
you would see the place I have given you there,
and you would share your sentences with me. ”*
Martina Reisz Newberry’s most recent book is Blues For French Roast With Chicory, (Deerbrook Editions 2019). She is included in The Sixty Four Best Poets of 2018 (Black Mountain Press). She is widely published in literary journals in the U.S. and abroad. Passionate in her love for Los Angeles, Martina currently lives there with her husband, Brian, a Media Creative.