Poetry and Prose from the Center for Writers
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* WINNER, POETRY *
…And the Water Absconded
by MATTHEW GERMENIS
There is enough sand for us all to share.
This lonely house of conquered rivers,
this beach with patient waters,
is too patient, too forgetful –
as the crisp, curling white caps cease to push
their way to feet, to frazzled edges of blankets
strewn under glistening skin and sleeping limbs.
It has been said that the desert remembers everything,
all of the lovers that pass through with their thieving hearts
in hand with other thieving hearts.
In a land of nothing, something must be stolen,
especially amongst the dried up Bedouins
with a lust for an ancient oasis fresh on their crepitating lips
and equally aching tongues.
The jugular moves blood in drying caravans,
dreaming about empires of water.
One day wetness will return,
and it will mimic the whisper of mapped winds,
birthed from the sand like an awful
trickle of light from a cracked canteen.
A City of Pain, or How to Feel Blue
I smelled the ocean because there wasn’t one,
lifted dew beads from Jew beards,
& was axed to pieces by an Ethiopian sax player
stranded on the corner of an abandoned amusement park.
They tried to tell me of their pain in cracked-glass English
& how it was the same as mine.
No, I’m not from Ethiopia &
the dirt wars (the stick wars of Bed-Stuy)
are nothing like the sun of a civil war.
& the chicken-heads w/ swollen veins
are not deformed Palestinian women,
or even the shopkeeper on Prophets Street
caught in the diameter of the bomb.
These are just chicken-heads on the stoop,
w/ veins dripping, dripping,
like feathers festering in a coop.
Gentrification is coming.
The boy soldiers are coming, & they are the Supermen
of Supermen – midnight in strength, cracked out,
& willing to leap tall buildings.
I smelled the ocean again,
& saw the white gulls perch on top of a pier
as Coltrane’s “Acknowledgment” was played.
The gulls taught me how to feel blue,
but it was too late.
I already knew. They already knew.
& so we cried together,
not knowing why.
Matthew Germenis is a senior English and History major, Black Studies minor, at the University of Southern Mississippi. Originally from Queens, NY, Matthew will pursue graduate school to be a professor of 20th century American literature. His interests are Philip Roth, James Baldwin, Saul Bellow, and Ingmar Bergman.