Ally, aka Advisor, Resigns by Stephen Page

glass

Ally, aka Advisor, Resigns
by Stephen Page
.
You have exchanged the blue coat we gave you
For a red one; or is it just reversible?
.
Don’t snarl at me, you are not a lion,
You have the eyes of a glass serpent.
.
You taught me how to be a Godfather,
Not a father, or a leader.
.
You taught me how to destroy land,
Not build a ranch, or a reputation.
.
You think only in percentages,
Yours of course, not ours.
.
It’s no wonder you stink of cancer,
You are rotting from the inside out.
.
Don’t project yourself into me,
I am not your lost pocket mirror.
.
You shaped yourself through self-debasement,
But I will not lose my edification.
.
You will never spark cognitive dissonance,
For consensus on your chagrin.
.
You weighed the cows wrong, admit it,
Your florid three names will not save you now.
.
Trenchant are the ineligible, who wish
For nothing more than what they work for.
.
Your resignation was up for reprisal,
But only half-heartedly.
.
In the end you have saved me,
You have engendered my independence.
.
You are like a senator who asks a general
To win a war, then banishes him.
.
Empirically I have judged you
From the throne of my office.
.
Stop whispering in my ear,
I will not listen anymore.
.
I would like to name you Rasputin,
Except, you did not succeed.
.
Stephen Page phot with muse (1)
Stephen Page is the Author of The Timbre of Sand, Still Dandelions, and A Ranch Bordering the Salty River. He holds two AA’s from Palomar College, a BA from Columbia University, and an MFA from Bennington College. He also attended Broward College. He is the recipient of The Jess Cloud Memorial Prize, a Writer-in-Residence from the Montana Artists Refuge, a Full Fellowship from the Vermont Studio Center, an Imagination Grant from Cleveland State University, and an Arvon Foundation Ltd. Grant. He loves his wife, reading, travel, family, and friends.

https://smpages.wordpress.com

view original post on https://northofoxford.wordpress.com/2019/01/14/ally-aka-advisor-resigns-by-stephen-page/

North of Oxford

glass
.
Ally, aka Advisor Resigns
.
You have exchanged the blue coat we gave you
For a red one; or is it just reversible?
.
Don’t snarl at me, you are not a lion,
You have the eyes of a glass serpent.
.
You taught me how to be a Godfather,
Not to be a father, nor a leader.
.
You taught me how to destroy land,
Not build a ranch, or a reputation.
.
You think only in percentages,
Yours of course, not ours.
.
It’s no wonder you stink of cancer,
You are rotting from the inside out.
.
Don’t project yourself into me,
I am not your lost pocket mirror.
.
You shaped yourself through self-debasement,
But I will not lose my edification.
.
You will never spark cognitive dissonance,
For consensus on your chagrin.
.
You weighed the cows wrong, admit it,
Your florid three names…

View original post 187 more words

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Santa Fe Literary Review Issues – with Stephen Page

With a poem by Stephen Page in Volume 13 (2018) — Read on www.sfcc.edu/santa-fe-literary-review/literary-review-issues/

Download the .pdf or ePub to read issue 13 (2018)

Special thanks to Kate McCahill, Nancy Beauregard, and Serena Rodriguez

Except from poem Teresa: My Mask of Day —

“She unwraps and pirouettes before me, holds out her arms,

clasps my hand, ballrooms, tangoes:

She jumps up and down upon the dry earth,

raising dust to form a rain cloud.”

The Salty River

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STEPHEN PAGE

The Salty River

featured in the poetry forum September 14, 2018  :: 0 comments

I was standing on a grassy hill
overlooking The Salty River
that winds and flows
along Santa Ana’s North-Western border.
The sun was about to set
and the star was turning orange.
The Ponies and The Calves were leaping about
as if celebrating the survival of another day.
The corn was knee high, and the wheat fields
were shorn to short stalks that looked
like the three-day blond stubble of a recently shaped beard.
Birds were chirping and singing
like they too were reveling in the End.
The Cultivators were nowhere to be seen,
their noxious machinery fumes and pesticides
not clouding the air or poisoning the Earth.
The Gauchos were all in their homes
with their families, eating, or drinking mate.

Just as the sun disappeared over the horizon,
The Pink Flamingoes in the river hued red.

editors note:To look upon a scene; to be the scene; the scene in you; belonging… – mh clay

Another Week Begins

featured in the poetry forum February 11, 2018  :: 0 comments

When Jonathan turns off the highway the mud
in the road is a foot deep. He clicks his vehicle
into 4-wheel drive and creeps forward in first gear
so not to slide into one of the ditches. The white gates
of his ranch are open, El Misionero standing next
to them. He rolls his window down and sighs. The air
smells green. Green. Green.

He drives to his office and talks with his capataz,
then they climb in the ranch pickup to go see a calf
cadaver. It was born early that morning with a curled-
neck deformity, and unable to reach its mother’s tit
or the water trough, it just stumbled around awhile and fell
on its side. The gauchos had skinned it and the vultures picked
it mostly clean, the eyes plucked out, the tongue sliced in half,
bits of intestine lying next to the spine, the heart and lungs mush
under the gristly ribs.

They drive to the Yellow House casco to see a pony cadaver.
Apparently, last night it leaped the fence around the
swimming pool and fell in the water. It lay on its side
on the grass where the yardkeeper placed it, its legs
stiff in the curled positions of swimming, yellow froth
tubed out of its nostrils. It was only three-weeks old.

Jonathan goes for a long walk, alone — he admires
the greening grass, the knee-high wheat, the sprouting corn,
the blooming chamomile, the calves and ponies leaping about
pastures spotted white with egrets.

He hears bees buzzing, mockingbirds singing —
and he keeps walking, walking; walking
past the pastures, past the Wood,
until he enters a fallow field.

As he approaches a small marsh
a flock of black ibis lift
and cloud away.

editors note:Like any week, we walk through cadavers to stand free. – mh clay

Transformations

featured in the poetry forum October 19, 2016  :: 1 comment

The weight of grass is heavy
Upon my shoulders; lift it,

Scythe is, mow it, let the cattle
Feed that I may walk again.

I sit upon a log in the shade
Of Wood. I sip mate.

I visit Buenos Aires and lie
In bed all day and watch cartoons.

I just want to sleep in
One Saturday, One Monday.

I want the Field Crossers
To stop trampling the grass,

To stop walking across my back
When they think I am napping:

Don’t they know the padlock turns
Are all numbered and recorded?

Editor, Advisor, stop planting corn
When I want my fields clovered.

I want again my daily strolls
In the quiet of Wood,

To watch for hours the bumblebees work
And lock eyes with the mockingbird.

editors note:Clover over corn? Yes! (This poem is a fine one of the mad many included in Stephen’s new collection, A Ranch Bordering the Salty River, published by Finishing Line Press. Get it here.) – mh clay

Satellites

featured in the poetry forum June 29, 2016  :: 0 comments

The tree frogs called the rain last night,
but the rain did not answer.
The intermittent croaking, about
every hour or so, was followed by
a gust of wind and the scent
of water, but no sprinkle, no pour.

The new gaucho, an angelic Moral
who rides our horse to sores,
has dried the soy beans not yet
planted. He horns the sun and peels
paint from his home.

Twenty millemeters of rain is not
forty nine, even with the north
wind. Two plastic gauges announce
the Tattler’s arrival in the park.

The newer gaucho, taller, broader
shouldered than the Angel
shunned away, suffers the sun
of unshaded twenty-one with
a smile and shovel-blistered hands
(but later became the Excuse Maker).

Just one day of the computer-
promised rain should soften the earth
and shoot the canal
full of internet cable, that is,
if the flexible orange pipe is found
on time.

With each truck that passes lot
three, earth crumbles and narrows
the road. We hope that the Three
barricade that which blackened
and thinned the cows.

I will the odometer to quit
increasing exponentially, and the bushes
Teresa planted not to yellow near
our home.

editors note:Atmospheric conditions unaffected angelically. (Congrats to Stephen on the imminent release of his new book, “A Ranch Bordering the Salty River.” Learn more about it and reserve your order here.) – mh clay

In the Local News

featured in the poetry forum September 25, 2015  :: 0 comments

Friday, September 7th, 1 a.m.:

It begins to rain heavily,
the sound like barrels of water
being poured on the corrugated roof.

Jonathan locks his office door
and settles into his reading chair
to read a bit and sleep.

Just audible above of the sound of water
he hears something else,
like someone rattling
the door handle.

He looks up but the handle is not moving.
Then . . . Bang!
the door caves convexly in,
shakes on its hinges . . .
Bang. Bang. Bang.

Jonathan is on his feet
in the middle of the room,
an antique branding iron
held in his hand
like a club.

(You see, Jonathan has read often
in the local papers
of similar incidents:
“In the middle of the night
a rancher robbed and beaten for cash
in his office.”
Or,
“A rancher and his family
robbed at gunpoint in their home
by three ex-convicts hopped up
on Meth.”

Not that Jonathan couldn’t take care of himself, but)

The door bangs and shakes two more times.
Jonathan thinks that his shotgun
might be a better weapon,
and just as he turns to retrieve it,
lightning flashes through the skylights,
blueing the entire office,
his ridiculous shadow twice
on the floor,
and almost simultaneously,
thunder cracks and rumbles away.

Jonathan drops the branding iron,
unlocks and opens the door,

and in leaps
Dominic,
wet
and muddy and panting,
shaking water everywhere.

Dominic never liked thunder.

editors note:Dog from desperado, transformed in a flash. – mh clay

The Head

featured in the poetry forum July 9, 2014  :: 0 comments

I saw a dead body today.
I did not see the head.

I was on my way back from La Limpieza,
driving the route the Walking Man walks

I was thinking about the Advisor, the Bad
guy, the Tattler. I was coming around
a dangerous curve, a curve where I have
witnessed the aftermath of many an accident,
skid marks, trucks turned over, logs spilled
onto the road, cars with front ends smashed
in, windshields shattered. Coming around
the curve I slowed down then stopped
for a white-gloved policeman with his palm
held out. My white truck reflected
in his sunglasses. There was a dark blue
pickup behind him. I waited while the traffic
passed from the other direction. The police-
man then waved me forward, his lips and chin gravely
set. I tapped my toe on the accelerator, hoping the cop
would not notice that my seatbelt was unfastened, and drove slowly
past the dark blue pickup. The cab was caved
in, the passenger door open. I saw a man, no,
I saw a body wearing a blue plaid
shirt and blue jeans, the right arm
extended, the hand still gripped
to the gear shift. The crushed cab roof
formed a vee that inverted
directly into the middle
of the body’s shoulders,
right where the neck should be.
There was no blood, but
I did not see the head.

I saw a dead body today.
I did not see the head.

I was thinking about the Advisor, the Bad
Guy, the Tattler.

editors note:You won’t take with you head nor toe. When it’s time to go, you go. – mh

The Cattle Rustler

featured in the poetry forum August 18, 2013  :: 0 comments

With your sharp silver facón you shaved
the calf’s hindquarter, looking for the brand
that you knew was not there,
and it was only the notary’s whisper
about the calf’s fat healthy appearance
that jerked your hand
into blae confession, slicing off
your black denial, drawing
sanguine tears.

“Three,” you said, “three calves”
you lost, with fingers upheld,
even though we found eleven
that had to be returned to the neighbor
whose ranch horsed the bearded cohort
who probed me with questions of origin
to discover what substance made
this stoic face and wide-set stance.

Your penned renouncement only papered
when Teresa waved her hand and said
“enough, enough bloodshed; we gave
you our trust which you stabbed then twisted it
deep into my pelvis which will never again birth
confidence in your bull-brown eyes.”

editors note:A short scene; cattle wars and the politics of trust. Someone goes hungry… – mh

Guias

featured in the poetry forum May 9, 2013  :: 0 comments

The green guias are paid for.
The seven thin cows
and seven spine-warped bulls
are about to vanish
from our virid pastures.

The Accomplice skipped work today.
He did no show his olive face.
I guess he became weary
of shoveling hen-house shit.
We set his horse free.

My truck wheel fell off:
after driving sixty kilometers
at one hundred thirty kilometers per hour
I turned off the highway upon a dirt road
and felt the thump.

The two calf-killing stallions
were boxed in crates
and although the Calloused-Hand Curator
displayed coins in his palm
I did not offer the star-marked colts.

The Malingerer extended his sick-leave:
I loom patiently outside his locked window
with a hammer in my hand;
I remove rusty animal traps
from the moonlit afternoon.

In town I errand tools and supplies
and take a coffee-break at El Café Local,
The gossip at the table behind me
is that the Rustler was seen at the stationer—
that his pen had run out of ink.

editors note:When those guidelines indicate the end of famine or the imminency of thieves (which?); when all the usual suspects have fled the scene (where?); it takes a good cup o’ joe to clear the head. – mh

 

Dear Santa Ana

Dear Santa Ana

by Stephen Page

Today I reconnected your telephone-fax one week after I recovered it from the Cattle Thief, and today I spoke with the elderly lady who let her hogs feed free upon your pasture, the eighty-two year old neighbor who begged with palm held out for kindling from your wood. I told her we would speak about the matter later.

A bathroom is bricking up alongside my matera, my plant-enclosed muse room, my idea room, the place where my desk is, the place where gauchos once stopped to take mate in front of the fire and nap-dream meat, the place where I will never again reluctantly leave to piss my daily coffee intake, the place that will soon be my self-enclosed patrón office, the place where I will administer your affairs.

Yesterday I drove to the neighboring town Lobos, to meet and interview a gaucho for potentially filling the role of capataz, but the man who stepped down from the train with his woman had only one eye, losing the other to a horse kick, and his wife a nurse mind you, with five kids. We drank coffee, spoke, and when the woman smiled falsely, I knew. I smiled, shook their hands, paid for their train tickets, and honestly hoped they would not again disembark nor call.

Last week I put new locks on your gates, and all twenty-five hundred acres of you exhaled as if you had been holding your breath for a very long time.

Today I walked the wood near my new home, my new office, my no longer weekend escape from smog and noise of the city, my no longer escape from teaching and students, my no longer muse room. I sat on a log to contemplate the sapid scent of eucalypti. I zipped up my polar-fleece vest, my leather jacket, donned my rancher gloves and noticed a pileated woodpecker scrutinizing me.

Today I chased away rabbit hunters from lot number eight.

*Originally published on Extracts and later included in “A Ranch Bordering the Salty River,” which is published by Finishing Line Press.

#epistolary #poetry #epistolaryPoem #epistolaryPoetry #ranching #StephenPage #Extracts #FinishingLinePress #aRanchBorderingTheSaltyRiver

Dear Father by Stephen Page


Dear Father,

I am so pleased that you have volunteered for Meals on Wheels–a noble endeavor to say the least. The driving around and handing out of containered food must surely keep you busy; which as we both know is something you need to do, especially now, at this point in your life.
Here on Santa Ana it is raining, a necessity for all ranches and farms alike. There always seems to be too much or too little of the wet stuff: cows either grazing in knee-deep water or chewing cud in puddles of dust, wheat like reeds in lakes or corn withering and dropping cracked ears. Last week the soy leaves turned from yellow to brown, a worsening state of bad, and the wind–break evergreens ochred the cow-lot borders. This afternoon, after two hours of steady raindrops the size of acorns, the whole ranch and everything on it seemed to sigh with relief; an almost audible sigh like one you hear in a dream as you are waking. The land has blackened to chocolate and the air chilled to jacket weather. Today’s downpour reprieved a two-month bout of ninety-degree swelter that made ill the character of the entire Santa Ana populace, not to mention tainted much of our cupboard tins and racked red wine.
We start the yerra next week–a picnic for us, as we watch while the gauchos perform. The cooler weather will be perfect for it. In a month or so we sell the calves.

I am sure you are happy that you will soon move to Florida after such a cold Michigan winter. Two months of breath-cracking below-zero is enough to make anyone seek guayaberas and daiquiris on the beach. Retirement will be pure pleasure. No more up before daybreak! No more “thru rain and shine!”

I hope your recovery from prostate surgery goes well. A hobby is in order for you to find, as we spoke about, to keep you occupied. Distracted. Don’t be like your father. Your career is over, not your life.

I trust this letter finds you and Mom well.

With much thought,

Your son, Jonathan

PS The jacket you gave me during my last visit, the bombardier with the shoulder insignia missing, keeps me from the wet and chill. I use it on my wood walks.
This poem first published on Foliate Oak. Read the poem there: http://www.foliateoak.com/stephen-page.html


Stephen Page is from Michigan. He is the author of The Timbre of Sand and Still Dandelions. He holds two AA’s from Palomar College, a BA from Columbia University and an MFA from Bennington College. His critical essays have appeared regularly in the Buenos Aires Herald and the Fox Chase Review. He is the recipient of The Jess Cloud Memorial Prize, a Writer-in-Residence from the Montana Artists Refuge, a Full Fellowship from the Vermont Studio Center, an Imagination Grant from Cleveland State University, and an Arvon Foundation Ltd. Grant. He loves his wife, travel, family, and friends.

2017 Paddock Review Pushcart Prize Nominations:

The Paddock Review

Congratulations to the following poets:

·       Bryan D. Dietrich for the poem “THE RIFT”

·       Vincent Francone for the poem “Mud”

·       Stephen Page for the poem “The Cycle of Things On Santa Ana and Everywhere”

·       Laurel S. Peterson for the poem “THE MYTHOLOGY OF SEAWEED”

·       Shana Ritter for the poem “Divisions”

·       Maryfrances Wagner for the poem “Eye Tests”

View original post

Finally and In the Room of the Dead

zymbol-2-cover copyZymbol 2: Autumn/Winter

Poetry by Stephen Page

Finally

While it is yet dark I slide from between
the sheets, pad to the kitchen, brew coffee,
and pack sweetrolls in a plastic bag. I strip
off my pajamas, shower myself with insect
repellent, and put on yesterday’s clothes. I
shoulder my backpack, and slip out the back
door, closing it quietly behind me. In the vestige
of moonlight I walk past the barn, feeling the dew
wet my ankles. Just inside the edge of the
Wood I breakfast on a treestump. Two barn
owls screech at my invasion and leave their
branch perch. A bat flaps violently by my
head. I roll marmalade around my tongue
and smell fecund earth spiced with decaying
leaves. A silver fox darts across a clearing,
and I unseat myself to wander the wood.
In the penumbra of trees I walk–I listen to
silence–I do not feel the weight of my
pack–I misplace time–an hour when I click
the light on my digital watch. The Myth
I seek does not appear but feel I was close
to finding it, or it finding me. A wooddove pops
its wings as it departs eucalypti mist auraed by
a vanilla sunrise. Treefrog croaks crescendo
then stop as I exit the treeline. A peach sun rises
behind a windmill as I cross the field to breakfast
a second time, this time with my wife.

In a lemon tree behind our ranchhouse, I discover
a newly made wasp nest bowing a brace of branches.

In the Room of the Dead

Mothballs permeate.

Grandfather slits open
A forty-pound fish
From anus to throat,
His nostrils flaring
At the effluvium.

Grandmother sits upon the lap
Of her gray-suited father,
Her pale dress fluttering
Above her chubby thighs,
Their skin dusted
With corn silk,
Stubble in the field
Behind them.

Your high-headed friend
Who prefers blue oxfords
And khakis with loafers,
Who planted the blooms
That perfume your garden,
Breathes ether and oxygen
Through a plastic mask
And winces at each needle prick
Of the vein-finding nurse.

You mother in lavender chiffon
Who swallowed every morning
whole garlic clove
Wheezes in a sanitary cloud
Of baby powder,
Her stomach cancer
Taken over.

Your father, a tall man
In a baker apron,
Sips aromatic yerba
In front of flock
Of sparrow, the birds
scuttling upwind
Of his diabetic
Gangrene feet.

An antique wool blanket
Is folded neatly
Upon the foot of the bed,
And atop the cedar chest of drawers,
The sliver frames
Never quite tarnish to black,
But remain a constant state of gray,

The chromatic faces stilled
By the opening of the door.

 

these poems published in Zymbol

Alternative Cover Copy
         Alternative Cover Copy

Zymbol logo

opening the shades by Stephen Page

Brass Bell has published a poem by Stephen Page in the November Issue of Morning Haku:

Opening the Shades

Song of the Sparrow by Stephen Page

opening the shades
to let the morning light in —
two sparrows staring
– Stephen Page

Brass Bell is curated by Zee Zahava

brassjapanesewindbellzee3
Brass Bell

 

A Haunting Poem Fit for Halloween or Day of the Dead or All Souls’ Day

Charlie Chaplin doll largeThe Night is Long
By Stephen Page

red and green walls
melt from the ceiling
red and brown ducks
paint the windows
a hanging witch
a reminder of Salem
12:00 12:00
the hour of evil
a female nude stands
in shy sexual wanting
cold as stone
from sculptor’s hands
my clothes are scattered
in some semi-order
my room is displaced
in time and location
Pluto’s guitar
her lovely remembrance
strums and plays
A song for daughter
Charlie Chaplin
sits on a shelf
his staring eyes
sadly know all
five o’clock now
the mourning bird sings
a song for me
the death I’ve lived
a week has passed
in eight long hours
a moment ago
it was tomorrow

*This poem first published in “Our Reader’s Quarterly”
Editor: Gene Brill

“Reading Aloud for his Grandson” by Stephen Page

RiverLit

Steve lake fishing John and Deb's booat may 2015Reading Aloud for his Grandson” by Stephen Page

as published on RiverLit

read poem here: Reading Aloud for his Grandson

HBS

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