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Other notable work by Brenda Levy Tate.
Nanette Rayman Rivera-
what love is
May I please say this
like years ago
the sea is open
to my escapades
and the soundlessness of my body
allows me now to forgive you.
If for one hour I could
quarantine within me
the exquisite danger beautiful
of those years,
remember to repipe in the dream
when we escaped
the earsplitting fiesta of the boardwalk,
and created a canopy of our hole-y
blanket, high on fries with vinegar, salt
water as it echoed
over my breasts
as your tongue sought whichever brook
of my body you could sluice away—
and if I could remember the aqua yellow tangerine
umbrellas knocking knees with each other
like candied and capricious dancers—
if I could stop
and not remember
the treeless walk from the subway,
how high you were on something that might’ve killed
you, and only remember the smack
of the waves and how you lifted me over,
your salty shoulder finding my lips.
There’s no doubt I am
a rococo haven
where dreams and drama fuse
in a bawdy-house
of locomotive emotion and shored anger
If I could think
to let you buy me
a really large lobster
or if I could dream to just be
one and mysteriously
hit upon some stream.
If when you assuage me like silk
piping with a red umbrella of my own,
a lobster and a promise
of prettier shores
I, and you with me
could once again love
the sand and the afternoon
and you, out cold to my clan-
destine destined confidential.
I’m Such an Actress
If nothing else I know how to Sarah Heartburn.
I never saw anything wrong
with a real life of this. On stage I wanted blue
bayous into Laurette Taylor. In my family, I’m only
the one who doesn’t wear beige, who doesn’t account
for things. Truth be told I am in love with the human
actress. I examine the juice of the heart, the blue
vervain keen on using toothed leaves as method
into breath. I don’t speak for Isis
or her tears, or Juno and his, I speak, and please
excuse the flippancy, for the women, and I’m only the one
who dares to say it, but, dazed to have this—
a piece of body that projects into a body (pituitary into breasts or heart)
and is connected with the mainland, accountant land, the left
brain by an isthmus. (reason). I’m such an actress,
I reach where place decodes craze into truth, feeling
the limb, the phantom even in sleep, a leg of land,
something tender and tendon, maybe a tough band of tissue—
out of sight, outer-realm bound.
an actress and her stigmata
The actress dreams in spot on acts, auditioners mad
with craving jut into craven dark or rain, depends.
On what you’re after. You think you will make it,
each woman a mess-about denudes herself in smiles the bigger
the sadder. Her wrist and her pulse a friendship
bracelet covering her scars, refusing to be imagined otherwise.
The bend and dip of a shadow anywhere in the world, a beach, the moon – ah-
Or maybe you’re so different. Your wounds I see
that after the rapes tiny carpels as this magenta and claret
like you once were. I don’t see the console.
The moon’s back, the sea air hot as you unclasp your corset.
Or maybe you’re so different.
A sea urchin reaches over and strangles – ah –
In New York City that pity the streets hook
and eye over the bridges- stented hearts die in summer.
You could slide from pack ice into east river water or tub water, fall in love
and fall out. You could disregard sense memory and get over
this imperfect stigmata stop bleeding stop acting stop. A beach, the moon – ah–
A sinister man offered to help
carry her brown paper bag.
Afraid to offend,
she handed over her pink
poorboy sweater and bellbottoms,
She trained her heart to STOP
and fell on the tracks for a denouement
The sinister man came
back, hurled himself onto the rail,
pulled her up and onto the platform,
so unbelievably sorry
A yamache-ed man stepped onto the escalator
down to the 5:44 train to Babylon
Daddy, she cried, please, take me—
her words leveled by a clear
all aboard announcement, and no one heard.
Nanette Rayman Rivera, two-time Pushcart Nominee has poetry collection, Project: Butterflies by Foothills Publishing and chapbook, alegrias, by Lopside Press. She’s first winner of Glass Woman Prize and is on Best of the Net 2007. She won best of issue in Greensilk Journal. Publications include The Worcester Review, Carousel, Carve, The Berkeley Fiction Review, MiPOesias, ditch, Prick of the Spindle, A Little Poetry, The Wilderness Review, Pebble Lake Review, Dirty Napkin, Pedestal, Lily, Wicked Alice, Dragonfire, Wheelhouse, and Stirring. Upcoming: Featured Poet in Up the Staircase, The Blue Jew Yorker. She is listed on imbd and Turner Classic Movies for her roles in Guns on the Clackamas and Stephan’s Silver Bell. She graduated from The New School University.
Brenda Levy Tate-
But Venus always falls. Light yellows above my scooped
footprints, yesterday and all the day-strings before, back
along every mucky track that follows me. Wire slipping
from a spool. He is there, lead weight at the end, knot
in my elastic ribbon. If I stretch myself a hundred years
around the earth, he’ll neither give nor snap me free.
On my right, the forest is gone, a new killing ground
buried in beheaded pine. Two young tamarack shiver,
defendants in some mock trial. They’re frightened,
this thin pair, facing the blade. Henry VIII’s lost wives,
damned for no reason. Anne and Katherine, beloved ghost-
trees-in-waiting. In the mud, my toes gouge their names.
I must turn now. Stumble home to offer him lunch.
We used to press into each other, fingers linked
as you drove one-armed. I translated you all wrong,
mistakenly brailled lips, jaw, hair with its citrus stink
– fingertipped California oranges, but didn’t think
they meant your future. Now, forty years along,
Annapolis Basin spreads against the distance;
ice floes, skinned raw and bleeding, mutter
at the shore. Here am I, beside mud-red water,
a fly circling rotten kelp. This broth will soon grow
too heavy for me, till your ghost commands drink.
Closed in a Plymouth Breeze – both my own mentor
and rebel protégée – I steal the radio’s indifference:
CKNS Country, free range, homefed, too slow.
Its gritty edges sandpaper the thin substance
coating my brain until tar bubbles from below.
So you’re making yourself old down in San Diego,
while I still try to drive my way through March. Snow
hides everything dead; guess I’ll leave the rest to chance.
Once I wadded a forgive-letter – ink faded blue –
under your wiper blade. I bet you never knew.
Full Cold Moon: my cherry-picker’s birthday, wherever he is.
His ghost stretches its tent between Remembering Trees.
A shadow moves behind, too thin for true love’s shape.
Fabric blocks his tight smile and washed eyes. I trace
our elapsed future in stitches marking the canvas.
He was once Sagittarius, owner of dogs, guns, cigarettes
and – briefly – me. For this, may he have long life. It’s not
for my hand to decide how it finishes. He is circled by babies,
this whiskey barrel grandda, pale under old man’s beard,
skin a raft to ride his shotglass rapids. Perhaps he
notices me dancing on the bank as I wave my Bing
branch, ripped from its roots. The pith gleams tender
beneath a ragged tear. Night slams down. No scars
wreck this dark – just a bubble waltzing on water
until it opens like a kiss. Sky Archer lifts her bow,
scatters woman-blossoms at my feet. She burns away
my memory cloth. I stumble into the river and a stone
grazes my heel. Leeches snuffle its unraveling salt.
A lonely bloodclaw owl slices the light,
wings full of myth. But I am not for him.
… this wrinkled skin blanket
smothers my voice.
How may I speak?
Wrap around boulders,
golden seaweed undulation
in a salt orgasm.
Halo the last snowfall
over an old mountain,
Leap through magmatic arteries,
eons deep before release.
Lurk in a nail-bed,
add cells to cells to cells.
Ride a sperm-tail, immolate
myself on conception’s pyre,
name the first shivernote
of a mother’s scream.
I am a waiting shade.
Avoid me – a void: me.
Brenda Levy Tate lives in rural Nova Scotia, Canada, surrounded by gardens and wildlife. She draws poetic inspiration from the natural world as well as from the people who have wandered through the pathways of her life. She has published two collections, Cleansing (Rising Tide Press 2005) and Beeline (Lopside Press 2007) and recently completed a Young Adult novel, which earned first place in the 2008 Atlantic Writing Competition.
Brenda’s work has attracted a growing audience in both the US and Canada. Her poems have placed or been named as finalists in several competitions, among them the Glimmer Train Poetry Open, Winning Writers War Poetry Contest, Poetry Superhighway Annual Competition and Interboard Poetry Competition (IBPC) sponsored by Web del Sol. In 2008, she was the only poet to have two of her poems included among the six IBPC finalists for Poem of the Year. Her work has also been published in various print journals such as Houston Panhandler, Epicenter, Halifax Magazine. One of her sonnets, “The Last Mate”, was selected for inclusion in Jailbreaks: 99 (Biblioasis 2008), an anthology of Canadian sonnets written over the past hundred years.
Besides writing and photography, Brenda also enjoys fossil collecting, singing and gardening.