Our next off the page poetry series event will feature poets Winston Derden and Jonathan Moody on Wednesday, January 8 beginning at 7pm. Open mic to follow featured readings. Refreshments provided.
The poems below are by poet Jonathan Moody.
Jonathan Moody received his MFA in Poetry from the University of Pittsburgh and his BS in Psychology from Xavier University of Louisiana. He’s also a Cave Canem alum whose poetry has appeared in African American Review, Crab Orchard Review, Gathering Ground: A Reader Celebrating Cave Canem’s First Decade, Gemini Magazine, good foot, Houston Poetry Fest Anthology 2013, Peter Doig: No Foreign Lands, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, storySouth, Tidal Basin Review, Xavier Review and is forthcoming in Illya’s Honey. Moody has been a featured reader for Houston’s Public Poetry reading series. In 2013, he earned a spot on Houston’s Word Around Town Poetry Tour lineup and was selected to be a “Juried Poet” for Houston Poetry Fest. Moody is the author of The Doomy Poems (Six Gallery Press, 2012). He lives in Fresno, Texas, and teaches Dual Credit English at Pearland High School.
THE PROCESS OF INTERPRETING POETRY
You immerse yourself in darkness
& expect your eyes to adjust
only to have your vision
become cloudier than it originally was.
Because there are no walls, there’s no light switch.
Your breath is a flashlight powered
by the unreliable battery of anxiety.
Roots rest across your feet.
Or are they frayed cable wires?
Slithering snakes? A corpse’s fingers?
This uncertainty induces headaches, nausea,
& dizziness, but it’s this very uncertainty
that props your body in an upright position
& places the brown paper bag over your mouth.
You tilt your head beneath
the poem’s title;
it’s a pipeline leaking water.
(GAIA’S MARSHLAND EXHIBIT
AT RICE GALLERY)
for Mary & Chuck Wemple
In Houston, skyscrapers
are unmarked tombstones.
Incessant bird crap
driving the homogeneous
cattle herd to stampede
orange marshland. In their path
stands a diverse flock:
seagull, woodpecker, warbler.
Their collective credit
score doesn't soar,
but the skyline co-signs
their lease to start new business:
a boiled peanuts stand adjacent
to Ice Cold Slush. How many
years from now until the cattle
herd, with all its presidential
bacon, drives up interest rates--
until the skyline & its cloudy
judgment invests all of its savings
in a foreign exchange scam
& can no longer cover
the flocks' defaulted loan?
Like the names of slain soldiers,
these indie establishments
will be commemorated on a mural
only to be forgotten
& suddenly "discovered"
so conspicuous consumer
livestock & their adopted
African cubs can peer
through the hole
in Nostalgia's screen door
without having to use brooms
to shoo away diverse flocks.