The Sunday Poem: Sandra Vallie... talking fears such fears

Everyone knows you can't go home again.  But we do.  For most, there may be a little sadness mixed in with those memories. Others deal with it as best they can. But in the end, maybe the advice in the last line of this poem is the best.   


I moved to Albuquerque a year ago from Michigan. I've spent the last year getting settled, writing, and learning the difference between growing vegetables in Ann Arbor and the southeast side of Albuquerque. I'll have a poem in Adobe Walls this year; my other publication credits are many years ago and best forgotten.



talking  fears such fear
I drove my mother and her foul dog
500 miles from Michigan to Chuckey goddamn Tennessee
picked up a pistol a rifle first time in 10 years
bullseyed every shot
every trigger stroke cracked
bedrock nothing left but
to make the sound again

above Chuckey I hiked
my brother’s mountain ridge
breath shortening
at the top I rested
by farmhouse walls twisted down
against themselves
talking terrorists at Michael’s kitchen table talking
Hiker Pro water filtering systems
catastrophic food storage
I’d drill that well Michael dig latrines
when we can’t flush away our shit
we’ll leave the darkened cities and show up at your door

drove down the russet mountain gunpowder on my hands
in the Charlotte airport downing bourbon
coffee chocolate cake
I do not know how to stop
apologizing forgetting walking away saving
myself not soon enough for giving
away my gun this is not a metaphor this
is a gun Jessey I’m descending
into the cochlea deep cella
feeling for sound Jessey  says,
Try to forget life before those fibers broke. 
The low notes that resound.



Poetry submissions are welcome.  Email

Views: 258

Comment by Susy Crandall on September 4, 2011 at 9:38am
Totally got the feeling of how low hearing takes one within "feeling for sound" in your last verse.  It's funny, I've recently been diagnosed with a minor hearing loss.  The doc wants to sell me $5000 digital hearing aids, but I'm not sure I want to hear any better...
Comment by Margaret Randall on September 4, 2011 at 11:26am
What a powerful poem! Welcome, Sandra, to this page which you grace this morning with such excellence. I love the sense of place in this poem... all the different places. "I do not know how to stop / apologizing forgetting walking away saving / myself not soon enough for giving / away my gun this is not a metaphor this / is a gun . . ." is one of the strongest few lines in a poem I have read in a long long time. Thank you!
Comment by BARBARA BYERS on September 4, 2011 at 12:38pm
Feels like home to me too. How powerful and engulfing your words. Glad we both shook off the guns. Thank you.
Comment by Birdie Jaworski on September 5, 2011 at 7:30am

When everything is a catastrophe, and fear becomes your middle finger, and your momma rides along shotgun ('cause mine is dead and she's still pointing out where I done gone wrong on the road), and the gun is given away and given back - over and over - then the low resonance takes over and pushes me into space as foul as that dog's odors.


What an awesome and thought-provoking work, Sandra. I have read it no less than ten times, and it keeps getting better and stranger and more and more infectious in both the good and bad ways. I hope to see more of your work here.

Comment by Brian Hendrickson on September 5, 2011 at 11:57am
The enjambment in this poem really works against the syntax to create powerful lines out of deceptively plain language. I agree with Margaret: those lines she cited are fantastic. We often get so caught up in saying what must be said that we forget the power of the line to make a reflection or perception resonate. You worked it well, Sandra. Strong craft, tough words, and a sense that what's been said has been earned. Thanks for that.
Comment by Dee Cohen on September 5, 2011 at 3:05pm
Powerful poem Sandra. Glad to see your work here. And soon in Adobe Walls too. Welcome to ABQ, which is and is not a metaphor. Best, Dee


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