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Monday, December 19, 2011


by Rochelle Owens  

Biting the apple
the little wooden bambino

his rosebud mouth an irregular shape

playing with blocks
the little wooden bambino
disease  famine  torture  war

a handful of earth flung down
beyond the edges
of a page

is a spider rendering light

texture and surface
an irregular shape
neither floral  foliation
nor avian  undulates

identity unknown

writing on the wall
the 24th letter of the alphabet
Xenophon and Xerxes

like a rapid chemical change
the deed neither good nor evil

a viper searching
a viper flinging itself searching
its barbed tail an innovation

the circumstance orbiting
orbiting the sun
like a whirling dervish

the little wooden bambino
an apple and a knife

paring the apple
without breaking the peel
spoiling three apples

throwing the parings
the letter X

the farmer’s wife
with a carving knife

in a bucolic setting
a philosopher begins devouring
a light meal  sweet cakes
sake and thick tea

in her gut
a rapid chemical change
in a fat fold of her abdomen
sacred writ

in a fold of rock strata

the weight of the viper a thought

Rochelle Owens is the author of twenty books of poetry, plays, and fiction, the most recent of which are Solitary Workwoman(Junction Press, 2011), Journey to Purity (Texture Press, 2009), and Plays by Rochelle Owens (Broadway Play Publishing, 2000). A pioneer in the experimental off-Broadway theatre movement and an internationally known innovative poet, she has received Village Voice Obie awards and honors from the New York Drama Critics Circle. Her plays have been presented worldwide and in festivals in Edinburgh, Avignon, Paris, and Berlin. Her play Futz, which is considered a classic of the American avant-garde theatre, was produced by Ellen Stewart at LaMama, directed by Tom O’Horgan and performed by the LaMama Troupe in 1967, and was made into a film in 1969. A French language production of Three Front was produced by France-Culture and broadcast on Radio France. She has been a participant in the Festival Franco-Anglais de Poésie, and has translated Liliane Atlan’s novel Les passants, The Passersby (Henry Holt, 1989). She has held fellowships from the NEA, Guggenheim, Rockefeller, and numerous other foundations. She has taught at the University of California, San Diego and the University of Oklahoma and held residencies at Brown and Southwestern Louisiana State. This is Rochelle Owens' twenty-fifth New Verse News poem.