May 14, 2007

Texas Tale

I went to Texas
and a town burnt down.

Believe it or not,
its name was Flat.

A poem waiting
to happen, I'd say.

Town with a name like
Flat just catching fire,

its scorched pines and pic-
nic benches crackling

in the noonday heat,
snapping into flame

like matchsticks on the soles
of some body's big boots.

It was a tall town,
Flat, before it burnt—

well—flat, and became
what it was meant to be.

Tall as a live oak
against the prairie.

Tall as a daughter
just before she leaves.

Tall as the Gulf Oil
sign at Wick Harney's

full-service station
at Main St. & First

in a small Texas
town that was once tall

till fire proved it proud
and cursed it flat.

One more Texas fact:
it never happened.

The town that burnt down
had another name,

one forgettable
and tragically true.

And I had nothing
to do with the fire.

But the poem came
anyway, a spark

some vague-eyed native
or half-deaf traveler

to Texas let drop
and laid to waste

a town that never
was and still is not

Flat as ever in the
level heart of Texas.

—Angela Alaimo O’Donnell

Posted by dwaber at 11:55 AM

May 13, 2007


The pleasure of slicing celery,
paring the last apple into a pie,
rolling out the canvas of crust,
mincing butter into hard white bits.

The windows gone fogged
with steam from a boiling pot,
as through a glass darkly
I watch moonrise over snow,

a winter world shaped
beyond these borrowed walls,
another house I've brought my tools to,
knives and rolling pins, notebooks and pens.

—Angela Alaimo O’Donnell

Posted by dwaber at 01:31 PM

May 12, 2007


     Who shall say I am not the happy genius of my household?
     —William Carlos Williams

Dust balls collect in the corners,
     Motes float in the sun’s slant rays,
Crumbs litter the gritty counters,
      Dog hair sprouts from the back porch chaise.

Pungent clothes pile high in the hallway,
     Dishes stack nimbly in the sink,
Mateless shoes lie bereft on the stairway,
     Neglected garbage has begun to stink.

All over my house, work wants doing.
     Head-high grass claims my attention and care:
The dog needs walking, dinner wants cooking,
      Rooms demand straightening and fresh air.

And here I sit amid the clamor
     Delighting in perfectly useless things:
Whittling words, shifting syntax, sounding syllables,
     Listening to the silence sing.

—Angela Alaimo O’Donnell

Posted by dwaber at 12:50 PM

May 11, 2007


I’m an Italian woman and my poems say Mangia!
I want to feed you bread & wine, fruit & feast,
blessed and broken words to chew, chew, chew.

I want you to eat them purely for pleasure,
to put your lips around p,
crack k’s with your crowns,

roll l’s across your tongue,
to swallow sweet & easy
the meal of your life.

For it is what your body craves,
your heart sorely wants,
what your gut loves.

It is lies & truth, death & life,
sweet/sour, adazzle/dim,
what you have always and never known.

It is itself and you besides,
every thing & no thing at all.
It stuffs you full

and leaves you
heavy, hungry,
starved for more.

It makes you glad.
It troubles your sleep.
It is my body & my blood.


—Angela Alaimo O’Donnell

Posted by dwaber at 12:15 PM