Audio Archive of "Horizons"
Click on the zia to play the poem
scroll down to Jules Nyquist "Horizons" to play. From the Albuquerque Poets Guild.
for my grandmother
I dreamed you cut your hair. Your neck, white and smooth, says the new life will be easier. The necklace would have been best kept under glass. Now the turquoise stones circle your neck. The travel brochure mentions silence three times. You ask the devil for a new type of bondage.
The tortoise encounters her hidden grave. Why does she see it now, hidden from view for over sixty years? The church prayed for her. Carpenters kept hammering. She closes her eyes. A man climbs up on the roof. A woman disappears into thin air. She says a spell upon waking. Horizons keep rising every twenty-four hours.
Your exposed skin can be touched only in circles. The tortoise buries herself in the sand. Don’t feel pity, name the stones on your neck instead, touch them in the dark. What do I say when I show you her empty shell on the beach? I squeeze your hand. They've made her into a bowl, turned her upside down, hung her on the wall.
Other poems from "Behind the Volcanoes" and "Appetites"
Monarchs For Laura
for L. Barnes 1962-2005
Monarchs for Laura
for L. Barnes 1962-2005
When the planet seems small and you write about a man sleeping under a bridge, you ask me: is it good? I will help you with the words under water, the ocean I sought in Santa Barbara Bay. You ask me to bring Prince in my luggage and your students in the playground ask where Minnesota is, so you take me out dancing and the guys say do you feel the beat of monarch butterfly wings landing on your outstretched hands, migrating to the trees filled with hanging moss. Tom Petty sings "Free Falling." Your husband heads out to Ventura and you take me to your stable so I can watch you ride horses. Your tan jodhpurs rub against their flesh and the weight of the mountains and I haven't seen you in fifteen years, but the letters keep coming, piling up in my closet shoebox, unclassified. An email arrives with your name as the subject, from your husband. I knew before I opened you up that you had left me here, you woke up in the trees.
Sex in Church
Sex in Church
She leads him up to the third floor Sunday School room and closes the door. Clears off the table filled with paper cut-outs of the Holy Land. Pulls the drapes. It's Monday morning, the Pastor's day off. The man isn't her husband. She's broken one of the Ten Commandments. She'll be banished to Purgatory. Except she's not Catholic. She's Methodist. What the hell do they believe? They ordain women. She wonders if he goes to church. She doesn't think so. He kneels before her. Where is the steeple? This church doesn't have one. He is her salvation. Don't scream.
Published in "5 AM" Issue #22
When you salt your eggs in the morning
you will want to remember summer,
how it walks on pavement with old shoes,
melting rubber soles. Eggs fry on the sidewalk
into hard-boiled sandwiches as you send your
kid to the corner store on the bike for mayo.
Sorry, they’re out of fresh tomatoes,
the junk store next door is closed, grass
dried up, kiddie pool cracked. You walk
to the liquor store two blocks away.
What’s that Russian beer special?
$1.99 a bottle gets you a buzz, only takes
one. The block is strangely quiet except
for the hum of air conditioners, the ring
of the ice cream truck driving too fast.
Blackouts. No gas. No batteries. Sheet
music waits. You lift up the air conditioner
all by yourself, throw it out the window,
take another shower, basement TV is dark
Someone put all the salt back in the shaker.
You drink tequila in cut-offs while the cats
stay cool on bare floors. At four a.m.you must
leave your body because it’s walking around
the house. First you kiss your own thighs,
taste your own sweat. You wake up
on the kitchen counter with the inside
of your legs still flexing. Go on salting
your wrist then, suck on it. Go on salting
your sweet corn, elbows leaning,
butter running down your arms.
There is a place where you can go where it is always winter. Leave behind the green, step into a clarity of cold, smell the ice. Whitness is caged now, you can see your breath. Prepare to be instructed in the fine art of hibernation and silence. Parkas hang on hooks by the door for tourists, but you already have the same heavy coat that never left your car, remember when you wore it open to warm breezes, out of habit in spring you forgot to take it off. In the center is the ice palace with blinking lights and recorded music, food vendors sell hot brandy cider, couples line up for horse-drawn sleigh rides, but you are not afraid of solitude. See them? They are the ones that won’t leave, forced out on the street every night by the volunteer greeters when the building closes. They wear leather pants all year, sunglasses to block the light that isn’t right. Motorized shades come down to cover the glass at five pm. How long will you stay? Hide in a corner under the evergreens. Dig a tunnel in the snowbank. Study dirty sidewalk ice. You have three more months to write about unrequited love and frozen locks.
Published in "Spout" Issue #30
You dream and magnolia blossoms
appear on the boulevard.
Fragrant and thick,
openings turn to white.
Tarot in the bar
with the blue impossible.
Take a chance with a difficult answer.
We drive seven hundred miles
to meet Sylvia Plath
in the card catalog,
read Moby Dick in Eureka Springs.
In several thousand years
it will happen, the impossible.
At the Union
At the Union Grill & Bar,
the beers are flowing at 11 am.
CNN replays trails of white plumage
across the Texas sky.
Seven astronauts perished the same week
17 years ago.
What was I doing then?
Same as the country,
not paying attention.
Then the explosions came,
all too real after a short encounter
and my gut rumbled
every time I saw their image.
As a little girl, I thought someday I’d get to outer space
Figured out how old I’d be in
the year 2000.
Back at the Union it’s almost noon.
Gravity keeps me hostage
to another beer,
another blind date
with a stranger in my own country.
published in "5 AM" Issue #22