The Works of Melissa Carl

Pushcart nominee Melissa Carl's poetry is forthcoming in Melusine and Amoskeag: The Journal of Southern New Hampshire University. Her previous work has appeared in various regional and national publications.  A member of Mensa, she has an M.L.A. from Western Maryland College and teaches Honors and Advanced Placement humanities courses in Pennsylvania, where she resides with her husband and son.

All Poems © Melissa Carl

"Crawling to Poetry on my Hands and Knees"

   "If you're crawling to poems on your hands and my view, you're not
                  crawling to poetry. Prozac would probably work better."---Daisy Fried

I suspected it would come to this---
you and the unquelled arbor
of your voice;
me, wanting to seep into your recitations
of the world's elaborate cargo.
Between what has happened
and happened again,
your possibilities turn lilac
in the elsewhere of things
that disappear: the twisted oaks
and roadside stones,
the summer's prima donna light.
Like ocean sound heard from a porch,
you speak; you don't speak.
Evening follows you towards
the moon's brutal allure
over the love-sick.
I follow you too,
as if the distance between us
could diminish, as if I could find
my irreducible self
in the spaces
of your wind-chime speech,
as if I was one of those gulls
that always plummets after
its own cry.

"Want to Know Who We Are?"

Forget the quiet poem about pine trees,
the poem where the speaker goes into the woods
and feels kind of religious.

Gulp down the poems that burn,
poems of land mines and sudden dark,
of blindfolds and courtyard executions---

poems that sit in the mud
of refugee camps
and eat mice in the tents.

Hear the strange sobs of poems
under the surreality of tv news
where two minutes of blood and tanks

precede two minutes of breakfast cereal.
Don't believe them when they tell you
how pleasant the weather was today.

Return to the barbed wire poems,
the moments of bomb smearing children
into the gutters while only the smoke escapes.

Forget Dante and his Circles
where cause and effect
explain the suffering.

Want to know who we are?
Read the poem in which the river rises
towards the village the entire night

and the moon refuses to watch.