New poem featured at Nautilus — Cosmos

A new poem of mine, The Hunt for Dark Matter Minihalos, is up at Nautilus — Cosmos, along with a a selection of poems from my book, Dark Matter.

The Hunt for Dark Matter Minihalos

They say absence
makes the heart grow
as when downed red leaves show
a tree’s true size.
And when a cliff collapses,
its megatsunami can expand
across oceans, because the absence
of one thing can only be measured
by something else.

–>read the rest of the poem at Nautilus

front cover

September 2015 – Aldrich Press/Kelsay Books

buy link: Amazon

 

An earlier version of Dark Matter won the following prizes: 

2009 Ellen La Forge Poetry Prize (formerly the Grolier Prize) for poems: “Star explodes halfway across universe,” “Saturn’s moon may have hidden seas,” “Smallest black hole found,” “How to search for aliens,” “Mysterious white rock fingers on Mars,” and “Three galaxies and a comet.”

2009 semi-finalist in the Philip Levine Prize in Poetry.

2009 semi-finalist in the University of Wisconsin Press Poetry Series, Brittingham and Pollak Poetry Prizes.

2009 semi-finalist for the Sawtooth Poetry Prize, Ahsahta Press, Boise State University.

2010 semi-finalist for the Crab Orchard Series in Poetry First Book Award Competition.

 

 

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My mother’s psalm

I first wrote this in 2005, and have been tinkering with it since then. Twelve years of contemplation yielded this final version last night (unpublished, since I rarely submit poems anymore).

My mother’s psalm

She told me despair filled the valley that night,
and so her sisters walked out, carrying anger
and anguish out of the barren land.
They packed vexation into hard dirt
with their bare feet. Secret recriminations
were brought forth and opened.
Claws were undressed.

They threw their silence to the ground
and buried it beneath the bodies
of forsaken loves: miscarriages,
abortions of justice.
Nothing hidden survived the night.

My sisters were crazed, she said.
They yelled and whipped their hair loose
and damned their bras and jobs.
No dinners were made, no houses swept.
The night was full of women and they sucked
the air right out of that hollow slit of darkness—
but there was plenty to drink.

And my mother said: yes, fill up my goblet, sister.
So they filled her mouth and mind
with passion and resolution.
They saturated the valley with righteousness.
For a full day and night, the women drank
and rinsed and spat
out the foul mess they’d been taught.
Because finally they understood.

And she told me they climbed out of that place naked,
and strode off into fertile ground together.

Fields and floods

I wrote this ten years ago. It’s always weird to go back over something you haven’t looked at in ten years. I never did get this one published, probably because it is so vague. There’s no central point to it, except that it uses words to express that feeling I have when I go out onto the trail in the winter. I’m fond of this poem.

Fields and floods

Winter should be peaceful, filled as it is
with dry grass and wind, a few clouds pieced
together with snowflakes. The sky pleases itself,
opens each dawn like a window once the sun
has sipped his tea. The frozen meadow knows
how easily bared dirt sifts into the wind. And then
there are the voices that murmur in the cold, groaning
over hardened ground. In so many places we have remade
the earth into what we think we want, the weight of us
creaking along the surface near the fallen leaves,
our footprints inevitable. So many changes—
we have forgotten how quietly the last few ponds sleep
in ice-stretched fields. How the land cradles the sunset’s
reflection in her flooded, frozen hollows.

Fog

It’s strange to read this poem again, now that my sons are grown up. I wrote this eight years ago! More of my weather sonnets are in my chapbook Cloud Studies.

2fog_bw

Fog

From here the tree looks like it’s hardly there,
half-formed and blurry in the shifting mist.
Like sleep, precipitation clouds the air
with fuzzy dreams and silence. I resist
the melancholy, choosing to believe
that clarity is understood, not seen.
Inside my son is playing games, one sleeve
pushed up, the other drooping in between
his fingers as I watch him laugh and frown.
The tv sprinkles light against his skin,
as indistinct as any fog while down
the hall his brother tunes his violin,
its notes as insubstantial as this day
when growing up still feels so far away.

12 Days of Catmas

12 days of Catmas

On the first day of Christmas
my two cats gave to me
a dingleberry in a pine tree.

On the second day of Christmas
my two cats gave to me
two hair balls,
and a dingleberry in a pine tree.

On the third day of Christmas
my two cats gave to me
three dead mice,
two hair balls,
and a dingleberry in a pine tree.

On the fourth day of Christmas
my two cats gave to me
four pathetic howls,
three dead mice,
two hair balls,
and a dingleberry in a pine tree.

On the fifth day of Christmas
my two cats gave to me
five piles of poo,
four pathetic howls,
three dead mice,
two hair balls,
and a dingleberry in a pine tree.

On the sixth day of Christmas
my two cats gave to me
six stinging scratches,
five piles of poo,
four pathetic howls,
three dead mice,
two hair balls,
and a dingleberry in a pine tree.

On the seventh day of Christmas
my two cats gave to me
seven shredded sparrows,
six stinging scratches,
five piles of poo,
four pathetic howls,
three dead mice,
two hair balls,
and a dingleberry in a pine tree.

On the eighth day of Christmas
my two cats gave to me
eight hissy fits,
seven shredded sparrows,
six stinging scratches,
five piles of poo,
four pathetic howls,
three dead mice,
two hair balls,
and a dingleberry in a pine tree.

On the ninth day of Christmas
my two cats gave to me
nine fishy farts,
eight hissy fits,
seven shredded sparrows,
six stinging scratches,
five piles of poo,
four pathetic howls,
three dead mice,
two hair balls,
and a dingleberry in a pine tree.

On the tenth day of Christmas
my two cats gave to me
ten tons of fur,
nine fishy farts,
eight hissy fits,
seven shredded sparrows,
six stinging scratches,
five piles of poo,
four pathetic howls,
three dead mice,
two hair balls,
and a dingleberry in a pine tree.

On the eleventh day of Christmas
my two cats gave to me
eleven spitting kittens,
ten tons of fur,
nine fishy farts,
eight hissy fits,
seven shredded sparrows,
six stinging scratches,
five piles of poo,
four pathetic howls,
three dead mice,
two hair balls,
and a dingleberry in a pine tree.

On the twelfth day of Christmas
my two cats gave to me
twelve stolen salmon,
eleven spitting kittens,
ten tons of fur,
nine fishy farts,
eight hissy fits,
seven shredded sparrows,
six stinging scratches,
five piles of poo,
four pathetic howls,
three dead mice,
two hair balls,
and a dingleberry in a pine tree.

 

2011 Christine Klocek-Lim

Don’t drink on xmas eve

Busy beautiful winter

Don’t drink on xmas eve

It happened this past midnight clear:
three crazy elves and two drunk deer
crashed in the yard atop my sled
then slipped downhill against the shed.

The sky was dry, the sunset gone:
where in hell did they come from?
Their groans and moans kept me awake;
I knew there must be some mistake.

In the dark I clomped downhill
and yelled my ire into the chill:
“Don’t you know it’s xmas eve?
Be quiet or I will make you leave!”

The sudden hush, like blocks of ice,
fell on my ears (oh so nice!)
as elves and deer peered up at me
like I was Nick and they: debris.

“We lost our sleigh and drank the beer;
your backyard was so close and clear.
We just could not control our stumble—
here we fell in this great jumble!”

Then their chortles broke the calm.
I dragged them home to wait for dawn.
The barfing wasn’t too severe,
but have you heard of snoring deer?

Santa owes me big for this
I thought as one elf burped a kiss
but it wasn’t till I fell asleep
that Santa came for his lost sheep.

And beneath the tree? What was my take?
Three beers, two bells, and one fruitcake.

 

2007 Christine Klocek-Lim

Mrs. Kringle’s Lament

It is still snowing here

Mrs. Kringle’s Lament

They said we’d only get an inch of snow
but when I wake it’s covered up the road
and slush has pulled some branches down so low
my favorite tree looks like it might explode.

I trudge outside with gloves and scarf and salt
to promptly slip and fall upon my rear
before I even reach the curb. “Assault!”
I bitch, then freeze as something licks my ear.

I scoot away, my heart up in my throat
and think:
a zombie! when the icy slop
slumps to the side like puke on glass. A coat
so cheery green it makes me want to pop

out both my eyes emerges next to me.
I groan and pinch my nose. I know that face.
Those bells. That burp. He’s grown a sparse goatee
which doesn’t quite enhance the scraggly lace

sewn on his cap. “Oh, you again!” he sneezes,
grabs my sleeve as though I’ll help him up.
Yeah, right. I dodge his drunken grasp and seize
his pointed, chilly ears. He drops his cup.

I just don’t care. He thrashes, tries to kick
but cannot get away. “Where’s the deer?”
I snarl. I wish that Santa’d get here quick
before his merry crew drinks all the beer.

“You think I’d rat out my best friends? Oh please!”
he cries, then vomits just as someone’s head
ducks out of sight behind the frosty trees
like Samurai Jack, but drunk. And wearing red.

“I know you’re there, you might as well come out,”
I call, my spirits sinking to despair
as I catch sight of antlers and a snout
crouched low behind my car. I swear.

This happens every year. No joyful bells
for me, oh no. Instead, delinquent elves,
escapees from St. Nick’s gift wrap cartels,
crash in my yard to sleep. “Show yourselves!”

I yell again, not hoping for too much.
Surprise, surprise, who waddles out? The Man.
Kris Kringle. Santa Claus. I blink and clutch
my head (I drop the elf). “What’s the plan?”

I ask. I hope he knows what’s happening.
He “ho-ho-ho’s” and sways a bit, then slips
and suddenly I feel the bitter sting
of cognizance: he’s drunk from feet to lips.

I sigh and drag his jolly ass to bed,
park the sleigh, coax Rudolph to the shed.
The elf I tuck into an extra room.
The beer, I’m sure, is gone, and none too soon.

 

2010 Christine Klocek-Lim