Archives for posts with tag: furniture

The-Poets-Chair
Inspiration
by Paul Corbeil
After Lawrence Ferlinghetti

I write in the Poet’s wooden rocking chair
upstairs in San Francisco’s City Lights Bookstore where
beat poetry lives still, in an old rocker, arms worn bare
the smooth varnish of its youth gone, much like my own

Here sat Kerouac
here sat Ginsberg
here sat Ferlinghetti
here I sit, now. And I wait.

For these sages to tell me why
for the memories of the chair’s inhabitants
that must still infuse this sacred wood
to share their secrets, to be inspired

I am still waiting
when I start to write
and write and write and lose track
of black and white, of hard lines, of rules

Day dims. Dusk sets in
stairs creak under unsteady footfalls
other patrons are pilgrimaging here
So I say goodbye to Ferlinghetti

Goodbye to his dry wit sharpened Sorbonne time
goodbye to the courage that published Ginsberg’s “Howl”
goodbye to the palpable desire to be heard and

Goodbye to my waiting

PHOTO: Poet’s Chair at City Lights Bookstore, San Francisco, California, by Julie Jordan Scott, used by permission.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: On January 22, 2017, I wrote the first stanzas of this poem seated in the very chair that I described within the poem, longhand in a blank “City Lights” journal. I could not think of how to end the poem, but felt the literal magic of the bookstore that day, as well as the presence of the poets that came before me. When I saw Silver Birch Press’ tribute to Lawrence Ferlinghetti, I knew then that I had a finish. For in that chair, I waited for inspiration. And now, I have found it.

Corbeil Photo

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Paul Corbeil is an emerging poet. Paul’s poetry is found on Twitter @LoverDesArt and Medium where Paul is a contributing writer for Assemblage publications at pfcorbeil.medium.com.

chinese-chest
Chinese Chest
by Steve Klepetar

Bought in Shanghai seventy years ago,
carried to America by my refugee parents,
a chest made of mahogany so deep brown
that in shadow it appears plum purple.
Some deft craftsman carved every surface —
pagodas, with their delicate roofs
like conical hats; a tree with huge,
round clusters of leaves;
and everywhere men with topknots
in long robes bowing slightly
at the waist, formal and serene,
or seated in small groups drinking tea, eating rice.
On the top a muscular horse prances
as a servant tugs at his bridle
and a warrior with a tall spear stares impassively,
as if the world were beautiful and calm.
Behind many graceful walls, in sweetened air,
women remain invisible at their tasks.
No wind stirs the scene: starvation and blood
transformed by ritual, frozen into a moment of infinite peace.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: My parents were Holocaust survivors and part of the refugee community in Shanghai, China, known as the “Shanghailanders.” They bought this beautiful chest around 1947 for what must have been a very low price, because they had little money. They lived in one room and cooked on a hot plate. The chest always had pride of place in our various apartments as I was growing up. I inherited it when my mother died on September 10, 2016, and it sits in my study where I am writing these words.

steve-klepetar

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Steve Klepetar’s work has appeared widely. His poems have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. Recent collections include My Son Writes a Report on the Warsaw Ghetto and The Li Bo Poems, both from Flutter Press, and Family Reunion, forthcoming from Big Table Publishing.

SlanskyII (1)
To There and Back Again
by R.H. Slansky

It happens so quickly our parents first meet
on the day we move in. His mother; too thin,
nerves dancing like a downed wire
in a windstorm; and his father, a high school coach
on and off the court, directing us
from the U-Haul ramp. A cloud of bemusement
at the way they adhere to gender roles
condenses over my own sundered
but willfully genial parents, but under
the coach’s strict supervision
his old family sofa makes it
up the stairs without injury.

The sofa, midcentury and hip as hell,
soon becomes the nexus
of our coastal nest. We are drawn to it
as if it has its own gravity field. His family is
a land where ‘til death do us part
is real, and the sofa is a floating island
where natives have sunned themselves
for more than fifty years. Sitting there, I imagine
I am learning their language, working my way
towards citizenship by osmosis. It’s where
we eat meals from TV trays
while perched at the edge of the cushion,
the post-war steel coils holding us up
together. It’s where, under cover of darkness,
we fold in together to watch through the picture window
as the tourists spill out of the downstairs pub
and stumble drunk on the street below. It’s where
our bodies are always entangled; dozing puppies
at rest while watching television and wrestling
as the stereo blares when our roommate
isn’t home. It’s where he curls on his side, crying,
while I am a sparking wick of wounded desperation
compulsively peppering him with questions
though the asking and the answers
flay us both. So now
its time to move again.

We are short on cash. From the passenger seat
I watch the rear-view mirror of the borrowed
pick-up, where the sofa shifts in the bed
along with the dips in the road. Brilliant teal
in the late summer sun, and still here
after half a century. The possession
we were most proud to show off, a trophy
that said everything about who
we thought we were; who
we wanted to be.

We drive through the gates, pausing
on a rectangle of metal. They wave us on
and we park to get out and drop
the tailgate. The sofa is heavy, but we carry it
alone, stopping beside a shipping container
set into the ground. We don’t know
where we’ll go next, but
we do know it won’t be together
so we must travel light.
Lining ourselves up,
we swing, heave,
and then let go.

A dusty-teal cloud rises
as the sofa lands. Though still
structurally sound, the synthetic fabric
was doomed to disintegrate
the moment it first bathed in light.
We had been laughing off
that its skin was growing thinner,
seeing this as part of its charm; the illustrious
badge of age. This dirty seawater haze
hangs, invading our lungs. We squint down through it
at the sofa lying in its grave. Legs broken by the fall
and splayed, sad as Bambi
on the frozen pond, waiting
to be buried under the next
unbearable burden.

There’s nothing left
to say. We climb back into the truck,
idle over the scale once more,
then drive to the window
to pay by the pound
for what we no longer possess.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: Sofa similar to our midcentury treasure found at pintrest.com.

slansky_2 (1)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: R. H. Slansky, a six-time 3-Day Novel Contest entrant, two-time short-lister, and 2013 winner, has been featured in the Silver Birch Press ME, IN FICTION SAME NAME, MY MANE MEMORIES, LEARNING TO RIDE, and BEACH & POOL MEMORIES Series, Geist literary magazine, theotherpress.ca, and the Literary Press Group of Canada’s website All Lit Up. Vancouver-based Anvil Press released her novella, Moss-Haired Girl, the Confessions of a Circus Performer in 2015. Raised in Oregon, she now lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Image
Silver
(old and used)

(Excerpt from Silver: 4 Connotations)

by Jena Ardell

Wooden coffee table
slick with dew
A rare roadside treasure
free to those who can haul it away

Two giant
wet glasses stains
in the center
accented by
silver spills
of God-knows-what

The voice inside my head
says,
“Take me,
make me new.”

Originally published in L.A. Weekly, 2/10/12, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Reprinted in the Silver Birch Press Silver Anthology (November 2012), available at Amazon.com.

Image

Silver
(old and used)

(Excerpt from Silver: 4 Connotations)

Poem by Jena Ardell

Wooden coffee table
slick with dew
A rare roadside treasure
free to those who can haul it away

Two giant
wet glasses stains
in the center
accented by
silver spills
of God-knows-what

The voice inside my head
says,
“Take me,
make me new.”

Originally published in L.A. Weekly, 2/10/12, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED