Angle of Reflection
Angle of Reflection features the work of ten award-winning Los Angeles poets (Marjorie Becker, Jeanette Clough, Dina Hardy, Paul Lieber, Sarah Maclay, Holaday Mason, Jim Natal, Jan Wesley, Brenda Yates, and Mariano Zaro) with a remarkable 20-year history of working together. This luminous collection is both a sampler and a reservoir, capturing poems that serve as an entrée and retrospective as well as a showcase of current work. Perhaps the only umbrella term to categorize the poems here is lyric, though each poet’s section offers an individual interpretation and definition. However, there is nothing fragmented about the way this anthology flows. Because of, and despite, the differences in these poets’ singular voices, their poems carry on complex conversations across sections—correspondences that invite the reader to engage with the contrasts and similarities, themes and images. With an Introduction by esteemed poet David St. John, with whom some in the group worked weekly for many years, Angle of Reflection is a celebration of community, collaboration, and the joy of poetic diversity.
PARIS, DAY 2
Someone is cooing
a turtle dove of morning through
the walls, bathwater streaming
too & motorcycles in the echoes
of the city as faces
in profile stroll past the wrought iron
scrolls at my window—beyond,
the vase of hot raspberry peonies
lit in the flashes of waking sunlight
falling across the table.
I had not expected sex
or had forgotten my body & it’s for sure
a woman’s sound, opened as the splayed
wings of an ivory bird
& breathless in the undone silk of human skin.
An hour ago, I watched
a boy with smudged oval taped glasses
stare mouth ajar at the tall-legged saxophone
players in the market. New love burst in him this morning
while the cut flowers wagged in their buckets of early summer.
My heart stopped again & began again, something
pure fuchsia, whipping like a strip of lightening,
& how I will miss this world in my mouth,
like the taste of honey, at the end—
if I could just get it all in, just keep singing with
the indigo dawn, waking forever, while farmers sell red
peppers, cherries, apples, storm, red, red
as the breast of the bird who flew into my room in the night—
before the wind raised its voice—
before the thunder opened me
& white hail covered my bed speaking of the future
whispering, again, again,
most certainly sun, most certainly rain.
– Holaday Mason
[ELSEWHERE SCRIMS OF LIGHT]
Elsewhere scrims of light at dawn with thick bars between. How many squares as the sun purples setting fog? The room fills with smoke, & all the words of eyes obscured—this word: the last two years in highrise whiteout disconnected to earth. Here each breath a new sentence in the engine, like learning to walk again under forgotten colors of an Aphrodite sky. I wrap myself in the radiance of the day you taught me to do headstands on the mountaintop until flowers bloomed from the back of my skull, & fig leaves fell from blind bees’ hives into clouds. In this moment of inversion, a lone drummer boy beat back Napoleon’s army with a stick & stretched goatskin, & I am cradle-knot dwarf turned infinite-diagram giant.
– Dina Hardy