The speaker tells us
Olive trees look like
they never wanted to
be trees at all.
They stand apart
from each other––
graygreen and sure of
only the dirt in which they grow––
even their fruit must be
basted in poison to be edible.
As seedlings, they never
asked for anything
except to be beautiful
and that has been
withheld from them.
Squat, small––tiny white flowers
(more like insects than blooms)
lay loose on their branches. They live long,
sometimes a thousand years,
and get no prettier with age.
The man next to me snorts,
mutters sottovoce to his companion,
(who snorts a little louder)
“Must be female trees.”
Martina Reisz Newberry’s most recent book is NEVER COMPLETELY AWAKE (due out in late 2017 from Deerbrook Editions). She is also the author of WHERE IT GOES (Deerbrook Editions). LEARNING BY ROTE (Deerbrook Editions) and RUNNING LIKE A WOMAN WITH HER HAIR ON FIRE: Collected Poems (Red Hen Press). She has been awarded residencies at Yaddo Colony for the Arts, Djerassi Colony for the Arts, and Anderson Center for Disciplinary Arts. Passionate in her love for Los Angeles, Martina currently lives there with her husband, Brian, a Media Creative.
Oracular the filtered light of oak
through her peignoir She comes to me as though
her spell was never broken I’m still twenty
I can smell those pungent oranges in the sun
I narrate to him that last night both partners
thought they’d given everything up for the other.
It was ugly. They didn’t get, they wouldn’t get,
what they’d hoped for. I editorialize
that I think rage is clichéd in marriage
after a decade and a half.
There was a study done
to prove that men and women
have different brains
to prove, I suppose, that
women are from venus
and men are from mars,
that men want to fuck
and women want to marry
or some garbage like that
the drinking glass
across the room
against the wall
I had said
a wrong thing
that what is frozen roars for eternity (and that’s too much for us) while gashes in our wrists will bleed ceaseless, fluttering crimson ribbons.
she hits the keys
with one finger
like she’s jabbing someone
in the shoulder
or chest during
a fight because they
refuse to listen
oh, blundering human,
tread your life’s labyrinth
back to the beginning
I have never slaughtered a pig.
My hands, though slathered with a sheen
Of melted flesh, are swiftly cleaned
With a simple paper towel.
The cottonwood trees watch. Whisper. A
lyrical business, theirs. Bored by the Wind
River, they turn toward the termite-nibbled
The Pacific begs me to swim away, anything
to keep us from strangling each other
on the boardwalk. The Freakshow
is where our love belongs, a two-headed
oddity feasting on dust and bone