Fall 2014, Volume 17

Poetry by Richard Garcia

Sappho (from The Chair)

If not, winter, violets in her lap, golden-sandaled dawn…Sappho is talking in her sleep again. She is dreaming of Egypt. She is dreaming of bandages. She says, Angels look like normal people. Together we step inside a bubble. It takes us under the Aegean Sea. It’s supposed to be the back yard behind the house where I grew up. Sappho and I are third graders home from school. We are wrestling on the grass together. She is wearing a plaid cowboy shirt. Sappho sits on my chest. Outlined against the sky, she reminds me of Dale Evans. I tell her she looks like Dale Evans. This may be my first attempt at poetry. Sappho laughs and bounces on my chest. My words are small bubbles that rise into the sky.

Imaginary Painting

In Plums and Alligators by Dali we see
someone staring out of the painting
who looks like Garcia Lorca.
He is wearing his white suit.
There are bloodstains on the jacket.
Or the stains are only plum juice.
Pink pelicans in the lagoon
behind Lorca. On a narrow island
three children are playing at being dead.
The boy is lying stiff on the sand
and the other two, a boy
and a girl, are holding bouquets
of flowers and crying.
But if you look closer
they are not bouquets
but clusters of baby alligators.
In the background
in front of  a copse of bananas trees
there is a dog. It is night
over the banana trees
and the dog is baying
at the moon. A thin cloud
slides across the moon
like a straight razor.
It is said Dali wanted to call
the painting The Deluded Dog
but decided Plums and Alligators
was more surreal. When
the painting was first shown
Dali arrived at the opening
wearing nothing but two fried eggs,
one on each shoulder like epaulets.
Lorca was unable to attend.




BIO: Richard Garcia is the author of six books of poetry. The Other Odyssey, from Dream Horse Press, and The Chair, from BOA Ltd., were both published in 2014. His poems appear in many journals and in anthologies such as The Pushcart Prize Best of the Small Presses and Best American Poetry. He lives in Charleston, S.C. and is on the staff of the Antioch Low Residency MFA in Los Angeles.

One of America’s foremost prose poets, Richard Garcia’s The Chair takes place simultaneously in the natural world and in a speculative world rich in fabulist tradition: historical figures roam like ghosts; time is pulled and twisted; and narrative spins effortlessly out of language. A core of autobiography grounds these poems that are accessible, highly-imaginative, and rife with surprises. Finely-spun with wit, intelligence, and heart, these poems teach us to dream with eyes wide open.