Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Kate LaDew - Three Poems

There’s an Atomic Clock Ticking by My Record Player Table

there’s an atomic clock ticking by my record player table
it’s able to recalculate itself, blinking at the same rate as the world,
accurate to infinity, dropping down to the hundredth of any given second,
cooling atoms to absolute zero,
measuring clouds of fountains, atoms tossed into the air by lasers,
all this sits by my record player table
I watch the thick vinyl turn, looping out sounds that will be stored in my brain for eternity
while everything else trickles through my heart like rain

they say ted williams could read the label of a spinning record from 60 feet away
I wonder if he counted the stitches on every baseball,
one by one or twos or fives, flying towards him in wavering lines,
atoms are weightless in the toss, invisible to any human eye
would ted have caught them with his bat, sent them over that great green wall in splatters?
does it matter if we’re all one second off?  
when it’s finally time to die will we raise our hands into the air, 
grasping at something we’re told is there but have never seen?
one eye on that atomic clock, the other blinking with the rhythm of our slowing heart
give me my last second back, we’ll shout at God
you owe it to me after all this living

What Do You Carry

what do you carry in brown hands,
black eyes coasting down,
concentration burrowing through your body,
hair coiling in black snakes, spiking across your cheeks.
what do you carry as I watch from the shore,
brown dirt scratching the souls of porcelain white shoes
crisp lines cutting down and across my limbs,
that carefully woven camera strap the single burden around my neck,
hands pink and soft, smoothing sunglasses up and down,
the light is just right to stand and watch
the light is just right to walk away
and my guilt comes from far away,
home, with man-made breezes blowing through my hair,
the sky reminds me of you.

Before I Knew Anything True 

I thought my blood was blue, 
an entire ocean coursing through me,
felt sea monsters, sharp toothed fish with lights hanging 
in the deepest dark, somewhere near my heart,
veins telling stories of great storms, breaks of thunder,
ships careened, men lost and found,
never ending like the universe and all of it me--
but its only physics, so dense 
no one quite understands what they think they know,
skin absorbing low frequency light, 
allowing only that determined blue wavelength 
to penetrate the deep red, reflecting back what I wish--
what I wish with all I’ve got--
was true,
I am an ocean, my veins make it so, 
and the entire world is blue.
sometimes I feel them, late at night 
when it’s only me and myself, chest shuddering like gills,
my heart jumps as the fish’s lights focus, 
sharp teeth tearing its soft underside, 
jealous of the rhythm, 
when I cry I see their smiles

Kate LaDew is a graduate from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro with a BA in Studio Art.

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