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ONLINE BOOKSTORE FEATURED TITLES

 

Best of Irish Poetry 2009
Best of Irish Poetry 2010

Editor: Matthew Sweeney

 

 

Songs of Earth and Light

Songs of Earth and Light
Barbara Korun poems translated by Theo Dorgan

 

 

Done Dating DJs
Done Dating DJs
by Jennifer Minniti-Shippey
Winner, 2008 Fool for Poetry Competition

 

 

Richesses

Richesses: Francophone Songwriter Poets
Edited and translated by Aidan Hayes

 

 

 

 

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BRIAN TURNER

 

Brian Turner

Brian Turner served for seven years in the US Army. He was an infantry team leader for a year in Iraq from November 2003 with the 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division. In 1999-2000 he was deployed to Bosnia-Herzegovina with the 10th Mountain Division. Born in 1967, he received an MFA from the University of Oregon and lived abroad in South Korea for a year before joining the army.

His collection Here, Bullet (Bloodaxe 2007) was first published in the US in 2005, where it has earned Turner nine major literary awards, including a 2006 Lannan Literary Fellowship and a 2007 NEA Literature Fellowship in Poetry. His second collection (Phantom Noise) will be available from Bloodaxe in 2010.

_____

 

Eucalyptus

To My Unnamed Daughter

A Lullaby for Bullets

 

_____

 

Eucalyptus

                The grace of the world survives our intervention

—Harry Mattison

 

As dawn approaches the city of Mosul, a dense fog

hangs in the eucalyptus grove. 

                                                  A water buffalo

lifts its head from the belly-high grass, its nostrils

wet and shining, to breathe in the damp smell of earth,

the ammunition belts and army winter coats

left rotting in the park these many years.

                                                                  In the fog,

among the grass-covered berms of old tank emplacements,

the trunks of trees take on the shadowy forms

of men, women, children

                                           who are coming closer,

perhaps, or moving away—it’s difficult to tell,

these shadows in the half-light of dawn,

 

who have found the small bright lanterns of sunlight

breaking through the leaves above.

 

 

__________

 

 

To My Unnamed Daughter

 

You would’ve turned twelve this year,

sometime late November. When the rains come.

 

When the Tule fog starts to lift off the San Joaquin river,

drifting out over the orange groves with their fruit

 

frozen solid on the hard-packed ground, old tires

at the ends of rows lit with gasoline fires

 

to keep them warm. When I was twelve,

my brother and I climbed the shingled rooftop

 

to look out over a sea of fog, country houses

with only their chimneys visible in the distance,

 

firesmoke trailing them like strange flagless ships

steaming toward the far horizon. Everything

 

seemed possible, then. History was still being made.

We talked of riding Chinese junks in the Yellow Sea,

 

Arab dhows in the Indian Ocean, off the coast of East Africa,

entire continents just waiting for us to explore.

 

I never told my brother about you. He’s had enough—

his fourth child turned blue with a strangling cord

 

at birth, the nineteen months spent waiting for him

to die, and people would say Such a beautiful child, that Ethan.

 

And yet, my unborn, you never even had a name.

Just a month when you would’ve been born, and me, waiting.

 

__________

 

 

 

A Lullaby for Bullets

 

Tomorrow is made of shrapnel

and blood. There will come a time

when the trigger calls you out quickly

into the streets. And as you leave the barrel

I can’t promise you won’t kill the man

who has waited all his life for the answer

to this moment, but if you lean to the right,

if you lean back and look as hard as you can

for that mountain you came from, the sunlight

warming the pines, clouds approaching

from the north with their gift of silence,

if you do this you might just graze

the man’s temple, so close you might hear

his name, the humming of blood

over bone, the many voices

within, the years to come.

 

 

©2009 Brian Turner

 

 

Author Links

Turner at Bloodaxe

New Yorker article about Turner

Video of Turner reading at the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival

 

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