Last Saturday night I floated around a few bars with E-Verser Keith Kelleher (of “baseball show” fame). Toward the end of the evening, we washed up on the second floor of The Dive, where I ran into Tom, the E-Verse bartender (on the other side of the bar for once). It was classic heavy metal night. The shippers from Nuclear Blast Records spun old vinyl records and the bar served up shots of Jager with PBR cans for $4. I requested “National Acrobat” by Black Sabbath. The DJ told me someone else had already requested it. I thought, “hmmmm, that’s a pretty obscure song.” I happened to strike up a conversation with the gentleman who had requested it. I asked why, and he answered “it’s one of the few Sabbath songs with any real structure . . . and it’s in C sharp, which is pretty cool.” I agreed.
I then spoke to the woman sitting beside him, and it turned out to be none other than the poet Teresa Leo, whose book The Halo Rule was just published by Elixer Press. We had a fine conversation about poetry, or as much of one as could be shouted over Ozzy and the boys. I post one of her poems below.
She also made a short film a few years back. It is called “Virtually, Paris,” and it provides a humorous look at the job of editing a literary magazine (both print, which is a hell of a lot of work, and digital, which is faster but somehow less satisfying). Click on the image below to visit a page where you can view the film for free and learn more about Teresa.
To the Next in Line
by Teresa Leo
Don’t think he means it, the dash that’s vague
between letters and you. He’s said it before:
out loud, in half-light, a waif and stutter,
this busted shoe beyond repair, closed fist,
hangnail that grows backward into the skin.
You’ll want to believe. You’ll want to stop
wanting the packages that befuddle the U.S. Post:
pressed violets, summer squash, maple leaf,
vial of sandalwood, that stray piece of polished glass.
Whatever you think, there were, literally, a hundred
before you. The not quite dead and the nearly lost,
all shank and muscle for the days to come.
Just once, during sex, look over your shoulder to see
the not-quite-there of the not-quite-thereness behind you.
He will, of course, be looking away, will push
your head back to the bed so you can’t see him
not seeing you: “I see you and raise you. I promise no bruise.
Come find me at night and we’ll go up in flames.”
You will remember everything about wrists,
the way they’ll crawl on their own to the hip and ache.
seedling, flower power, stress, repressed dream.
This is the map without the territory. This is a. voice
with a missing J. Thumb under eye, two fingers under chin,
the Campo de’ Fiore, nerves that end with a German twang.
It’s bitten by salt and not without sweetness,
that film noir: the day is a wing ripped off a starling.
Talk is a saltlick and some smoke. Touch is grounds
for what he’s doing when he’s doing you.