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Noon Edition

To Buffy, Vampire Slayer

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"And if you are addicted to sleep, a bay of fresh coffee may help.
If you are addicted to coffee, teach yourself to breakdance." - Terrance Hayes

Alex Chambers teaches audio storytelling at the IU Media School and is an organizing fellow with We Own It, where he is working to re-energize democratic participation in rural electric co-ops. His poetry book, Binding: A Preparation, was released by Pickpocket Books and Ledge Mule Press in 2019. His next book project is based on his dissertation, Climate Violence and the Poetics of Refuge.

Welcome to The Poets Weave. I'm Romayne Rubinas Dorsey. Alex, what poems have you brought us?

 

To Buffy, Vampire Slayer

 

At the abandoned science lab where they store

Bunsen burners, oxygen tanks and half-empty

cans of gasoline, we fell for you and your vampire lover.

Dead or alive you were irresistible for seven years,

each WHAM and POCK of the penetration of your stake

filling me with relief that a girl doing such

good work—cleansing, with the assurance of a president,

her high school of monster bullies seduced by the insincere words of nerdy,

intelligent outcasts—has the same hang-ups as any upper-middle-class California high school

junior with a perfect body and consistently great hair. The pots and pans

knocking around in the cupboard are calling for me to cook a

lignonberry pie or, better, something with

meat for my hungry wife, wiped out from mowing the lawn and drinking a beer,

now, on the couch in front of the TV. Back then, imagining

opening the door to the science lab, we felt the heat of the

power coursing through your hands, your legs, those

quintessentially threatening girl-eyes we could stare at for seasons.

Run.

Save your friends and the rest of us from the

temptations of broad shoulders and buxom lifeless cheerleaders. The

undead surround us. They’re fearless and chasing

virgins to taste the nonchalance of innocence.

We live in between, understanding that

Xander will never fall for Willow

(yet he does, he does), dreaming of

zombies attacking us, with you at their heels.  

 

And Together

 

And together they lived among ice cream and airplanes. 

They lived among string theories, shapes in the snow,

 

breakfasts, commuter flights and bags of flour. They lived

among the dying. They lived among slowly roasting onions,

 

PCBs, tempranillos, wood-shavings. Among sacrifice,

azaleas, and shadows in caves. Among billions and billions

 

of hamburgers. And when they lived they lived among

the varied songs of catbirds and repeated predictions

 

of storms. They lived among sprung rhythms and hung

shocked gods and their feet tickled lunching crawdads and

 

beach sand and sand dollars and currency exchange. Wind

and thistles and tilth. Euros, dollars, renminbi. They lived

 

among each other’s lips and limbs tangled with angels

on a fertile, troubled floodplain upon which the empire

 

was advancing, had advanced, had settled and had starved

of soil, and among the fields stricken with bindweed,

 

the occasional family of foxes, the rising seas. They lived

among breathtakingly little despair. They lived among

 

those things with which their missing god, infinitely gone,

had blessed the world as she waved goodbye, goodbye,

 

and, oh, good luck. They felt fucked but kept living among

fast-passing days, together mortal and celebrating. They lived

 

among clocks and carburetors. They lived among mountain

columbine and desert sage on a planet that shimmered

 

in solar wind from a sun whose radiance was like a god’s

but warmer and wider, deeper in weeping and laughter. 

 

Among the others’ gravity they spun. Falling and swung

between hunger and talk they touched hands, and leaned.

 

Epithalamion

 

What sun?

Light blooms from eyes now, from

salty shoulders, from tongues, from fingers

crossing paths in a sultry wakeful night.

 

Say it, yes,

this is a morning,

this evening,

dawn

on a shining sea.

 

Yes again to troth,

a tango, gravity’s pull and sway,

the swell and swale of truth,

watery dance over a ragged ocean.

 

Say it, eye of a new cycle,

hurricaning the world—

mustard seeds and coconut globes—

into new ground.

 

Say it. Yes,

broken-bottled, pained, we lie

awake and afraid under the lion sky,

creatures alone

twirling an aimless vine,

wilting for months in a long doubt.

 

Shadow is where we’ll grow,

in sleep or the lee of a green stem.

 

Yes and therefore be

a shock of faith,

electric gleam from a missing moon

and cloud the blue of the burning sky and be

the downpour of a lovestorm

on this parched and edgy planet.

 

Late High Modernism

 

The young guy at the public library

in Reebok sweats and a t-shirt

with huge arms

(that’s a misplaced modifier)

smacks his gum

before cracking open Ulysses

Buffy the Vampire Slayer holding a wooden stake.

"...we fell for you and your vampire lover. / Dead or alive you were irresistible for seven years..." (bustle.com)

"And if you are addicted to sleep, a bay of fresh coffee may help.
If you are addicted to coffee, teach yourself to breakdance."
- Terrance Hayes

Alex Chambers teaches audio storytelling at the IU Media School and is an organizing fellow with We Own It, where he is working to re-energize democratic participation in rural electric co-ops. His poetry book, Binding: A Preparation, was released by Pickpocket Books and Ledge Mule Press in 2019. His next book project is based on his dissertation, Climate Violence and the Poetics of Refuge.

On this edition of The Poets Weave, Alex reads "To Buffy, Vampire Slayer," "And Together," "Epithalamion," and "Late High Modernism."

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