2006, 29 pages
of the 2006 Sapering Hol Press Chapbook Competition.
Makes a Hot Day"
Vernon Street, Philadelphia, 1872
dead center, he lashes his perspective to the vanishing point,
looming verticals and a thin keel wedge, outlines
the intake of an hour: like
a hot day he once saw or is seeing.
angles of an unmanned skiff cross foolscap lines. Paired oars
bones skim the grid. Box end and oarlock float skyward.
Pencilled cones suggest
a sturdy lower body–is this a spectral man?
sheet, new lines. With a wash of cheap tint, he skates the shell
planks. Inside the spokes, blank torsos man the oars.
The graphite pier, weightless
as a cinder, drifts into the shallow hull.
counts his grid to see where the sun hits water and how far
in summer. Once fixed, the rowers’ skulls shift the apex.
notes ride the sky: trees on near side, off side of a man.
combines never creates, and then the craft comes round.
canvas gessoed, palette loaded, linseed and sweat reek of Paris
stripped to wrestle on the grit-strewn floor, and where
he learned to use
the brush, more powerful than point or stump.
sifts through layers of ochre to the chalky impasto of an August sky.
rowers John and Barney Biglin ease their racer’s slim length
pilings weathered and mossed as the walls of Babylon.
sun’s yellow blade chisels elbows, knees, cheekbones. An oar’s tip
crimson outriggers inject raw pigment into classical sludge.
back for the next long stroke, the dapper Biglins squint westward,
the sunset and the slantwise prospect of their pair-oared shell,
out of somber gradation into a foreground of untried blue.
this SHP Title
the SHP Office:
1.914.332.5953 to order over the phone
or fill out the Order Form and mail
Slapering Hol Press
300 Riverside Drive
or fax it to
read by the author,