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Leyva & Fitzgerald – February 2012

Steven Leyva and Brian Fitzgerald traded art and writing. Brian shared this painting with Steven:

In response, Steven wrote this poem:


In the long version, she can’t walk without crushing an apple
August is gone, and men in a heat-fit flick cigarette butts over
the garden wall—the smallest flames to arc the sky. Short
even for her family, she does not ripen well, and works hard

at a broom sweeping litter and rotted cores. Give and it shall
be given is the only bible she knows. Her stomach swollen
for months is not the reminder, no. Not even a man biting
a bag of coke when there are no needles left. Bred into the family

of vanished things, already aware what ripens late always falls
close to the tree, she continues sweeping even where there are no apples.

* * * * *

Steven shared this poem with Brian:

Prologue: Fells

Everything begins a dead end slope into the bay. Men blacken
between one block and another. No morning bell rings out,
but the drone of tugboats and men’s boots against cobble.
First light and they’ve disappeared into the bread factory.

These grandsons of watermen only know the work of ovens—
ovens larger than their homes. The scent of wives, the scent
of children is lost. What remains is the smell of rye in clothes
and the song of the work whistle blowing at dusk. Huddled under
the shank of a linden, the men shake fists, shoot dice and shadow
box, drunk on whiskey. Some blood is always left on a friend’s fist.
They remain in praise of each other’s bodies thinking, “if we bruise
each other, we might remember our fathers better.” The men don’t
remember how to work the sea.

On piers the men throw whiskey corks in the water—corks they’d
promised sons as toys. They mock the call of gulls, throats grown sick
of words. On their beds sheets stiffen—they stare
ashamed of their own hands. There is no ache in them, no burns
from ropes swollen with water. Their hands still labor furiously
at the breasts of their wives like adolescents. They cannot embody
their own memories—father on top of mother, moving with such
precise violence as if to say, “I am only recalling the body of the Atlantic.”

In response, Brian made this painting:

4 Comments leave one →
  1. February 6, 2012 1:39 pm

    Each set of poems and paintings in this issue are amazing. These are outstanding too! Carol

  2. February 6, 2012 1:40 pm

    ha, that should be is amazing… c

  3. Erika Ferrin permalink
    February 6, 2012 3:31 pm

    I weep for the beauty displayed here. Two talented guys!!!!

  4. Carlos Leyva permalink
    February 8, 2012 5:02 pm

    Very nice. I hear American singing and a little bit of Walt in all of us…certainly in this poems!

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