Poems
All poems, ©  Carla Schwartz 

 Like my Poems?  
Here are some links to some recently published poems:

The Wild Word: At Breakfast and Cape Cod Thanksgivinghttp://thewildword.com/poetry-carla-schwartz/

Eyedrum Periodically, Hot and Cold, Fusion Issue: http://www.eyedrumperiodically.org/issue-12-fusion/hot-and-cold-carla-schwartz/

First Literary Review - East  - click this link, and search for "Our Dance" or "Carla Schwartz" ... http://www.rulrul.4mg.com/index_51.html
Panoply Zine: Trying to Leave Mallets Bay http://panoplyzine.com/trying-to-leave-mallets-bay-carla-schwartz/

Comment se Faire  http://dougholder.blogspot.com/2016/03/the-sunday-poet-carla-schwartz.html

Black Trumpets http://switched-ongutenberg.org/black-trumpets

Bluefifth: "The Bereaved Mother"  https://bluefifthreview.wordpress.com/ Spring 2017 issue, or see archives.

With Painted Words, "Water Under the Bridge" June 2017 (from May 2017 Challenge)
 http://www.withpaintedwords.com/view_submission.php?news_id=1135

Soulr-Lit: "My father's Hiking Boots", and "Dream", Summer, 2017 http://www.soul-lit.com/poems/V17/Schwartz/index.html

Art on the trails: 5 Ekphrastic poems by Carla Schwartz (search for my name) 2017 http://artonthetrails.com/2017/10/20/the-poetry-of-art-on-the-trails-2017/

SHARKPACK Annual Poetry Review: "Nick Flynn Reads My Feelings" http://sprannual.com/iv/teeth/schwartz-nick.html
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Asparagus appeared in The Mom Egg, Spring, 2017

Asparagus

A few minutes after hanging up, my father calls back to tell me

three new asparagus are coming up.

I had started the patch from seed at my parents’ house, years ago.

Now, my father calls me every time a spear pokes through. With each call,

I am reminded of my shortcomings and feel inept — I’m not sure why.

The soil in that corner of their yard is rich. The crop had barely started to yield

when I moved to a land that forbids overwintering.

I tried, but the transplants failed in Florida.

When I moved back north, I tried to transplant again. This time, the original patch

was so dug in, I could not hack off enough root for the plant to take.

Or maybe it didn’t stand a chance with woodchucks and voles.

I still plan to dig up some more asparagus plants,

the next time I visit my father.

And here, the generations are:

Water and soil, and seed, not much bigger than coriander, but smooth as a bearing.

Years and years of waiting, watching, and missing the ones that race to flower and reseed.

The key is to catch the plant when it’s young,

before it really roots in.

Now, my father gets mature spears. When he finds one just three inches tall,

he gambles on the optimal time to pick. If he waits too long, he says it goes to seed.

What to do with this girl?

I learned to grow raspberries, but not to build fences.

I once battled a groundhog with a shovel, in a world full of groundhogs.

I dreamt my mother helped me dig up some of the plants, and instead of asparagus,

she rose from the ground, full, fleshy, green.

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My Orchard
, appeared in The Aurorean, Spring, 2016.


My Orchard

What’s left of the large pines
I had cut down last winter
is dead now.
Garlic mustard,
Virginia creeper,
poison ivy
thrive in their place.
My neighbor: What are your plans for the area>?
First thought, no plan.
The ground, uneven,
littered with remnants of weed trees
I sawed down in past seasons.
New growth sprouts
around the Norway maple and buckthorn stumps.
Where she sees a mess,
I see a canvas.
Today I planted three peach pits,
three apricot seeds,
and a whole cherry.
I transplanted blueberry plants
dug from the woods.
Thistle, bittersweet,
prick and strangle.
Oh, and the jewelweed,
oh nuisance,
oh orchard.


Crisis, 1962, first appeared in Fourth River Review, 2017.

Crisis, 1962

Our father might have said,
You’re nuts.
Kennedy can handle this.
Don’t go.

All over the television
talking heads, talking their heads off.
We were too young to understand —
our nervous mother’s, Where can we go?
We have to get out of here.
Jugs of water and batteries
vanished from grocery stores —
New York, a sure target.
Then, lunch-packing —
peanut butter and apple butter.
Did their friend, Jim, another refugee,
infect our mother,
or, was it the Kristallnacht shards
imprinted on her little girl eyes
that fed Jim’s frenzy?
What tipped their scales?
When, during the 13 days, did they flee?
Whatever, it must have been a bad translation.
Upstate New York, their haven
for the potentially bombed.
Maybe a door slammed,
a motor revved.
Packed into the car,
we girls, voiceless,
left our father with the fallout.

 

Before We Know Darkness first appeared in The Fourth River Review, 2017.

Before We Know Darkness

Before WalkMen. Before iPods. Before we know better,
we hop on a subway uptown, two young teens.
This is 1974, the year of the Laserium, the laser show that
lights the night sky of the Hayden Planetarium.
Dark Side of the Moon marries the haze of the good reefer
Julie and I roll expertly between the two fingers of each hand,
careful not to tear the paper as we lick the gum band and twist the ends.
The swish-flare of match, and a deep hiss-suck lights.
We smoke to the change-clink of Money.
We hop the Express by mistake.
As we wait for the Local to sweep us back from Harlem,
a man, tall as the train and dark as the ties, shoots, Got five dollars to spare?
 If I push you over the tracks, would you have five dollars?
J. flips, Pushing us won’t make five dollars appear.
I am scared. He needs his smack.
We suck in the relief as he turns away.
Suffering time before the train arrives,
cradled in jugga-jugga-jugga, we think we are safe.
In the near-empty car, out from behind a gray trench coat,
a flash of whole prick.
We are teens with stories in our pockets.
We move to the next car before anyone smells our fear.




Décolletage *

Undress me from turtleneck.

Roll your hand along my cords of throat.

Prick with silted fingertips.

Uncottoned kisses. Rose petal lips.

Weave me in. Can’t be too tight.

Tight is not close enough.

Slide inside my silky sleeve.

Chest to chest, I wear you

braless. Keep me on.

You see, I am naked.

You nake me, neck down.


* Equinox 2008

© Carla Schwartz

The Flirt*


Her saggy breasts bulge as she leans

tableward, like a ship on stormy sea. She

swings them up and down, shapes them to

his face as she talks. They pose a big question.

Beg it. Will you come home with me? Will you love

me, sweet stranger? She sits taller than the Girlfriend,

flustered green. Girlfriend wills her to put on a shirt, but

she waves victory with her bathing suit top, pressing

her flaccid pickles closer. Although she looks only

at him, her double barrels are aimed at both

of them. Take this sweetheart. This is

a test. I have his number. Watch

him ask me for mine.

* Stone Highway Review, 2013

© Carla Schwartz

 

Counting*

We will count to ten and time will collapse.

The snow starts its melt drop by drop,

from snow to ice. Rich mud becomes a puddle,

a trickle, a stream, a stream, a roaring river,

its stone walls gouged. I would call it a gorge,

but that sounds too gorgeous, one thing you called me,

often. And now you're gone. How many days, months,

eons? I am still counting. I will count

to ten. To 100. I will hold our breath,

as mine is still yours, and suck

in all that water. The gorge

will collapse. The water,

dry up.

* Stone Highway Review, 2012

© Carla Schwartz

Ginger Beer*

Take a finger of ginger,
a thumb's worth
to the shredder.
Bring to a boil
a large pot of water,
then lower to simmer,
and add in the ginger.
Let it cook for a hour.
Add some honey.

Chill overnight,
and the ginger will settle.
Strain the ginger mixture into a bottle.
Honey for sweet, ginger for bite.

Sip it, share it, and delight.

* Literary Juice, 2012

© Carla Schwartz

Not to Complain*

1. Tea.


I grabbed the teabag from the canister marked, Passion,

a favorite, for the tea I made before I left to sing.

I drank it tonight last thing,

but didn’t recognize the bergamot,

an old friend from long ago.

These days I don’t take any caffeine,

so now, after the 20 mile bike ride, the choral concert,

the salon, and the escape from a rambling drunk,

I lie, not sleeping.


2. The Mechanic


Is it me I am mad at?

When my car returned from the mechanic,

the air comfort controller started to flash.

Intermittentwas the word he used

when I called him back. Wiggling as many

empty words into my phrasing as possible,

I said I thought it had been his fault,

as he had been messing around in that area

to change a bulb. It’s not like it doesn’t work,

it just blinks a lot. He said he would call with a quote.

It’s been months, now.

He’s on my list to call once more.

Tell him, Hey, it worked fine until you worked in there,

this time with conviction.



3. The Marriage Bed


You devise divorce in sleep, and marriage in wake,

you, master of the twin beds.

You propose the game of musical bedrooms

will double our love.

I buy in, and lie awake, alone, in the other room,

in our king size.

I churn your missing warmth into missing you,

and wait for the elegant proof.

Emerge Literary Review, 2012.

© Carla Schwartz

 

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Show Me Your Toolkit (audio, with a great band, the White Owls)*

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Carla's poems in the Boston Poetry Magazine