Saturday, July 22, 2006

*Famous* is Here!

Congratulations to my good friend and "poetry-lunch" buddy Kathleen Flenniken, whose first book, Famous, winner of last year's Prairie Schooner Prize, is hot off the press! You can order it at Amazon and all the usual on-line places, or directly from University of Nebraska Press. I can hardly wait to get my grubby little hands on my autographed copy. Here's a sample poem (one of my favorites). I love how it portrays the marriage relationship as hot & sexy, and full of wild abandon:

Map of the Marriage Bed

Some nights he wants directions
and she tells him which crossroads,
where to idle, where to drive fast and hard.

It's instinct, and the route into those mountains
wanders — on the back of an elephant,
on the lip of a milk jug, jangling, jangling.

Some nights only half-way there he pulls
into a motel hidden in a grove of Douglas firs
because they're lost — they're always lost,

but some nights on those unlit highways
it hits him hard — and he takes charge,
produces a key, a chair, a lamp, and the Puritans

who live inside them nod at the trim hospital
corners, the porcelain ewer and basin. They
take their places, grip and grimace in the dark.

And a few times one has hauled off
and clapped the other flat on the head,
hijacked their moving vehicle and driven overland

until the nettles and tumbleweeds put a stop
to this craziness. They crawl out the passenger
window, they weep, they say a little prayer

and cling to each other in the grass and the dirt.
Once she found a knife in the field where they lay.
And once she found a ruby ring.

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