Alina Coryell: Four Poems


Everyone Loosens Their Bible Belt For the Super Bowl
–For Patrick Coryell, who likes to watch

If I told you the truth

gentle as a butterfly
excavating a honeysuckle
would you shudder

barking about fraud-
ulent pollen
consumer malpractice
animal abuse
the future
too dyspeptic to

add an olive
and call it conversation.

No mind
what it can just
as easily
The brain is wired for multiple choices.
Mark one as true.

I love you.
Super Bowls cause scurvy.


While Still. Life
-Dedicated to the highway workers who will destroy Hurricane Creek in the name of economic progress some time next year.

The aging man with the corn-husked ponytail likes
to tell stories in rings
what goes around comes around the M-Bend
made crisp by the fricassee of words.

We seek the still giggle of riffles
rounding rocks into guffaws we seek
the still marvel of the cliffs
choked with mountain laurel we seek
the still sparkle smooth skipping stones
scoured by geologic time we seek
the still sun whose set burns the banks
the hidden colors of otherwise-brown eyes we seek
the still silhouetted heron caught
between the curtsey and the meal we seek
the still sustainable table manners of the possum
finding nothing to refuse we seek
the still spots on rocks carpeted
by moss almost afrocentric we seek
the still waters of the baptism hole
the scent of souls marked for salvation
white robes lingering as petals
mock orange meandering towards a mouth we seek
the still belonging to the Brookwood bootlegger whose
unholy use of holy water keeps us on our knees we seek
the still sacred scattered solace of Hurricane Creek
when we seek the rhythm deep in our veins
We seek the still soundscape soon
car wrecked by the interstate built overhead
where faithful consumers and  stressed commuters
listen to soothing soundtracks with the controlled volume of waters and nature
seeking the calm beneath the bypass that
we kill
while seeking    still.


Treehuggers: A True Story
–For the Friends of Hurricane Creek whose friendship did not survive their idealism

There was an older man who loved a creek so much
that he decided to save it
from those anonymous others.
He had a friend who wanted to save it for himself.
Together, they started saving the creek for the future.

But then a woman who wanted to save the creek on principle
met a girl who wanted to save the creek for posterity
and suddenly, lit by the tongue of righteousness known to
descend like maple syrup in these parts of the world, they started trying to save
what wasn’t being saved by the others.
The ladies lay awake in bed at night
dreaming of dragonfly nymphs and a creek for every child,
a No Child Left Behind the creek.

But the old man was bothered by all the saving
un-done by himself,
all the saving being done by others when saving it was his idea first.
He would sit by the creek fuming
waiting for the right moment to fight copyright-breaking creek-lovers.
When paddlers visited the creek, he regaled them with
denunciations of other creek lovers,
especially females,
whose love for the creek trespassed upon his own more
manly creek love.

Eventually, all the savers got into a fight.
One even dressed up in a Native American Creek costume
(before quickly changing to a more austere hawk costume).
The fight filled the creek with blood,
which killed all the fish and macroinvertebrates.
The savers began to fight over whose blood was to blame
for the obvious fact that
all the life in the creek was dead.
Rumor has it the savers became fighters who forgot
to save the life of the creek they no longer savored.
The end.


In That Book By Iris Murdoch

No one gets hurt. In principle
flattery builds its case with lilacs,
apricot after-dinner light pools the porch,
promises anchored in the honor-
able reputations of thesaurus, where
each and every word means
An other.

You see, we must know
what we mean, eyelash flutter,
mine what we say all the while
love’s iotas.

No one gets the answer
tidy, lozenge-silked,
with clear fishing lines connecting actions
[the sunset, the glare, a forlorn cricket]
to consequences
[sequins torn from a dress, wrinkles, the love affair between the mirror and shadow, a
bout with quicksand].

Don’t you wonder how
she bristles
he strolls while sitting
in the library
with not one proper peplum in sight?

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