Late Summer Garden (Redux)

I’ve been working on editing a lot of my poems recently, and I found this to be one of the most satisfying revisions I’ve done. You can read the original here, which I posted awhile back. Sometimes I find editing to be even more rewarding than new writing. The real thing is sometimes hiding in what we thought we were trying to say, and I enjoy finding that real thing.

 

Late Summer Garden

 

The garden gone unwatered in summer

was like the long ash unraveling

the unsmoked cigarette between my lips,

stiff until the tubers give way and crumble

at my slightest awareness.

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Studies in Aluminum IV

This is part of a series I’m working on that looks at the history of aluminum, from its discovery as a metal to its mass production. The poems are connected loosely by their shared themes, but don’t have to be read in any order.

This poem is in imitation of the Shijing, or Classics of Poetry, a collection of Chinese poetry from the 11th to the 7th centuries BC. It’s divided up into sections based on elements of Confucianism. It’s subject is a large aluminum company in China, Shandong Weiqiao Aluminum & Power.

 

Aluminum and Power

 

(Tiān)

 

The industrial park of Shandong Weiqiao

holds up the heavens with columns of concrete.

White clouds unspool from its slender chimneys

like silk upon the spinning wheel of Earth.

 

The industrial park of Shandong Weiqiao

holds up the heavens with columns of concrete.

There are no frogs to be found hopping

in the muddy lake of red tailing.

 

The industrial park of Shandong Weiqiao

is south of Huang He. From the yellow earth

springs green wheat and maize, blue sorghum

and pearl millet, and gray aluminum.

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Studies in Aluminum III

This is part of a series I’m working on that looks at the history of aluminum, from its discovery as a metal to its mass production. The poems are connected loosely by their shared themes, but they don’t have to be read in any order.

This poem deals with Charles Martin Hall (1863-1914), the inventor of the Hall–Héroult Process, which was the first commercially viable process of getting pure aluminum. Hall used electrolysis to reduce alumina salts into aluminum. The process is still used today for mass production of aluminum. I use the –ium spelling in the poem, as that’s how it appears in Hall’s patents. As always, thanks for reading!

 

U.S. patent #400,664

 

Father used to accompany Mother

after choir practice as she returned

to Ladies’ Hall most afternoons,

and they walked slower than grass grows

because he couldn’t come in with her,

they called it the “Oberlin Step,”

all the couples did it when

the campus became coed.

Mother said their time in Jamaica

during Father’s Mission,

he would bring her fresh fruit

every morning before she woke,

for ten years, he would walk

to the nearest vendor, even climb

the tamarind trees himself, or bring

a half dozen june plums

in the hammock of his shirt tails.

Perhaps Josephine and I,

we could be in love like them,

and live in a red-brick house

with a nice Italian porch.

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