Thursday Feb 29

Christopher-Buckley.jpg Christopher Buckley’s 17th book of poetry, Rolling the Bones, won the Tampa Review Prize for Poetry and will be published by the University of Tampa Press in April, 2010.   Recent books are Modern History: Prose Poems 1987-2007, Tupelo Press, 2008, and Bear Flag Republic: Prose Poems & Poetics from California, edited with Gary Young, Alcatraz Editions, 2008. He was a Guggenheim Fellow in Poetry for 2007-2008, has received two NEA grants, and was awarded the James Dickey Prize for 2008 from Five Points Magazine. He teaches in the creative writing Program at the University of California Riverside. Press Release For Tampa Review Prize

Dream of Grey Clouds
We’re wearing little more than rags, dawdling around
the compound in the dust, in the thick filter of hours
until the bell for soup—tin-colored broth, something 
chopped and floating in it—dead boots again. . . .
                                                                                    Blue veins
bump up along our stick-thin arms, we will soon be nothing
more than grit in the wind—childhood friends, faces of our parents ,
uncles on canes, in crumpled fedoras, true loves, everything 
blowing away . . . .
                               Now, we don’t know how long
now has been? The desert, all of it like the rest of it, I am
wondering why anyone would fight over the dominion of sand? 
Otherwise, my thoughts are confined to this room where
Schneider’s pried a nail to scratch names along the bottom
of the wall to remind himself of the university, to keep his wits
from being mislaid . . . one thing, he keeps insisting, connects
to the next—philosophy to science, psychology to ethics,
Spinoza to Nietzsche, to Freud, Einstein to Niels Bohr, star dust
to God—every random invisible speck, though there isn’t one
of us who knows the texts. 
                                         We only have newspapers
in unreadable script, from which I fold clusters of yellow stars
to suspend on a thread, unfolding and refolding them
for concentration, me, Miller, clerk of window dressings,
cobwebs, constellations and cloud formations, full user
of resources, the exhaust and residue of time. Abrams keeps
a cricket in a matchbox, watches it race into the corner
where he traps it over and over. 
                                                Schneider tells us again
about Liszt, how he helped orphans and victims of disaster
and still made time for a dalliance with adventuress Lola Montez,
how his late work was calmer, more experimental—Nuages Gris
he says, and points beyond the window’s grease-smeared light
that holds every bit as much interest as belief.
                                                                    But he can’t whistle,
and humming doesn’t work. We have become dulled versions
of ourselves barely holding in our bones a diminished hope
for a dark, starless night . . . .
                                            Each morning, waking on hard boards,
we have been building a raft of light—there is a river down the hill,
a fence of concertina wire. One day soon, we will be as grey and
light as clouds, and will finally slip away . . . .