In August 2015 Alan Britt was invited by the Ecuadorian House of Culture Benjamín Carrión in Quito, Ecuador as part of a cultural exchange of poets between Ecuador and the United States. During his visit, he participated in the international literary conference sponsored by La hermandad de las palabras 2015 in Babahoyo, Ecuador. He served as judge for the 2013 The Bitter Oleander Press Library of Poetry Book Award. His interview at The Library of Congress for The Poet and the Poem aired on Pacifica Radio, January 2013. His latest books include Violin Smoke (bilingual English/Hungarian): 2015; Lost Among the Hours: 2015, Parabola Dreams (with Silvia Scheibli): 2013 and Alone with the Terrible Universe: 2011. He teaches English/Creative Writing at Towson University.
ALAN BRITT: Library of Congress Interview:
COLOR OF LOVE
The color of love?
As if, as if?
As if that easy.
As if banal
as TV advertising makes
it out to be.
as though an earthquake
rocks a birthday party
not fit for a queen, exactly,
but the spitting image
of a queen.
Blood, like Old Faithful,
spews molecules & atoms,
& it’s the atoms, or parts
of atoms: protons, neutrons,
electrons, quarks flirting like quarks
did before Darwin,
quarks in your walnut eyelashes,
in your lips, quarks that escape
the razor wire of your smile,
quarks massaging atoms
causing them to magnetize
every square inch of flesh,
synapses like a Chinese
4th of July or Baudelaire
upsetting a bourgeois military
celebration, quarks with minds
of their own,
Below my right lung, in a lexicon reserved for family, crow chortles the sunrise. Baby daughter, Nat Geo antennae aslant folded wings, waddles my liver scraping sleepy beak against her mom's feathers gleaming like moonlit tar. Mother’s beak sifts black rainbows beneath daughter's icicle neck, seeking lice, ticks & naive politicians. Snatches a governor from Arizona & deposits her into the concrete artery feeding my stomach—I belch & awaken the entire nest.
Papaya sun bleeds stringy walnut branches lining the perimeter of a pasture. Six crows cross foreheads, yellow-spotted, russet & watercolor rose, the dewy foreheads of oaks & elms, joining murder in a maple to observe moments of silence for young male broken by UPS truck yesterday noon, pausing for ritual, proper service for this young'un who chased dragonflies & sounded the chilly alarm for goshawks on the prowl. One onyx feather graces the desk of a poet who loves crows . . . others scattered by a pomegranate breeze across gravel just before, in unison, all fifty-five crows explode like flecks of pepper into the bloody dawn.
Steel clip, black beak with silver jaws
of machine oil crushing fingernails.
Eyes, blue Monet lilies, cloud my living
room, speaking of past, present & future.
Well, Canadian Goose who forgot
to fly south, you're in a pickle.
Enough or too much, Bill reminds?
Sometimes, enough is enough.
THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION
This one takes you to the dust, grinds you
into a smooth, stained longleaf pine warehouse floor,
inner Boston, 1850’s,
for the bustling Industrial Revolution.
This one takes you to the limits of credible sensibility,
as though, as though.
This one thinks time is a button
on the crinkled collar of an all-cotton
button-down pinstripe spinning wheel.
Moses bobs beneath the apricot bug light.
This one tastes like genocide to a lowland gorilla.
This one’s askew, unless one considers interspecies love,
a la that senator from out west.
This one takes you to the dust, grinds you
into a smooth, stained chestnut warehouse floor,
nestled along the banks of the Charles, 1850’s
or so, for the bustling Industrial Revolution.
I’m worn out.
I’ve been in love for a long time,
feels like forever,
but now I’m worn out.
Have mercy on my shoe salesman’s soul,
plus a few designer infidelities.
I only want the good life.
You know, one that includes gypsies
in sea slug Spanish dancer dresses
rippling the currents of imagination,
not that I’ve known a gypsy firsthand--
supermarket romances exaggerated--
but believe me, no one in his proper attitude
would fall for an Italian banana slinging
cans of stewed tomatoes using Russian
analog controls from two Cold War
gunboats built back when the world
hissed like Mount St. Helens.
Sorry about the forever—nothing changes
forever—I’m just too worn out to know