Charlotte Innes recently published a chapbook Reading Ruskin in Los Angeles (Finishing Line Press 2009). Her poetry has also appeared in The Best American Spiritual Writing 2006 (Houghton Mifflin), and various journals including The Hudson Review, The Sewanee Review, The Pinch, Ekphrasis, The Chaffin Journal, and Knockout. She was a semi-finalist in the 2008 St. Lawrence Book Award, Black Lawrence Press, N.Y. Her other awards include Knockout magazine’s Inaugural Poetry Award (for a poem that will appear in Knockout’s third issue, Fall 2009); the 2007 Chaffin Award for Poetry; the 2007 Anne Silver Award for Poetry sponsored by Speechless Magazine; and a First Prize in the 2003 Poetry in the Windows contest in Los Angeles. She has also written about books and the arts for many publications, including the Los Angeles Times and The Nation. Currently, she is writer-in-residence at Pilgrim School, Los Angeles, where she teaches English and creative writing; assists students in putting out a literary magazine; and runs a visiting writers series.
like birds at dawn, a chorus of Latin voices
bursts from a carwash radio below—
the drum, light and steady, a lid
to hold in the boiling mass
of piano, brass, accordion and vocal chant,
of joy and grief.
How does my body
still perform its carnival of tricks?
The placing of an egg in cup, of toast on plate,
against the growl of cars, the palm leaves’ clatter?
How late it is, how late.
tugs and rends
the pattern of my day—
the carwash vacuums’ unrelenting
the variance of pitch
in sync with users’ movements,
the swish of water.
Across the street
a quinceañera’s starting up. By dark,
my living room’s delirious with song.
I wash my dishes to their cumpleaños cheers,
the surging of the drum,
the hush of traffic,
the waltz of butterflies.
Published in American Diversity Report
for Women’s History Month 2009
When you are next in town, I would be honored, sir,
The lavender's violence is drying out.
Published in The Eleventh Muse 2007
photo credit: Shweta Chanda
© 2009 Charlotte Innes
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