Chris Crittenden teaches environmental ethics and does much of his writing in a hut in a spruce forest.  He spends ten months a year in a remote corner of Maine and two months in the car world of the San Fernando Valley.  His obsession with poetry has led to years of full-time toil at the craft, resulting in a continuous rollercoaster of intense feelings.  He had his first strand of white hair at 16 and was a silver-haired anomaly by his 20’s.  He has been published in hundreds of journals, including Chelsea, Atlanta Review, Disquieting Muses, and Portland Review; was interviewed on KPFK’s Poet’s Café; and was nominated for the Best New Poets anthology by the publisher of Raving Dove.  Reviewing his chapbook, Gordian Butterflies, Lissa Kiernan, the poetry editor of Arsenic Lobster said, “[it] may just become a collector’s item one day.”  He lives with his talented artist wife and their cat Portobello, and any bears, deer or bald eagles that might wander through the yard.

Ranch Trees
frondy ashes
clasp squiggles of sun,
trickle the heat
across whispers

while breeze
tousles their manes,
airy green foams
above centurial brawn.

who touches these tomes,
learns from the roughs
of their grimalkin bark?
their midlife knotholes?
their sapling dreads?

who remembers them
when dreaming under plaster
as they sentinel midnight,
Originally in Bolts of Silk 

Carcass in Mojave
heat staggers
from the weight
of its own teeth,
gnaws creosote,
chews asphalt
into a muddle.
it blurs vultures,
disseminates the force
of their haggard wings,
making the sky seem busy,
a havoc of black arcs,
which dive down
onto pecked crimson--
lump so stark
against the long parched
oatmeal plain.
its horns stab up
like gnarled fingers
of an old dead man,
accusing the sky’s
broiled blue face,
as if certain corpses,
when fried
and dismembered,
could see god.

Originally in Rose & Thorn Journal

Paper Money

sour creatures
with presidential faces
and green behinds,

flat on all-fours,

dragging fingers
into old buildings
under latin phrases,

between pylons like lewd teats.

who knows what’s happening
behind greengray
paper walls,

which mottos are abused
to cloak what orgies—

gold thighs,
jowled dresses,
circus breads—

which illusions
weave what humans into banks,
make them beg for more

of these little sheets
hard to hide under,
easy to masturbate.

Originally in Poetic Diversity

Walking Past Horses

mustangs mutter at my shadow.
a neuron from their ancestors
mistook me for a tiger;
but quickly i become
just another dull patch,
like the cars blurring by.

maybe it lasted for a second,
the clarity of equine insight. 
when i look back the beasts
are wooden again,
shaggy brown shrubs
planted in dust.

most of their life festers
within a 10 x 10 fate.
none seem to remember
hooves as free as wings—

millennia have passed
since chisels likened horses
to seraphim.

Originally in California Quarterly

Chris Chrittenden Poet at Moonday Poetry

© 2010 Chris Chrittenden

  MOONDAY HOME PAGE (Current Features)  
MOONDAY (Previous Features)  
                             MOONDAY (Upcoming Features)