Kate Kingston’s most recent book of poems, Shaking the Kaleidoscope, published by Lost Horse Press, 2012, was a finalistin the 2011 Idaho Prize for Poetry. Previous collections of her poetry include In My Dreams Neruda, El Río de las Animas Perdidas en Purgatorio, and Unwritten Letters. Kingston has been awarded fellowships from the Colorado Council on the Arts, the Harwood Museum, the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation, and Fundación Valparaíso in Mojácar, Spain, among others. She is the recipient of the W.D Snodgrass Award for Poetic Endeavor and Excellence awarded by Kathleen Snodgrass. She was also a finalist in The May Swenson Award, The Pablo Neruda Prize, and the Arts and Letters Rumi Prize. Her poems can be found in the Atlanta Review, Ellipsis, Great River Review, Hawai’i Review, Hunger Mountain, Margie, Nimrod, the Pinch, Rattle, Runes, and Sugar House Review.
Kingston received her Master of Fine Arts in Writing from Vermont College, and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Education with a Spanish major from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. She also attended the University of Valencia, Spain, for a semester. She has taught Spanish, writing, and poetry throughout the Rocky Mountain West including Trinidad State College and the College of Eastern Utah, where she served as Chairperson of the Language Department and Wilderness Studies Advisor taking student on river trips and backpacks into the surrounding desert canyon lands encouraging them to write from the landscapes for a sense of self-discovery. Kingston currently lives and writes in Trinidad, Colorado.
Three poems from Shaking the Kaleidoscope, (Lost Dog Press, 2012 www.losthorsepress.org)
What Does Lorca Own?
A garden of tangerine eyes, a parade
of consonants streaming from the balcony,
a city under construction, all the vowels
of history wrapped in a clean white hankie.
When he closes his eyes the Guardia Civil
knock at the door, the garden disappears,
and the pigeons remember a city of horses.
Lorca owns a room full of assonance placating
his pen with ohs and ahs. He begins to float,
and the room becomes a river, current and undertow.
When he closes his eyes he sees construction
workers, their hands full of hammers; Guardia Civil,
their belts full of sunlight; women in black shoes,
their arms full of vowels. Twenty-six boots cross
the plaza, worn-down heels bring him men
filled with bullets and lime. When he closes his eyes
he sees the stray dog approach his knee, the stray
dog sniff his crotch, the stray dog lick his face.
His fingers tighten around the pen.
Lorca owns the word Green.
When he closes his eyes, two skies
celadon enters like a waft of sunlight.
His favorite word, Gangrena.
Teotitlán del Valle, Mexico
I have been waiting days to move
to the hammock, to drift
beneath the white portal into a white
dream delineated by black
Above me, the green tree
full of green grapefruit and a cluster
of yellow birds. My sky sways
with palm leaves and wingspan.
like a lullaby.
In the distance a child
wails blue syllables and the rooster
releases another quiquiriquí.
I sketch their sounds on paper
alongside the corrugated bray
The hammock swings
in the key of G. I am surrounded by tuning
forks and pomegranate blossoms.
I call this place
Lull is the word that comes
to mind. Lull says the wood smoke, lull
says the sheet on the line, lull says
the loom’s shuttle tapping wool strands
of indigo and cochineal
into the snug fit
Sometimes the name for gold dye
escapes me, so I put down the pen, feel
the rhythm of my body as if I too
am a leaf lulled by breeze,
as if I too am held to the branch
by a nub of stem.
When Anna Meets for Lunch
We wash our hands in daughters
over platters of oranges and saffron
over spices turned yellow by steam.
We lift the latch of yesterday, let
the dead husband bring cattails into the living room,
place them in salt water and brine.
We were born with 100% cotton on the neck label,
a penny between our teeth, lips of marbled granite,
our ten perfect fingers pressing the vulva of dissidence.
We are women together when the corrals want only men.
We ride three-legged bulls. Ours is a time full of thistle
and rose milk, the sticky essence of fingertips.
We are the shadows in a room without baskets or spoons,
always pressing our ear to the wall. We fill our days with students
dressed in consonants, their fingers full of history.
We know Saturday night for what it really is, a hoax
dressed in aluminum slippers. We pray for marbled rain,
its knuckles denting the hoods of jeeps.
We are pearls born in the clam’s lust for sand. We are
coal before the diamond. What can pressure make of us now,
taking us by the hand into the kaleidoscope of dark?
© 2013 Katie Kingston