Katherine Czerwinski  is a poet in Los Angeles. She likes to write about her Salsa days back in Chicago and perform them with a lot of singing, dancing, characters and rhythm.  Her performances have been called vulnerable, inspiring and original.  Katherine has been featured at venues such as Beyond Baroque, Cobalt Cafe, Poetry Solves Problems and The Rapp Saloon.  Last fall her poem “Dangle Mountain” won the international Poetry Super Highway contest and was published in Ranfurly Review and mgversion2datura where it was translated into French.  Her first chapbook, Bailarines and Burning Towers came out last summer. Mermaids and Mountain Lions is her second chapbook.  She has a Bachelor of  Political Science and a Master’s degree in Education-Teaching Spanish, both from the University of Illinois as well as a K-12 multiple-subject teaching credential with an authorization to teach Spanish.  She was recently accepted to MFA programs at New Orleans University and Naropa.  Please visit her website at katiecee.com.

 

Dangle Mountain

Our arrival in the night was greeted by bats
their ragged paths, our crooked lives
pitched on a slope, sliding down, falling off the table, slanting

Sleeping outside I’m like cold cuts
trapped in a canvas tabernacle
nylon sack throttled, rocks in my ribs, ambushed and scruffy
I awake slipping
I don’t belong here on an incline
trying to hang on, vigilant as prey, sloping

I want to wing with the bats
absconding from caves
escorted by echoes
wandering blind on the wind
jagging through the ultrasonic night

But in the morning the sun blazes like propane
and all is awash in glintiness
and the wandering becomes weighty
and the wind heavy
and we’re staked down good into this tilted ground
like the tents that didn’t blow away in the night
we’re left leaning

 1st place in Poetry Super Highway contest (2012)

 

Escondidas

Meet me in the alley between Hill and Broadway just off 7th
I’ll be waiting for you on the cobblestone street
to powder you with santerías
and whisper ven a mí in your ear

Drag me over the cobblestones
Swig me like jamaica until your teeth are rojos
Send me spinning down 7th to tumble
from asphalt parking garage ramps
You make me feel so subterranean
I can see you through the glass blocks in the sidewalk

If you can’t find me, go to Broadway and 3rd
in that building with the courtyard inside
All is golden glaze and terra cotta and black wrought iron
I’ll be backbending over the banister
my hair hanging humid to wrap you in

Amidst all the city, you’re a pear tree
glassy azul like the grass of Kentucky
Gather me ripe in your branches and take me home

 

The Bird in the Bushes

There are feathers in your blood

The thing about wild birds is you cannot hold them
A blow to the head
an eyeball running down
it is still

This is the thing about babies:
They do not always grow

Cancer grows
You must be made blank
It grows sinews between sisters –
twisting out hatred:  the hatred they have for you
It seethes through their teeth:
your sisters’, your husband’s.  It sees.

This is the bird
Its stillness, its swollen head
It is hidden in the bushes under the ivy
I wanted to hold it
It looked at me through its big drooping eye
It stirred

The baby will not eat
It wants to remain a baby:  always held
I wanted to hold the bird
You must bear the suffering
It only knows to grow
All day and night, without making a sound
without making a movement
in the bushes alone
This is how wild birds are

The stillness in your veins
Like feathers it is furtive

 

Katherine Czerwinski at Moonday Poetry

 

 

2013 Katherine Czerwinski


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