Timothy Green was born in Rochester, New York, in 1980. He worked in an mRNA research lab, and as a group home counselor for mentally ill adults, before moving west to serve as editor of the poetry journal RATTLE. His poems have appeared in many journals, including The Connecticut Review, The Florida Review, Mid-American Review, Subtropics, and Nimrod International Journal. Green has been nominated twice for the Pushcart Prize, and is winner of a 2006 Phi Kappa Phi award from the University of Southern California. He lives in the San Gabriel Mountains with his wife and daughter. His first book-length collection, American Fractal (Red Hen Press) was published in 2009. More recent work can be found on his website, www.timothy-green.org

 

Applauding the Gods

Why we clap at the movies
I’ll never know. Flutter of

hands as the gaffer, key grip,
best boy, take their slow bows

of ascension, those faceless
angels of the film industry

nowhere around, exit music
rolling over reluctantly like

a mother making room.
A friend of mine worked

as an electrician’s assistant
on The Big Lebowski, and

even if this were that film
he wouldn’t hear. Playing

poker once he told us how
his mother cried at the credits,

every time; she said that now
he’d live forever. Immortality

for plugging in a boom mike,
he said, think of that. And I do

think of that, wonder who
here knows someone that

knows someone, who’ll rush
home to a yearbook, giggle

at Cameraman Two’s old
fu manchu, his hundred frames

of heaven. But we stand
and clap as if congratulating

each other on a job well done—
two hours of getting all the

punchlines, meeting the end
with just enough anticipation.

Overhead and unseen someone
changing reels feels pleased;

the ushers in the corners grab
their brooms and begin to nod.

 

first published in Los Angeles Review

After Hopper

Nighthawks, 1942

She says that everything is after Hopper.
That posh hotel—you looked about to slap her,
but never did. Sometimes she’d wait at night
in her blue robe, face folded like the note
you didn’t leave crumpled in a coat pocket.
Sometimes she’d stand in broad daylight, naked
before an open window, flesh so pale
and round and full it seemed about to pull
a tide of ruttish men up from the street.
But mostly it’s the red dress. The cut straight,
sleeveless, loose. And her mouth is only lipstick.
She says you never even see her talk,
but just about to talk, about to smile.
She says that every moment is a jail;
this diner is her prison of endless light,
the ceaseless hour always getting late—
yet no one moves. Her cigarette remains
unlit. The busboy doesn’t lift his hands.
You could write a thousand lines, she says,
on all the things she never does or has.
How she seems so sad she might have cried.
How you only see her almost satisfied.

 

first published in The Pedestal Magazine

 

Even So

Our cat cries at night for no reason.
A yawl through her one contiguous
room until I find her there she is in
the bathtub looking lost there she is
in the hall. It’s amazing light from
a bulb will find you everywhere
you look its looking back in every
shade and­ Imagine color without
a shape. Imagine a wall at the lip
of the visible universe in all directions
equidistant now touch it bowl on top
of bowl a bell and you its clapper.
When I drop our cat she goes right
back to yawling lost along whatever
wall I found her. Sometimes the rock’s
so big you build the house around it.
And because the house is there
the street is there, and all the houses
on the street are there all the people
all the gaps between the people and
the gaps between the gaps are gaping
open oceans learned to hug the land.

 

 

Timothy Green

 

 

2012 Timothy Green


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