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Trina Burke / Great America

Trina Burke / Great America

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Great America
Trina Burke
dancing girl press, 2011

Trina Burke’s poems have appeared recently in Drunken Boat, Word /for Word, Fawlt, Prick of the Spindle, The Iron Horse Review, and Quarterly West. She received an MFA in poetry from the University of Montana and an MA in English from Western Washington University.


Who needs stars in this dumpster carpet
tableaux? Felt hat felt hat felt, it’s
like one, all head-bang. It’s
hand-woven by the women this carpet
for standing. It’s woven in clashing colors
of cotton fabric—orange/blue/
red. A damper, a mat that sucks
vibration, cuts off, mutes before
it reaches the feet but those feet
have got that carpet licked.
They don’t tell—the shudders travel
a rhythm and a tempo lined and rutted
like a no man’s land.
He’s laying down the groove lifting
and stamping like he’s never done it
before. Like it’s all he’s ever done.

Why didn’t those women weave birds?
Just lines and colors—cerulean and taupe.
Why, when we weave, do we weave rugs?
A melody—that’s what.
Something more than rows, more than pattern.
Like melting a box of crayons together.
First: dump them out on the ground.
Then: Unwrap each one—aubergine,
tourmaline. Then mount them against
each other, like a fire pile
or a tepee. On the sidewalk.

In full sun. By dusk a puddle of hues.
A hunk of all-at-onceness.

Tuning—Getting closer but still
with waver, he writes, too. On
notation paper.
Cruising true-believer. Blazing
ukulele. Classic frets. Pulse

blue light blue night lighthouse.
We’re talking about the buzz
of radiator in the corner. Heat
and buzz and concentric ripples
and obstacles. Meet obstacles—
The bay horizon turned on
its side makes an elegant –Y–
a wine glass full of cliff-
covered pine.
The old port is swarming—storm it!
The docks, be-broken planks ramshackle stack
ships throw out their hempen ropes and miss.
A collision can’t be avoided for long.

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