Suzanne Gardinier is the author of a long poem called The New World (Pittsburgh 1993) and a book of essays on poetry and politics called A World That Will Hold All the People (Michigan 1996). The New World won the Associated Writing Program's Award Series in poetry in 1992. Suzanne has also received awards from the New York Foundation for the Arts and the Lannan Foundation. She teaches at Sarah Lawrence College and lives in Manhattan.

Three Poems by Suzanne Gardinier


Dialogue 20 / Chickens

Barely dawn The shade drawn Rain/in the bare ailanthus
     branches outside
Eve whispering in her nylon nightdress/playing a flashlight over our eyes
Good morning Good morning With the light/she finds the alarm clock
     that sounds
like a loon The loon's face Its red eye painted/Then retrieves the images
     on the wall from the dark

A dancer making her body a drum/A bay and two pigeons A mandala
     A man
Marching in Memphis A gagged woman speaking/A poet with his chin
     in his hand
Her mother's hands Slim One half-holding the other/in her lap In the
     kitchen In those first fevered days
A guitar A hotel window Two parrots/And an embroidered tapestry

She lingers there The blue background The water/dividing the cloth
     with a swath of white
I know why they have to cross she says/Look The light moves
     That house is on fire
Look A helicopter dropping bombs/So the people have to run away
I can't see her but her voice has no sleep in it/They have to pick up their
     chickens and run




Ghazal 16

Do you remember what you told me
when you were sitting on my lap last night

In a chair But not any one we know yet
In a city in which we were strangers last night

The arms low enough for your knees to rest there
Strong enough to hold you last night

On my lap frontwards You forgot your costume
and I forgot to remind you last night

A splint made wet to learn to bend
The arc of your back in my hands last night

I was wearing a mask in the form of a shirt
But you undid the buttons last night

Your breasts speaking silence My tongue the
translator
We had a long conversation last night

What did I think I would do with it
What I thought I could keep from you last night

A chair by a window Ample Sturdy
Made for us long before last night

A just chair The labor of those who made it
given feast and rest last night

Your listener kept hearing it City bled white
just outside our window last night


Ghazal 23

The claw of a crab The sweet flesh near the elbow
I say I'll stop when I'm full but I don't

The dawn soft over dark apartments
I say I'll turn and go home but I don't

Who are you What do you want from me
I say I'll ask without smiling but I don't

The burning curry wanting the mango
I say I'll forget the sweet but I don't

It's night and you're nervous so I say
I'll laugh at the lovers with you But I don't

I listen I feast I crack I batten
I miss you I lie I do I don't

Two women In a room left by someone else
Who knows what they're trying to say I don't

The emperor's harvest This boy I say
I don't think of him enough and I don't

Feast of mangled olive Mangled orange grove
I say I'll share it but I don't

Feast of your voice when you won't touch me
I say I'll rest there but I don't

Behold your upright citizen made faithless
I say I mean faithless but I don't