Sunday, April 18, 2010

Poetry Tag: Carrie Fountain is IT

Yesterday, Naomi Shihab Nye played our ongoing game of Poetry Tag. Then she tagged Carrie Fountain who writes, “I so admire Naomi's poem for Mahmoud Darwish and find myself returning to the final image of the dusty workers pausing ‘to stare beyond ruins they can see, / to what they will always believe in.’

 I thought I'd send along my poem, ‘El Camino Real 3,’ which I think connects in some way with the idea in 'Endure' of watching and hoping for--or believing in, as Naomi puts it--what lies ahead, beyond what we can see.”

El Camino Real

by Carrie Fountain

We’re balancing the heat of the day

on the tops of our heads, walking

along the shoulder of the road

to the new liquor store for Cokes, 

which she said would take fifteen minutes tops
but instead is taking over an hour. 

On one side, a field of cotton, ready 

to be picked, thick and white 

with loosened bulbs; on the other, hard dirt

and nothing, then a ditch, a road, some 

morbid-looking piece of farming equipment, 

and in the distance, the rise of the interstate 

and the woozy sound it makes. 

In loose reference to a conversation 

we’ve been having off and on all summer, 

she says, “Okay, what if we’re already dead 

and this is heaven?” The question hangs there

in front of us. We walk through it. A car

passes us from behind, and the hot breeze 

hits the backs of our legs. The road curves. 

Far ahead, the liquor store flashes

its bottles of booze. “We’re here,” she sings,

though we’re not there and won’t be there

for another ten minutes. Between us 

and the store, the road waves its fingers

of heat. Beyond the store, the road gets thin

but doesn’t disappear. As far as we know, 

it goes on forever.

Five fun facts about Carrie Fountain
*she is from Las Cruces, New Mexico
*she now lives in Austin, Texas
*she is the co-managing program director of Grrl Action, a writing and performance program for teenage girls
*she was a Fellow at University of Texas’s Michener Center for Writers
*she received the 2009 National Poetry Series award

Look for this new poetry collection by Carrie Fountain
*Burn Lake (Penguin, 2010)

Next up: Aimee Nezhukumatathil

Posting (not poem) by Sylvia M. Vardell © 2010. All rights reserved.

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