Dotted Line Dotted Line

Poetry Winter 2013    fiction    all issues


Alysse Kathleen McCanna
& other poems

Peter Nash
Shooting Star
& other poems

Katherine Smith
House of Cards
& other poems

David Sloan
On the Rocks
& other poems

Alexandra Smyth
Exoskeleton Blues
& other poems

John Glowney
The Bus Stop Outside Ajax Bail Bonds
& other poems

Andrea Jurjević O’Rourke
It Was a Large Wardrobe...
& other poems

Lisa DeSiro
Babel Tree
& other poems

Michael Fleming
& other poems

Michael Berkowitz
As regards the tattoo on your wrist
& other poems

Michael Brokos
Landscape without Rest
& other poems

Michael H. Lythgoe
Orpheus In Asheville
& other poems

John Wentworth
morning people
& other poems

Christopher Jelley
Double Exposure
& other poems

Catherine Dierker
dinner party
& other poems

William Doreski
Hate the Sinner, Not the Sin
& other poems

Robert Barasch
& other poems

Rande Mack
& other poems

Susan Marie Powers
Red Bird
& other poems

Anne Graue
& other poems

Mariah Blankenship
Tub Restoration
& other poems

Paul R. Davis
& other poems

Philip Jackey
Garage drinking after 1989
& other poems

Karen Hoy
A Naturalist in New York
& other poems

Gary Sokolow
Underworld Goddess
& other poems

Michal Mechlovitz
The Early
& other poems

Henry Graziano
Last Apple
& other poems

Stephanie L. Harper
& other poems

Roger Desy
& other poems

R. G. Evans
& other poems

Frederick L. Shiels
Driving Past the Oliver House
& other poems

Richard Sime
Berry Eater
& other poems

Jennifer Popoli
Generations in a wine dark sea
& other poems

Writer's Site

Michael H. Lythgoe

Orpheus In Asheville

Every Prelude is a beginning; preludes begin in the heart.

Carla is the diva of the opera at the Biltmore gala;

her moves are melodies; she is soprano of the samba,

Telemann, and Gluck’s Orfeo, a Brazilian with the Vanderbilts.

Her curves are smooth as polished wood. He plays her

on his hand-crafted lute . . . lingering on each swell & hollow.

His fingers work wonders on each fret; he feels the timbre

in each string of her. Each of his tunes is a prelude to love-

making; a prelude is a love song old—beginning anew.

And he knows, as he plays the theme song from Black Orpheus,

that he is creating a multilingual score; she leaves him a scent

of gardenias, on the arm of a tuxedo; in the lobby Orpheus plays solo.

He is the grandson of an old-world stone mason, an artisan

who built the Biltmore Estate to last. His musician’s hands

trained to knead deep as in a spa’s hot stones massage.

The guitarist loves her operatic interludes caressing his guitar.

Gliding away in a limo, she leaves him composing in the lobby.

In a midnight slide off Black Mountain Road

she is a skater in a love story ending in broken glass,

black ice; mezzo in shards; rime ice clasps her body,

clouding Craggy Cascades in icy droplets—a glistening freeze

on the windward face’s mountain limbs at dawn. He lost her;

she left him on New Year’s Eve for a mountain in fog; he searched

underground for her, charmed cave mouths into a chorus; the trees—

around the Highland Hospital where Zelda burned—learn arias.

Orpheus’ fingers melt Looking Glass Falls every spring into lyricals.

A mythical musician, ever-improvising Preludes, plays instrumentals;

stones—cold Blue Ridge stones—break into Bel Canto.

Schumann Composed For Cello

On the car radio, NPR plays a concerto.

Schumann, they say, was soothed by cello music.

So he composed slow paced compositions, to soothe

his troubled moods. No longer does a duo

make beautiful music together on violin & cello.

A woman screams at a man—waves her bow.

Their romantic instruments, left unplayed, soon break.

The duo flares, burns up, flames out before their libretto

ends in ashes, breaking the ancient Dao of Ying

& Yang; no smooth curves fit Dao harmony

into place. Artists cannot last if love is less

than their music. He leaves for the Beijing Symphony.

She stays to teach. They shared a bed before bows

crossed their strings like electric shocks. No concerto.

Frida Kahlo On South Beach
At The Bass Museum

I had no idea I was going to miss her so much.
—Diego Rivera

Frida wore white on SoBe for art deco,

a floor length native dress to hide her legs—

(Madonna wore a man’s tuxedo)—

peasant beads, bare arms, scooped neckline.

A floor length native dress hides her legs

as she lies recovering from a miscarriage, in body cast.

Frida loved folklore, peasant beads, scooped necklines.

Next to her, Rivera—muralist—is an elephant.

Lying, recovering from a miscarriage, in body cast . . .

Picasso gave her golden amulet earrings in Paris.

Next to Frida—a dove—Rivera is an elephant muralist.

Frida’s features in photographs line the gallery walls.

She wears Picasso’s golden-hand earrings from Paris.

Her dark eyebrows, thick as fur, are wings in flight.

Frida’s images in photographs line the gallery walls;

an unsmiling face reveals hints of hair above her lips.

Her eyebrows—like dark fur—are wings in flight.

The dove was crushed by Rivera’s seduction of her sister.

Unsmiling face, Jewish blood, hair above her upper lip,

superstitious artist, loved by other artists taking her picture.

Rivera ripped her heart, seduced her sister.

At Casa Azul, she paints from a mirror, exposed in black & white.

Photographers fall in love taking her picture.

She paints nudes in jungles, poses with parrot & monkey.

In Casa Azul . . . gored by trolley handrail, exposed in black & white;

Frida unbuttons her white native dress to the waist,

she paints nudes in jungles, poses with parrot & monkey.

To reveal solitary, pale fleshy pearls—plain pink nipples.

She unbuttons her white peasant dress down to the waist,

clasping her hands under her bare breasts with pink areolas,

revealing pearl twins of pale flesh, plain pink nipples.

Bewitched by her Tejuana look, I feel her spell; another lover.

Clasping her hands under bare breasts with pink areolas:

Frida, Nude Torso, 1938 photograph—alive—by Julien Levy.

Bewitched by her Tejuana look, I feel her spell, another lover.

The third eye in her surreal self-portrait, an exotic tattoo, hypnotic.

Alive in her art, Frida, Nude Torso, 1938 photo by Julien Levey.

Kandinsky leaves his tears on her cheek as he kisses her.

The third eye in a surreal self-portrait, an exotic tattoo, hypnotic,

hooks me like Picasso’s earrings, her mythic scarves, ex-votos.

Kandinsky leaves his tears on her cheek as he kisses her.

I leave Robert Deniro to drink in art deco at the Chesterfield,

Frida, mythical in her scars, Picasso’s earrings, ex-votos,

pass Casa Casurina, where Gianni Versace was murdered.

I pass Robert Deniro drinking in art deco at the Chesterfield;

Al Pacino played a Marielito—Scarface—at 13th & Ocean Drive;

I see Casa Casurina, blood stains gone, Versace murdered.

I taste Frida’s skin even after the iced bitter lemon drink.

Al Pacino played a Marielito in Scarface at 13th & Ocean Drive.

Selma Hayak wore a white peasant dress at the Bass Museum.

Frida’s taste lingered on my lips long after the bitter lemon drink.

Versace models slink & strut as I leave a lover, artists in art deco.

Driving to Columbia

Last night I heard Thank you

for taking care of me.

I was reading A Handfull of Dust; last

night I heard the icemaker cough.

My dead father stares at me

from an empty store window.

I smell coffee, raspberry, rain,

and Old Spice this morning.

The pink rose in the garden fell

into petals before I left the house.

People gather on Route 302

for a horse show. A horse trainer

drove his horse trailer 21 hours

from New Mexico to run for roses.

Used cars wear their worth

on their foreheads. Confederate

soldiers, on their way to a war

in a pickup, stop

for a red light. Smooth Jazz plays

Bony James covering

Stevie Wonder—

a song I no longer remember.

I heard you say to me thank you

for taking care of me.

Ars Poetica

Our words are words for the clay, uttered in undertones . . .
—Charles Wright

If you keep your ear to the ground,

you will hear oceans form shore lines.

Each line is a breath, a complete thought,

a lapse, a story, a Station of the Cross,

a meditation. Some words are as heavy

as a horse’s hoof. Others are nimble

as a dancer with ankle bells. Some drum.

Always sing words out loud. Don’t let them fall

flat. Pick up the vowels to roll like marbles.

Spit fragments out. Consonants cut a rock face.

Carve or break the stone of the line;

what is left is what you mold; what you speak.

Then you chisel it in. Then you put it down.

Keep your ear to the ground. Words are coming.

The ocean sends shore lines to ground.

Maybe the dead walked in your room

last night, looked in the mirror,

touched your body with the gloves off,

left an envelope on your desk.

Open it. Listen. Try to get the words right.

It takes a certain mind to read between the lines.

Silence is the space, the air, the pause worth hearing.

Feel absence in your bones; a heart beat is a tone.

Atone. Let yourself go in the undertow.

To hear clay utter undertones, go alone.

Mike Lythgoe retired as an Air Force Officer before earning an MFA from Bennington College. He has lived and worked in Washington, DC, Syracuse, NY, Miami, Key West, Izmir, Turkey, Madrid, Spain, and London, UK. His collection, Holy Week, is available as an e-book; his chapbook, Brass, won the Kinloch Rivers contest in 2006. Recent credits include Windhover, Santa Fe Review, Cairn: St. Andrews Review, Blue Streak, Petigru Review, Innissfree, Pea River, Christianity & Literature, and Sixfold. He lives in Aiken, SC.

Dotted Line