By Christopher M. Hannan

ISBN-10: 1680030221

ISBN-13: 9781680030228

The poems in Alluvial towns are drawn from this layered landscape's geology and historical past, its humans and language, and the kindred ties among earth and water, flesh and blood.

DEUCALIONIDS
The waters broke from the void sooner than first light,
a divinity ripping during the trembling flesh
of marshes and the levees’ outdated clay thighs,
protecting each mile of St. Bernard Parish.
 
homes with their cement slabs have floated
gentle because the rinds of watermelons you ate as a boy
and chucked into Lake Catherine, swelled to overflowing
via the god that surged into the Rigolets estuary
 
and left an afterbirth of candy crude leaked
from foundered tanks.  autos cling like carrion
birds at the maximum branches and torn roofs.  Leached
of dust and flood waters, the homes we go cry out
 
damaged window panes, duct-taped refrigerators, and a stillness
that leaves us at the lifeless grass of this
woman’s domestic, like such a lot of thrown bones.

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Additional resources for Alluvial cities

Sample text

I’m just tearin’ myself up ‘fore I’m swallowed by the ground. JOHN HENRY When I was just a little baby boy you could hold me on the palm of your hand. But I grew hard as bone and as big as mountain stone and became the greatest steel drivin’ man. With my nine-pound hammer I can terrify the gods when I break the earth foundations of their sky. If I came to Olympus I’d crush them crags right down to dust or I’d lay down my hammer and I’d die. My steel makes mountains tremble like the dying of a god, and sparks explode like thorns around my head.

Cause stone and memory keep the gods in their rock temples and rites, just as bones of dead men petrify in earth, leaving relics of their lives. I feel the pain of Priam begging for his broken son. He had to see with granite eyes to grasp what Hector had become. And then he drank with Hector’s killer knowing his son’s flesh had touched a Muse who’d make’em into gods in songs, like my St. James Infirmary Blues. So sixteen coal black horses to pull that rubber-tied hack; like Hector bouncin’ behind Achilles, she’s gone; only my song can bring her back.

We bounce in a lake skiff, Pete and me, twenty miles south-southeast to Breton Island, twenty-gauge barrels broke down in our laps. We beach the boat and mount the ancient silt where black mangroves and wax myrtles stand taut as our young skin and butch-waxed hair. There’s more tail shaking these bushes than the houses on Conti. I light a smoke and pull on Pete’s bourbon. The shotgun swings between my knees and I can almost feel the choke explode at the thought: I’ll shoot every rabbit I see. Out here the brackish marsh turns briny like perfumed skin sweats when you rub it.

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Alluvial cities by Christopher M. Hannan


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