the muse apprentice guild
--expanding the canon into the 21st century




THREE WORKS
BY LIZZIE WANN

SATURDAY MORNING WALK, 3/8/03

freeway frequency hums
automotive lullaby
suddenly quiet
strangers pass unassumingly
give brief smiles
say nothing
contribute to continued silence

seconds later
stillness broken
by streetlight's beeping
signal to walk or to run

purple curtains
billow out windows

cities await spring's approach

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IN A TRAIN STATION IN CHICAGO, SUNDAY MORNING, 1961

he travels cross country by train
it pulls into Chicago at dawn
he is a young man
he is going home to California
he does not know this city

he tells me this story many years later
after my own visit to Chicago
after I tell him that riding the 'el' train
back & forth
seemed to sharpen
the city's edge
as if the city would break open
at any moment
to spill out every genius or madman's manifesto

Chicago took something from me
satisfied something too

I sometimes believe
I could be Patsy Cline
singing songs of heartache & loneliness
that remind people like him
about a Sunday morning
in a train station in a city he did not know

he tells me that everything-
that station, that city, that morning-
was lonesome
how he can't hear Johnny Cash sing
'Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down'
without thinking of Chicago

I can't listen to his stories
without finding poetry

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LETTER WRITING # 3

envelope corners
where my truths try to hide
like between my fingers
bends of my elbows
behind my knees
where lies cannot survive
in the earthy darkness of my skin

you slowly unfold every crease
to expose my personal philosophies

I trust strangers to deliver parts of me
I trust the thinnest strip of glue
to keep all that truth in one place
locked up until you slice across the top
or slowly tear down the side
until I finally spill out into your rooms
travelled so far these words
all the breath that escaped me
to reach you