Kendra Steiner Editions (Bill Shute)

June 16, 2008

KSE #3, SILHOUETTES (sound library series, volume 1)

Filed under: Uncategorized — kendrasteinereditions @ 6:09 pm

I was planning on having SILHOUETTES, KSE #3 from Spring 2006 (sound library series, volume 1), as the final entry in our reissue series, coming out in July 2008, but instead I am making it available free here at the KSE blog. Hope you enjoy it. These pieces went over well in readings in support of TWELVE GATES TO THE CITY, and most of the original printings were distributed here in San Antonio and through Volcanic Tongue, so I doubt most of you have read this. These poems are quite different from what I’m writing today although those of you who have read the pieces I’ve written along the way can see how I got from SILHOUETTES to LUNA AMERICANA or SLASH & BURN. This chapbook will NOT appear in the SAN ANTONIO SKY SONGS “Selected Poems” collection coming out in 2009.


SILHOUETTES (sound library series, volume 1)




cracks deepening

     in the courthouse




                                  chives growing

                                       wild     under

                                            the child’s




                                       rusted burglar



jurors, wrapped

     in sheets of

          rain, waiting

     for taxis

or pre-arranged









Hortencia, thumbing

     through yellowed playbills

and clippings from

     Variety, imagined

her mother’s life

     on the stage




                                                 the brassy, swinging


                                                 the oily, vain

                                                      dancers, slicked

                                                 back and swaggering;

                                                 the 3 a.m. train-

                                                      stations; the

                                                 interchangeable diners

                                                      that didn’t serve

                                                 menudo; close,

                                                      but never





smelling the


brushing off


wiping away










Jimmy Witherspoon cried

     the blues on

          the radio

     Thursday at 3 a.m.

while Sam sipped




four-hour-old bitter

     coffee, wondering

          how he

     wound up without

his wife or daughter,

     and framed for

a theft at

     his workplace




he’d only meant to

     help when he

drove his buddy

     George’s girlfriend

to the clinic

     back in 1971









long ago and

     far away when

          Maria attended that

               master-class in chord

                    substitution and harmonic tension

                         with Stan Kenton

                              at North Texas

                                   State University in

                              August, sipping

                         honey-laced Darjeeling

                    tea, hearing effervescent

               harmonies in her head,

          fantasizing about joining

     Stan’s road band, changing

life through art



it seemed

     lifetimes ago

yet so close she

     could still almost

taste the grassy

     Denton prairie air







southwest of

     San Antonio Speedway

          on Highway 16 toward

               Poteet, home of

                    giant strawberries



shaded by

     staggered Honey

          Mesquite trees, rabbits

               chewing fallen seed

                    pods, jets from the

                         Air Force Base

                              slicing the silence



the caravan chugged

     along for two days,

          yet they were still

               in Texas





             in space

swimming upstream

                                 against time

abstraction like sand

                                 through the toes

of all who walk

                         who cast down

their buckets

                     where they are

and hear

              the voices of

                                    the new earth


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