Friday, March 13, 2015

Brendan Constantine at Bolton Hall on March 22, 2015

Village Poets are delighted to invite all poets and poetry lovers to the Monthly Poetry Reading at Bolton Hall Museum featuring


The Village Poets Monthly Reading will take place at the Bolton Hall Museum in Tujunga (10110 Commerce Avenue, Tujunga, CA 91042)  on Sunday, March 22, 2015 at 4:30 p.m. Two Open Mike segments will be available and refreshments will be provided provided.


Brendan Constantine's work has appeared in FIELD, Ploughshares, Zyzzyva, Ninth Letter, Poetry Daily, ArtLife, and Hotel Amerika among other journals. His first book, Letters To Guns (2009 Red Hen Press), is now taught extensively in schools across the nation. His most recent collections are Birthday Girl With Possum (2011 Write Bloody Publishing) and Calamity Joe (2012 Red Hen Press). 

He has received grants and commissions from the Getty Museum, James Irvine Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. A popular performer, Brendan has presented his work to audiences throughout the U.S. and Europe, also appearing on NPR's All Things Considered, KPFK's Inspiration House, numerous podcasts, and YouTube. 

He is currently poet in residence at the Windward School and adjunct professor at Antioch University. In addition, he regularly conducts workshops for hospitals, foster homes, & with the Alzheimer's Poetry Project. Visit:

The Dark Crowd

There are people our eyes can’t ride. My grandmother
had an expression for it in Greek: Our eyes fall off them.

Who don’t you see? What do they make plain instead?
Have you thanked them? It’s probably relative. That is,

not a question of beauty or character but rather, where
you’re standing & when & how long. Today I said

hello to someone who didn’t answer. No telling
which of us wasn’t there. Perhaps we all get a turn.

Does light have a memory? Does it get used to us
the longer we’re here? I ask on behalf of the woman

you don’t see in an elevator until she gets out
and the whole car shakes. I’m asking for the boy

who runs into you at the mall, for the look he gives
not just you, but his own feet. I’m asking for all of us

who’ve ever disappeared from a family picture, one
we still feel ourselves holding for.

This poem first appeared in the journal Fogged Clarity.

Difficult Listening Time

A flock of pink flamingos moved in
across the street, and set up plastic people
on the lawn.
                        They’ve faced them out
this way, hands molded to their chins,
looking more like us as night comes on.

Downtown, the waitresses are starving
in their aprons; the watchmen get fainter
by the hour.
                    It’s Difficult Listening Time,
object response time, time for ‘the tears
of things.’
                 There has to be a way to help
it along, a way to dry the rain as it falls
so we can keep these clothes.
                                                Let’s go
to the woods & hang a painting of this
room on every tree. We’ll go to sea
& on each sailboat fix a picture
of a hotel bed.
                        Or how about we stay
home & talk out every song between us
until we sound like heavy, stupid birds.

This poem first appeared in the journal Ploughshares. It can currently be found in the collection ‘Calamity Joe’ (2012 Red Hen Press)

Smiling Back

I remember when snowmen came right to our door
Some mornings it looked like a rally
You’d wake to a couple dozen, facing
the vague street, brooms & pitchforks raised high,
as if they expected some invading army

Back then you could still find emeralds
in pine cones; the grocer took them for cases of beer
His smile was like the spine of a leaf
I don’t recall smiling back, I may not have
had a mouth, yet

Now everyone does; we all sputter like damp coal
& carry shovels to bed for protection
from whatever follows us to sleep

This poem first appeared in the journal Redheaded Stepchild.

Brendan Constantine

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