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rapid i.webp

rapid i movements and other poems
by Marjorie Stein

rapid i movements

again—I find myself

in someone else’s dream angling to name the there between slow-running realities where you are not you

and I am sparrow

song burden unsurprised to fly under the thunder & mold a weather with mud, howl, runoff color tea-stained shade of

carnelian sun

set is transferred

by transitive verbs

listing in the latter

phase of be-ing

with all its ache & tear

pre-pares the people

in hill-cradled channel

of wind & runnel

seedlings at the slant

end of scant grasses

bramble & gravel

quarried out of gray

scale fog & follow

myriad ships of

breeze-borne leaves be coming un-documented incarnations of we



The Line is Fold in Human Time

c o l u m n

o f

b r e a t h

& line\\

as seed bank

where it spoors










in the vagrant trace

\\paper knives

as line of defense\\

\\ sometimes \\

breaks before the oldest telling\\ heartbreak in the\\ duration

imposed by bells


asked us

to inhabit the

\\ unconcluded\\

back of the mouth \\ occupied by harsh alphabets

\\ god-guttered longing

\\ mournful : O \\

great relief when it





we were as \\ precarious as \\ commas \\ unnamed in the analog

\\we tether in the telling\\





NOTE: This piece was inspired by Gillian Conoley’s August 5, 2021 Napa Valley Writers’ Conference talk: “The Practice of the Poetic Line: Sonics, Syntax and Time (in Time of Great Change).” The title and italicized phrases are quoted from her.



world order

Once, at the zoo I watched

a polar bear turn

to rust in winter mist

I tossed stale popcorn

then the empty bag

then the car keys

At last, she lumbered

up false rocks and danced

for my amusement

Animal ampersand

of scat &


How to be a being

bound—apex predator

trapped in flat snapshots


[tomorrow’s rain]

tomorrow’s rain

already grounded


leaf rasp

tree shiver

decommissioned forest


each calendared

day awaiting its turn

to be crossed off


the stream will

soon scroll off


pixelated late snow


tines of the harrow

hauled over dust &

rut: fallow ache


strained to

maintain the grip

on grid

& axis // given


as answer

without question

// marred


the west

marred the weather

with strut & bluster


bodies of water[shed]

// blood[shed]

the christ umbrellaed


& readied by

soul miter to

cedar, cypress,


pine sap

amber trap

//tired yellow


& bruised purple:

oil-slick spectrum

of day’s runoff

Marjorie Stein lives in Northern California with her beloved wife and their furry feline companion. Her first book, “An Atlas of Lost Causes,” was published by Kelsey Street Press. Marjorie credits many wonderful people, but especially T.M. and “Paula’s Other Writing Group” for keeping her on a poetic slant through the best of times and the worst of times.

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