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C.N.P Poetry 

  • Writer's pictureCathexis Northwest Press

Things I Felt in Algorithms; Handheld Napkins; Amethyst in Marching Chorus

By: Henry Cherry

Things I Felt in Algorithms

I felt the ardor traction

ray bemoaning felt

beams of light.

Twelve noon for

a bus token in Samantha’s

digital online urges.

Wow, ok. The heat came bomb like.

Kindness sorted in

refractive moments that

were a stinging army

of bees mirrored

from glass towers.

Functional trigonometry

steamed carousers across

from street lamps, parking

meters, red plastic cups

on parade in the street,

powered by channel winds.

When the pocket of

misfortune was not Samantha

or Jeremy, or that guy

with the white streak

he said arrived after taking

too much L.S.D., there’s

a cause for memory, for

deductive forecasts, sailing

around a pooling asphalt

beyond. The auditory

presentation of alarm clocking

indiscernible applause.

Handheld Napkins

I was 19, maybe 20. Sitting next to

another 20 yr old. Commemorating

the end rites of still another 20 yr. old.

The mysterious counsel of grief unfolded

in a linen napkin my mother tucked

on my lap a few months before

that quiet spring hillside moment.

My family gathered in dark suits

for the Emphysemic matron that argued

incessantly with her daughter, my mother. First time I threw dirt on a coffin. That

memory has ridden with

me across the continent, like a beloved

book- by train, and car, by jet plane.

These small, thrifty provisions added

immeasurably to the destiny of comfort

met across my travels. I bound decision to

fried potatoes, to red-tinted white

hair permed to contrition atop

my grandmother’s head.

Amethyst in Marching Chorus

I choke around wounds

deep uncovered

inner city

subterranean rivulets

Something memorized across

the inky script of rush hour questions. The day in. The way

from. I call out

to the sweeping fronds, to the dodged light.

The tufted leather, buttoned

in sequential icy conversational

accounts. These, for the mutating

pattern of twilight monologues

folded behind race scores, patina of

use, provide an epilogue of beat and radiance.

And then the gates swing wide,

the arms outstretch in greeting.

Mascara, drop beats, perfume,

Chartreuse, silk. Reputable

breakdowns, slick backed

in sequin winks.


Henry Cherry has been a cowhand in South Texas, a chef in New Orleans and is now a journalist in Los Angeles. Recently nominated for the Pushcart and Orison Awards, he is winner of the Silver Needle Press Award for Poetry. His fiction, poetry and criticism have appeared in Los Angeles Review of Books, Cathexis Northwest Press, Australia's Cordite Review, Otoliths, The Loch Raven Review, The Louisiana Review, Hello Goodbye Apocalypse, and The Nervous Breakdown.

"For the first poem, Things I Felt in Algorithms, when I wrote it, my head was in a Black Mountain School mindset and at the same time, trying to fathom the oncoming wave of fear that so much of binary computational methods bring to folks. We no longer can really separate what happens online emotionally with the natural world. That's where I was at when I wrote it.

Handheld Napkins might somehow be moving toward a Truman Capote thing I read around the time the poem takes place.But it is not about Truman Capote. It's about the elongation of death. The people I knew that died in that period of time have remained in my life far longer now than I knew either of them when they were alive. So this poem is, in it's own way, a thank you for that remainder, a blossom of life beyond death.

For Amethyst in Marching Chorus, that was the process of memorializing the winding passage of friendship."


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