:: Article

Two Poems

By James D Autio.

Due Uccelli

We birds
in dense lament
for metal moss stream.
Over the bridge fly in sight
we will have shape, scrape
the burn marsh grass, the blazing terse,
and frost the leg pipe darken jewel
egg collapse like sea foam, like
battered cake apron.

Through parchment,
the hang edge orchard
we breathe the jelly egg: bread
and butter smear. We’re a wheat bellow
bride the cold of which forever
prickle. Wine and twilight and we tip
the bluer hats pasted soon
of the portico.

Harder salt touch
rock the straw stalk.
I scent your heart lonely
dazzling corn and naught
but the pone. And we’re limp things,
naught but sedge cheese left to the satchel,
elusive beaver moon dream
and brush knife.

We’re damp
and decadent whisper
snatch of mutual increase.
Savor the saucer jaunt. I’m a post.
You whisper glass poemies and grasp
the swipe board promise hold
and keep, lift and back high
and drink dark violins.

I emerge blue, superb,
bottle the taste straggle
and too tall hum for under
the flap of rainbow moth utter fall, light
the match and grasp damp, made much
for edge shapes and flat pour
cobble reach stitch. I’m strung
now by blur of whisp.

We birds,
tussle tic cupped
such adequate, sugar sweet
shrivel and unctuous slag. Any
brittle mantle horizon and bobbling under
where wounded throb from the cloth
hook harness clock. We strip
slice mill and beak out
to the dark.


Minuet to Scherzo

Just as I was approaching the scherzo
of Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat major,
she kicked in my apartment door and stuck me with the shiv.
She had on a shawl with an open weave
and it draped from her tits which were maybe a B cup at most
but looked pretty perky, and a tweed skirt. Oh!
There was a brooch! I remember part of it was like
a lion’s head, and the eyes glinted when she moved,
though with all the excitement I can’t be sure
if they were jeweled. She was wearing a felt hat,
that old style pillbox type with a small patch of decorative mesh
hanging jauntily from one side. At one point she jarred her head
and I thought that the hat must be pinned down
or it would have fallen off. Her lipstick was a bright red color
and on the left side of her upper lip it was smudged slightly.
During the melee more of the color was dragged across one cheek,
possibly from when I punched her in the face, but who really knows?
She reminded me of this girl I knew when I was growing up.
Really cute. All the neighbor boys had a thing for her
even though she wouldn’t give anyone the time of day.
I’m positive this wasn’t the same person, just something I thought
when I was lying there bleeding into the rug under the piano bench
and listening to the sound of her heels clicking down the stairs.
I had never seen this lady before. I’m almost certain
that she doesn’t live in the building, and I don’t know
if this incident had anything to do with the Brahms.


James D. Autio is a member of the Lac Courte Oreilles band of Ojibwe. He is the recipient of the Morris Award for Best Playwright, the Bridgman Poetry Prize, and fellowships from Hamline University and the Vermont Studio Center, an international residency program. His work has appeared in Poemeleon, Ditch, North American Review, Drunken Boat, Yellow Medicine Review, Venereal Kittens and other fine journals, ‘zines and anthologies. James creates art and does much of his writing in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, where he lives with his wife, son and cats.

First published in 3:AM Magazine: Wednesday, August 18th, 2010.