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Best of Irish Poetry 2010
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Songs of Earth and Light
Barbara Korun poems translated by Theo Dorgan
Done Dating DJs
by Jennifer Minniti-Shippey
Winner, 2008 Fool for Poetry Competition
Richesses: Francophone Songwriter Poets
Edited and translated by Aidan Hayes
Munster Literature Centre
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Judith Barrington grew up in Brighton, England, lived in Spain for three years, and moved thirty five years ago to Oregon, USA. She has published three collections of poetry, most recently Horses and the Human Soul (Story Line Press, 2004). Previous titles include History and Geography (finalist for the Lambda Book Award and the Oregon Book Award) and Trying to be an Honest Woman. Recent work also includes two chapbooks: Postcard from the Bottom of the Sea and Lost Lands (winner of the Robin Becker Chapbook Award). Her Lifesaving: A Memoir won the 2000 Lambda Book Award and was a finalist for the PEN/Martha Albrand Award for the Art of the Memoir. Her best-selling text, Writing the Memoir: From Truth to Art, is used by colleges and writing groups in the U.S., Germany, and Australia. She was the winner of the 2012 Gregory O'Donoghue Prize.
On Getting Married for the Third Time
Number one: I did what I was supposed to:
it was expected so I joined the crowd,
tramped up the aisle in white drag, drunk,
and promised unpromissable things.
There was not much wrong with him
except conventional masculinity
and an old-fashioned definition of the word wife.
The real doozy was my being a lesbian.
Yes, well before I hitched myself
to the coat-tails of his morning suit
I had been hitching to dresses, petticoats,
even those tight pencil skirts of the 50s and 60s
that shortened a woman’s stride
but clung nicely to rounded buttocks.
Eleven months in, that first one hit me
and threatened to expose me as a pervert
but number two was a very good man.
I needed him at the time
and he graciously agreed to be needed
for a couple of years. Nuff said.
Number three, hooray, is the real deal.
Not the wedding, you understand,
since there wasn’t one in the usual sense:
What would be the point after 34 years
of building what some would call a marriage?
What we built was called our life –
a life of outlaws if you think a relationship
needs laws – but what we made was recognizable
even to the most conventional of our neighbors:
a castle with solid walls and a wide portico where an animal
– our familiar in its black or red or black-and-white coat –
would lie beside us while the Norway maple,
only three feet tall when the city planted it,
grew right through the power lines.
That tree became its own castle with a dim
interior of woven branches mysterious to passers-by
who looked up into the maze, took photos
on their iPhones, and watched blue jays and crows,
squirrels and hummingbirds busy with their lives.
Around year 25, the magnolia we’d bought at an auction
to help pay off Marcia’s medical bills, finally shot up
above the porch railing and saluted us where we sat with
our gin and tonic at sunset, its succulent, creamy
trumpets shaking the foundations of everything.
©2013 Judith Barrington
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Reading by Barrington (YouTube)
'Crows': poem by Barrington at Poetry.us.com