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The Standing Wave

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2003-06-19
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publications

Note: Supplemental materials are not guaranteed with Rental or Used book purchases.

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An exciting first collection of poetry from an emerging talent, Gabriel Spera's The Standing Wave was a winner of the 2002 National Poetry Series Open Competition, selected by esteemed poet Dave Smith. For over twenty years, the National Poetry Series has discovered many new and emerging voices and has been instrumental in launching the careers of poets and writers such as Billy Collins, Mark Doty, Denis Johnson, Cole Swensen, Thylias Moss, Mark Levine, and Dionisio Martinez.

Table of Contents

The Mission Olivep. 3
Mosquito Spawnp. 6
The Batsp. 8
Moon Jellyp. 10
Jose Mendiasp. 11
Blissp. 12
The Weaver's Errorp. 14
Cleanlinessp. 17
Traveler's Advisoryp. 21
Beach Bump. 23
The One That Almost Got Awayp. 24
Corcovadop. 26
City of Refuge, Kona Coastp. 29
Snake Farmp. 32
The Monarchs of El Rosariop. 34
Tarantulap. 36
Vacation in Stone Harborp. 38
My Ex-Husbandp. 43
United Parcelp. 46
Work Bootsp. 48
Idle Handsp. 51
All the Ragep. 53
Kindnessp. 55
Suship. 56
Leopardp. 58
Balkanp. 63
In a Field Outside the Townp. 64
After the Peacep. 70
The Suicide Bombersp. 71
The Aerialistp. 73
Eyelashp. 75
Midwayp. 76
Without a Sequelp. 79
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

Supplemental Materials

What is included with this book?

The New copy of this book will include any supplemental materials advertised. Please check the title of the book to determine if it should include any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.

The Used, Rental and eBook copies of this book are not guaranteed to include any supplemental materials. Typically, only the book itself is included. This is true even if the title states it includes any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.


The Mission Olive

It's time, the day says, as it

always does, the coming rains

will rake them from the tree

if you don't first, the olives,

huge from months of purpling

like a hammerer's ripe thumb.

The lawn's peppered already

with the season's first windfall,

the flagstones bludgeoned where skins

have split open under feet

that track the ink indoors.

So I hobble, earth's butler,

up-ladder to the tree's great

relief, a plastic bucket

to receive the day's take.

My hand's small tongues grow blacker

in swallowing the dark fruit

dangling like gems of tar or

opulent mussels clustered

to some sea beast's restless

green and silvered mane. They thunk

into the pail like days

into a lifetime, bearing

down with the full heaviness

of their hidden gold of oil.

But though they've stuffed themselves

with sweet sun, still they taste

foul as bile - the faithless man

would surely chuck them. But

the patient man knows every

bitterness has its cure.

One fruit grower's handbook,

printed 1908, suggests

a broth of pot-ash lye, or

a months-long soaking in pure

well water, but the method

I favor's even older

than these words, passed down by a

people who knew how human

were the gods in all things, how

easy to manipulate.

Do nothing, they say, but leave

the new moons to wrinkle

in a colander, pomaced

in a mound of plain sea salt.

In two weeks' time, they'll forget,

as we all do, the source

of their hearts' pitched burning,

lose it in the harsh tears

their bodies will rain as they

soften into succulence,

helpless to resist the sweet

waking of their pearl-black flesh.


Excerpted from The Standing Wave by Gabriel Spera Copyright © 2003 by Gabriel Spera
Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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