Recollected Conversation with Barbara and other works by Lee Ann Brown


Lee Ann Brown lives in New York City and Marshall, North Carolina where with Tony Torn she is starting a poetry and performance space, The French Broad Institute (of Time and the River). Recent publications include SOP DOLL! A Jack Tale Noh, from Mermaid Tenement Press, and poems in the web journal Intervalles' special issue on Interdisciplinary Transcriptions. Her books include Polyverse and The Sleep That Changed Everything.


Recollected Conversation with Barbara

My son had books
And books swell up

She held her hand up chest high:
You couldn't even get in the door

If it had been my other son
The windows would have blown out he has so many books

When the insurance adjustors came to Chalmette
They couldn't find the water line
Then realized it had been over the roof

A man reached down through the hole he had just made in the roof
And saw his son but not his wife
He reached down again and found his wife
But the water took his son

Whatnots scattered across the rooms but
Religious figurines on shelves stayed put

I wouldn't have believed it
But I went around after storm and saw it -
The yard statues didn't float

Whole houses came unmoored and floated on their cement slabs
Coming unmoored from electricity and plumbing
Things floated that I didn't think could float

Used to be in Mardi Gras
You couldn't even die on Bourbon Street
You'd be carried along away from your shoes


2:22 a.m. Christmas Tree Pyre for Lorenzo Thomas

We all visited the Neutral Ground
Where New Year's Eve
trees soaked with kerosene
are torched in a pile

It was cold
and we had eaten soul food
at D's

On the eve of my first return
to the "big difficult"

Your smooth gruff grin
Lights up my dream
Your glasses glow aviator
As bottle rockets shoot out of the pines
Whizzing past our ankles

The firetruck always comes
at one minute past midnight
play-acting as if they had only just heard
what's going on

beyond the conference
at top of the Sears Tower
Chicago's amber lights bead out on a grid
As night falls
We circle far above models of the world's tallest buildings
Kuala Lampur a filament span
drawn between two towers

You predict a winding road through eucalyptus
"hyper literate"

to leave the scen
the edge of the continent
Atlantis lit up
and a blue wind blew through it


Nothing Doing

Clank a wanker hot glass on your belly promenade to quell the skitterish babycakes of my sad trails chinooked and exhausted on the ramp fest driven to the nail of whale ambergris transported to Russian balls of fire mounted up at the Plaza as we merrily go down the aisles of wedding stores in Las Muchachas Angelicos riven despite insurrections - shorter versions of aeriel photography meted out to the meow sound concatenation she pulled her hair pout by the roots and begged us to smooth it over icier than the trees in treetop weevils picturebook I need to ask you that's a picture book of bears two of us were there and the I want a cube more kefir fancy girl food putting in the other one snickersnacked loud noise in the midden kitchen I want some eensy weensy arched arachmid orchard in Sienna rice dream take me to cranky town mbira truffle hound down the Cordelia chord mixmaster tangled in the swamp of briar rose springs eternal from the human wrestler.