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Christopher Luna by Alisha Jucevic for the Columbian

Christopher Luna by Alisha Jucevic for the Columbian
Christopher Luna by Alisha Jucevic for the Columbian

Sunday, October 23, 2011

GHOST TOWN POETRY OPEN MIC welcomes Peter Ludwin Thursday, November 10


Presented by Printed Matter Vancouver

7pm Thursday, November 10, 2011
and every second Thursday
6300 NE St. James Rd., Suite 104B
(St. James & Minnehaha)
Vancouver, WA

With our featured reader, Peter Ludwin:

Peter Ludwin is the recipient of a Literary Fellowship from Artist Trust.  He was the Second Prize Winner of the 2007-2008 Anna Davidson Rosenberg Awards, and a Finalist for the Muriel Craft Bailey Memorial Award.  For the past ten years he has been a participant in the San Miguel Poetry Week in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, where he has workshopped under such noted poets as Mark Doty, Tony Hoagland and David St. John.  His work has appeared in many journals, including The Bitter Oleander, The Com-stock Review, North American Review and Prairie Schooner, to name a few.  His first full length collection, A Guest in All Your Houses, was published in 2009 by Word Walker Press. A chapbook, The Door Unhinged, was a semi-finalist for both the 2010 Concrete Wolf Chapbook Award and the Floating Bridge Press Chapbook Award. His second full-length manuscript, Rumors of Fallible Gods, was a Finalist for the 2010 Gival Press Poetry Award.  His poem “Terezin Concentration Camp, Bohemia,” was nominated for a 2010 Pushcart Prize.  An avid traveler who has journeyed on the rivers of the Amazon Basin in Ecuador by canoe to visit remote Indian families, hiked in the Peruvian Andes, thumbed for rides in Greece and bargained for goods in the markets of Marrakech and Istanbul, he recently returned from a month in Western China and Tibet.          

Tagong: the Wild West
by Peter Ludwin

A pack of dogs roams the muddy street
that bisects this one-horse Tibetan town,
and a dead one stains the sidewalk with its corpse.

Rough-looking Khampas gather by their motorbikes.
In the clinic, a young Chinese doctor
gives me a three-hour IV and a shot to bring

my fever down.  Obama! he says.  Kobe!
On the mountainside, prayer flags thick as stars.  

Notes from a Sodbuster’s Wife, Kansas, 1868
by Peter Ludwin

What really got us in the end—
we women who didn’t make it,
who withered and blew away in the open—
was the wind.  Space, yes, and distance,
too, from neighbors, a piano back in Boston.

But above all, the wind.

In our letters it shrieks hysteria from sod huts,
vomits women prematurely undone by loneliness,
boils up off the horizon to suck dry
their desire as it flattened the stubborn grasses.
Not convinced?  Scan the photographs,
grainy and sepia-toned, like old leather.
Study our bony forms in plain black dresses,
our mouths drawn tight as a saddle cinch,
accusation leaking from rudderless eyes, betrayed.

I tried.  Lord knows I tried.
Survived the locusts and even snakes
that fell from the ceiling at night,
slithering between us in bed.
I dreamed of water, chiffon, the smell
of dead leaves banked against a rotting log.
I heard opera, carriage wheels on cobblestone.
Cried and beat my fists raw into those earthen walls.

The wind.  Even as it scoured
the skin it flayed the soul,
that raked, pitted shell.
And how like the Cheyenne,
appearing, disappearing,
no fixed location,

not even a purpose one could name.

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