Anne Tammel is the author of Endless: A Literate Passion (Saint Julian Press) and Paper Angels (Aldrich Press). Her works of fiction and poetry have appeared in Poydras Review, 3Elements Literary Review, Mediterranean Poetry, Annapurna Magazine, Clarify Culinary Anthology, Edgar Allen Poet Literary Journal, and many more. A news correspondent, branding & admissions expert, and editor for Miracle Literary Magazine, Anne’s latest work can be found at www.annetammel.com.
(All poems to be published, print format only, in the forthcoming book, Endless: A Literate Passion)
……….Zelda to F. Scott Fitzgerald
In this lonely-fated ship,
I sail in velvet dress, veiled
in black cape and hat. Alone,
I seek freedom from the madness—
from you. The waters they promised
are not blue—not purple. Beyond
the Atlantic, my only comfort:
a café in Greenwich, above which
you and I once slept. Bodies
breathed in steamy street
air. Diaries filled with
words of you…of you
and the flamboyant art
you would take
away but could not give.
The sage-femme says, now
tout d-accord; the only swell,
the empty bits of leftover heart
she did not take, she could
not take. I walk the rainy streets
in painted hats, drink rich
plum wine, and dance
with men I never met. The life
I will not, cannot forget,
that life I
and though we stumbled across the other,
we listened, like blue light dawn, asking
why we must survive, like fruit, to gently ripen,
burst open, then pare down on drooping
stems at the close of dusk.
how does a peach grow when plucked from its source,
and fall to ripen in silent remorse?
when we asked where he was going, he gave us
a bank account and a life, never
an answer. those branches swayed
mightily toward the east, the dream,
we struggled to believe. so
we waited for his vast return, battered
suitcases flapping in wind, night falling in. we pictured
him racing toward us, to avoid the night engulfing him
one more time—
and while we waited in our overflowing
garden as fruit trees, flowers, and rainwater
dripped into our dreams, we searched for
one tree that could satiate real needs; and made
up a life, savoring unripe fruit, picking
rich rose petals from stems. he loves me.
sometimes even eating them. loves me not.
and what a father: giver of gifts, man in crisp
black jackets, wandering new york city
streets at night, searching
for some kind of life.
how does a peach grow when plucked from its source
and late-night wind blows in silent remorse.
our dreams were chased by the etches of
a thinning night. at dawn, when we woke with
tired eyes and dusky plans, realizing he
was still not home, ate rich pate and fruit we’d
left for him. in the silent light,
we came to know a man who’d never come
to know this home.
months later, phones would ring from echoing
train stations. could he get a ride?
mom, cooking dinner, too busy to drive. the cab
would shuttle in a frozen man, tired, clothes
too bold, too crisp, too formal for california.
he would talk of the mother in new york he
wished we knew, and we would believe, sharing
unripe peaches, picked early from branches, listening,
with bright, unripe eyes of childhood.
Amelia and the Silken Sheet
in an airport tarmac
filled with morning sun—
a cognac color
fills the sky, blankets the
the mountains with the
muse of adventure.
……..In the air, Fred peels the purple
……..shell from a ripe sea almond,
……..lifts the fruit
……..to Amelia’s lips. She tastes it as
……..she muses at the ground that
……..stretches white arms below them.
……..Why rush back? His
……..eyes cross hers. New thunder-
……..clouds roll behind them.
………There is a danger, you know,
………in thinking that way…She looks
………down. In wanting to stay…
In Karachi, the desert stretches
before them, an exotic unknown
Heat rises from the earth—
awakens her senses in musical voices.
Travels her spine. She kneels
It is a calling. He stares at
the weather, the raging sea, again
at Amelia. For you to find that life.
She bathes in hot desert wind, pulls odd-
scented water onto her cheeks. Looks
at that bold sun, stands with the sunset
and cognac tarmac behind her, says:
There is a place
between the dark
and the light,
where we often rest,
knowing we don’t need
to choose sides:
a silken sheet around
our barest selves
in the early light…
For those who’ve
heard the echo
of our call,
that silken sheet
slips quickly away—the place
of quiet, quickly
by unrest, leaving
us to face our own
bare truths. Truths
we don’t always
It is up to us,
what we decide
Kerouac in San Francisco
The water runs still, like friends who mix patinas,
play stringed instruments and write books, yet say little.
The buildings shine water. Those one-way streets
that line the buildings are mazes; they make no sense.
We walk to the Embarcadero, see the oldest light
house at Alcatraz, wonder at the souls who swam
from it at night, realize you yourself are one of those souls
looking for something, always searching—yet finding nothing.
………Kerouac walked there once
………with empty pockets;
……..passed Italian cafes,
…….spoke words, like jazz,
,,,,,,,looked only in windows—
……sat in empty kitchens,
……wrote bourgeois tragedy
……through dharma hunger.
We walked all night one December, past mid-
night to reach that bridge; it was there I saw you
had no promises to keep for me, San Francisco…
You were filled with only desire, and chill
—the bitter, sweet aftertaste of a lonely
night with distant friends, disenchanted wanderers
who walk searching for something, some mystical light
they came to discover they’d never find.
…….He spent his evening once
…….staring out at water, smoking and
…….wishing he were not alone. And yet
…….it was only while alone that he could think.
…….When we drove away from that
…….water, there were only mists—gray and
…….distant memories, smoke that dissipates—
…….those watercolor, stringed instrument songs—of you.
…….He woke before everyone, played
…….forgotten jazz records, then limped
…….to the all-night liquor store, where he bought
…….just enough hope to fill a paper bag.