Poetry / The Curvature of Blue


Published by
Červená Barva Press

Publication date:
2009

978-0-692-00181-3
paper, 92 pages, $15.00

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“Intelligence enjoying itself, awareness at play, attentiveness dancing through life’s minefields:  smiling at itself in its new black car (‘Nor have I shunned onyx jewelry.  That would be foolish’). Lucille Lang Day will at first glance make you smile and smile again.  Then, with her scientist’s mind, her woman’s heart, her pain at injustice and evil, and her poet’s eye and ear, she will carry you ‘through the mountains and canyons of space-time’ to a fuller humanity. The Curvature of Blue is a wonderful book and I feel lucky to have read it.”
— Alicia Suskin Ostriker

“In Lucille Lang Day’s poems, stunning transformations of language cross the placenta barrier between the worlds of science and human emotion. She thinks and feels in color, enabling us to inhabit the complexity of the universe—as experienced at breakfast with a lover, in the wild with caribou, or in meditations on acts of historical horror—all made radiant by her lyric gifts and wisdom.”
— Teresa Cader

“Is the sky blue? Day’s poems paint it a hundred different ways, full of geometry and change, structure and feeling, as plangent as a sunset, as secret as an electromagnetic field. Divine love holds the physical parts together, even as human love and its marvelous stories are the substance of our lives. Here are witty, intelligent, affectionate poems making grand, skeptical comparisons and painting us and our shadows in brilliant colors—perfect poems for our time.”
— F.D.Reeve

Playing “St. Louis Blues” at Auschwitz

Consider all possible universes:
the ones that quickly collapse
into black holes, the ones filled
with double-crested cormorants,
Queen Anne’s lace and quasars,
the ones that glow with blue
and yellow stars that last forever,
the ones with only planets wrapped
in poison atmospheres and deserts.

Picture the planet Earth in one
possible universe, where at first
only a faint sound comes out
of the trumpet at Louis Bannet’s
frozen lips, then a few sputtered notes
as the guards walk toward him.
Frostbitten from head to toe, he lifts
the trumpet, tries again, and the guards
stop when “St. Louis Blues” begins.

They change like water going
from ice to liquid, like the universe
blooming from nothing at the Big Bang.
He plays as people go off to work.
He plays as the trains come in,
“Between the Devil & the Deep Blue Sea,”
in one possible universe, where moments
are stacked liked cards, the past with no
existence, except in the present.

Moments are shuffled and reshuffled
to give the illusion of time and history.
Everything happens at once and forever.
Somewhere Bannet is still playing
“Ain’t Misbehavin’” and “Tiger Rag”
at a party for Dr. Mengele, hidden
from the guests behind some plants,
and in all universes where trumpets blast,
as long as he plays, he lives, they dance.

Lucille Lang Day


From The Curvature of Blue