February 2008

Michael Montlack


Michael Montlack's work has recently appeared in Cimarron Review, Court Green, New York Quarterly, and Columbia Poetry Review, among other journals. His chapbooks Cover Charge (Winner of the 2007 Gertrude Prize) and Girls, Girls, Girls (Pudding House) will both be published in 2008. This year he was a Frank O'Hara Award Finalist, a Pushcart Prize Nominee, and a Brittingham/Pollak Competition Semi-Finalist. He lives in New York City, where he acts as Associate Editor for Mudfish and teaches at Berkeley College.

in Greece
everything was muttered
with an air of annoyance
like a Get the hell outta there—I gotta go!
the kind of intolerance and ease
that comes only from family

in Italy
even the most mundane questions
(The tomatoes fresh? Where's the post office?)
were answered in ecstasies sounding like
It's your birthday, it's your birthday, it's your birthday!

in Spain
words were ice cubes melting on the tongue
a sultry day's slippery comfort
until they left
ribbons in an unexpected breeze

in Germany
open-eyed, smiling
they spritzed lemon-drop phrases
hard pellets to be savored
bitter sugar
tapping molars, eardrums

in France
joyful voices shielded any attack
with indifference
relishing syllables as morsels, flavors, textures
even at the back of the throat

in England
sentences lifted
like delicate ice cream swirls
too pretty to coat with sprinkles
too familiar
not to taste.



Julian's Legs    

Imagine them bared by shorts: stretched,
crossed on a sun porch's chaise overlooking
some lake at sunset—wine glass on knee, half emptied,
teetering with every deep breath or inflections
that stress ideas flowing easy and easier
upon each swallow, imperceptible degree of darkening.

Or on those cobbled roads, meadows treaded alone
in meditative stride or rushing off toward some goal
(espresso, bus, a book from that shop before it's closed)
or destinations unknown: the wrong lane, coincidental meeting,
a glimpsed scene or image for his poem. Or a man—
of meaning—with keen imagination, eye for thighs.



Michael Montlack: Poetry
Copyright ©2008 The Cortland Review Issue 38The Cortland Review