Painted Bride Quarterly’s Slush Pile

Episode 100: A Steady Lub Dub

June 7, 2022

How do you pronounce San Gorgonio,” Slushies? How do you say Schuylkill?” We talk regional accents, local knowledge, and artistic craft-- from the risks of the pathetic fallacy to the unknowability of metaphor, the art of ambiguity, and, of course, the golden shovel. Join us for an episode devoted to poems by Marko Capoferri where we discuss poetic craft, resonant symbols, and the peculiar power of telephone poles. 

What can’t you pronounce where you live? 


Links to things we discuss that you may dig:  

Eula Biss’s Time and Distance Overcome 

Jennifer L. Knox’s Irwin Allen Vs. The Lion Tamer 


At the table: Katheleen Volk Miller, Marion Wrenn, Jason Schneiderman, Samantha Neugebauer, Larissa Morgano & Kate Wagner 



This episode is brought to you by one of our sponsors, Wilbur Records, who kindly introduced us to the artist is A.M.Mills whose song Spaghetti with Lorettanow opens our show.  


Marko Capoferri has lived and worked in eight US states, including Montana, where he currently resides. He is an incoming MFA candidate at the University of Montana in Missoula. He is desperately seeking fellow Italian-Americans in Montana for good pasta and raised voices. 



San Gorgonio 


White paper coffee cups collect in drifts 

by the freeway exit ramp—the hearts of ghosts 

once held tight then tossed out the window 

of a car speeding across the desert at four a.m. 


trying to stay awake to see, when the light 

came back, what the battered face of the land 

could tell us about ourselves: how the mountains 

were stark and risen; how we were sunk dumb 


in between, a scathing plain of wind turbines 

resonating unearthly as Amelia Earhart's flooded engines 

chugging their final gasp on the ocean floor;   

how the sea was here once and swallowed heights, 


long since yawned and pulled away paving 

this desert with a tired yellow dirt now blown 

through our teeth, through our beating pistons, 

and a few black rounded stones as souvenirs 


from lost time; how thistle-studded towns 

were hardly refuge; how the many stones 

we had gathered were bright and jagged, 

too young by design to tell any real story; 


how lust and lost became an exchange in glances 

through a motel’s cracked facade; how these roads 

kept on dressing down like lightning on a postcard 

running fingers in the hot mouth of experience. 


Self-portrait with Elegy 


Just like we were on the Great Plains 

in 1949, my father and I would gather 

summer nights with neighbors 

lining our country road to watch 

constellations disbanding. Whether tragedy 

or a tragic lack of imagination, it’s hard 

to say—he and I simply could not see 

any threads or their severing. Then, 

as now, telephone wires also lined the road 

linking the night one lighted island 

at a time, though the wires are now dead 

gestures, props to a faded empire 

of distant voices made close but never 

close enough to turn that light 

into warmth. What’s left—sinking 

into my own humidity, my own 

expanse of darkness, and he 

to his own. As you read this 

it is surely a summer night some place 

the land extends forever 

until it gives up where the visible 

begins to visibly waver, either 

from the heat or from the failure 

of the possibilities of sight. 


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