My Visions Are As Real As Your Movies, Joan of Arc Says to Rudolph Valentino / Kyle Laws

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dancing girl press, 2013

 Kyle Laws’ poems, stories, and essays have appeared in magazines for thirty years, with four nominations for a Pushcart Prize. Recent appearances include Abbey, Anglican Theological Review, Chiron Review, Delmarva Review, Eleventh Muse, Exit 13, Final Note, Lummox, The Main Street Rag, Malpaís Review, The Más Tequila Review, The Nervous Breakdown, Pearl, Philadelphia Poets, Pilgrimage, St. Sebastian Review, and Saint Vitus Press & Poetry Review. Books include George Sand's Haiti (Poetry West), Storm Inside the Walls (little books press), Going into Exile (Abbey Chapbooks), Tango (Kings Estate Press), and Apricot Wounds Straddling the Sky (Poetry Motel’s Suburban Wilderness Press). She edited two volumes for the Pueblo Poetry Project--From the Garret on Grand: On Miss Lonelyhearts and the Virgin of Guadalupe and Midnight Train to Dodge. She currently is editor of Casa de Cinco Hermanas Press. A full-length poetry collection titled Wildwood (Lummox Press) is forthcoming.


PROLOGUE (To a conversation between Joan of Arc
and Rudolph Valentino)

It begins in a garden that is a jungle in the desert,
all the plants & creatures that can survive the heat
joining riotously. A chocolate colored cat yawns on
the walk. Wild pink roses bloom on a chain link fence.
Jerusalem artichokes encroach into rocks from a riverbed.
Goldfish mouth at the surface of a pond after the coldest
winter in 20 years.

Joan: of short hair & armor, in a time of long braids &
rough cotton skirts and women by a riverbank fetching
water. That they burned you for your dress, or lack of it,
after you confessed your sins in an ecclesiastical court,
causes the paisley to flutter in a hot breeze below the bust
of a male mannequin under a walnut tree. The mannequin,
perched on a wire table in front of a six foot dog-ear cedar
fence, stands next to a fiberglass wheel cover found off
the side of a trail in the desert above the river. The wheel
cover reads Banshee Rally Team, with a full split over
the wheel between the R and A of Rally. The word
banshee—a female spirit of Gaelic folklore whose
appearance warns that someone will die soon—appeals.