Michelle Bitting has work published or forthcoming in Prairie Schooner, Nimrod, Narrative, River Styx, and others. Poems have appeared on Poetry Daily and Verse Daily. In 2007, Thomas Lux chose her full-length manuscript, Good Friday Kiss, as the winner of the DeNovo First Book Award and C & R Press published it in 2008. Recently, she was a finalist for the Poets & Writers California Exchange contest and Rona Jaffe Foundation Awards. Michelle has taught poetry in the U.C.L.A. Extension Writer’s Program, at Twin Towers prison with a grant from Poets & Writers Magazine and is proud to be an active California Poet in the Schools.
To pick that glint-edged glamour,
lacquered body, lustrous odalisque,
strung flower. Imagine skipping
my fingers like Dorothy
down its long fretted neck,
enchanted path, inevitable Oz,
the O of sound spinning wild
from that midnight pit. Big obsidian
lung sighing, Billie Holiday’s
sheened hip if a hip could sing
and hers could. Every pore
pitch perfect. Notes embossed
on the underside of skin. Even
nostrils, an interior syrup,
run through with primordial
song. I crave this instrument
with cut-away puzzle, missing
curlicue and plug-in potentials.
The way I crave salvation,
a head-long plunge
into amplified abyss, a certain
grunge such beauty requires.
Three squares humiliation
and a stomach for the fall.
Patience, patience. My singing
improves with every hard knock
plucked. Into these arms, Takamine,
my dream true come — strapped on,
tuned up, Lover Man, locomotive,
on your dark-strummed rails
we’re forever born to run.