A Noun Sentence, by Mahmoud Darwish

A noun sentence, no verb
to it or in it: to the sea the scent of the bed
after making love … a salty perfume
or a sour one. A noun sentence: my wounded joy
like the sunset at your strange windows.
My flower green like the phoenix. My heart exceeding
my need, hesitant between two doors:
entry a joke, and exit
a labyrinth. Where is my shadow—my guide amid
the crowdedness on the road to judgment day? And I
as an ancient stone of two dark colors in the city wall,
chestnut and black, a protruding insensitivity
toward my visitors and the interpretation of shadows. Wishing
for the present tense a foothold for walking behind me
or ahead of me, barefoot. Where
is my second road to the staircase of expanse? Where
is futility? Where is the road to the road?
And where are we, the marching on the footpath of the present
tense, where are we? Our talk a predicate
and a subject before the sea, and the elusive foam
of speech the dots on the letters,
wishing for the present tense a foothold
on the pavement …


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Errançities, by Quincy Troupe — for Edouard Glissant I. the mind wanders as a line of poetry taking flight meanders in the way birds spreading wings lift into space knowing skies are full of surprises like errançities encountering restless journeys as in the edgy solos of miles davis or jimi hendrix listen to the night-song of sea waves crashing in […]
Books, by Gerald Stern — How you loved to read in the snow and when your face turned to water from the internal heat combined with the heavy crystals or maybe it was reversus you went half-blind and your eyelashes turned to ice the time you walked through swirls with dirty tears not far from the rat-filled river or really […]
Vocabulary, by Jason Schneiderman — I used to love words, but not looking them up. Now I love both, the knowing, and the looking up, the absurdity of discovering that “boreal” has been meaning “northern” all this time or that “estrus” is a much better word for the times when I would most likely have said, “in heat.” When I […]
Song for Future Books, by Joanna Fuhrman — The book is made of glass and I look through it and see more books. Many glass books. Is someone speaking?      A muffled voice is telling me to make soup which I think means I am loved. What other kind of cup fills itself? Can there be a cup of cup? A cup of itself? […]
The Composition of the Text, by Adriano Spatola — 1 an adjective breathing the window open the insertion’s exact dimension in the rustling of pages or see maybe how the text uses the body see how the work is cosmic and biological and logical in nocturnal voices in auroral explosions in the croaking scratching scraping setting fire here under the soft sky sticking all […]
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And You Thought You Were the Only One, by Mark Bibbins

Someone waits at my door. Because he is
dead he has time but I have my secrets–

this is what separates us from the dead.
See, I could order take-out or climb down

the fire escape, so it’s not as though he
is keeping me from anything I need.

While this may sound like something I made up,
it is not; I have forgotten how to

lie, despite all my capable teachers.
Lies are, in this way, I think, like music

and all is the same without them as with.
The fluid sky retains regret, then bursts.

He is still there, standing in the hall, insisting
he is someone I once knew and wanted,

come laden with gifts he cannot return.
If I open the door he’ll flash and fade

like heat lightning behind a bank of clouds
one summer night at the edge of the world.

Lyric, by Khaled Mattawa

Will answers be found
like seeds
planted among rows of song?

Will mouths recognize
the hunger
in their voices, all mouths in unison,

the ah in harmony, the way words
of hope are more
than truth when whispered?

Will we turn to each other and ask,
how long
has it been…how long since?

A world now, a world then
and each
is seeking a foothold, trying

to remember when we looked
at one another
and found—A world again—Surely

what we long for is at the wheel
contending.

Surely, we’ll soon hear
its unearthly groan.

Because You Asked about the Line Between Prose and Poetry, by Howard Nemerov

Sparrows were feeding in a freezing drizzle
That while you watched turned to pieces of snow
Riding a gradient invisible
From silver aslant to random, white, and slow.

There came a moment that you couldn’t tell.
And then they clearly flew instead of fell.

Blue or Green, by James Galvin

We don't belong to each other.
		          We belong together.
	                                                                   Some poems 
belong together to prove the intentionality of subatomic particles.

Some poems eat with scissors.
                                                     Some poems are like   kissing a 
porcupine. 
                   God, by the way, is disappointed in some of your recent 
choices.
               Some poems swoop.
                                                   When she said my eyes   were 
definitely blue, I said, How can you see that in the dark? How can you not? she said,   and that was like some poems.
                                                                                  Some poems are 
blinded three times.
                                  Some poems go like death before dishonor.

Some poems go like the time she brought cherries to the movies; 
later a heedless picnic in her bed.
		                 Never revered I crumbs so
highly.
            Some poems have perfect posture, as if hanging by 
filaments from the sky. 
                                        Those poems walk like dancers, 
noiselessly.
                      All poems are love poems.  
                                                                   Some    poems are better off 
dead.
           Right now I want something I don't believe in.

Diving into the Wreck, by Adrienne Rich

First having read the book of myths,
and loaded the camera,
and checked the edge of the knife-blade,
I put on
the body-armor of black rubber
the absurd flippers
the grave and awkward mask.
I am having to do this
not like Cousteau with his
assiduous team
aboard the sun-flooded schooner
but here alone.

There is a ladder.
The ladder is always there
hanging innocently
close to the side of the schooner.
We know what it is for,
we who have used it.
Otherwise
it is a piece of maritime floss
some sundry equipment.

I go down.
Rung after rung and still
the oxygen immerses me
the blue light
the clear atoms
of our human air.
I go down.
My flippers cripple me,
I crawl like an insect down the ladder
and there is no one
to tell me when the ocean
will begin.

First the air is blue and then
it is bluer and then green and then
black I am blacking out and yet
my mask is powerful
it pumps my blood with power
the sea is another story
the sea is not a question of power
I have to learn alone
to turn my body without force
in the deep element.

And now: it is easy to forget
what I came for
among so many who have always
lived here
swaying their crenellated fans
between the reefs
and besides
you breathe differently down here.

I came to explore the wreck.
The words are purposes.
The words are maps.
I came to see the damage that was done
and the treasures that prevail.
I stroke the beam of my lamp
slowly along the flank
of something more permanent
than fish or weed

the thing I came for:
the wreck and not the story of the wreck
the thing itself and not the myth
the drowned face always staring
toward the sun
the evidence of damage
worn by salt and sway into this threadbare beauty
the ribs of the disaster
curving their assertion
among the tentative haunters.

This is the place.
And I am here, the mermaid whose dark hair
streams black, the merman in his armored body.
We circle silently
about the wreck
we dive into the hold.
I am she: I am he

whose drowned face sleeps with open eyes
whose breasts still bear the stress
whose silver, copper, vermeil cargo lies
obscurely inside barrels
half-wedged and left to rot
we are the half-destroyed instruments
that once held to a course
the water-eaten log
the fouled compass

We are, I am, you are
by cowardice or courage
the one who find our way
back to this scene
carrying a knife, a camera
a book of myths
in which
our names do not appear.