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January 2012

January 2012

Many-Roofed Building in Midnight, by Jane Hirshfield — I found myself suddenly voluminous, three-dimensioned, a many-roofed building in moonlight. Thought traversed me as simply as moths might. Feelings traversed me as fish. I heard myself thinking, It isn’t the piano, it isn’t the ears. Then heard, too soon, the ordinary furnace, the usual footsteps above me. Washed my face again with hot water, […]

Old Photographs, by Gabeba Baderoon — On my desk is a photograph of you taken by the woman who loved you then. In some photos her shadow falls in the foreground. In this one, her body is not that far from yours. Did you hold your head that way because she loved it? She is not invisible, not my enemy, nor […]

Small Song, by A. R. Ammons — The reeds give way to the wind and give the wind away

February 2012

A Crosstown Breeze, by Henry Taylor — A drift of wind when August wheeled brought back to mind an alfalfa field where green windrows bleached down to hay while storm clouds rose and rolled our way. With lighthearted strain in our pastoral agon we raced the rain with baler and wagon, driving each other to hold the turn out of the weather […]

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 […]

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 […]

Antigonish [I met a man who wasn’t there], by Hughes Mearns — Yesterday, upon the stair, I met a man who wasn’t there He wasn’t there again today I wish, I wish he’d go away… When I came home last night at three The man was waiting there for me But when I looked around the hall I couldn’t see him there at all! Go away, go […]

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.

Before, by Carl Adamshick — I always thought death would be like traveling in a car, moving through the desert, the earth a little darker than sky at the horizon, that your life would settle like the end of a day and you would think of everyone you ever met, that you would be the invisible passenger, quiet in the […]

Beyond the Years, by Paul Laurence Dunbar — I Beyond the years the answer lies, Beyond where brood the grieving skies And Night drops tears. Where Faith rod-chastened smiles to rise And doff its fears, And carping Sorrow pines and dies— Beyond the years. II Beyond the years the prayer for rest Shall beat no more within the breast; The darkness clears, And […]

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, […]

Breaking Across Us Now, by Katie Ford — I began to see things in parts again, segments, a pen drawn against the skin to show where to cut, lamppost through the stained glass with its etchings of light against the wall — it was the middle of the night. It was something we would tell no one: The hospital roads with standing water, […]

Descriptions of Heaven and Hell, by Mark Jarman — The wave breaks And I’m carried into it. This is hell, I know, Yet my father laughs, Chest-deep, proving I’m wrong. We’re safely rooted, Rocked on his toes. Nothing irked him more Than asking, “What is there Beyond death?” His theory once was That love greets you, And the loveless Don’t know what to say.

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 […]

Fog, by Carl Sandburg — The fog comes on little cat feet. It sits looking over harbor and city on silent haunches and then moves on.

Haunted Houses, by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow — All houses wherein men have lived and died Are haunted houses. Through the open doors The harmless phantoms on their errands glide, With feet that make no sound upon the floors. We meet them at the door-way, on the stair, Along the passages they come and go, Impalpable impressions on the air, A sense of […]

Haunted Seas, by Cale Young Rice — A gleaming glassy ocean Under a sky of grey; A tide that dreams of motion, Or moves, as the dead may; A bird that dips and wavers Over lone waters round, Then with a cry that quavers Is gone—a spectral sound. The brown sad sea-weed drifting Far from the land, and lost; The faint warm […]

i am witness to the threshing of the grain, by John Hoffman — i am witness to the threshing of the grain the man of corn hanging from a dry oak bough bade us to be silent in our flailing he bade us the understanding that pervades the silence that is veiled his whisper is no louder than the locust bade us no louder whrr chk chk whrr […]

If It All Went Up in Smoke, by George Oppen — that smoke would remain the forever savage country poem’s light borrowed light of the landscape and one’s footprints praise from distance in the close crowd all that is strange the sources the wells the poem begins neither in word nor meaning but the small selves haunting us in the stones and is less always than […]

Latin & Soul, by Victor Hernández Cruz — 1 some waves a wave of now a trombone speaking to you a piano is trying to break a molecule is trying to lift the stage into orbit around the red spotlights a shadow the shadows of dancers dancers they are dancing falling out that space made for dancing they should dance on […]

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 […]

No, Love Is Not Dead, by Robert Desnos — No, love is not dead in this heart these eyes and this mouth that announced the start of its own funeral. Listen, I’ve had enough of the picturesque, the colorful and the charming. I love love, its tenderness and cruelty. My love has only one name, one form. Everything disappears. All mouths cling to that […]

One Art, by Elizabeth Bishop — The art of losing isn’t hard to master; so many things seem filled with the intent to be lost that their loss is no disaster. Lose something every day. Accept the fluster of lost door keys, the hour badly spent. The art of losing isn’t hard to master. Then practice losing farther, losing faster: places, […]

Rain, by Claribel Alegría — As the falling rain trickles among the stones memories come bubbling out. It’s as if the rain had pierced my temples. Streaming streaming chaotically come memories: the reedy voice of the servant telling me tales of ghosts. They sat beside me the ghosts and the bed creaked that purple-dark afternoon when I learned you were […]

Science, by Robert Kelly — Science explains nothing but holds all together as many things as it can count science is a basket not a religion he said a cat as big as a cat the moon the size of the moon science is the same as poetry only it uses the wrong words.

The Blade of Nostalgia, by Chase Twichell — When fed into the crude, imaginary machine we call the memory, the brain’s hard pictures slide into the suggestive waters of the counterfeit. They come out glamorous and simplified, even the violent ones, even the ones that are snapshots of fear. Maybe those costumed, clung-to fragments are the first wedge nostalgia drives into our dreaming. […]

The Cities Inside Us, by Alberto Ríos — We live in secret cities And we travel unmapped roads. We speak words between us that we recognize But which cannot be looked up. They are our words. They come from very far inside our mouths. You and I, we are the secret citizens of the city Inside us, and inside us There go all […]

The Face of All the World (Sonnet 7), by Elizabeth Barrett Browning — The face of all the world is changed, I think, Since first I heard the footsteps of thy soul Move still, oh, still, beside me, as they stole Betwixt me and the dreadful outer brink Of obvious death, where I, who thought to sink, Was caught up into love, and taught the whole Of life […]

The Forms Of Love, by George Oppen —Parked in the fields All night So many years ago, We saw A lake beside us When the moon rose. I remember Leaving that ancient car Together. I remember Standing in the white grass Beside it. We groped Our way together Downhill in the bright Incredible light Beginning to wonder Whether it could be lake […]

The White Rose, by John Boyle O’Reilly — The red rose whispers of passion, And the white rose breathes of love; O, the red rose is a falcon, And the white rose is a dove. But I send you a cream-white rosebud With a flush on its petal tips; For the love that is purest and sweetest Has a kiss of desire on […]

The Writer, by Richard Wilbur — In her room at the prow of the house Where light breaks, and the windows are tossed with linden, My daughter is writing a story. I pause in the stairwell, hearing From her shut door a commotion of typewriter-keys Like a chain hauled over a gunwale. Young as she is, the stuff Of her life […]

Who Shall Doubt, by George Oppen — consciousness in itself of itself carrying ‘the principle of the actual’ being actual itself ((but maybe this is a love poem Mary) ) nevertheless neither the power of the self nor the racing car nor the lilly is sweet but this

March 2012

March 2012

9. , by E. E. Cummings — there are so many tictoc clocks everywhere telling people what toctic time it is for tictic instance five toc minutes toc past six tic Spring is not regulated and does not get out of order nor do its hands a little jerking move over numbers slowly we do not wind it up it has no […]

A child said, What is the grass?, by Walt Whitman — A child said, What is the grass? fetching it to me with full hands; How could I answer the child?. . . .I do not know what it is any more than he. I guess it must be the flag of my disposition, out of hopeful green stuff woven. Or I guess it is the […]

Civilization, by Carl Phillips — There’s an art to everything. How the rain means April and an ongoingness like that of song until at last it ends. A centuries-old set of silver handbells that once an altar boy swung, processing…You’re the same wilderness you’ve always been, slashing through briars, the bracken of your invasive self. So he said, in a […]

Curtains, by Ruth Stone — Putting up new curtains, other windows intrude. As though it is that first winter in Cambridge when you and I had just moved in. Now cold borscht alone in a bare kitchen. What does it mean if I say this years later? Listen, last night I am on a crying jag with my landlord, Mr. […]

Essay on Man, Epistle II, by Alexander Pope — I. Know, then, thyself, presume not God to scan; The proper study of mankind is man. Placed on this isthmus of a middle state, A being darkly wise, and rudely great: With too much knowledge for the sceptic side, With too much weakness for the stoic’s pride, He hangs between; in doubt to act, or […]

from Blue Dark, by Deborah Landau — the moon might rise and it might not and if it brings a ghost light we will read beneath it and if it returns to earth we will listen for its phrases and if I’m alone at the bedside table I will have a ghost book to refer to and when I lie back I’ll […]

Hands, by Siv Cedering — I When I fall asleep my hands leave me. They pick up pens and draw creatures with five feathers on each wing. The creatures multiply. They say: “We are large like your father’s hands.” They say: “We have your mother’s knuckles.” I speak to them: “If you are hands, why don’t you touch?” And the […]

I, Too, Sing America, by Langston Hughes — I, too, sing America. I am the darker brother. They send me to eat in the kitchen When company comes, But I laugh, And eat well, And grow strong. Tomorrow, I’ll be at the table When company comes. Nobody’ll dare Say to me, “Eat in the kitchen,” Then. Besides, They’ll see how beautiful I am […]

Improvisations On A Sentence By Poe, by Jack Spicer — “Indefiniteness is an element of the true music.” The grand concord of what Does not stoop to definition. The seagull Alone on the pier cawing its head off Over no fish, no other seagull, No ocean. As absolutely devoid of meaning As a French horn. It is not even an orchestra. Concord Alone on a […]

In Memory of W. B. Yeats, by W. H. Auden — I He disappeared in the dead of winter: The brooks were frozen, the airports almost deserted, And snow disfigured the public statues; The mercury sank in the mouth of the dying day. What instruments we have agree The day of his death was a dark cold day. Far from his illness The wolves ran on […]

Man Carrying Thing, by Wallace Stevens — The poem must resist the intelligence Almost successfully. Illustration: A brune figure in winter evening resists Identity. The thing he carries resists The most necessitous sense. Accept them, then, As secondary (parts not quite perceived Of the obvious whole, uncertain particles Of the certain solid, the primary free from doubt, Things floating like the first […]

Oblivion Speaks, by Sarah Manguso — I am not here to ruin you. I am already in you. I am the work you don’t do. I am what you understand best and wordless. I am with you in your chair and in your song. I am what you avoid and what you stop avoiding. I am what’s left when there is […]

On Living, by Nazim Hikmet — I Living is no laughing matter: you must live with great seriousness like a squirrel, for example– I mean without looking for something beyond and above living, I mean living must be your whole occupation. Living is no laughing matter: you must take it seriously, so much so and to such a degree that, for […]

On the Terrace, by Landis Everson — The lonely breakfast table starts the day, an adjustment is made to understand why the other chair is empty. The morning beautiful and still to be, should woo me. Yet the appetite is not shared, lost somewhere in memory. How lucky the horizon is blue and needs no handwriting on its emptiness. I am written […]

On Upnor Road, by Elizabeth Spires — Set back from the street behind a stand of trees, a shuttered house unnoticed by casual passers-by, where I see you standing in the middle of your life, poised to enter a summer evening where there will be drinks and then a meal on an old stone terrace, and it will seem, as the glass […]

osculation for easter flower, by Sandra Miller — if we weren’t made of soot—which we highly suspected/respected in her garden—she had no garden we did not love her—we did not let her picture fall from our wall forgive & foment—no one kissed me where like bad jewels—good black dirt what song can’t do & does—magnificent thumper in the wild ‘the secret blackness of […]

Poem In Which Words Have Been Left Out, by Charles Jensen — The “Miranda Rights,” established 1966 You have the right to remain anything you can and will be. An attorney you cannot afford will be provided to you. You have silent will. You can be against law. You cannot afford one. You remain silent. Anything you say will be provided to you. The right can and […]

somewhere i have never travelled,gladly beyond, by E. E. Cummings — somewhere i have never travelled,gladly beyond any experience,your eyes have their silence: in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me, or which i cannot touch because they are too near your slightest look easily will unclose me though i have closed myself as fingers, you open always petal by petal myself as Spring […]

Sonnet V, by Mahmoud Darwish — I touch you as a lonely violin touches the suburbs of the faraway place patiently the river asks for its share of the drizzle and, bit by bit, a tomorrow passing in poems approaches so I carry faraway’s land and it carries me on travel’s road On a mare made of your virtues, my soul […]

That Everything’s Inevitable, by Katy Lederer — That everything’s inevitable. That fate is whatever has already happened. The brain, which is as elemental, as sane, as the rest of the processing universe is. In this world, I am the surest thing. Scrunched-up arms, folded legs, lovely destitute eyes. Please insert your spare coins. I am filling them up. Please insert your spare […]

The Book of the Dead Man (Your Hands), by Marvin Bell — Live as if you were already dead. – Zen admonition 1. About the Dead Man and Your Hands Mornings, he keeps out the world awhile, the dead man. The dead man, without looking, believes what you said of the garden. He knows the color of a rose is the color of a rose is the […]

The Changing Light, by Lawrence Ferlinghetti — The changing light at San Francisco is none of your East Coast light none of your pearly light of Paris The light of San Francisco is a sea light an island light And the light of fog blanketing the hills drifting in at night through the Golden Gate to lie on the city at dawn […]

To You, by Walt Whitman — Whoever you are, I fear you are walking the walks of dreams, I fear these supposed realities are to melt from under your feet and hands, Even now your features, joys, speech, house, trade, manners, troubles, follies, costume, crimes, dissipate away from you, Your true soul and body appear before me, They stand forth out […]

Untitled [and the moon once it stopped was sleeping], by Erika Meitner — and the moon once it stopped was sleeping in the cold blue light and the moon while the wind snapped vinyl siding apart slipped around corners whipped the neighbors’ carefully patterned bunchgrass our snow-filled vegetable boxes the house unjoining the moon our yard strips covered with hollow shells of hard remnants ice and my son’s breath contiguous static a shard of green light on the monitor wavers with coughs the Baptist church in […]

Untitled [The child thought it strange], by Richard Meier — The child thought it strange to define words with other words. What did you draw? The man thought he was looking at a purple oval with a touch of yellow. I drew that, the child answered ecstatically, feeling the paper with his finger. The frost is a little behind the shadows. A slash of tree […]

Untranslatable Song, by Claudia Reder — “Everyone needs one untranslatable song.” –Juarroz On hearing the striped contralto of guinea fowl, its mock opera quivers the parsley atop its head– The song makes its imprint in the air, making itself felt, a felt world. Here, there, the stunned silence of knowing I will not remember what I heard; futures that will never […]

Visions of Never Being Heard from Again, by Rebecca Wolff — I stopped by to see you but you were not home marshland the pure vision my ancient lives all risen up and rising shudder in my bed to come up against a living religion; they get offended so easily; blow up your hundred-foot Buddha no problem. Entire mountainside. Presumably it’s an improvement on whatever came […]

Why I Am Not a Painter, by Frank O’Hara — I am not a painter, I am a poet. Why? I think I would rather be a painter, but I am not. Well, for instance, Mike Goldberg is starting a painting. I drop in. “Sit down and have a drink” he says. I drink; we drink. I look up. “You have SARDINES in it.” “Yes, […]

Why Latin Should Still Be Taught in High School, by Christopher Bursk — Because one day I grew so bored with Lucretius, I fell in love with the one object that seemed to be stationary, the sleeping kid two rows up, the appealing squalor of his drooping socks. While the author of De Rerum Natura was making fun of those who fear the steep way and lose the truth, I was […]

Winter Heavens, by George Meredith — Sharp is the night, but stars with frost alive Leap off the rim of earth across the dome. It is a night to make the heavens our home More than the nest whereto apace we strive. Lengths down our road each fir-tree seems a hive, In swarms outrushing from the golden comb. They waken waves […]

You Begin, by Margaret Atwood — You begin this way: this is your hand, this is your eye, that is a fish, blue and flat on the paper, almost the shape of an eye. This is your mouth, this is an O or a moon, whichever you like. This is yellow. Outside the window is the rain, green because it is […]

April 2012

April 2012

A Line-storm Song, by Robert Frost — The line-storm clouds fly tattered and swift, The road is forlorn all day, Where a myriad snowy quartz stones lift, And the hoof-prints vanish away. The roadside flowers, too wet for the bee, Expend their bloom in vain. Come over the hills and far with me, And be my love in the rain. The birds […]

After dark vapors have oppress’d our plains, by John Keats — After dark vapors have oppress’d our plains For a long dreary season, comes a day Born of the gentle South, and clears away From the sick heavens all unseemly stains. The anxious month, relieved of its pains, Takes as a long-lost right the feel of May; The eyelids with the passing coolness play Like rose […]

Another Rehearsal for Morning, by Joseph Massey — Beyond a hand held beyond itself the mist is too thick to see. A dream fragment (a phrase I wanted to remember) goes mute in this— extinguished. Call it consciousness. What we lose to recover. Acacia branches bend the hill’s edge off-orange. A blur, a deeper blur. A clarity I can’t carry.

Becoming Weather, 21, by Chris Martin — I was out interviewing clouds amassing the notes of a sky pornographer while patches of the city subnormalized by fear of fear like a reef bleaching closed I took to the streets looking for a human velocity feeling disequilibrium heavy in the abundance of summer light the silent apathy of stars which is neither silent nor apathetic I am becoming weather and I […]

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 […]

Burning of the Three Fires, by Jeanne Marie Beaumont — (June 30, France) i I set the cookbook on fire by holding it close to the reading lamp ii I began the reading lamp fire by holding it close to romance iii I lit the romance by holding it close to the cookbook

Drawing from Life, by Reginald Shepherd — Look: I am building absence out of this room’s air, I’m reading suppositions into summer’s script snarled on a varnished floor. It looks like a man. That knot’s his hand waving good-bye, that stippled stripe of grain’s the stacked-up vertebrae of his turned back. Small birds (sparrows or finches, or perhaps) are cluttering the trees […]

Echo, by Christina Georgina Rossetti — Come to me in the silence of the night; Come in the speaking silence of a dream; Come with soft rounded cheeks and eyes as bright As sunlight on a stream; Come back in tears, O memory, hope, love of finished years. O dream how sweet, too sweet, too bitter sweet, Whose wakening should have […]

First Things to Hand, by Robert Pinsky — In the skull kept on the desk. In the spider-pod in the dust. Or nowhere. In milkmaids, in loaves, Or nowhere. And if Socrates leaves His house in the morning, When he returns in the evening He will find Socrates waiting On the doorstep. Buddha the stick You use to clear the path, And Buddha […]

From the Lives of My Friends, by Michael Dickman — What are the birds called in that neighborhood The dogs There were dogs flying from branch to branch My friends and I climbed up the telephone poles to sit on the power lines dressed like crows Their voices sounded like lemons They were a smooth sheet They grew black feathers Not frightening at all but […]

From you have I been absent in the spring… (Sonnet 98), by William Shakespeare — From you have I been absent in the spring, When proud-pied April, dressed in all his trim, Hath put a spirit of youth in everything, That heavy Saturn laughed and leaped with him, Yet nor the lays of birds, nor the sweet smell Of different flowers in odor and in hue, Could make me any […]

How I Am, by Jason Shinder — When I talk to my friends I pretend I am standing on the wings of a flying plane. I cannot be trusted to tell them how I am. Or if I am falling to earth weighing less than a dozen roses. Sometimes I dream they have broken up with their lovers and are carrying food […]

Identity Crisis, by F. D. Reeve — He was urged to prepare for success: “You never can tell, he was told over and over; “others have made it; one dare not presume to predict. You never can tell. Who’s Who in America lists the order of cats in hunting, fishing, bird-watching, farming, domestic service–the dictionary order of cats who have made it. […]

Mean Free Path [excerpt], by Ben Lerner — For the distances collapsed. For the figure failed to humanize the scale. For the work, the work did nothing but invite us to relate it to the wall. For I was a shopper in a dark aisle. For the mode of address equal to the war was silence, but we went on celebrating doubleness. For […]

Notebook of a Return to the Native Land [excerpt], by Aimé Césaire — At the end of daybreak. . . Beat it, I said to him, you cop, you lousy pig, beat it, I detest the flunkies of order and the cockchafers of hope. Beat it, evil grigri, you bedbug of a petty monk. Then I turned toward paradises lost for him and his kin, calmer than the […]

Now that no one looking, by Adam Kirsch — Now that no one looking at the night— Sky blanked by leakage from electric lamps And headlights prowling through the parking lot Could recognize the Babylonian dance That once held every gazer; now that spoons And scales, and swordsmen battling with beasts Have decomposed into a few stars strewn Illegibly across an empty space, Maybe […]

Ode to Spring, by Frederick Seidel — I can only find words for. And sometimes I can’t. Here are these flowers that stand for. I stand here on the sidewalk. I can’t stand it, but yes of course I understand it. Everything has to have meaning. Things have to stand for something. I can’t take the time. Even skin-deep is too deep. […]

One of the Dummies at Night, by Gibson Fay-LeBlanc — He slept in the tinder box his master made, and oak grain governed the dreaming— his left eye clouded over, he closed the other and saw mild applause in his future. His bed sat at a crevice edge, pure pitch below, and a cold wind slowed the senses, rising from who knows where. Later his […]

Parkeresque, by Rebecca Wolff — I’d like a lidless Vicodin. Oblivion. Countless sensation of him leaving the room. Come back soon. It occurred to me fait accompli. Clinamen. Phantom limb. Black cat sleeping (you used to be next to me) next to me dreams our lost telepathy.

Proverbs of Hell, by William Blake — From “The Marriage of Heaven and Hell” In seed time learn, in harvest teach, in winter enjoy. Drive your cart and your plow over the bones of the dead. The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom. Prudence is a rich ugly old maid courted by Incapacity. He who desires but acts not, […]

Secret Last Year (A Calendar Twelve-tone) [4. April, maybe], by Adriano Spatola —The sun is made of many mysterious concepts cowardly resentments with listless rotation they say they don’t say but they demand attention something rotten a little enlarged or rosy a slight lividness applied to our pettiness with light brush strokes exhausted by the heat I speak of the heat that spoils and enthuses of this […]

Sleet, by Alan Shapiro — What was it like before the doctor got there? Till then, we were in the back seat of the warm dark bubble of the old Buick. We were where we’d never not been, no matter where we were. And when the doctor got there? Everything outside was in a rage of wind and sleet, we […]

Sun and Shadow, by Oliver Wendell Holmes — As I look from the isle, o’er its billows of green, To the billows of foam-crested blue, Yon bark, that afar in the distance is seen, Half dreaming, my eyes will pursue: Now dark in the shadow, she scatters the spray As the chaff in the stroke of the flail; Now white as the sea-gull, […]

The Author to Her Book, by Anne Bradstreet — Thou ill-formed offspring of my feeble brain, Who after birth didst by my side remain, Till snatched from thence by friends, less wise than true, Who thee abroad, exposed to public view, Made thee in rags, halting to th’ press to trudge, Where errors were not lessened (all may judge). At thy return my blushing […]

The Daffodils, by William Wordsworth — I wandered lonely as a cloud That floats on high o’er vales and hills, When all at once I saw a crowd, A host, of golden daffodils; Beside the lake, beneath the trees, Fluttering and dancing in the breeze. Continuous as the stars that shine And twinkle on the Milky Way, They stretched in never-ending […]

The Secret, by Denise Levertov — Two girls discover the secret of life in a sudden line of poetry. I who don’t know the secret wrote the line. They told me (through a third person) they had found it but not what it was not even what line it was. No doubt by now, more than a week later, they have […]

The Storm, by Theodore Roethke — 1 Against the stone breakwater, Only an ominous lapping, While the wind whines overhead, Coming down from the mountain, Whistling between the arbors, the winding terraces; A thin whine of wires, a rattling and flapping of leaves, And the small street-lamp swinging and slamming against the lamp pole. Where have the people gone? There is […]

There are these moments of permission, by Camille T. Dungy — Between raindrops, space, certainly, but we call it all rain. I hang in the undrenched intervals, while Callie is sleeping, my old self necessary and imperceptible as air.

Thinking of Work, by James Shea — A brief storm blew the earth clean. There was much to do: sun to put up, clouds to put out, blue to install, limbs to remove, grass to implant. (The grass failed. We ordered new grass.) A limb had cracked in half in the short storm, short with its feeling. We saw its innards, all […]

Without You, by Adrian Henri — Without you every morning would feel like going back to work after a holiday, Without you I couldn’t stand the smell of the East Lancs Road, Without you ghost ferries would cross the Mersey manned by skeleton crews, Without you I’d probably feel happy and have more money and time and nothing to do with […]

May 2012

May 2012

Altars of Light, by Pierre Joris — If the light is the soul then soul is what’s all around me. It is you, it is around you too, it is you. The darkness is inside me, the opaqueness of organs folded upon organs– to make light in the house of the body– thus to bring the outside in, the impossible job. And […]

Atlantis—A Lost Sonnet, by Eavan Boland — How on earth did it happen, I used to wonder that a whole city—arches, pillars, colonnades, not to mention vehicles and animals—had all one fine day gone under? I mean, I said to myself, the world was small then. Surely a great city must have been missed? I miss our old city — […]

Coda, by Marilyn Hacker — Maybe it was jet lag, maybe not, but I was smoking in the kitchen: six, barely, still dark: beyond the panes, a mix of summer storm and autumn wind. I got back to you; have I got you back? What warmed me wasn’t coffee, it was our revivified combustion. In an hour, gray morning, but […]

corydon & alexis, redux, by D. A. Powell — and yet we think that song outlasts us all: wrecked devotion the wept face of desire, a kind of savage caring that reseeds itself and grows in clusters oh, you who are young, consider how quickly the body deranges itself how time, the cruel banker, forecloses us to snowdrifts white as god’s own ribs what […]

Directions for Lines that will Remain Unfinished, by Sarah Messer — Line to be sewn into a skirt hem held in my mouth ever since the unraveling Line beneath a bridge for years without hope I stretched my arms into the river searching for you Line to be sent to the cornfield history is a hallway of leaves. Line written for electric wires […]

Epithalamium, by Matthew Rohrer — In the middle garden is the secret wedding, that hides always under the other one and under the shiny things of the other one. Under a tree one hand reaches through the grainy dusk toward another. Two right hands. The ring is a weed that will surely die. There is no one else for miles, […]

If My Voice Is Not Reaching You, by Afzal Ahmed Syed — If my voice is not reaching you add to it the echo— echo of ancient epics And to that— a princess And to the princess—your beauty And to your beauty— a lover’s heart And in the lover’s heart a dagger

It Was Raining In Delft, by Peter Gizzi — A cornerstone. Marble pilings. Curbstones and brick. I saw rooftops. The sun after a rain shower. Liz, there are children in clumsy jackets. Cobblestones and the sun now in a curbside pool. I will call in an hour where you are sleeping. I’ve been walking for 7 hrs on yr name day. Dead, I am […]

Little Ending, by Charles Wright — Bowls will receive us, and sprinkle black scratch in our eyes. Later, at the great fork on the untouchable road, It won’t matter where we have become. Unburdened by prayer, unburdened by any supplication, Someone will take our hand, someone will give us refuge, Circling left or circling right.

Long Distance II, by Tony Harrison — Though my mother was already two years dead Dad kept her slippers warming by the gas, put hot water bottles her side of the bed and still went to renew her transport pass. You couldn’t just drop in. You had to phone. He’d put you off an hour to give him time to clear away […]

Love in a Life, by Robert Browning — Room after room, I hunt the house through We inhabit together. Heart, fear nothing, for, heart, thou shalt find her, Next time, herself!—not the trouble behind her Left in the curtain, the couch’s perfume! As she brushed it, the cornice-wreath blossomed anew,— Yon looking-glass gleamed at the wave of her feather. Yet the day wears, […]

Love, Delight, and Alarm [excerpt], by Karen Weiser — Then the treehouse burned. And continued unobliterable as the sea to burn. The photo of it burning hangs on its wall, taken from high up, but not that high. The firemen approach cautiously, minus the four-part regimented solace, that would repeat. If the act of painting is Drawing the boundaries of a fire, can I […]

Magdalene Poem, by John Taggart — Love enters the body enters almost almost completely breaks and enters into the body already beaten and broken peaceful if breaking if breaking and entering the already broken is peaceful untouchable fortunately untouchable.

Meister Eckhart’s Sermon on Flowers and the Philosopher’s Reply, by J. Michael Martinez — A hollowed singularity exists in flowers like pathos in a dandelion: an eddy of fate, degreeless, silvering through memory. A scabbed consonant departing the sentence: locust petal, bromeliad, a surfacing shame, lightless, beyond hearing. Solitary, the clock circumvents sound and a horse importunes a wasp bowing before significance. ● […]

Midwinter Day [Excerpt], by Bernadette Mayer — I write this love as all transition As if I’m in instinctual flight, a small lady bug With only two black dots on its back Climbs like a blind turtle on my pen And begins to drink ink in the light of tradition We’re allowed to crowd love in Like a significant myth resting still […]

Monna Innominata [I loved you first], by Christina Rossetti — I loved you first: but afterwards your love, Outsoaring mine, sang such a loftier song As drowned the friendly cooings of my dove. Which owes the other most? My love was long, And yours one moment seemed to wax more strong; I loved and guessed at you, you contrued me And loved me for what […]

Monna Innominata [I wish I could remember], by Christina Rossetti — I wish I could remember that first day, First hour, first moment of your meeting me, If bright or dim the season, it might be Summer or Winter for aught I can say; So unrecorded did it slip away, So blind was I to see and to foresee, So dull to mark the budding of […]

Notes from the Other Side, by Jane Kenyon — I divested myself of despair and fear when I came here. Now there is no more catching one’s own eye in the mirror, there are no bad books, no plastic, no insurance premiums, and of course no illness. Contrition does not exist, nor gnashing of teeth. No one howls as the […]

Of the Surface of Things, by Wallace Stevens — I In my room, the world is beyond my understanding; But when I walk I see that it consists of three or four hills and a cloud. II From my balcony, I survey the yellow air, Reading where I have written, “The spring is like a belle undressing.” III The gold tree is blue, The […]

On the Disadvantages of Central Heating, by Amy Clampitt — cold nights on the farm, a sock-shod stove-warmed flatiron slid under the covers, mornings a damascene- sealed bizarrerie of fernwork decades ago now waking in northwest London, tea brought up steaming, a Peak Frean biscuit alongside to be nibbled as blue gas leaps up singing decades ago now damp sheets in Dorset, fog-hung habitat of […]

Poem for Japan, by Matthew Zapruder — all day staying inside listening to a podcast discuss how particles over the Pacific might drift I knew thinking whenever cloud scares me I am not alone my umbrella slept in the closet I placed a few nouns in beautiful cages then let them out touched with my mind the lucky cat asleep in the […]

Rime Riche, by Monica Ferrell — You need me like ice needs the mountain On which it breeds. Like print needs the page. You move in me like the tongue in a mouth, Like wind in the leaves of summer trees, Gust-fists, hollow except for movement and desire Which is movement. You taste me the way the claws Of a pigeon […]

Slow Waltz Through Inflatable Landscape, by Christian Hawkey — At the time of his seeing a hole opened—a pocket opened— and left a space. A string of numbers plummeted through it. They were cold numbers. They were pearls. And though they were cold the light they cast was warm, and though they were pearls he thought they were eyes. They blinked. He blinked back. […]

The Book of a Thousand Eyes [A dream, still clinging like light to the dark, rounding], by Lyn Hejinian — A dream, still clinging like light to the dark, rounding The gap left by things which have already happened Leaving nothing in their place, may have nothing to do But that. Dreams are like ghosts achieving ghosts’ perennial goal Of revoking the sensation of repose. It’s terrible To think we write these things for them, […]

The Congressional Library [excerpt], by Amy Lowell — Where else in all America are we so symbolized As in this hall? White columns polished like glass, A dome and a dome, A balcony and a balcony, Stairs and the balustrades to them, Yellow marble and red slabs of it, All mounting, spearing, flying into color. Color round the dome and up to it, […]

The Emperor, by Matthew Rohrer — She sends me a text she’s coming home the train emerges from underground I light the fire under the pot, I pour her a glass of wine I fold a napkin under a little fork the wind blows the rain into the windows the emperor himself is not this happy

The Meaning of Zero: A Love Poem, by Amy Uyematsu — Is where space ends called death or infinity? Pablo Neruda, The Book of Questions A mere eyelid’s distance between you and me. It took us a long time to discover the number zero. John’s brother is afraid to go outside. He claims he knows the meaning of zero. I want to kiss you. A mathematician […]

The Rising of the Ashes [Before], by Tahar Ben Jelloun — Before a long time ago I lived in a tree, then in a cemetery. My tomb was under an oak. Dogs and men pissed on my head. I said nothing. Little mauve flowers, scentless, grew there. I had nothing to say. Today shovels picked me up and threw me in this well. I pace the […]

The Snowfall Is So Silent, by Miguel de Unamuno — The snowfall is so silent, so slow, bit by bit, with delicacy it settles down on the earth and covers over the fields. The silent snow comes down white and weightless; snowfall makes no noise, falls as forgetting falls, flake after flake. It covers the fields gently while frost attacks them with its sudden flashes […]

To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time, by Robert Herrick — Gather ye rosebuds while ye may, Old Time is still a-flying; And this same flower that smiles today Tomorrow will be dying. The glorious lamp of heaven, the sun, The higher he’s a-getting, The sooner will his race be run, And nearer he’s to setting. That age is best which is the first, When youth […]

Why is the Color of Snow?, by Brenda Shaughnessy — Let’s ask a poet with no way of knowing. Someone who can give us an answer, another duplicity to help double the world. What kind of poetry is all question, anyway? Each question leads to an iceburn, a snownova, a single bed spinning in space. Poet, Decide! I am lonely with questions. What is snow? […]

June 2012

June 2012

A Clear Midnight, by Walt Whitman — This is thy hour O Soul, thy free flight into the wordless, Away from books, away from art, the day erased, the lesson done, Thee fully forth emerging, silent, gazing, pondering the themes thou lovest best, Night, sleep, death and the stars.

A Muse, by Reginald Shepherd — He winds through the party like wind, one of the just who live alone in black and white, bewildered by the eden of his body. (You, you talk like winter rain.) He’s the meaning of almost-morning walking home at five A.M., the difference a night makes turning over into day, simple birds staking claims on […]

Abandonment Under the Walnut Tree, by D. A. Powell — “Your gang’s done gone away.” —The 119th Calypso, Cat’s Cradle, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. Something seems to have gnawed that walnut leaf. You face your wrinkles, daily, in the mirror. But the wrinkles are so slimming, they rather flatter. Revel in the squat luck of that unhappy tree, who can’t take a mate from among the […]

Amorosa Erranza, by Julian T. Brolaski — Cosi mi trovo in amorosa erranza. (Thus I find myself an errancer in love.) —Dante All my dark hardiments begin, so furious and so fell. All disarrayed in love I began to speak of Mariners. And when I saw the grove divided into double parts, which ways I took, diversely can I tell but can […]

August, 1953, by David Wojahn — A nurse gathers up the afterbirth. My mother * had been howling but now could sleep. * By this time I am gone—also gathered up * & wheeled out. Above my jaundiced face the nurses hover. * Outside, a scab commands a city bus. The picketers battle cops * & ten thousand Soviet conscripts in […]

Birds Again, by Jim Harrison — A secret came a week ago though I already knew it just beyond the bruised lips of consciousness. The very alive souls of thirty-five hundred dead birds are harbored in my body. It’s not uncomfortable. I’m only temporary habitat for these not-quite- weightless creatures. I offered a wordless invitation and now they’re roosting within me, […]

Credo, by Matthew Rohrer — I believe there is something else entirely going on but no single person can ever know it, so we fall in love. It could also be true that what we use everyday to open cans was something much nobler, that we’ll never recognize. I believe the woman sleeping beside me doesn’t care about what’s going […]

Elegy in Joy [excerpt], by Muriel Rukeyser — We tell beginnings: for the flesh and the answer, or the look, the lake in the eye that knows, for the despair that flows down in widest rivers, cloud of home; and also the green tree of grace, all in the leaf, in the love that gives us ourselves. The word of nourishment passes through […]

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 […]

Get Used To It, by Margaret Young — Wake up, even Monday the cup’s still full, lettuce rosette-ing up between sandstone scraps by back steps where ladybugs swarm in to die or lay eggs, some say, death-march or birth-march looking about the same. The rust of barn-sides: different chemical effect than rust of oak-copse, burning with late fervor beyond reaped cornfields.

Grass, by Carl Sandburg — Pile the bodies high at Austerlitz and Waterloo. Shovel them under and let me work— I am the grass; I cover all. And pile them high at Gettysburg And pile them high at Ypres and Verdun. Shovel them under and let me work. Two years, ten years, and passengers ask the conductor: What place is […]

Here and Now, by Stephen Dunn — for Barbara There are words I’ve had to save myself from, like My Lord and Blessed Mother, words I said and never meant, though I admit a part of me misses the ornamental stateliness of High Mass, that smell of incense. Heaven did exist, I discovered, but was reciprocal and momentary, like lust felt at […]

I’m Over the Moon, by Brenda Shaughnessy — I don’t like what the moon is supposed to do. Confuse me, ovulate me, spoon-feed me longing. A kind of ancient date-rape drug. So I’ll howl at you, moon, I’m angry. I’ll take back the night. Using me to swoon at your questionable light, you had me chasing you, the world’s worst lover, over and […]

Imperatives, by Marilyn Buck — Bring me out mine the wild abandon that was mine once when I was seventeen a young wraith in black bells ringing in flight wrapped around a young man’s back on a BMW that wound up mountains to a naked lunch on ice-planted crags pounded by the Pacific once when I was thirty entrancing from […]

Let Evening Come, by Jane Kenyon — Let the light of late afternoon shine through chinks in the barn, moving up the bales as the sun moves down. Let the cricket take up chafing as a woman takes up her needles and her yarn. Let evening come. Let dew collect on the hoe abandoned in long grass. Let the stars appear and […]

Mass for the Day of St. Thomas Didymus [excerpt], by Denise Levertov — ii Gloria Praise the wet snow falling early. Praise the shadow my neighor’s chimney casts on the tile roof even this gray October day that should, they say, have been golden. Praise the invisible sun burning beyond the white cold sky, giving us light and the chimney’s shadow. Praise god or the gods, the unknown, […]

Orion, by Susan Gevirtz — What you make on Orion I leave to you What you take from Orion I take to you Far far away where the swans fly to when we are having winter, lived a King who had eleven sons and one daughter Hans Christian Andersen in the greening time there was once there was a because […]

Peyote Poem [excerpt], by Michael McClure — Clear — the senses bright — sitting in the black chair — Rocker — the white walls reflecting the color of clouds moving over the sun. Intimacies! The rooms not important — but like divisions of all space of all hideousness and beauty. I hear the music of myself and write it down for no […]

Sawdust, by Sharon Bryan — Why not lindendust, hackberry, hemlock, live oak, maple, why name the remains after the blade, not what it cut— only now do I see that the air is full of small sharp stars pinwheeling through every living thing that gets in their way.

Star Quilt, by Roberta J. Hill — These are notes to lightning in my bedroom. A star forged from linen thread and patches. Purple, yellow, red like diamond suckers, children of the star gleam on sweaty nights. The quilt unfolds against sheets, moving, warm clouds of Chinook. It covers my cuts, my red birch clusters under pine. Under it your mouth begins […]

Thanks, by W. S. Merwin — Listen with the night falling we are saying thank you we are stopping on the bridges to bow from the railings we are running out of the glass rooms with our mouths full of food to look at the sky and say thank you we are standing by the water thanking it smiling by the […]

The Lemon Trees, by Eugenio Montale — Hear me a moment. Laureate poets seem to wander among plants no one knows: boxwood, acanthus, where nothing is alive to touch. I prefer small streets that falter into grassy ditches where a boy, searching in the sinking puddles, might capture a struggling eel. The little path that winds down along the slope plunges through […]

The Love-Hat Relationship, by Aaron Belz — I have been thinking about the love-hat relationship. It is the relationship based on love of one another’s hats. The problem with the love-hat relationship is that it is superficial. You don’t necessarily even know the other person. Also it is too dependent on whether the other person is even wearing the favored hat. We […]

The Raven, by Edgar Allan Poe — Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary, Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore— While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping, As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door— “‘Tis some visitor,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door— Only this and […]

the suicide kid, by Charles Bukowski — I went to the worst of bars hoping to get killed. but all I could do was to get drunk again. worse, the bar patrons even ended up liking me. there I was trying to get pushed over the dark edge and I ended up with free drinks while somewhere else some poor son-of-a-bitch was […]

The Threat, by Denise Duhamel — my mother pushed my sister out of the apartment door with an empty suitcase because she kept threatening to run away my sister was sick of me getting the best of everything the bathrobe with the pink stripes instead of the red the soft middle piece of bread while she got the crust I was […]

The Triumph of Time, by Algernon Charles Swinburne — Before our lives divide for ever, While time is with us and hands are free, (Time, swift to fasten and swift to sever Hand from hand, as we stand by the sea) I will say no word that a man might say Whose whole life’s love goes down in a day; For this could never […]

The Young Man’s Song, by W. B. Yeats — I whispered, “I am too young,” And then, “I am old enough”; Wherefore I threw a penny To find out if I might love. “Go and love, go and love, young man, If the lady be young and fair,” Ah, penny, brown penny, brown penny, I am looped in the loops of her hair. Oh, […]

Untitled [A house just like his mother’s], by Gregory Orr — A house just like his mother’s, But made of words. Everything he could remember Inside it: Parrots and a bowl Of peaches, and the bright rug His grandmother wove. Shadows also—mysteries And secrets. Corridors Only ghosts patrol. And did I mention Strawberry jam and toast? Did I mention That everyone he loved Lives there now, […]

Yellow Stars and Ice, by Susan Stewart — I am as far as the deepest sky between clouds and you are as far as the deepest root and wound, and I am as far as a train at evening, as far as a whistle you can’t hear or remember. You are as far as an unimagined animal who, frightened by everything, never appears. […]

July 2012

A Litany in Time of Plague, by Thomas Nashe — Adieu, farewell, earth’s bliss; This world uncertain is; Fond are life’s lustful joys; Death proves them all but toys; None from his darts can fly; I am sick, I must die. Lord, have mercy on us! Rich men, trust not in wealth, Gold cannot buy you health; Physic himself must fade. All things to end […]

A Note on Absence, by Martin Corless-Smith — The story over having wished it otherwise The water surface/friendship The drunk euphoric Good Friday music Not in this lifetime A fig tree grows No miserable deed will do Space and time, dimensions that just bring more of this For anyone who has a nose Show gratitude A king sat in a box 8 p.m. […]

A Wicker Basket, by Robert Creeley — Comes the time when it’s later and onto your table the headwaiter puts the bill, and very soon after rings out the sound of lively laughter– Picking up change, hands like a walrus, and a face like a barndoor’s, and a head without any apparent size, nothing but two eyes– So that’s you, man, or […]

Bent Orbit, by Elaine Equi — I wind my way across a black donut hole and space that clunks. Once I saw on a stage, as if at the bottom of a mineshaft, the precise footwork of some mechanical ballet. It was like looking into the brain of a cuckoo clock and it carried some part of me away forever. No […]

Birches, by Robert Frost — When I see birches bend to left and right Across the lines of straighter darker trees, I like to think some boy’s been swinging them. But swinging doesn’t bend them down to stay As ice-storms do. Often you must have seen them Loaded with ice a sunny winter morning After a rain. They click upon […]

Cognitive Deficit Market, by Joshua Corey — She has forgotten what she forgot this morning: her keys, toast in the toaster blackening the insides of beloved skulls, little planetariums projecting increasingly incomplete and fanciful constellations: the Gravid Ass, the Mesozoic Cartwheel, the Big Goatee, the Littlest Fascist. Outside her window a crowd gathers, seething in white confusion like milk boiling dry in […]

Eating Poetry, by Mark Strand — Ink runs from the corners of my mouth. There is no happiness like mine. I have been eating poetry. The librarian does not believe what she sees. Her eyes are sad and she walks with her hands in her dress. The poems are gone. The light is dim. The dogs are on the basement stairs […]

Falling, by James Dickey — A 29-year-old stewardess fell … to her death tonight when she was swept through an emergency door that suddenly sprang open … The body … was found … three hours after the accident. —New York Times The states when they black out and lie there rolling when they turn To something transcontinental move by drawing […]

Father Outside, by Nick Flynn and Josh Neufeld — A black river flows down the center of each page & on either side the banks are wrapped in snow. My father is ink falling in tiny blossoms, a bottle wrapped in a paperbag. I want to believe that if I get the story right we will rise, newly formed, that I will stand over […]

For the Twentieth Century, by Frank Bidart — Bound, hungry to pluck again from the thousand technologies of ecstasy boundlessness, the world that at a drop of water rises without boundaries, I push the PLAY button:– . . .Callas, Laurel & Hardy, Szigeti you are alive again,– the slow movement of K.218 once again no longer bland, merely pretty, nearly banal, as it […]

from People Close To You, by Crystal Williams — I. She asks if she can sit on the bench & it is that kind of day in Santa Monica, slow & gentle so that when she sits, properly, like a teacher or the pudgy mother of a girl named Marilyn, in unison you raise your round faces. The wind hefts the voices of your […]

Ghost Notes [excerpt], by Ralph Burns — for Danny Fletcher I. Call and Response 1 Plumbline of disaster, shadow storage of the way thought travels, the opinion, the sentiment, only assertion following silence, only a way of everlasting breathing, a verb searching for grammar too devoted to making sense so that the self interrupts with a final pitch. From stop to […]

I am the People, the Mob, by Carl Sandburg — I am the people—the mob—the crowd—the mass. Do you know that all the great work of the world is done through me? I am the workingman, the inventor, the maker of the world’s food and clothes. I am the audience that witnesses history. The Napoleons come from me and the Lincolns. They die. And then […]

I Hear America Singing, by Walt Whitman — I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear, Those of mechanics, each one singing his as it should be blithe and strong, The carpenter singing his as he measures his plank or beam, The mason singing his as he makes ready for work, or leaves off work, The boatman singing what belongs to him […]

It sifts from Leaden Sieves – (311), by Emily Dickinson — It sifts from Leaden Sieves – It powders all the Wood. It fills with Alabaster Wool The Wrinkles of the Road – It makes an Even Face Of Mountain, and of Plain – Unbroken Forehead from the East Unto the East again – It reaches to the Fence – It wraps it Rail by Rail […]

My First Memory (of Librarians), by Nikki Giovanni — This is my first memory: A big room with heavy wooden tables that sat on a creaky wood floor A line of green shades—bankers’ lights—down the center Heavy oak chairs that were too low or maybe I was simply too short For me to sit in and read So my first book was always big […]

Now, by Liam Rector — Now I see it: a few years To play around while being Bossed around By the taller ones, the ones With the money And more muscle, however Tender or indifferent They might be at being Parents; then off to school And the years of struggle With authority while learning Violent gobs of things one didn’t […]

On Translation, by Mónica de la Torre —Not to search for meaning, but to reedify a gesture, an intent. As a translator, one grows attached to originals. Seldom are choices so purposeful. At midday, the translator meets with the poet at a café at the intersection where for decades whores and cross-dressers have lined up at night for passers-by to peruse. Not […]

Our Bodies Break Light, by Traci Brimhall — We crawl through the tall grass and idle light, our chests against the earth so we can hear the river underground. Our backs carry rotting wood and books that hold no stories of damnation or miracles. One day as we listen for water, we find a beekeeper— one eye pearled by a cataract, the other […]

please advise stop [I was dragging a ladder slowly over stones stop], by Rusty Morrison — I was dragging a ladder slowly over stones stop it was only from out of my thoughts that I could climb stop not from the room please my father’s dying offered an indelicate washing of my perception stop the way the centers of some syllables scrub away all other sound stop his corpse merely preparing […]

Ruin, by Seth Abramson — and backwards go the men into the garden, and what is it herding them but a haircut and a vacuous look they had when they were twenty, which earned its horns twice over if they had the same cut and look when they were thirty. Forget about great men, and soon the great forgetting will […]

S t r u c t u re — M a s o l i n o ‘ s E v e — T h e F e m a l e s n a k e, by ‘Annah Sobelman — : ~ a springy fire set inside pear prickles the vocative , a now bubble now that’s a thing your nervous system might have been one of the paths on the Tree on earth , oddly like as night where she was musing , under sap , blazed in here , hushed in under cover […]

Severance Songs, 2.1, by Joshua Corey — 2.1 Many tiers make this world pillowed on stone many collect in their fear to strive. Yours the face aglow in the cold, precarious thriver in the song-stung dark. With glance and lip you collected me. Where are you? Alien hip I catch you out, refuse cheshire blazon, unpronounced tremolo. Now to step into the […]

Te Deum, by Charles Reznikoff — Not because of victories I sing, having none, but for the common sunshine, the breeze, the largess of the spring. Not for victory but for the day’s work done as well as I was able; not for a seat upon the dais but at the common table.

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 […]

The Difference between a Child and a Poem, by Michael Blumenthal — If you are terrified of your own death, and want to escape from it, you may want to write a poem, for the poem might carry your name into eternity, the poem may become immortal, beyond flesh and fashion, it may be read in a thousand years by someone as frightened of death as you […]

The Libraries Didn’t Burn, by Elaine Equi — despite books kindled in electronic flames. The locket of bookish love still opens and shuts. But its words have migrated to a luminous elsewhere. Neither completely oral nor written — a somewhere in between. Then will oak, willow, birch, and olive poets return to their digital tribes — trees wander back to the forest?

The Luxury of Hesitation [excerpt from The Proof from Motion], by Keith Waldrop — things forgotten I could burn in hell forever set the glass down, our emotion’s moment eyes vs sunlight how removed here, from here towards the unfamiliar and frankincense forests against the discerning light everybody sudden frightful indeed, the sound of traffic and no appetite the crowd I would like to be beautiful when written

The Practice, by Aaron Shurin — They mistook me for illumination — a revenant in walking shoes — so I gathered significance and spread text…stood beneath the seven cardinal points with arms upraised — practical telepathy — in a white paper suit like a flag of surrender, thunder at my back… I was an open man of the open streets — […]

The Uses of Distortion, by Caroline Crumpacker — (appendix to the forgotten ) See character see costume see ambassador conjugate of toreador: Country of origin see that night I fell in love (wrong man). Race and ethnicity see mauve suite for women. see my boss is the mouth of god. I went to another country as an ambassador, she begins, and there I […]

What Was Told, That, by Jalal al-Din Rumi — What was said to the rose that made it open was said to me here in my chest. What was told the cypress that made it strong and straight, what was whispered the jasmine so it is what it is, whatever made sugarcane sweet, whatever was said to the inhabitants of the town of Chigil […]

August 2012

August 2012

Your Brain Is Yours, by Natalie Lyalin (8/16/2012) I am baptized by coins with a faint smell of elderflower. I transfigure, blink in one part of the house and then another. A holy night unfolds and stands weakly. A child chemist mixes a star in a test tube. Glass shatters lightly. I am a saint. I soothe with marmalade and tonic. I embroider […]

forgetting something, by Nick Flynn (8/17/2012) Try this—close / your eyes. No, wait, when—if—we see each other / again the first thing we should do is close our eyes—no, / first we should tie our hands to something / solid—bedpost, doorknob— otherwise they (wild birds) / might startle us / awake. Are we forgetting something? What about that / warehouse, the […]

The Horrid Voice of Science, by Vachel Lindsay (8/18/2012) “There’s machinery in the butterfly; There’s a mainspring to the bee; There’s hydraulics to a daisy, And contraptions to a tree. “If we could see the birdie That makes the chirping sound With x-ray, scientific eyes, We could see the wheels go round.” And I hope all men Who think like this Will soon lie […]

Four Preludes on Playthings of the Wind, by Carl Sandburg (8/19/2012) The past is a bucket of ashes. 1 The woman named Tomorrow sits with a hairpin in her teeth and takes her time and does her hair the way she wants it and fastens at last the last braid and coil and puts the hairpin where it belongs and turns and drawls: Well, what of […]

This City, by Liam Rector (8/20/2012) for Bertolt Brecht This apartment with no furniture, where no one puts anything up, where everyone schemes to get out. This mess, to the right and the left of me, that equation of garbage wherein matter moves its way, the magazine sector in glanced-at demise. This price, and that mind, and nothing to say but […]

The Feeling of the World As a Bounded Whale Is the Mystical [The child affixes], by Darcie Dennigan(8/21/2012) The child affixes one of her little pictures to my refrigerator. She asks, Can you detect the radiation? There is a house, one tree, and grass in dark slashes. A sun shining. Beneath, in her child letters, she has written Chernobyl. At kindergarten they must be having nuclear energy week. One could look at the […]

Atlantic City Sunday Morning, by Gregory Pardlo (8/22/2012) Plow-piled snow shrouded in shadow from the abbreviating sun, snow frosted with the exhaust of tour buses. Pigeons shift in congress. Sun glints windshields & chrome like cotton blooms in the monitors. Surveillance here is catholic. From cornices cameras oscillate like raven-heads nestled along palisades. Cameras mind entrances, pedestrians, traffic, the landscape from land’s end […]

Hackett Avenue, by John Koethe (8/23/2012) I used to like connections: Leaves floating on the water Like faces floating on the surface of a dream, On the surface of a swimming pool Once the holocaust was complete. And then I passed through stages of belief And unbelief, desire and restraint. I found myself repeating certain themes Ad interim, until they began […]

Duende, by Tracy K. Smith (8/24/2012) 1. The earth is dry and they live wanting. Each with a small reservoir Of furious music heavy in the throat. They drag it out and with nails in their feet Coax the night into being.  Brief believing. A skirt shimmering with sequins and lies. And in this night that is not night, Each word […]

Quatrains, by Gwendolyn Bennett (8/25/2012) 1 Brushes and paints are all I have To speak the music in my soul— While silently there laughs at me A copper jar beside a pale green bowl. 2 How strange that grass should sing— Grass is so still a thing … And strange the swift surprise of snow So soft it falls and […]

Red Shoes, by Honor Moore (8/26/2012) all that autumn you step from the train as if something were burning something is burning running across the green grass bare feet that day death was only what we lose in fall comes back in spring something is burning from the train you climb smoke between the skyscrapers Paris was so beautiful, the sky— […]

The Divine Image, by William Blake (8/27/2012) To Mercy, Pity, Peace, and Love All pray in their distress; And to these virtues of delight Return their thankfulness. For Mercy, Pity, Peace, and Love Is God, our father dear, And Mercy, Pity, Peace, and Love Is Man, his child and care. For Mercy has a human heart, Pity a human face, And Love, […]

Images, by Richard Aldington (8/28/2012) I Like a gondola of green scented fruits Drifting along the dank canals of Venice, You, O exquisite one, Have entered into my desolate city. II The blue smoke leaps Like swirling clouds of birds vanishing. So my love leaps forth toward you, Vanishes and is renewed. III A rose-yellow moon in a pale sky […]

Marble Hill, by Kazim Ali (8/29/2012) Paradise lies beneath the feet of your mother. A verse I’ve heard recited so frequently I do not know if it is scripture or hadith. Hadith, meaning traditions of the prophet, are always accompanied by a careful oral lineage of who said what to whom, and who heard who say they heard what. Usually back to […]

Nothing Stays Put, by Amy Clampitt (8/30/2012) In memory of Father Flye, 1884-1985 The strange and wonderful are too much with us. The protea of the antipodes–a great, globed, blazing honeybee of a bloom– for sale in the supermarket! We are in our decadence, we are not entitled. What have we done to deserve all the produce of the tropics– this fiery […]

Prophecy, by Dana Gioia (8/31/2012) Sometimes a child will stare out of a window for a moment or an hour—deciphering the future from a dusky summer sky. Does he imagine that some wisp of cloud reveals the signature of things to come? Or that the world’s a book we learn to translate? And sometimes a girl stands naked by a […]

From Honey to Ashes, by Geoffrey G. O’Brien (8/15/2012) What follows is terms and classifications, the West Of speech congratulating itself within A system so complex there’s no way not to be Effective. Just as they had planned the streets On either side are lined with all that’s needed, Storefronts whose glass returns a look Filled with the contents it displays (Mannequins, organics, mobile […]

[Untitled], by J. Michael Martinez (8/14/2012) Imagine—in front of us—they silently pass. And they believe unrelated objects are machines for recognizing the human. And, again, we are no longer interruptions. Imagine—in front of us—the beginning is not a study. And they believe the cicada’s larva reveals narrow secrets. And we accompany: to form, to shape. Imagine—in front of us—a beautiful garden. […]

Vague Cadence, by Geoffrey G. O’Brien (8/13/2012) An away of practice the other is Like a river out of acts the other is Hapless, unheard, with marks upon him Having dallied in tarrying unwisely Backlit at an undecidable remove In a house of marks the other is Useless deciding whether to go Or wait in best practices like a child A hapless […]

I Didn’t Apologize to the Well, by Mahmoud Darwish (8/12/2012) I didn’t apologize to the well when I passed the well, I borrowed from the ancient pine tree a cloud and squeezed it like an orange, then waited for a gazelle white and legendary. And I ordered my heart to be patient: Be neutral as if you were not of me! Right here the kind […]

Untitled, by David Meltzer (8/11/2012) Art’s desire to get it all said to all who thought him dead in the joint & beside the point Art’s struggle to sing it all through jazz warfare & tell everything he knew in brass speed rap stir crazy utopia of muscle chops push it in your face rough unrelenting grace fierce Art pitbull […]

Rhapsody on a Windy Night, by T.S. Eliot (8/10/2012) Twelve o’clock. Along the reaches of the street Held in a lunar synthesis, Whispering lunar incantations Dissolve the floors of memory And all its clear relations, Its divisions and precisions. Every street lamp that I pass Beats like a fatalistic drum, And through the spaces of the dark Midnight shakes the memory As a madman […]

Three Seasons, by Geoffrey G. O’Brien (8/9/2012) The winter, it was the winter all the usual things happened, I have forgotten what would travel from the north as a series seen from above or from below, and the followers, the flowers, I tore them up the next summer, or rather before or immediately after and thought no more about it. But then […]

Acrobat, by Elise Paschen (8/8/2012) The night you were conceived we balanced underneath a tent, amazed at the air-marveler, who, hand-over-hand, seized the stars, then braved the line to carry home a big-top souvenir umbrella. Earth-bound a year, you dare gravity, sliding from the couch to table. Mornings, on tiptoe, stretching fingers, you grab Saturn, Venus and the moons raining […]

State’s Attorney Fallas, by Edgar Lee Masters (8/7/2012) I, the scourge-wielder, balance-wrecker, Smiter with whips and swords; I, hater of the breakers of the law; I, legalist, inexorable and bitter, Driving the jury to hang the madman, Barry Holden, Was made as one dead by light too bright for eyes, And woke to face a Truth with bloody brow: Steel forceps fumbled by […]

Howl, Parts I & II & III, by Allen Ginsberg (8/6/2012) For Carl Solomon I I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked, dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix, angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night, who poverty and tatters and hollow-eyed and […]

Fletcher McGee, by Edgar Lee Masters (8/5/2012) She took my strength by minutes, She took my life by hours, She drained me like a fevered moon That saps the spinning world. The days went by like shadows, The minutes wheeled like stars. She took the pity from my heart, And made it into smiles. She was a hunk of sculptor’s clay, My […]

45 I Give Up My Identity, by Jerome Rothenberg (8/4/2012) My name is smaller than it sounds. I work & polish it until a light shines through. I thrust a thorn under my tongue. I drop the little stones behind me. Striding I can feel my height extend up to the rafters. My voice is thin, still thinner is the space between my footsteps & […]

The Dry Salvages, by T.S. Eliot (8/3/2012) I   I do not know much about gods; but I think that the river Is a strong brown god – sullen, untamed and intractable, Patient to some degree, at first recognised as a frontier; Useful, untrustworthy, as a conveyer of commerce; Then only a problem confronting the builder of bridges. The problem once solved, […]

Trapeze, by Deborah Digges (8/2/2012) See how the first dark takes the city in its arms and carries it into what yesterday we called the future.   O, the dying are such acrobats. Here you must take a boat from one day to the next,   or clutch the girders of the bridge, hand over hand. But they are sailing […]

Temper, by Beth Bachmann (8/1/2012) Some things are damned to erupt like wildfire, windblown, like wild lupine, like wings, one after another leaving the stone-hole in the greenhouse glass. Peak bloom, a brood of blue before firebrand. And though it is late in the season, the bathers, also, obey. One after another, they breathe in and butterfly the surface: mimic […]

September 2012

September 2012

A Story, by Philip Levine (9/1/2012) Everyone loves a story. Let’s begin with a house. We can fill it with careful rooms and fill the rooms with things—tables, chairs, cupboards, drawers closed to hide tiny beds where children once slept or big drawers that yawn open to reveal precisely folded garments washed half to death, unsoiled, stale, and waiting to be […]

The White Room, by Charles Simic (9/2/2012) The obvious is difficult To prove. Many prefer The hidden. I did, too. I listened to the trees.   They had a secret Which they were about to Make known to me– And then didn’t.   Summer came. Each tree On my street had its own Scheherazade. My nights Were a part of their wild […]

Languages, by Carl Sandburg (9/3/2012) There are no handles upon a language Whereby men take hold of it And mark it with signs for its remembrance. It is a river, this language, Once in a thousand years Breaking a new course Changing its way to the ocean. It is mountain effluvia Moving to valleys And from nation to nation Crossing […]

An Octave Above Thunder, by Carol Muske-Dukes (9/4/2012) … reverberation                               Of thunder of spring over distant mountains                               He who was living is now dead                               We who were living are now dying                               With a little patience.   –T. S. Eliot, “What the Thunder Said”   1   She began as we huddled, six of us, in the cellar, raising her […]

Sequestered Writing, by Carolyn Forché (9/5/2012) Horses were turned loose in the child’s sorrow. Black and roan, cantering through snow. The way light fills the hand with light, November with graves, infancy with white. White. Given lilacs, lilacs disappear. Then low voices rising in walls. The way they withdrew from the child’s body and spoke as if it were not there. […]

My Life as a Subject, by Meghan O’Rourke (9/6/2012) I.   Because I was born in a kingdom, there was a king. At times the king was a despot; at other times, not. Axes flashed in the road   at night, but if you closed your eyes sitting on the well-edge amongst your kinspeople and sang the ballads then the silver did not appear […]

Postcard: Read beyond that which…, by Heather Christle (9/7/2012) Read beyond that which immediately pleases you, please.

Auguries of Innocence, by William Blake (9/8/2012) To see a world in a grain of sand And a heaven in a wild flower, Hold infinity in the palm of your hand And eternity in an hour. A robin redbreast in a cage Puts all heaven in a rage. A dove-house filled with doves and pigeons Shudders hell through all its regions. A […]

Anastasia & Sandman, by Larry Levis (9/9/2012) The brow of a horse in that moment when The horse is drinking water so deeply from a trough It seems to inhale the water, is holy. I refuse to explain. When the horse had gone the water in the trough, All through the empty summer, Went on reflecting clouds & stars. The horse cropping […]

Vespers, by Louise Glück (9/10/2012) In your extended absence, you permit me use of earth, anticipating some return on investment. I must report failure in my assignment, principally regarding the tomato plants. I think I should not be encouraged to grow tomatoes. Or, if I am, you should withhold the heavy rains, the cold nights that come so often here, […]

In Flanders Fields, by John McCrae (9/11/2012) In Flanders fields the poppies blow Between the crosses, row on row, That mark our place, and in the sky, The larks, still bravely singing, fly, Scarce heard amid the guns below. We are the dead; short days ago We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, Loved and were loved, and now we lie In […]

Hum, by Ann Lauterbach (9/12/2012) The days are beautiful The days are beautiful. I know what days are. The other is weather. I know what weather is. The days are beautiful. Things are incidental. Someone is weeping. I weep for the incidental. The days are beautiful. Where is tomorrow? Everyone will weep. Tomorrow was yesterday. The days are beautiful. Tomorrow […]

Adjectives of Order, by Alexandra Teague (9/13/2012) That summer, she had a student who was obsessed with the order of adjectives. A soldier in the South Vietnamese army, he had been taken prisoner when   Saigon fell. He wanted to know why the order could not be altered. The sweltering city streets shook with rockets and helicopters. The city sweltering   streets. […]

Advice to a Prophet, by Richard Wilbur (9/14/2012) When you come, as you soon must, to the streets of our city, Mad-eyed from stating the obvious, Not proclaiming our fall but begging us In God’s name to have self-pity,   Spare us all word of the weapons, their force and range, The long numbers that rocket the mind; Our slow, unreckoning hearts will […]

To the Reader: If You Asked Me, by Chase Twichell (9/15/2012) I want you with me, and yet you are the end of my privacy. Do you see how these rooms have become public? How we glance to see if– who? Who did you imagine? Surely we’re not here alone, you and I. I’ve been wandering where the cold tracks of language collapse into cinders, unburnable […]

Deer Dancer, by Joy Harjo (9/16/2012) Nearly everyone had left that bar in the middle of winter except the hardcore.  It was the coldest night of the year, every place shut down, but not us.  Of course we noticed when she came in.  We were Indian ruins.  She was the end of beauty.  No one knew her, the stranger whose tribe […]

Figure, by Marjorie Welish (9/17/2012) The poet redirected my likeness.   She said, “Not his decadence, which is a question.” “Time,” she said, declining his epidemic. As if serrated, initiatives lost modernity: aura reared up although bracketing pages in comparative matters. “What time is it?” “Perspectivism.” Which is a question. As if serrated, “as if” bracketing pages.   And time […]

—(Soma)tic 5: Storm SOAKED Bread, by CAConrad (9/18/2012) —for Julian Brolaski Sit outside under shelter of a doorway, pavilion, or umbrella on a park bench, but somewhere outside where you can easily touch, smell, taste, FEEL the storm. Lean your face into the weather, face pointed UP to the sky, stay there for a bit with eyes closed while water fills the wells […]

Passage I, by Maureen N. McLane (9/19/2012) little moth I do not think you’ll escape this night   I do not think you’ll escape this night little moth   *   bees in clover summer half over friends without lovers   *   I bite a carrot horsefly bites me   *   I thought it was you moving through the trees […]

Less Music, by Marjorie Welish (9/20/2012) This freedom up. A house difficult of exit, diffident of exit.   This flame up. The false house, house of faulty entries.   This facade up. The manifold worries architecture.   This face up. To the artiface’s winding paths we lend our gloss.   This fact up! This house multicursal and continuous. Do you desire […]

Passage, by Eve Alexandra (9/21/2012) Tiny jewels of sand and salt spill from her mouth. Her lips lie like cloistered nuns. But her ears—they open like lilies. And suddenly all around her there are songs being sung. New notes slick and green, currency on everyone else’s tongue. Her own was slow, cut from the wrong cloth, it hadn’t been out […]

Essay on Criticism [But most by numbers], by Alexander Pope (9/22/2012) But most by Numbers judge a Poet’s song; And smooth or rough, with them, is right or wrong: In the bright Muse tho’ thousand charms conspire, Her voice is all these tuneful fools admire; Who haunt Parnassus but to please their ear, Not mend their minds; as some to church repair, Not for the doctrine […]

Concordance [Working backward in sleep], by Mei-mei Berssenbrugge (9/23/2012) Poem by Mei-mei Berssenbrugge Illustration by Kiki Smith Working backward in sleep, the last thing you numbed to is what wakes you. What if that image were Eros as words? What would it be like if you contemplated my words and I felt you? Animals, an owl, frog, open their eyes, and a mirror forms […]

Don Juan [If from great nature’s or our own abyss], by George Gordon Byron (9/24/2012) If from great nature’s or our own abyss Of thought we could but snatch a certainty, Perhaps mankind might find the path they miss— But then ‘t would spoil much good philosophy. One system eats another up, and this Much as old Saturn ate his progeny; For when his pious consort gave him stones In […]

Forever War, by Nate Pritts (9/25/2012) In studying the anomaly it was determined that holiday decorations look sad out of season, that there’s no excuse for the mistakes of my people. Red paper hearts on the front door into April, a cauldron that doubles as a planter in summer. Always the starscape to help keep me honest, to remind me that […]

Garden of Bees, by Matthew Rohrer (9/26/2012) The narcissus grows past   the towers. Eight gypsy   sisters spread their wings   in the garden. Their gold teeth   are unnerving. Every single   baby is asleep. They want   a little money and I give   them less. I’m charming and   handsome. They take my pen.   I buy the […]

Francesco and Clare, by David St. John (9/27/2012) It was there, in that little town On top of the mountain, they walked, Francesco and Chiara, That’s who they were, that’s what They told themselves–a joke, their joke About two saints, failed lovers held apart From the world of flesh, Francis and Clare, Out walking the old city, two saints, Sainted ones, holy, held […]

Thinking in Bed, by Dennis Lee (9/28/2012) I’m thinking in bed, Cause I can’t get out Till I learn how to think What I’m thinking about; What I’m thinking about Is a person to be– A sort of a person Who feels like me. I might still be Alice, Excepting I’m not. And Snoopy is super, But not when it’s hot; I […]

Audience, by Mei-mei Berssenbrugge (9/29/2012) 1 People think, at the theatre, an audience is tricked into believing it’s looking at life. The film image is so large, it goes straight into your head. There’s no room to be aware of or interested in people around you. Girls and cool devices draw audience, but unraveling the life of a real human […]

Done With, by Ann Stanford (9/30/2012) My house is torn down– Plaster sifting, the pillars broken, Beams jagged, the wall crushed by the bulldozer. The whole roof has fallen On the hall and the kitchen The bedrooms, the parlor. They are trampling the garden– My mother’s lilac, my father’s grapevine, The freesias, the jonquils, the grasses. Hot asphalt goes down Over […]

October 2012

October 2012

October (section I), by Louise Glück (10/1/2012) Is it winter again, is it cold again, didn’t Frank just slip on the ice, didn’t he heal, weren’t the spring seeds planted   didn’t the night end, didn’t the melting ice flood the narrow gutters   wasn’t my body rescued, wasn’t it safe   didn’t the scar form, invisible above the injury  terror […]

March 2014

March 2014

Song for Future Books, by Joanna Fuhrman (3/1/2014) 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? […]

Radar Data #12, by Lytton Smith (3/2/2014) It was in the absence of light as when near new moon and no moonlight; as when a part of a picture is in shadow (as opposed to a light); as when in the condition of being hidden from view, obscure, or unknown—in concealment, or else without knowledge as regards to some particular; and of […]

Vocabulary, by Jason Schneiderman (3/3/2014) 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 […]

from Fairies, by Mei-mei Berssenbrugge (3/4/2014) 2 Fairies begin their day by coming together a moment and sharing joy. They love the feeling, which dew on the leaves draws from grass, lilacs and the response of meadow and flowers to the dawn. Diminutive green sylphs now run in the grass, whose growth seems intimately associated with theirs, a single line of […]

Austerity, by Janet Loxley Lewis (3/5/2014) From “Cold Hills” I have lived so long On the cold hills alone … I loved the rock And the lean pine trees, Hated the life in the turfy meadow, Hated the heavy, sensuous bees. I have lived so long Under the high monotony of starry skies, I am so cased about With the clean […]

One Shies at the Prospect of Raising Yet Another Defense of Cannibalism, by Josh Bell (3/6/2014) “You can’t kiss a movie,” Jean Luc Godard said, and this is mostly true, in that you cannot initiate the kiss. The Movie could initiate the kiss if The Movie wanted, as it is so much taller, leaning in, no way to demur, you would be too polite anyway, and, as the Roman poets have […]

If You Go into the Woods You Will Find It Has a Technology, by Heather Christle (3/7/2014) This tree has a small LED display It is glowing and it can show you words and it can show you pictures and it can melt from one choice to another and you are looking at it and it wants you to share the message but it can’t see that you are the only one […]

#4, by Jane Miller (3/8/2014) Do you know how long it has been since a moral choice presented itself and the wrong choice was made not two minutes why is it not quiet between lightning and thunder as if someone were asking do you have other articulable feelings if so express them now tragedy ensues with a laser blast from […]

After the Movie, by Marie Howe (3/9/2014) My friend Michael and I are walking home arguing about the movie. He says that he believes a person can love someone and still be able to murder that person. I say, No, that’s not love. That’s attachment. Michael says, No, that’s love. You can love someone, then come to a day when you’re forced […]

Corpse Flower, Luna Moth, by Daniel Tobin (3/10/2014) The deep wine of it risen tall above the buried corm, its ornamental spathe furrowed thought- fully, to human warmth. O un-branched inflouresence, amorpho- phalos, misshapen swelling, with its allure of rotting flesh for the scarabs to follow, hollow, to the sun-lit trove, as though all dark were light unbidden by our parsing eye, and […]

Costumes Exchanging Glances, by Mary Jo Bang (3/11/2014) The rhinestone lights blink off and on. Pretend stars. I’m sick of explanations. A life is like Russell said of electricity, not a thing but the way things behave. A science of motion toward some flat surface, some heat, some cold. Some light can leave some after-image but it doesn’t last. Isn’t that what they […]

En Route, by Darcie Dennigan (3/12/2014) The infant asleep in the trough is a Buddhist. This time of year is very, very old. Over eggs, that is all we can conclude, us who are asleep, who are dreaming this long dream. What if this infant could be awoken? There is someone in heaven who for centuries an infinite number of centuries, […]

The Feeling of the World As a Bounded Whale Is the Mystical [The child affixes], by Darcie Dennigan(3/13/2014) The child affixes one of her little pictures to my refrigerator. She asks, Can you detect the radiation? There is a house, one tree, and grass in dark slashes. A sun shining. Beneath, in her child letters, she has written Chernobyl. At kindergarten they must be having nuclear energy week. One could look at the […]

Sentimental Atom Smasher, by Darcie Dennigan (3/14/2014) So this guy walks into a bar and asks for a beer. Sorry, the bartender says, I only sell atom smashers And the guy says well isn’t that America for you— every happy-hour Nelson’s a homemade physicist and no thank you, just an ice cold one, but it’s too late—suddenly, he’s on his butt in […]

Mass Effect, by Katy Lederer (3/15/2014) Pushed together, pulled apart, we were purported pluripotent. We developed as an organ, a benign and beating heart. We sought physicians for histology. Discovered spinal symmetry. Within the sacred bowl of life, our innards spilled in red array. I wondered what you’d have to say if in your mouth you grew a tongue. I wondered […]

In Betweenness, by Pierre Joris (3/16/2014) is it a good thing to find two empty pages between the day before yesterday & yesterday when trying to make room for the blue opera afternoon of today a sunday like any sunday in may? there is no one could tell or judge though my own obsession with the in between should dictate the […]

A Path Between Houses, by Greg Rappleye (3/17/2014) Where is the dwelling place of light? And where is the house of darkness? Go about; walk the limits of the land. Do you know a path between them? Job 38:19-20 The enigma of August. Season of dust and teenage arson. The nightly whine of pickup trucks bouncing through the sumac beneath the Co-Operative power […]

Muffin of Sunsets, by Elaine Equi (3/18/2014) The sky is melting. Me too. Who hasn’t seen it this way?   Pink between the castlework of buildings.   Pensive syrup drizzled over clouds.   It is almost catastrophic how heavenly.   A million poets, at least, have stood in this very spot, groceries in hand, wondering:   “Can I witness the Rapture and […]

Worst Things First, by Mark Bibbins (3/19/2014) A bag of thank-you notes fell on me and that was enough art for one day. Culturally speaking, it was more like a year in the floral trenches, kicked off with a single boneless kiss. Poor sad demon in his poor dead tree— or is it he who pities me, cockshy quasihero with a latex […]

Strange Meeting, by Wilfred Owen (3/20/2014) It seemed that out of the battle I escaped Down some profound dull tunnel, long since scooped Through granites which Titanic wars had groined. Yet also there encumbered sleepers groaned, Too fast in thought or death to be bestirred. Then, as I probed them, one sprang up, and stared With piteous recognition in fixed eyes, […]

The Aeneid, Book VI, [First, the sky and the earth], by Virgil (3/21/2014)  “First, the sky and the earth and the flowing fields of the sea, the shining orb of the moon and the Titan sun, the stars: an inner spirit feeds them, coursing through all their limbs, mind stirs the mass and their fusion brings the world to birth. From their union springs the human race and […]

Red String, by Minnie Bruce Pratt (3/22/2014)  At first she thought the lump in the road was clay thrown up by a trucker’s wheel. Then Beatrice saw the mess of feathers. Six or seven geese stood in the right-of-way, staring at the blood, their black heads rigid above white throats. Unmoved by passing wind or familiar violence, they fixed their gaze on […]

Waiting for Rain, by Ellen Bass (3/23/2014) Finally, morning. This loneliness feels more ordinary in the light, more like my face in the mirror. My daughter in the ER again. Something she ate? Some freshener   someone spritzed in the air? They’re trying to kill me, she says, as though it’s a joke. Lucretius got me through the night. He told me […]

A Boat, Beneath a Sunny Sky, by Lewis Carroll (3/24/2014) A boat, beneath a sunny sky Lingering onward dreamily In an evening of July— Children three that nestle near, Eager eye and willing ear, Pleased a simple tale to hear— Long has paled that sunny sky: Echoes fade and memories die: Autumn frosts have slain July. Still she haunts me, phantomwise, Alice moving under skies […]

A Green Crab’s Shell, by Mark Doty (3/25/2014) Not, exactly, green: closer to bronze preserved in kind brine, something retrieved from a Greco-Roman wreck, patinated and oddly muscular. We cannot know what his fantastic legs were like– though evidence suggests eight complexly folded scuttling works of armament, crowned by the foreclaws’ gesture of menace and power. A gull’s gobbled the center, leaving this […]

For Once, Then, Something, by Robert Frost (3/26/2014) Others taunt me with having knelt at well-curbs Always wrong to the light, so never seeing Deeper down in the well than where the water Gives me back in a shining surface picture Me myself in the summer heaven godlike Looking out of a wreath of fern and cloud puffs. Once, when trying with chin […]

Diary [Surface], by Rachel Zucker (3/27/2014) Spring is not so very promising as it is the thing that looking back was fire, promising: ignition, aspiration; it was not under my thumb. Now when I pretend a future it is the moment he holds the thing I say new-born, delicate, sure to begin moving but I am burned out of it like […]

Poem, by Rachel Zucker (3/28/2014) The other day Matt Rohrer said, the next time you feel yourself going dark in a poem, just don’t, and see what happens. That was when Matt, Deborah Landau, Catherine Barnett, and I were chatting, on our way to somewhere and something else. In her office, a few minutes earlier, Deborah had asked, are you […]

My Daughter Among the Names, by Farid Matuk (3/29/2014) Difficult once I’ve said things to know them this morning the lights above the tollway all off at exactly 7:36 all “we took our yellow from the pewter sky.” But we have so many things!   Stories about our diction, the leather couch some trees and our ages. What about all the rooms the sky makes— […]

Hey Allen Ginsberg Where Have You Gone and What Would You Think of My Drugs?, by Rachel Zucker(3/30/2014) A mouse went to see his mother.  When his car broke down he bought a bike. When the bike wore out he bought skates.  When the skates wore down he ran. He ran until his sneakers wore through.  Then he walked.  He walked and walked, almost walked his feet through so he bought new ones. […]

Her Name was Name, by Matt Hart (3/31/2014) I had a girl, I named her soap. I had a soap, I named her cat. One day I played the accordion on paper, and it sounded like a birth certificate drifting into the sun, a disintegration station in a vast bewildered wilderness— which sounds like a slide whistle at first but later like the […]

April 2014

April 2014

The Poem as Mask, by Muriel Rukeyser (4/1/2014) Orpheus When I wrote of the women in their dances and wildness, it was a mask, on their mountain, gold-hunting, singing, in orgy, it was a mask; when I wrote of the god, fragmented, exiled from himself, his life, the love gone down with song, it was myself, split open, unable to speak, in exile […]

Call Us, by Sally Van Doren (4/2/2014) Let’s use our nicknames When we apply for this next job Even though it’s past our bedtime And our current paycheck Can’t shut up the muse Who mewls at the dinner table Begging for a crust of bread To sate the nightly terrors. For they come, don’t they, Leaving empty spaces numbers Are supposed to […]

High Tide at Race Point, by Charles Bernstein (4/3/2014) for Norman Fischer A commercial with no pitch. A beach without sand. A lover without a love. A surface without an exterior. A touch without a hand. A protest without a cause. A well without a bottom. A sting without a bite. A scream without a mouth. A fist without a fight. A day without […]

To be the thing, by Dorothea Lasky (4/4/2014) To be the name uttered, but not to have the burden to be To be the name said, but not heard To not breathe anymore, to be the thing To be the thing being breathed To not be about to die, to be already dead To not have to disappoint To not have the burden […]

Poem for circulation, by Anselm Berrigan (4/5/2014) Things surrounding things fill my Wicked Tuna grid heart with a swishy austerity-like intention. I cut my post-fleshy forearms & bleed a serious parallel echo chamber reading everything to approve of nothing. I massage my anterior cruciate ligaments to celebrate a hard won royal flush. This mind is slick-like and easy-like and music-like and gesture-like […]

Knot iii.VII, by Stacy Doris (4/6/2014) If people could feed on themselves which they can, whether in despair or Pride, time becomes a circulation, reduced and expanded to that, imitating Digestion. Ingesting decomposes any scrap into functions, whereas eating Something other than yourself disprove wholeness. What rewards Rewording might be justice. Then does response outrun responsibility, Overthrow it, so all government’s […]

The Thousand Somethings of Someone, by Forrest Gander (4/7/2014) Could have been otherwise and birdsong make us nauseous. And gigantic roiling sunsets give us vertigo. The world of flowers is for insects, not us. But tonic is durance among.  

Sonnet [Nothing was ever what it claimed to be,], by Karen Volkman (4/8/2014) Nothing was ever what it claimed to be, the earth, blue egg, in its seeping shell dispensing damage like a hollow hell inchling weeping for a minor sea ticking its tidelets, x and y and z. The blue beneficence we call and spell and call blue heaven, the whiteblue well of constant water, deepening a […]

Things Between Themselves, by Heidi Lynn Staples (4/9/2014) …to have been things among things between themselves and all others who live… …to travel widely beyond the seas… …to arrive one half king, one half informer… …to appear o how atrocious soever… …to present all the disabilities… …to demonstrate an investment in kin… …to show an interest real or personal in this… …to uncover […]

Poem Entering the Apple Valley Target, by Lynn Melnick (4/10/2014) Into the fluorescent rough country headlong into bulks of flesh impatient to outspend me and who wouldn’t fold real quick under the weight of America’s sales and specials. I believed then I didn’t that I was different than I am in my own skin in this infinity mirror, instructed such to seduce myself, to go […]

Poem Interrupted by Whitesnake, by Timothy Donnelly (4/11/2014) That agreeable feeling we haven’t yet been able to convert into words to our satisfaction despite several conscious attempts to do so might prove in the end to be nothing more than satisfaction itself, an advanced new formula just sitting there waiting to be marketed as such: Let my logo be the couch I can […]

Prefix: Finding the measure, by Robert Kelly (4/12/2014) Finding the measure is finding the mantram, is finding the moon, as index of measure, is finding the moon’s source; if that source is Sun, finding the measure is finding the natural articulation of ideas. The organism of the macrocosm, the organism of language, the organism of I combine in ceaseless naturing to propagate a […]

Teaching the Ape to Write Poems, by James Tate (4/13/2014) They didn’t have much trouble teaching the ape to write poems: first they strapped him into the chair, then tied the pencil around his hand (the paper had already been nailed down). Then Dr. Bluespire leaned over his shoulder and whispered into his ear: “You look like a god sitting there. Why don’t you try […]

ninth: a conversation between Annabot and the Human Machine on the subject of overpowering emotion, by Anna Moschovakis (4/14/2014) (Note: Though Annabot is ostensibly downloadable, the attempt to open her produced an error, a string of errors.) ANNABOT: What now? HUMAN MACHINE: The Brain, the brain—that is the seat of trouble! ANNABOT: My brain, whose brain? Those who feel, feel. HUMAN MACHINE: On the blink? ANNABOT: Or, discipline. The brain is a machine of […]

Chirality, by Rae Armantrout (4/15/2014) If I didn’t need to do anything, would I? Would I oscillate in two or three dimensions? Would I summon a beholder and change chirality for “him”? A massless particle passes through the void with no resistance. Ask what it means to pass through the void. Ask how it differs from not passing.  

Bardo, by Peter Gizzi (4/16/2014) I’ve spent my life in a lone mechanical whine, this combustion far off. How fathomless to be embedded in glacial ice, what piece of self hiding there. I am not sure about meaning but understand the wave. No more Novalis out loud. No Juan de la Cruz singing “I do not die to die.” No […]

February 2015

February 2015

Lessons from a Mirror, by Thylias Moss (2/6/2015) Snow White was nude at her wedding, she’s so white the gown seemed to disappear when she put it on. Put me beside her and the proximity is good for a study of chiaroscuro, not much else. Her name aggravates me most, as if I need to be told what’s white and what isn’t. Judging […]

Let’s Get Out of Here, by Corey Zeller (2/7/2015) The river is a fish and my tongue is white paper you draw your hand on and the sounds keys make on the waist of a janitor in an empty building on the night of your birth when the moon was a live bird pinned to a girl’s chest and the color of a beat-up […]

Lillian Gish Goes to Hell, by Richard Siken (2/8/2015) But she has been there before, has a suite in fact, where she can swan and collapse on a series of fainting couches: velveteen, plush, gem-colored. In 1913, during the production of A Good Little Devil, Lillian collapsed from anemia. She took delight in suffering for art. Although not a religious man, Sartre was fascinated […]

Lisbon, by Eliza Griswold (2/9/2015) We meet midway to walk white cobbles under a fish-flesh gray sky. Europe is collapsing; we are collapsing always and again no matter how hard we love one another. I don’t understand our failure, where the feed loops back and spits us into another country, another junior suite reenacting this same, same beat of a […]

Losing Track, by Denise Levertov (2/10/2015) Long after you have swung back away from me I think you are still with me: you come in close to the shore on the tide and nudge me awake the way a boat adrift nudges the pier: am I a pier half-in half-out of the water? and in the pleasure of that communion I […]

Love Poem, by Dorothea Lasky (2/11/2015) The rain whistled. A taxi brought me to your apartment building And there I stood. I had dreamed a dream Of us in a bedroom. The light shining upon us in white sheets. You were singing me a song of your sailing days And in the dream I reached deep in you and pulled out […]

Move to the City, by Nathaniel Bellows (2/12/2015) live life as a stranger. Disappear into frequent invention, depending on the district, wherever you get off the train. For a night, take the name of the person who’d say yes to that offer, that overture, the invitation to kiss that mouth, sit on that lap. Assume the name of whoever has the skill to […]

Mint, by Elaine Terranova (2/13/2015) Already, we’d be driving past those trees, that part of the forest. Even briefly, it refreshed you. It was like mint in August though that sting would be gone with summer. The ground tarnishing first, and soon the leaves. I thought then, men don’t stop. They want so much to get on. What we said, […]

Love Song for Love Songs, by Rafael Campo (2/14/2015) A golden age of love songs and we still can’t get it right. Does your kiss really taste like butter cream? To me, the moon’s bright face was neither like a pizza pie nor full; the Beguine began, but my eyelid twitched. “No more I love you’s,” someone else assured us, pouring out her heart, […]

Moss Retains Moisture, by Matthew Rohrer (2/15/2015) I never believed in bioluminescence before. Here in Moravia where all daylight hides the only illumination is whiskey. Names seem unimportant. Large are the memories growing elsewhere beneath themselves. Do hemlocks burn when stared at? Darkness always retains something shapely. Those leaves engender me. Bedding down in pine-covered nighttime I disappeared. Owls are silent. Bears […]

On Hearing That My Poems Were Being Studied in a Distant Place, by Hyam Plutzik (2/16/2015) What are they mumbling about me there? “Here,” they say, “he suffered; here was glad.” Are words clothes or the putting off of clothes?” The scene is as follows: my book is open On thirty desks; the teacher expounds my life. Outside the window the Pacific roars like a lion. Beside which my small words […]

On The Bus Someday, by Jessica Greenbaum (2/17/2015) Of that string of memories about our lost friendship I remember being invited places as a pair, like a comedy team; and after one party, our self-parody of our own stammering speechlessness when introduced to Henrik, the Swedish god auto mechanic; our twin, garish, purple-flowered swimsuits from Kmart, outlining, around Texas, our sameness and differences; […]

Quandary, by Louise Mathias (2/18/2015) All night I flew the dark recess of God’s mind. It was arranged like Iowa fields– not a damn thing missing. You ask how I survived. I lived on a message, broad light at the end of the world. Words, they have so much in common with departure, the clouds elliptical & nervous. Why translate? […]

Room Tone, by Bill Berkson (2/19/2015) Wrestling that old beauty “Body and Soul” To the ground The genus award for epochal comes besotted Complicity follows like caramel on a sponge mop Child-bearing babies on stilts I dreamed you were felled by an unspecified illness In yours I was rowing a leaky boat, even though The motor was foolproof and bore hairs […]

Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening, by Robert Frost (2/20/2015) Whose woods these are I think I know. His house is in the village though; He will not see me stopping here To watch his woods fill up with snow. My little horse must think it queer To stop without a farmhouse near Between the woods and frozen lake The darkest evening of the year. […]

The dandelions in the moment and then, by CJ Evans (2/21/2015) It is. And needles don’t fall; cones don’t fall. The soil keeps holding the grass seed and the dune sand beneath is still torn by thirsty, wooden hands. By bedrock is where will be my tenoned pine. And the grass seeds don’t split, their shoots don’t spill. The clouds remain, widely. That locked closet inside […]

|admin| New Available PDF: Ars Poetica (2/21/2015)  Go to PDF Downloads page Ars Poetica (Poetry Written On the Art Of Poetry): Ars Poetica.pdf Ars Poetica.docx CONTENTS: + A True Poem, by Lloyd Schwartz + Adam’s Curse, by W. B. Yeats + Always on the Train, by Ruth Stone + Ars Poetica (cocoons), by Dana Levin + Ars Poetica, by Anthony Butts + Ars Poetica, by Archibald MacLeish + Ars Poetica, by Dorothea Lasky + Ars Poetica, by Paul Verlaine + Ars Poetica, by Primus St. John + Ars Poetica, by Vicente Huidobro + Ars Poetica?, by Czeslaw Milosz + Arthur’s Anthology of English Poetry, by Laurence Lerner + Because You Asked about the Line Between Prose and Poetry, by Howard Nemerov + Blue or Green, by James Galvin + Briefly It Enters, and Briefly Speaks, by Jane Kenyon + Cockroaches: Ars Poetica, by Chad Davidson + Endnote, by Hayden Carruth + Envoi, by William Meredith + Five Poems about Poetry, by George Oppen + If It All Went Up in Smoke, by George Oppen + Languages, by Carl Sandburg + Light (an Ars Poetica), by Michael Cirelli + Mars Poetica, by Wyn Cooper + Stilling to North, by Arthur Sze + Take the I Out, by Sharon Olds + Teaching the Ape to Write Poems, by James Tate + The Indications [excerpt], by Walt Whitman + The Novel as Manuscript, by Norman Dubie

All Us Beautiful Monsters, by Alex Lemon (2/22/2015) The entire world wants To pretend to be a foreigner In a big box store & wander The aisles shouting, endlessly— But I am pretty sure that today Is my day to not just be a guy But to be the guy. A baby grows In each drawer of the million- Drawered cherrywood cabinet That […]

Ozymandias, by Percy Bysshe Shelley (2/23/2015) I met a traveller from an antique land Who said: “Two vast and trunkless legs of stone Stand in the desert . . . Near them, on the sand, Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown, And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command, Tell that its sculptor well those passions read Which yet […]

Birds in the Night, by Luis Cernuda (2/24/2015) The French—or was it the English?—government placed a plaque On that house at 8 Great College Street, Camden Town, London, Where in a room Rimbaud and Verlaine, a peculiar couple, Lived, drank, worked, and fornicated For a few brief stormy weeks. No doubt the ambassador and the mayor attended the dedication, All the same people […]

A Calculus of Readiness, by Liz Waldner (2/25/2015) I, too, come from the city of dolls. A small palm is my umbrella. This takes care of above but below, the blind river of sadness rolls on and in it, a hand is always reaching up to pick fish from the night-time sky. The lines on the palm of the hand lure a trout […]

A Situation for Mrs. Biswas, by Prageeta Sharma (2/26/2015) When I received the call I was in a store in Missoula, Montana. A store stocked with sparkling ephemera: glass fauna, tiny belfry bulbs, winter white birch and stump-lamps brandishing light cones, little shelves and branches hung with drops of ice and round silver baubles. I loved the store: it was cavernous, dark with wood […]

A Supermarket in California, by Allen Ginsberg (2/27/2015) What thoughts I have of you tonight, Walt Whitman, for I walked down the sidestreets under the trees with a headache self-conscious looking at the full moon. In my hungry fatigue, and shopping for images, I went into the neon fruit supermarket, dreaming of your enumerations! What peaches and what penumbras! Whole families shopping at […]

|admin| New Available PDF: Untitled Poems (2/27/2015)  Go to PDF Downloads page Untitled (Poems Without Titles): Untitled Poems.pdf Untitled Poems.docx CONTENTS: + [Untitled], by J. Michael Martinez + Untitled [1950 June 27], by Don Mee Choi + Untitled [A house just like his mother’s], by Gregory Orr + Untitled [and the moon once it stopped was sleeping], by Erika Meitner + Untitled [Back they […]

Another Poem on My Daughter’s Birthday, by Craig Morgan Teicher (2/28/2015) There must be soft words for an evening like this, when the breeze caresses like gentle fingertips all over. I don’t know how not to write darkly and sad. But it’s two years today since my little girl was born, cut safely from the noose. We meant nothing but hope; how near death is to […]

March 2015

March 2015

Anyway, by Richard Siken (3/1/2015) He was pointing at the moon but I was looking at his hand. He was dead anyway, a ghost. I’m surprised I saw his hand at all. The moon, of course, is always there—day moon, but it’s still there; behind the clouds but it’s still there. I like seeing things: a hand, the moon, ice […]

The Purpose of Ritual, by Melissa Broder (3/2/2015) When you fled I disappeared into the abscesses of my brain. We are both impulsive humans and perhaps my disappearance was premature. To reappear I had to grow younger. I began consuming images of boys at a very rapid speed, never their bodies just reflections. I distorted all the mirrors in mucus, oil and blood. […]

The World Is Too Much With Us, by William Wordsworth (3/3/2015) The world is too much with us; late and soon, Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers; Little we see in Nature that is ours; We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon! This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon; The winds that will be howling at all hours, And are […]

Non-lieux, by Erika Meitner (3/4/2015) Hand-painted on the side of a shack we pass on the road to Ohio: what this world comin to? This is not haiku. This is more like fog and we’re socked in and your body is invisible and right across from me simultaneously. How much ammo you got? says one guy to another in the […]

Headaches, by Marilyn Hacker (3/5/2015) Wine again. The downside of any evening’s bright exchanges, scribbled with retribution : stark awake, a tic throbs in the left temple’s site of bombardment. Tortured syntax, thorned thoughts, vocabulary like a forest littered with unexploded cluster bombs, no exit except explosion ripping the branches. Stacks of shadowed books on the bedside table wall a […]

Could Have Danced All Night, by Dean Young (3/6/2015) The wolf appointed to tear me apart is sure making slow work of it. This morning just one eye weeping, a single chip out of my back and the usual maniacal wooden bird flutes in the brain. Listen to that feeble howl like having fangs is something to regret, like we shouldn’t give thanks for […]

The Subject of Retreat, by Yona Harvey (3/7/2015) Your black coat is a door in the storm. The snow we don’t mention clings to your boots & powders & puffs. & poof. Goes. Dust of the fallen. Right here at home. The ache of someone gone-missing. Walk it off like a misspoken word. Mound of snow. Closed door. I could open it. Or […]

1941 Piece, by Emilio Villa (3/8/2015) It could be that on any given day air would travel half-heartedly through the air, maybe, but if Lake Garda fails to recover in time all the dust eaten by cyclists in meaningless races, and kilometers that don’t count, good for nothing, maybe, as long as the ozone and the horizontal rain speak to traffic […]

If We Must Die, by Claude McKay (3/9/2015) If we must die—let it not be like hogs Hunted and penned in an inglorious spot, While round us bark the mad and hungry dogs, Making their mock at our accursed lot. If we must die—oh, let us nobly die, So that our precious blood may not be shed In vain; then even the monsters […]

Iris, by David St. John (3/10/2015) Vivian St. John (1881-1974) There is a train inside this iris: You think I’m crazy, & like to say boyish & outrageous things. No, there is A train inside this iris. It’s a child’s finger bearded in black banners. A single window like a child’s nail, A darkened porthole lit by the white, angular face […]

Slide, by Kate Colby (3/11/2015) You and I inhabit thresholds, clinging to neither here nor there, and to and: this is a threshold of no relief, of interrogative light and obviated shadows, of questions flattened between clapboard slides, in laboratories of hanging frames—in a potential frame, the next moment slumps beneath the shadow of the overhang. They call it earthquake […]

Survivor Guilt, by Ron Padgett (3/12/2015) It’s very easy to get. Just keep living and you’ll find yourself getting more and more of it. You can keep it or pass it on, but it’s a good idea to keep a small portion for those nights when you’re feeling so good you forget you’re human. Then drudge it up and float down […]

Ludwig Van Beethoven’s Return to Vienna, by Rita Dove (3/13/2015) Oh you men who think or say that I am malevolent, stubborn, or misanthropic, how greatly do you wrong me…. —The Heiligenstadt Testament Three miles from my adopted city lies a village where I came to peace. The world there was a calm place, even the great Danube no more than a pale ribbon tossed […]

Iva’s Pantoum, by Marilyn Hacker (3/14/2015) We pace each other for a long time. I packed my anger with the beef jerky. You are the baby on the mountain. I am in a cold stream where I led you. I packed my anger with the beef jerky. You are the woman sticking her tongue out in a cold stream where I […]

anyone lived in a pretty how town, by E. E. Cummings (3/15/2015) anyone lived in a pretty how town (with up so floating many bells down) spring summer autumn winter he sang his didn’t he danced his did. Women and men(both little and small) cared for anyone not at all they sowed their isn’t they reaped their same sun moon stars rain children guessed(but only a few […]

For the Confederate Dead, by Kevin Young (3/16/2015) I go with the team also. —Whitman These are the last days my television says. Tornadoes, more rain, overcast, a chance of sun but I do not trust weathermen, never have. In my fridge only the milk makes sense— expires. No one, much less my parents, can tell me why my middle name is Lowell, […]

Four Poems for Robin, by Gary Snyder (3/17/2015) Four Poems for Robin, by Gary Snyder Siwashing It Out Once in Suislaw Forest by Gary Snyder I slept under rhododendron All night blossoms fell Shivering on a sheet of cardboard Feet stuck in my pack Hands deep in my pockets Barely able to sleep. I remembered when we were in school Sleeping together in […]

Kaddish, Part I, by Allen Ginsberg (3/18/2015) For Naomi Ginsberg, 1894-1956 Strange now to think of you, gone without corsets & eyes, while I walk on the sunny pavement of Greenwich Village. downtown Manhattan, clear winter noon, and I’ve been up all night, talking, talking, reading the Kaddish aloud, listening to Ray Charles blues shout blind on the phonograph the rhythm the […]

Nocturne, by Wayne Miller (3/19/2015) Tonight all the leaves are paper spoons in a broth of wind. Last week they made a darker sky below the sky. The houses have swallowed their colors, and each car moves in the blind sack of its sound like the slipping of water. Flowing means falling very slowly— the river passing under the tracks, […]

Do What Now, by Mike Young (3/20/2015) for ET We are things embarrassing, strange, and hang around feeling everything things, things, considering beautiful that which does not consider anything. Are we? Strange and hang embarrassing, things around, beautiful feelings. Consider everything. That which considers we are. Feeling feeling, not beautiful. Hanging things. Everything we are, strange, which does not feel. Strange, that […]

Sailing to Byzantium, by W. B. Yeats (3/21/2015) That is no country for old men. The young In one another’s arms, birds in the trees —Those dying generations—at their song, The salmon-falls, the mackerel-crowded seas, Fish, flesh, or fowl, commend all summer long Whatever is begotten, born, and dies. Caught in that sensual music all neglect Monuments of unageing intellect. An aged man […]

World’s Bliss, by Alice Notley (3/22/2015) The men & women sang & played they sleep by singing, what shall I say of the most poignant on earth the most glamorous loneliest sought after people those poets wholly beautiful desolate aureate, death is a powerful instinctive emotion— but who would be released from a silver skeleton? gems & drinking cups—This skull is […]

[white spring], by Lisa Olstein (3/23/2015) I am working on a specimen so pale it is like staring at snow from the bow of a ship in fog. I lose track of things—articulation of wing, fineness of hair—as if the moth itself disappears, but remains as an emptiness before me. Or, from its bleakness, the subtlest distinctions suddenly increase: the slightest […]

A Few Lines from Rehoboth Beach, by Fleda Brown (3/24/2015) Dear friend, you were right: the smell of fish and foam and algae makes one green smell together. It clears my head. It empties me enough to fit down in my own skin for a while, singleminded as a surfer. The first day here, there was nobody, from one distance to the other. Rain rose […]

Woods in Winter, by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (3/25/2015) When winter winds are piercing chill, And through the hawthorn blows the gale, With solemn feet I tread the hill, That overbrows the lonely vale. O’er the bare upland, and away Through the long reach of desert woods, The embracing sunbeams chastely play, And gladden these deep solitudes. Where, twisted round the barren oak, The […]

I Would Like to Describe, by Zbigniew Herbert (3/26/2015) I would like to describe the simplest emotion joy or sadness but not as others do reaching for shafts of rain or sun I would like to describe a light which is being born in me but I know it does not resemble any star for it is not so bright not so pure and […]

|admin| New Available PDF: Elegies (3/26/2015) admin’s note: I’ve been making a lot of changes on here recently, so my apologies for any random inconsistencies in content, format, themes, pages, etc. Let me know if your inbox is being spammed with notifications; I wasn’t sure if it was just happening to mine or everybody’s. I’m very sorry if that’s the case. […]

Around Us, by Marvin Bell (3/27/2015) We need some pines to assuage the darkness when it blankets the mind, we need a silvery stream that banks as smoothly as a plane’s wing, and a worn bed of needles to pad the rumble that fills the mind, and a blur or two of a wild thing that sees and is not seen. […]

City Lights 1961, by Diane di Prima (3/28/2015) Going there for the first time it was so much smaller then that crowded downstairs full of poetry racks of tattered little mags against the wall those rickety white tables where folks sat reading/writing Vesuvio’s was like an adjunct office Arriving again a year later, two kids in tow Lawrence gave me a huge stack […]

The Truth, by Carl Phillips (3/29/2015) And now, the horse is entering the sea, and the sea holds it. Where are we? Behind us, the beach, yes, its scrim, yes, of grass, dune, sky—Desire goes by, and though it’s wind of course making the grass bend, unbend, we say it’s desire again, passing us by, souveniring us with gospel the grass, […]

City Moon, by Francisco Aragón (3/30/2015) Perfect disc of moon, huge and simmering low on the capital’s filthy horizon— ¡Ay, qué luna más hermosa! she says pushing the stroller slowly down Atocha. And gorgeous too the firm-thighed boys from Lisbon a block away, who work Kilometer Zero’s sidewalk, the neon shoestore they lean against cupping the flames of passing strangers. The […]

Electricity, by Geoffrey Nutter (3/31/2015) Children picking through the rocks beside the river on a spring day. What are they looking for? Old green net tangled on broken pilings; a couple embracing on the tumbledown esplanade. Some fishermen drinking beer from tall brown bottles. Broken shells, tire treads, rusted aluminum pull-tabs- downriver, near the sun, the great echoes and the […]

|admin| Quick Announcement (3/31/2015) admin: I’m thinking about posting two poems a day (one in the morning, one in the evening) through the month of April, and maybe past April if it works out alright. I just really want you guys to let me know if you have any problems with that, because I don’t want anyone to feel like […]

April 2015

April 2015

Epistemology of the Phone Booth, by Gregory Pardlo (4/1/2015) I found the scrap of City Paper classified, the 1-900 number and photos like candidates there, in love’s voting machine. Discomfort station. No pissoir. Hothouse maybe for a fourteenth-year sprig: me. Light box to slideshow the introvert cloaked in a prepaid identity discreet as a shirttail in the fly. Ma Bell’s shelter was brutal & […]

The Bean House, by John Koethe (4/1/2015) . . . humming in the summer haze. Diane christened it the Bean House, Since everything in it came straight from an L.L. Bean Home catalog. It looks out upon two Meadows separated by a stand of trees, and at night, When the heat begins to dissipate and the stars Become visible in the uncontaminated […]

Starlight, by William Meredith (4/2/2015) Going abruptly into a starry night It is ignorance we blink from, dark, unhoused; There is a gaze of animal delight Before the human vision. Then, aroused To nebulous danger, we may look for easy stars, Orion and the Dipper; but they are not ours, These learned fields. Dark and ignorant, Unable to see here […]

Acts of Mind, by Catherine Barnett (4/2/2015) What’s funny about this place is us regulars coming in with our different accoutrements, mine usually the little void of space I call honey, days I can barely get through I’m laughing so hard, see? In the back a woman squeezes oranges, someone presses the fresh white bread into communion wafers or party favors. In […]

Father Lynch Returns from the Dead, by Jean Valentine (4/3/2015) There’s one day a year they can return, if they want. He says he won’t again. I ask what it’s like— he quotes St. Paul: “Now hope is sweet.” Then in his own voice. Oh well it’s a great scandal, the naked are easier to kill.

Small Talk, by Eleanor Lerman (4/3/2015) It is a mild day in the suburbs Windy, a little gray. If there is sunlight, it enters through the kitchen window and spreads itself, thin as a napkin, beside the coffee cup, pie on a plate What am I describing? I am describing a dream in which nobody has died These are our mothers: […]

maggie and milly and molly and may, by e.e. cummings (4/4/2015) 10 maggie and milly and molly and may went down to the beach(to play one day) and maggie discovered a shell that sang so sweetly she couldn’t remember her troubles,and milly befriended a stranded star whose rays five languid fingers were; and molly was chased by a horrible thing which raced sideways while blowing bubbles:and […]

Success Comes to Cow Creek, by James Tate (4/4/2015) I sit on the tracks, a hundred feet from earth, fifty from the water. Gerald is inching toward me as grim, slow, and determined as a season, because he has no trade and wants none. It’s been nine months since I last listened to his fate, but I know what he will say: he’s the […]

Let Birds, by Linda Gregg (4/5/2015) Eight deer on the slope in the summer morning mist. The night sky blue. Me like a mare let out to pasture. The Tao does not console me. I was given the Way in the milk of childhood. Breathing it waking and sleeping. But now there is no amazing smell of sperm on my thighs, […]

Perfect Woman, by William Wordsworth (4/5/2015) She was a phantom of delight When first she gleam’d upon my sight; A lovely apparition, sent To be a moment’s ornament; Her eyes as stars of twilight fair; Like twilight’s, too, her dusky hair; But all things else about her drawn From May-time and the cheerful dawn; A dancing shape, an image gay, To […]

Kingdom Animalia, by Aracelis Girmay (4/6/2015) When I get the call about my brother, I’m on a stopped train leaving town & the news packs into me—freight— though it’s him on the other end now, saying finefine— Forfeit my eyes, I want to turn away from the hair on the floor of his house & how it got there Monday, but […]

National Poetry Month, by Elaine Equi (4/6/2015) When a poem speaks by itself, it has a spark and can be considered part of a divine conversation. Sometimes the poem weaves like a basket around two loaves of yellow bread. “Break off a piece of this April with its raisin nipples,” it says. “And chew them slowly under your pillow. You belong in […]

Folly Stamp, by Prageeta Sharma (4/7/2015) Clatter into the window this late night. We were flabbergasted, tired of the newly-minted drunks and meth-kids with squeals for fists. We live downtown, exposed to the alley. Nothing dangerous, and we were not alarmed. But still, every sound turns us into pins on points, a sleep of figuring out: deeply felt turns: wrestling little […]

Beautiful Poetry, by Camille Guthrie (4/7/2015) “Being so caught up So mastered.” —Yeats I was too shy to say anything but Your poems are so beautiful. What kinds of things, feelings, or ideas inspire you, I mean, outside the raw experiences of your life? He turned a strange crosshatched color as if he stood in a clouded painting, and said, Thanks, […]

When Ecstasy is Inconvenient, by Lorine Niedecker (4/8/2015) Feign a great calm; all gay transport soon ends. Chant: who knows— flight’s end or flight’s beginning for the resting gull? Heart, be still. Say there is money but it rusted; say the time of moon is not right for escape. It’s the color in the lower sky too broadly suffused, or the wind in […]

memory of water, by Reina María Rodríguez (4/8/2015) september is a month like any other and unlike any other. it seems in september everything awaited will arrive: in the calm air, in a particular scent, in the stillness of the quay. when september comes, i know i’m going to lose myself. the ants climbing my legs and a certain change of light tell […]

Orfeo, by Jack Spicer (4/9/2015) Sharp as an arrow Orpheus Points his music downward. Hell is there At the bottom of the seacliff. Heal Nothing by this music. Eurydice Is a frigate bird or a rock or some seaweed. Hail nothing The infernal Is a slippering wetness out at the horizon. Hell is this: The lack of anything but the […]

Mr. Darcy, by Victoria Chang (4/9/2015) Then we are in the back seat of a car kissing not the light kind but one where our hands are on each other’s cheeks holding each other’s heads as if they will fall off why does so much love come at the beginning then disappear then once again at the moment before death why […]

Nearly a Valediction, by Marilyn Hacker (4/10/2015) You happened to me. I was happened to like an abandoned building by a bull- dozer, like the van that missed my skull happened a two-inch gash across my chin. You were as deep down as I’ve ever been. You were inside me like my pulse. A new- born flailing toward maternal heartbeat through the […]

Churchgoing, by Marilyn Nelson (4/10/2015) The Lutherans sit stolidly in rows; only their children feel the holy ghost that makes them jerk and bobble and almost destroys the pious atmosphere for those whose reverence bows their backs as if in work. The congregation sits, or stands to sing, or chants the dusty creeds automaton. Their voices drone like engines, on […]

Annabel Lee, by Edgar Allan Poe (4/11/2015) It was many and many a year ago, In a kingdom by the sea, That a maiden there lived whom you may know By the name of Annabel Lee; And this maiden she lived with no other thought Than to love and be loved by me. I was a child and she was a child, […]

Nights On The Peninsula, by D. Nurkse (4/11/2015) We could not separate ourselves from our endless making. We were always fabricating time, God, paradise, the bell-shaped lupines, the rough-grained elm and smooth beech. We made the night sky from a rusty hinge, the sea from a sigh and a bead of sweat. We made love long before dawn. We constantly modified each other, […]

Six Words, by Lloyd Schwartz (4/12/2015) yes no maybe sometimes always never Never? Yes. Always? No. Sometimes? Maybe— maybe never sometimes. Yes— no always: always maybe. No— never yes. Sometimes, sometimes (always) yes. Maybe never . . . No, no— sometimes. Never. Always? Maybe. Yes— yes no maybe sometimes always never.

Moving Out, by Sandra M. Gilbert (4/12/2015) Darling, I’m pushing the house into the garden, into the black arms, the green embrace of the oaks. Yesterday, two giants lugged the grand piano, its synapses still crackling with your tunes, up the steep steps, the narrow path to the gate. Now it muses in the what is this of a warehouse, and the […]

Never Ever, by Brenda Shaughnessy (4/13/2015) Alarmed, today is a new dawn, and that affair recurs daily like clockwork, undone at dusk, when a new restaurant emerges in the malnourished night. We said it would be this way, once this became the way it was. So in a way we were waiting for it. I still haven’t eaten, says the cook […]

Landscape with a Blur of Conquerors, by Richard Siken (4/13/2015) To have a thought, there must be an object— the field is empty, sloshed with gold, a hayfield thick with sunshine. There must be an object so land a man there, solid on his feet, on solid ground, in a field fully flooded, enough light to see him clearly, the light on his skin and […]

For Transtromer, by Norman Dubie (4/14/2015) In the cold heavy rain, through its poor lens, a woman who might be a man writes with a can of blue paint large numbers on the sides of beached whales— even on the small one who is still living, heaving there next to its darkening mother where the very air is a turnstile… I’m […]

Tang, by Bruce Cohen (4/14/2015) If I do not witness these leaves turning orange, who will? I stir myself: I like to think Of myself as a reincarnated Poet from the Tang Dynasty, Dehydrated orange drink Astronauts gulped orbiting this planet That became a fun ‘60’s breakfast staple, The bitter tang of a car’s squealing tires as it peels out, […]

In Praise of Their Divorce, by Tony Hoagland (4/15/2015) And when I heard about the divorce of my friends, I couldn’t help but be proud of them, that man and that woman setting off in different directions, like pilgrims in a proverb —him to buy his very own toaster oven, her seeking a prescription for sleeping pills. Let us keep in mind the hidden […]

Ontario, by Mark Levine (4/15/2015) Beauty in its winter slippers approached us by degrees on the gravel path. We were hitching a ride out; had been hitching. Our suitcase freighted with a few gardening tools lifted from the shed while the old man, old enough, looked away. He who went fishing at night (so he said) carrying in his pail […]

(Soma)tic 21: Touch Yourself for Art, by CAConrad (4/16/2015) —For Penny Arcade There must be a piece of art near where you live that you enjoy, even LOVE! A piece of art that IF THERE WAS WAR you would steal it and hide it in your little apartment. I’m going to PACK my apartment TO THE ROOF when war comes! This exercise needs 7 […]

The New Higher, by John Ashbery (4/16/2015) You meant more than life to me. I lived through you not knowing, not knowing I was living. I learned that you called for me. I came to where you were living, up a stair. There was no one there. No one to appreciate me. The legality of it upset a chair. Many times to […]

Lenore, by Edgar Allan Poe (4/17/2015) Ah broken is the golden bowl! the spirit flown forever! Let the bell toll!–a saintly soul floats on the Stygian river; And, Guy De Vere, hast thou no tear?–weep now or never more! See! on yon drear and rigid bier low lies thy love, Lenore! Come! let the burial rite be read–the funeral song be […]

Landscape with Happily Ever After, by Lynn Melnick (4/17/2015) Near midnight I’m held hostage to the hazy upshot in the corner velvet near a laced up tree and curious how I got here. What a crowd! I think and I think I should hoard my stash in my shoe. Did you catch the census takers trying to autocorrect the shelterbelt out of my history […]

5 & 7 & 5, by Anselm Hollo (4/18/2015) follow that airplane of course I’m high this is an emergency § giant Scots terrier I thought I saw was known as Taxicab Mountain § brown photo legend “serene enjoyment” they suck pipes bones crumbled back § night train whistles stars over a nation under mad temporal czars § round lumps of cells grow up […]

Saw You There, by Ander Monson (4/18/2015) “Carrie says I should make my connections into a poem.” —Dennis Etzel Jr. Sawed you there, through you there, girl whom I name Carrie, shine of sun on bonnet-handle at that Walgreens on 28th. A Friday night. It looked like you came straight from fighting something that looked like lightning. You were all scorched up. […]

Summer Solstice, by Stacie Cassarino (4/19/2015) I wanted to see where beauty comes from without you in the world, hauling my heart across sixty acres of northeast meadow, my pockets filling with flowers. Then I remembered, it’s you I miss in the brightness and body of every living name: rattlebox, yarrow, wild vetch. You are the green wonder of June, root […]

The Vacant Lot at the End of the Street, by Debora Greger (4/19/2015) in memory of Margaret Greger, 1923-2009   I. Death Takes a Holiday Battleships melted down into clouds: first the empire died, then the shipbuilding, but cloud formations of gun-metal gray ruled over the sea that was England in June. A scarecrow treaded water instead of barley, gulls set sail across a cricket ground. In a […]

Memories of West Street and Lepke, by Robert Lowell (4/20/2015) Only teaching on Tuesdays, book-worming in pajamas fresh from the washer each morning, I hog a whole house on Boston’s “hardly passionate Marlborough Street,” where even the man scavenging filth in the back alley trash cans, has two children, a beach wagon, a helpmate, and is “a young Republican.” I have a nine months’ daughter, […]

Ballad, by Sonia Sanchez (4/20/2015) (after the spanish) forgive me if i laugh you are so sure of love you are so young and i too old to learn of love. the rain exploding in the air is love the grass excreting her green wax is love and stones remembering past steps is love, but you. you are too young […]

What’s Left (Al-Mutanabbi Street), by Katrina Roberts (4/21/2015) Tracery Not nostalgia but the bluer salt of longing, not sentiment but the smutted sky raining bitter sediment, not our winding blunder down into that wound, not the ash-riddled grotto nor the blood-orange blown-open Not the mineral rash’s voice dubbed across the final unspooling reel, not that, whatever promise the book held, not what she […]

The Abduction, by Stanley Kunitz (4/21/2015) Some things I do not profess to understand, perhaps not wanting to, including whatever it was they did with you or you with them that timeless summer day when you stumbled out of the wood, distracted, with your white blouse torn and a bloodstain on your skirt. “Do you believe?” you asked. Between us, through […]

Homage to Sharon Stone, by Lynn Emanuel (4/22/2015) It’s early morning. This is the “before,” the world hanging around in its wrapper, blowzy, frumpy, doing nothing: my neighbors, hitching themselves to the roles of the unhappily married, trundle their three mastiffs down the street. I am writing this book of poems. My name is Lynn Emanuel. I am wearing a bathrobe and curlers; […]

Night Feeding, by Muriel Rukeyser (4/22/2015) Deeper than sleep but not so deep as death I lay there dreaming and my magic head remembered and forgot. On first cry I remembered and forgot and did believe. I knew love and I knew evil: woke to the burning song and the tree burning blind, despair of our days and the calm milk-giver […]

Preludes, by T. S. Eliot (4/23/2015) I The winter evening settles down With smell of steaks in passageways. Six o’clock. The burnt-out ends of smoky days. And now a gusty shower wraps The grimy scraps Of withered leaves about your feet And newspapers from vacant lots; The showers beat On broken blinds and chimney-pots, And at the corner of the street […]

The Dead, by Mina Loy (4/23/2015) We have flowed out of ourselves Beginning on the outside That shrivable skin Where you leave off Of infinite elastic Walking the ceiling Our eyelashes polish stars Curled close in the youngest corpuscle Of a descendant We spit up our passions in our grand-dams Fixing the extension of your reactions Our shadow lengthens In your […]

Problems with Hurricanes, by Victor Hernández Cruz (4/24/2015) A campesino looked at the air And told me: With hurricanes it’s not the wind or the noise or the water. I’ll tell you he said: it’s the mangoes, avocados Green plantains and bananas flying into town like projectiles. How would your family feel if they had to tell The generations that you got killed […]

5 South 43rd Street, Floor 2, by Yolanda Wisher (4/24/2015) Sometimes we would get hungry for the neighborhood. Walk up the sidewalk towards Chestnut Street. Speak to the Rev holding the light-skinned baby, ask his son to come put a new inner tube on my bike. Cross Ludlow, past the mailbox on the corner, Risqué Video, Dino’s Pizza, and the Emerald Laundromat. The fruit trucks […]

French Movie, by David Lehman (4/25/2015) I was in a French movie and had only nine hours to live and I knew it not because I planned to take my life or swallowed a lethal but slow-working potion meant for a juror in a mob-related murder trial, nor did I expect to be assassinated like a chemical engineer mistaken for someone […]

My Grandma’s Love Letters, by Hart Crane (4/25/2015) There are no stars tonight But those of memory. Yet how much room for memory there is In the loose girdle of soft rain. There is even room enough For the letters of my mother’s mother, Elizabeth, That have been pressed so long Into a corner of the roof That they are brown and soft, […]

Untitled [1950 June 27], by Don Mee Choi (4/26/2015) 1950 June 27: my father heard the sound of the engine of a North Korean fighter plane, Yak-9. Foremostly and therefore barely consequently in the highest manner, he followed the sound, running towards the city hall. After all it was hardly war. Yak-9, made in Russia, flew over the plaza of the city hall. Then […]

Gapped Sonnet, by Suzanne Gardinier (4/26/2015) Between the blinds Past the coded locks Past the slanted gold bars of the day Smelling of all-night salt rain on the docks Of grief Of birth Of bergamot Of May In the wind that lifts the harbor litter Wet against my fingers in a dream Salvaging among the tideline’s bitter gleanings Generous Exigent Lush […]

Sapphic Fragment, by Eliza Griswold (4/27/2015) I never longed for my virginity. I heard it on the radio after the hurricane. There, in the aftermath, was the voice of a man— once the sweet, screwed-up boy whose hooded, jessed spirit I tried to possess with the ruthlessness I mistook for power. Here he was on NPR, so gentle, so familiar with […]

Mysteries of Afternoon and Evening, by Rachel Sherwood (4/27/2015) The wind is fitful now: soot piles in the corners of new buildings, gulls stumble out of place in ragged branches to skim against a rise of pond water. The children watch, breathless with the birds. They feel an emanation from this shuddering place. This winter evening the sky cracks with cardinal color and we […]

[I’m not with my], by Joshua Beckman (4/28/2015) I’m not with my blue toes or my doggies nor am I under any arched roof rotting blossoms in my drain, sunlight pouncing upon me, nor am I fixed like a tree, nor am I unfixed like a wind. I ate an apple, that’s fine and after Anthony left I got a whiskey. I stared […]

Last night, by Michael Broder (4/28/2015) I dreamt of making sense, parts of speech caught up in sheets and blankets, long strips of fabric wrapped loosely around shoulders, goblets, urns, cups with unmatched saucers. You were there, and the past seemed important, what was said, what was done, feelings felt but maybe not expressed, signs randomly connected yet vital to what […]

Everything That Happens Can Be Called Aging, by Carl Adamshick (4/29/2015) I have more love than ever. Our kids have kids soon to have kids. I need them. I need everyone to come over to the house, sleep on the floor, on the couches in the front room. I need noise, too many people in too small a space, I need dancing, the spilling of drinks, […]

|admin| New Available PDF: Letters (4/29/2015) admin’s note: Hey guys, I hope everyone’s having a good day so far. I just have a few quick announcements. — I’ve added a new PDF (as well as DOCX) file for poems involving letters, letter writing, letter reading, letter finding, etc. You can find and download the file either on the PDF Downloads page […]

I Found a 1950s “Answer and Color-in Book”, by Jennifer Barber (4/29/2015) One day the children played in the kitchen. in the cellar. in the yard. The yard looked like a meadow. a forest. an island in the sea. The children forgot their mud cakes, swing set, sticks, when a girl taught them cat’s cradles. clay people. folded paper boats. Late afternoon, whispering, they lay in a […]

How Beautiful, by Mary Jo Bang (4/30/2015) A personal lens: glass bending rays That gave one that day’s news Saying each and every day, Just remember you are standing On a planet that’s evolving. How beautiful, she thought, what distance does For water, the view from above or afar. In last night’s dream, they were back again At the beginning. She was […]

April to May, by Joyce Peseroff (4/30/2015) 1. It is cold enough for rain to coagulate and fall in heavy drops. Tonight a skin of ice will grow over the bones of the smallest bush, making it droop like the wrist of someone carrying a heavy suitcase. This moving on, from season to season, is exhausting and violent, the break from the […]

May 2015

May 2015

American Singer, by Matthew Zapruder (5/1/2015) when I walk to the mailbox holding the letter that fails to say how sorry I am you feel your call or any words at all on that day would have stopped the great singer who long ago decided more quickly through to move I notice probably because you wrote that strange word funeral the […]

If You Forget Me, by Pablo Neruda (5/1/2015) I want you to know one thing. You know how this is: if I look at the crystal moon, at the red branch of the slow autumn at my window, if I touch near the fire the impalpable ash or the wrinkled body of the log, everything carries me to you, as if everything that […]

After Reading Tu Fu, I Go Outside to the Dwarf Orchard, by Charles Wright (5/2/2015) East of me, west of me, full summer. How deeper than elsewhere the dusk is in your own yard. Birds fly back and forth across the lawn looking for home As night drifts up like a little boat. Day after day, I become of less use to myself. Like this mockingbird, I flit from one […]

Tablets, by Dunya Mikhail (5/2/2015) 1 She pressed her ear against the shell: she wanted to hear everything he never told her. 2 A single inch separates their two bodies facing one another in the picture: a framed smile buried beneath the rubble. 3 Whenever you throw stones into the sea it sends ripples through me. 4 My heart’s quite […]

Afterwards, by Philip Schultz (5/3/2015) Suddenly everything feels afterwards, stoic and inevitable, my eyes ringed with the grease of rumor and complicity, my hands eager to hold any agreeable infatuation that might otherwise slip away. Suddenly it’s evening and the lights up and down the street appear hopeful, even magnanimous, swollen as they are with ancient grievances and souring schemes. […]

The Call, by C. Dale Young (5/3/2015) in memoriam Cecil Young I am addicted to words, constantly ferret them away in anticipation. You cannot accuse me of not being prepared. I am ready for anything. I can create an image faster than just about anyone. And so, the crows blurring the tree line; the sky’s light dimming and shifting; the Pacific cold […]

Porch Swing in September, by Ted Kooser (5/4/2015) The porch swing hangs fixed in a morning sun that bleaches its gray slats, its flowered cushion whose flowers have faded, like those of summer, and a small brown spider has hung out her web on a line between porch post and chain so that no one may swing without breaking it. She is saying […]

Parowan Canyon, by David Lee (5/4/2015) When granite and sandstone begin to blur and flow, the eye rests on cool white aspen. Strange, their seeming transparency. How as in a sudden flash one remembers a forgotten name, so the recollection. Aspen. With a breeze in them, their quiet rhythms, shimmering, quaking. Powder on the palm. Cool on the cheek. Such delicacy […]

Suicide of a Moderate Dictator, by Elizabeth Bishop (5/5/2015) This is a day when truths will out, perhaps; leak from the dangling telephone earphones sapping the festooned switchboards’ strength; fall from the windows, blow from off the sills, —the vague, slight unremarkable contents of emptying ash-trays; rub off on our fingers like ink from the un-proof-read newspapers, crocking the way the unfocused photographs of […]

Poem with Lines from Pierre Reverdy, by Sandra Simonds (5/5/2015) Maybe the world will not be saved. It will not be saved. Its commerce, its every case also moves into its geology and then that geology moves into some great exit of slowing clocks and the history of saved light. Listen, I’m not crazy. I want you to save something for me. If someone says […]

Stirred Up By Rain, by Chase Twichell (5/6/2015) I fired up the mower although it was about to rain— a chill late September afternoon, wild flowers re-seeding themselves in the blue smoke of the gas-oil mix. To be attached to things is illusion, yet I’m attached to things. Cold, clouds, wind, color— the sky is what the brush-cutter wants to cut, but again […]

I saw a man pursuing the horizon, by Stephen Crane (5/6/2015) I saw a man pursuing the horizon; Round and round they sped. I was disturbed at this; I accosted the man. “It is futile,” I said, “You can never—” “You lie,” he cried, And ran on.

City, by Ander Monson (5/7/2015) Sometimes it is empty and it reminds us all of loneliness. Though we are in love or in affairs that approximate love or long-term relationships we can still be lonely and we are still lonely when it is between 3am and 4am and the world is full of nothingness. We are inside the city. We […]

Muse & Drudge [just as I am I come], by Harryette Mullen (5/7/2015) just as I am I come knee bent and body bowed this here’s sorrow’s home my body’s southern song cram all you can into jelly jam preserve a feeling keep it sweet so beautiful it was presumptuous to alter the shape of my pleasure in doing or making proceed with abandon finding yourself where you […]

Pyrotechnics, by Amy Lowell (5/8/2015) I Our meeting was like the upward swish of a rocket In the blue night. I do not know when it burst; But now I stand gaping, In a glory of falling stars. II Hola! Hola! shouts the crowd, as the catherine-wheels sputter and turn. Hola! They cheer the flower-pots and set pieces. And nobody […]

On. On. Stop. Stop., by Saskia Hamilton (5/8/2015) In the old recording of the birthday party, the voices of the living and the dead instruct twelve absent friends on the reliable luxury of gratitude. The celebrated one hands out presents. The dead dog barks once. We take one another’s hands and follow their lead, past the garden wall, out to the land still […]

Flying at Night, by Ted Kooser (5/9/2015) Above us, stars. Beneath us, constellations. Five billion miles away, a galaxy dies like a snowflake falling on water. Below us, some farmer, feeling the chill of that distant death, snaps on his yard light, drawing his sheds and barn back into the little system of his care. All night, the cities, like shimmering novas, […]

Compulsively Allergic to the Truth, by Jeffrey McDaniel (5/9/2015) I’m sorry I was late. I was pulled over by a cop for driving blindfolded with a raspberry-scented candle flickering in my mouth. I’m sorry I was late. I was on my way when I felt a plot thickening in my arm. I have a fear of heights. Luckily the Earth is on the second […]

The Moment, by Marie Howe (5/10/2015) Oh, the coming-out-of-nowhere moment when, ?nothing happens no what-have-I-to-do-today-list – maybe ?half a moment the rush of traffic stops. The whir of I should be, I should be, I should be slows to silence, the white cotton curtains hanging still.

Be Drunk, by Charles Baudelaire (5/10/2015) You have to be always drunk. That’s all there is to it—it’s the only way. So as not to feel the horrible burden of time that breaks your back and bends you to the earth, you have to be continually drunk. But on what? Wine, poetry or virtue, as you wish. But be drunk. And […]

In the Waiting Room, by Elizabeth Bishop (5/11/2015) In Worcester, Massachusetts, I went with Aunt Consuelo to keep her dentist’s appointment and sat and waited for her in the dentist’s waiting room. It was winter. It got dark early. The waiting room was full of grown-up people, arctics and overcoats, lamps and magazines. My aunt was inside what seemed like a long time […]

Often I Am Permitted to Return to a Meadow, by Robert Duncan (5/11/2015) as if it were a scene made-up by the mind, that is not mine, but is a made place, that is mine, it is so near to the heart, an eternal pasture folded in all thought so that there is a hall therein that is a made place, created by light wherefrom the shadows that […]

William Dawes, by Eileen Myles (5/12/2015) faint tinkling down the street moved me from Swan to Mass Ave the skinny men running into Boston. Why I don’t know. Let’s go to town hall giant horses Paul Revere & William Dawes and horses hairy poop lands splat on the brick. Get em to sign your program. It’s not even really Paul Revere […]

Letter To A Future Lover, by Ander Monson (5/12/2015) You were my birthday present; you came to the door—no one else was home, you said “let’s celebrate.” We dropped acid and went to the friend with the nocturnal monkey-like animal and made love for hours…. —inscribed in Gary Snyder, Turtle Island (Casa de los Niños discard library) Handwritten, it goes without saying, this inscription […]

E.H., by John Koethe (5/13/2015) Sometimes I stand in the middle of the floor, Not going left, not going right. —Stephen Sondheim I like to get drunk and I like to write. I search for ways in and can’t find them, But that doesn’t mean they’re not there. What isn’t There is the life between the words, the life that […]

Negotiations, by Rae Armantrout (5/13/2015) 1 The best part is when we’re tired of it all in the same degree, a fatigue we imagine to be temporary, and we lie near each other, toes touching. What’s done is done, we don’t say, to begin our transaction, each letting go of something without really bringing it to mind until we’re lighter, […]

To Those Of You Alive In The Future, by Dean Young (5/14/2015) who somehow have found a sip of water, on this day in the past four syndicated series involving communication with the dead were televised and in this way we resembled our own ghosts in a world made brief with flowers. To you, our agonies and tizzies must appear quaint as the stiff shoulders of someone […]

Unpacking a Globe, by Arthur Sze (5/14/2015) I gaze at the Pacific and don’t expect to ever see the heads on Easter Island, though I guess at sunlight rippling the yellow grasses sloping to shore; yesterday a doe ate grass in the orchard: it lifted its ears and stopped eating when it sensed us watching from a glass hallway—in his sleep, a […]

The Room In Which My First Child Slept, by Eavan Boland (5/15/2015) After a while I thought of it this way: It was a town underneath a mountain crowned by snow and every year a river rushed through, enveloping the dusk in a noise everyone knew signaled spring— a small town, known for a kind of calico, made there, strong and unglazed, a makeshift of cotton in […]

valentine for Sally Hemings, by Sojourner Ahebee (5/15/2015) there’s a dead jefferson in every black girl’s belly, an unknown hunger for something stolen. i found a poem in these parts, in the belly of a black girl. i was told to look in the garage, into the person i almost liked, at the bottom of an odd blue sock buried in my dresser […]

Animal Graves, by Chase Twichell (5/16/2015) The mower flipped it belly up, a baby garter less than a foot long, dull green with a single sharp stripe of pale manila down its back, same color as the underside which was cut in two places, a loop of intestine poking out. It wouldn’t live, so I ran the blades over it again, […]

The Very Nervous Family, by Sabrina Orah Mark (5/16/2015) Mr. Horowitz clutches a bag of dried apricots to his chest. Although the sun is shining, there will probably be a storm. Electricity will be lost. Possibly forever. When this happens the very nervous family will be the last to starve. Because of the apricots. “Unless,” says Mrs. Horowitz, “the authorities confiscate the apricots.” Mr. […]

Kissing Stieglitz Good-Bye, by Gerald Stern (5/17/2015) Every city in America is approached through a work of art, usually a bridge but sometimes a road that curves underneath or drops down from the sky. Pittsburgh has a tunnel— you don’t know it—that takes you through the rivers and under the burning hills. I went there to cry in the woods or carry […]

crack house, by Quraysh Ali Lansana (5/17/2015) greeter she hustles us in eyes tired shadows stutter behind nervous trees   outer room screen door grime a porous portal paneling drips frantic carpet   living room up early ricki lake an endless loop tv’s wide blue mouth the only thing moving   pantry she fast food she buy one get one free   […]

In the Surgical Theatre, by Dana Levin (5/18/2015) In the moment between the old heart and the new two angels gather at the empty chest. The doctors flow over them as winds, as blurs, unnoticed but as currents around this body, the flesh of the chest peeled back as petals, revealing a hole. In it the layers are fluttering—the back muscle, the bone, […]

Rocket Fantastic [excerpt], by Gabrielle Calvocoressi (5/18/2015) He’s really beautiful. When he’s standing in the trees like that and thinks nobody sees him. He’s like a stag. Which sounds silly but he is. The way the light shines on him. The way it bounces off his hair like spray from the sprinkler. And he doesn’t know it right then. Because he’s looking […]

Koi, by Katie Ford (5/19/2015) After all the days and nights we’ve spent with Starry Messenger, with Dante, with Plato, his temperance painted as a woman who pours water into a bowl but does not spill, after particle theory and the geologic time of this quartz gilded beneath the roaming gone, composites of limestone calculated down to the animal that […]

Continuity, by A. R. Ammons (5/19/2015) I’ve pressed so far away from my desire that if you asked me what I want I would, accepting the harmonious completion of the drift, say annihilation, probably.

The Bistro Styx, by Rita Dove (5/20/2015) She was thinner, with a mannered gauntness as she paused just inside the double glass doors to survey the room, silvery cape billowing dramatically behind her. What’s this, I thought, lifting a hand until she nodded and started across the parquet; that’s when I saw she was dressed all in gray, from a kittenish cashmere […]

To The One Upstairs, by Charles Simic (5/20/2015) Boss of all bosses of the universe. Mr. know-it-all, wheeler-dealer, wire-puller, And whatever else you’re good at. Go ahead, shuffle your zeros tonight. Dip in ink the comets’ tails. Staple the night with starlight. You’d be better off reading coffee dregs, Thumbing the pages of the Farmer’s Almanac. But no! You love to put on […]

San Antonio, by Naomi Shihab Nye (5/21/2015) Tonight I lingered over your name, the delicate assembly of vowels a voice inside my head. You were sleeping when I arrived. I stood by your bed and watched the sheets rise gently. I knew what slant of light would make you turn over. It was then I felt the highways slide out of my […]

Pretty Polly, by Jane Springer (5/21/2015) Who made the banjo sad & wrong? Who made the luckless girl & hell bound boy? Who made the ballad? The one, I mean, where lovers gallop down mountain brush as though in love- where hooves break ground to blood earth scent. Who gave the boy swift words to woo the girl from home, & […]

On 52nd Street, by Philip Levine (5/22/2015) Down sat Bud, raised his hands, the Deuces silenced, the lights lowered, and breath gathered for the coming storm. Then nothing, not a single note. Outside starlight from heaven fell unseen, a quarter- moon, promised, was no show, ditto the rain. Late August of ‘50, NYC, the long summer of abundance and our new war. […]

Panther, by Ned O’Gorman (5/22/2015) When the panther came no belfrey rang alarums, no cleric spat his tea. When the panther came the sky and lawn were still. The panter came through forest, through field, up to the wall and my one blossoming cherry tree. I had constructed the world as it was and had pared the body from the […]

The Blue Cup, by Minnie Bruce Pratt (5/23/2015) Through binoculars the spiral nebula was a smudged white thumbprint on the night sky. Stories said it was a mark left by the hand of Night, that old she, easily weaving the universe out of milky strings of chaos. Beatrice found creation more difficult. Tonight what she had was greasy water whirling in the bottom […]

Shoulda Been Jimi Savannah, by Patricia Smith (5/23/2015) My mother scraped the name Patricia Ann from the ruins of her discarded Delta, thinking it would offer me shield and shelter, that leering men would skulk away at the slap of it. Her hands on the hips of Alabama, she went for flat and functional, then siphoned each syllable of drama, repeatedly crushing it […]

The Pomegranate, by Eavan Boland (5/24/2015) The only legend I have ever loved is the story of a daughter lost in hell. And found and rescued there. Love and blackmail are the gist of it. Ceres and Persephone the names. And the best thing about the legend is I can enter it anywhere. And have. As a child in exile in […]

One Day, by Joseph Millar (5/24/2015) Everything shimmers with the sound of the train rattling over the bridge especially the ears and nostrils and teeth of the horse riding out to the pasture of death where the long train runs on diesel fuel that used to run on coal. I keep listening for the crickets and birds and my words fall […]

Streets, by Naomi Shihab Nye (5/25/2015) A man leaves the world and the streets he lived on grow a little shorter. One more window dark in this city, the figs on his branches will soften for birds. If we stand quietly enough evenings there grows a whole company of us standing quietly together. overhead loud grackles are claiming their trees and […]

The Parallel Cathedral, by Tom Sleigh (5/25/2015) 1 The cathedral being built around our split level house was so airy, it stretched so high it was like a cloud of granite and marble light the house rose up inside. At the time I didn’t notice masons laying courses of stone ascending, flying buttresses pushing back forces that would have crushed our flimsy […]

Inland, by Chase Twichell (5/26/2015) Above the blond prairies, the sky is all color and water. The future moves from one part to another. This is a note in a tender sequence that I call love, trying to include you, but it is not love. It is music, or time. To explain the pleasure I take in loneliness, I speak […]

In Praise Of The Passivity Of Paper, by Sam Riviere (5/26/2015) I felt suddenly convinced that I had feelings for the wallpaper. I was especially captivated by its blonde hair and bad dreams. I had the impression the wallpaper needed longer to properly respond. By the time I left, my affections had produced this abrasion on my cheek. People looked on the abrasion as unquestionable proof […]

Consolation Miracle, by Chad Davidson (5/27/2015) In the pewless church of San Juan Chula, a Neocatholic Tzozil Indian wrings a chicken’s neck. Through piñoned air, stars from tourist flashbulbs flame, reflecting in the reddened eyes, in the mirrors statuary cling to, inside their plate- glass boxes. A mother fills a shot- glass with fire. Others offer up moon- shine swelling in […]

A Score for Tourist Movies, by Mary Austin Speaker (5/27/2015) If music plays with film then film is an illustration of music’s movement. Snap, blast, sever, sever, stop. Even the dog twitching his ears. If islands nestle in the ocean, and a statue rises above the pilgrim, then we are standing on a cliff and the pilgrim has reached her goal. The light is as […]

For A Traveler, by Jessica Greenbaum (5/28/2015) I only have a moment so let me tell you the shortest story, about arriving at a long loved place, the house of friends in Maine, their lawn of wildflowers, their grandfather clock and candid portraits, their gabled attic rooms, and woodstove in the kitchen, all accessories of the genuine summer years before, when I […]

For What Binds Us, by Jane Hirshfield (5/28/2015) There are names for what binds us: strong forces, weak forces. Look around, you can see them: the skin that forms in a half-empty cup, nails rusting into the places they join, joints dovetailed on their own weight. The way things stay so solidly wherever they’ve been set down— and gravity, scientists say, is weak. […]

How Do I Know When a Poem Is Finished?, by Naomi Shihab Nye (5/29/2015) When you quietly close the door to a room the room is not finished. It is resting. Temporarily. Glad to be without you for a while. Now it has time to gather its balls of gray dust, to pitch them from corner to corner. Now it seeps back into itself, unruffled and proud. Outlines grow […]

Manifest Destiny, by Cynthia Lowen (5/29/2015) The god I’d left behind sent one last email before returning to his people. That summer was sixty-five degrees and fluorescent. I was working at a law firm. The logical mind thinks, You’ll be paid for your suffering. Paradise is of this earth and it is yours, said the copy-machine. The impenetrable old growth of […]

Humanimal [I want to make a dark mirror out of writing], by Bhanu Kapil (5/30/2015) 47. I want to make a dark mirror out of writing: one child facing the other, like Dora and little Hans. I want to write, for example, about the violence done to my father’s body as a child. In this re-telling, India is blue, green, black and yellow like the actual, reflective surface of a […]

Making a Meal Out of It, by Joel Lewis (5/30/2015) Hoboken snowtime and the big slushy mounds are the laundry of the future, with next-door’s mortician rating my clumsy shoveling by shouting: “You’d never make it as a grave digger!” Time pulse quickens with walkers and curb lackeys merged in the quadrille of symbiosis. In local shop windows they sell devices capable of reordering speech. […]

Humanimal [Feral children are fatty], by Bhanu Kapil (5/31/2015) 4. Feral children are fatty, complex and rigid. When you captured the two children, you had to brush the knots out of their hair then scrape the comb free of hard butter. Descent and serration. No. I don’t want to ask primal questions. 5. Kamala slips over the garden wall with her sister and runs, […]

Suicide In The Trenches, by Siegfried Sassoon (5/31/2015) I knew a simple soldier boy Who grinned at life in empty joy, Slept soundly through the lonesome dark, And whistled early with the lark. In winter trenches, cowed and glum, With crumps and lice and lack of rum, He put a bullet through his brain. No one spoke of him again. You smug-faced crowds […]

June 2015

Not added yet!

July 2015

Not added yet!

August 2015

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