2012 // April

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 […]

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