2012 // August

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 […]


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