2012 // June


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June 2012
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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. […]

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