2012 // March

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 […]

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