2012 // May

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? […]


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