2012 // September

September 2012

A Story, by Philip Levine (9/1/2012) Everyone loves a story. Let’s begin with a house. We can fill it with careful rooms and fill the rooms with things—tables, chairs, cupboards, drawers closed to hide tiny beds where children once slept or big drawers that yawn open to reveal precisely folded garments washed half to death, unsoiled, stale, and waiting to be […]

The White Room, by Charles Simic (9/2/2012) The obvious is difficult To prove. Many prefer The hidden. I did, too. I listened to the trees.   They had a secret Which they were about to Make known to me– And then didn’t.   Summer came. Each tree On my street had its own Scheherazade. My nights Were a part of their wild […]

Languages, by Carl Sandburg (9/3/2012) There are no handles upon a language Whereby men take hold of it And mark it with signs for its remembrance. It is a river, this language, Once in a thousand years Breaking a new course Changing its way to the ocean. It is mountain effluvia Moving to valleys And from nation to nation Crossing […]

An Octave Above Thunder, by Carol Muske-Dukes (9/4/2012) … reverberation                               Of thunder of spring over distant mountains                               He who was living is now dead                               We who were living are now dying                               With a little patience.   –T. S. Eliot, “What the Thunder Said”   1   She began as we huddled, six of us, in the cellar, raising her […]

Sequestered Writing, by Carolyn Forché (9/5/2012) Horses were turned loose in the child’s sorrow. Black and roan, cantering through snow. The way light fills the hand with light, November with graves, infancy with white. White. Given lilacs, lilacs disappear. Then low voices rising in walls. The way they withdrew from the child’s body and spoke as if it were not there. […]

My Life as a Subject, by Meghan O’Rourke (9/6/2012) I.   Because I was born in a kingdom, there was a king. At times the king was a despot; at other times, not. Axes flashed in the road   at night, but if you closed your eyes sitting on the well-edge amongst your kinspeople and sang the ballads then the silver did not appear […]

Postcard: Read beyond that which…, by Heather Christle (9/7/2012) Read beyond that which immediately pleases you, please.

Auguries of Innocence, by William Blake (9/8/2012) To see a world in a grain of sand And a heaven in a wild flower, Hold infinity in the palm of your hand And eternity in an hour. A robin redbreast in a cage Puts all heaven in a rage. A dove-house filled with doves and pigeons Shudders hell through all its regions. A […]

Anastasia & Sandman, by Larry Levis (9/9/2012) The brow of a horse in that moment when The horse is drinking water so deeply from a trough It seems to inhale the water, is holy. I refuse to explain. When the horse had gone the water in the trough, All through the empty summer, Went on reflecting clouds & stars. The horse cropping […]

Vespers, by Louise Glück (9/10/2012) In your extended absence, you permit me use of earth, anticipating some return on investment. I must report failure in my assignment, principally regarding the tomato plants. I think I should not be encouraged to grow tomatoes. Or, if I am, you should withhold the heavy rains, the cold nights that come so often here, […]

In Flanders Fields, by John McCrae (9/11/2012) In Flanders fields the poppies blow Between the crosses, row on row, That mark our place, and in the sky, The larks, still bravely singing, fly, Scarce heard amid the guns below. We are the dead; short days ago We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, Loved and were loved, and now we lie In […]

Hum, by Ann Lauterbach (9/12/2012) The days are beautiful The days are beautiful. I know what days are. The other is weather. I know what weather is. The days are beautiful. Things are incidental. Someone is weeping. I weep for the incidental. The days are beautiful. Where is tomorrow? Everyone will weep. Tomorrow was yesterday. The days are beautiful. Tomorrow […]

Adjectives of Order, by Alexandra Teague (9/13/2012) That summer, she had a student who was obsessed with the order of adjectives. A soldier in the South Vietnamese army, he had been taken prisoner when   Saigon fell. He wanted to know why the order could not be altered. The sweltering city streets shook with rockets and helicopters. The city sweltering   streets. […]

Advice to a Prophet, by Richard Wilbur (9/14/2012) When you come, as you soon must, to the streets of our city, Mad-eyed from stating the obvious, Not proclaiming our fall but begging us In God’s name to have self-pity,   Spare us all word of the weapons, their force and range, The long numbers that rocket the mind; Our slow, unreckoning hearts will […]

To the Reader: If You Asked Me, by Chase Twichell (9/15/2012) I want you with me, and yet you are the end of my privacy. Do you see how these rooms have become public? How we glance to see if– who? Who did you imagine? Surely we’re not here alone, you and I. I’ve been wandering where the cold tracks of language collapse into cinders, unburnable […]

Deer Dancer, by Joy Harjo (9/16/2012) Nearly everyone had left that bar in the middle of winter except the hardcore.  It was the coldest night of the year, every place shut down, but not us.  Of course we noticed when she came in.  We were Indian ruins.  She was the end of beauty.  No one knew her, the stranger whose tribe […]

Figure, by Marjorie Welish (9/17/2012) The poet redirected my likeness.   She said, “Not his decadence, which is a question.” “Time,” she said, declining his epidemic. As if serrated, initiatives lost modernity: aura reared up although bracketing pages in comparative matters. “What time is it?” “Perspectivism.” Which is a question. As if serrated, “as if” bracketing pages.   And time […]

—(Soma)tic 5: Storm SOAKED Bread, by CAConrad (9/18/2012) —for Julian Brolaski Sit outside under shelter of a doorway, pavilion, or umbrella on a park bench, but somewhere outside where you can easily touch, smell, taste, FEEL the storm. Lean your face into the weather, face pointed UP to the sky, stay there for a bit with eyes closed while water fills the wells […]

Passage I, by Maureen N. McLane (9/19/2012) little moth I do not think you’ll escape this night   I do not think you’ll escape this night little moth   *   bees in clover summer half over friends without lovers   *   I bite a carrot horsefly bites me   *   I thought it was you moving through the trees […]

Less Music, by Marjorie Welish (9/20/2012) This freedom up. A house difficult of exit, diffident of exit.   This flame up. The false house, house of faulty entries.   This facade up. The manifold worries architecture.   This face up. To the artiface’s winding paths we lend our gloss.   This fact up! This house multicursal and continuous. Do you desire […]

Passage, by Eve Alexandra (9/21/2012) Tiny jewels of sand and salt spill from her mouth. Her lips lie like cloistered nuns. But her ears—they open like lilies. And suddenly all around her there are songs being sung. New notes slick and green, currency on everyone else’s tongue. Her own was slow, cut from the wrong cloth, it hadn’t been out […]

Essay on Criticism [But most by numbers], by Alexander Pope (9/22/2012) But most by Numbers judge a Poet’s song; And smooth or rough, with them, is right or wrong: In the bright Muse tho’ thousand charms conspire, Her voice is all these tuneful fools admire; Who haunt Parnassus but to please their ear, Not mend their minds; as some to church repair, Not for the doctrine […]

Concordance [Working backward in sleep], by Mei-mei Berssenbrugge (9/23/2012) Poem by Mei-mei Berssenbrugge Illustration by Kiki Smith Working backward in sleep, the last thing you numbed to is what wakes you. What if that image were Eros as words? What would it be like if you contemplated my words and I felt you? Animals, an owl, frog, open their eyes, and a mirror forms […]

Don Juan [If from great nature’s or our own abyss], by George Gordon Byron (9/24/2012) If from great nature’s or our own abyss Of thought we could but snatch a certainty, Perhaps mankind might find the path they miss— But then ‘t would spoil much good philosophy. One system eats another up, and this Much as old Saturn ate his progeny; For when his pious consort gave him stones In […]

Forever War, by Nate Pritts (9/25/2012) In studying the anomaly it was determined that holiday decorations look sad out of season, that there’s no excuse for the mistakes of my people. Red paper hearts on the front door into April, a cauldron that doubles as a planter in summer. Always the starscape to help keep me honest, to remind me that […]

Garden of Bees, by Matthew Rohrer (9/26/2012) The narcissus grows past   the towers. Eight gypsy   sisters spread their wings   in the garden. Their gold teeth   are unnerving. Every single   baby is asleep. They want   a little money and I give   them less. I’m charming and   handsome. They take my pen.   I buy the […]

Francesco and Clare, by David St. John (9/27/2012) It was there, in that little town On top of the mountain, they walked, Francesco and Chiara, That’s who they were, that’s what They told themselves–a joke, their joke About two saints, failed lovers held apart From the world of flesh, Francis and Clare, Out walking the old city, two saints, Sainted ones, holy, held […]

Thinking in Bed, by Dennis Lee (9/28/2012) I’m thinking in bed, Cause I can’t get out Till I learn how to think What I’m thinking about; What I’m thinking about Is a person to be– A sort of a person Who feels like me. I might still be Alice, Excepting I’m not. And Snoopy is super, But not when it’s hot; I […]

Audience, by Mei-mei Berssenbrugge (9/29/2012) 1 People think, at the theatre, an audience is tricked into believing it’s looking at life. The film image is so large, it goes straight into your head. There’s no room to be aware of or interested in people around you. Girls and cool devices draw audience, but unraveling the life of a real human […]

Done With, by Ann Stanford (9/30/2012) My house is torn down– Plaster sifting, the pillars broken, Beams jagged, the wall crushed by the bulldozer. The whole roof has fallen On the hall and the kitchen The bedrooms, the parlor. They are trampling the garden– My mother’s lilac, my father’s grapevine, The freesias, the jonquils, the grasses. Hot asphalt goes down Over […]

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