2015 // July

July 2015

End Words, by Randall Mann (7/1/2015) in memory of Reetika Vazirani (1962-2003) and Rachel Wetzsteon (1967-2009) Sewanee, Tennessee. Summer of ‘96, I went there for booze and poetry and rest. I danced a little dance; I talked a little shop. I forgot a recent ghost. “Invitation to a Ghost” was my favorite poem in Tennessee. And Justice taught my workshop. (God […]

Birth of Canada as a Nation, July First, 1867, by James McIntyre (7/1/2015) Hail Britannia’s noblest daughter, Who is surrounded by the water Of many a lake and broad sea, Land of beaver and of maple tree. Her lofty brow is wreathed with smiles, For from the far Atlantic isles In pomp have come their delegates, All seeking to unite their fates. With Canada great northern queen, And […]

Almost There, by Timothy Liu (7/2/2015) Hard to imagine getting anywhere near another semi- nude encounter down this concrete slab of interstate, the two of us all thumbs— white-throated swifts mating mid-flight instead of buckets of crispy wings thrown down hoi polloi— an army of mouths eager to feed left without any lasting sustenance. Best get down on all fours. Ease […]

El Florida Room, by Richard Blanco (7/2/2015) Not a study or a den, but El Florida as my mother called it, a pretty name for the room with the prettiest view of the lipstick-red hibiscus puckered up against the windows, the tepid breeze laden with the brown-sugar scent of loquats drifting in from the yard. Not a sunroom, but where the sun […]

Verguenza, by Rachel Eliza Griffiths (7/3/2015) Woman, I wish I didn’t know your name. What could you be? Silence in my house & the front yard where the dogwood wouldn’t make up its mind about flowers. Aren’t you Nature? A stem cringing, half- shadowed beneath a torque of rain. I too am leaving. I too am half-spun. The other day near […]

The Republic of Dreams, by Michael Palmer (7/3/2015) She lay so still that as she spoke a spider spun a seamless web upon her body as we spoke and then her limbs came loose one by one and so my own

3 Men: Portraits Without the Human Figure, by Deena Linnett (7/4/2015) Hotel-casino: lights flash, crowds tread patterned carpets hoping for a turn in fortune. Despite the ardent wishes of the women you have left you are not dead. You’re good at lively passing things that happen here: at restaurants, in bed, at tables tossing dice and cards. That smudge at bottom right stands in for me, […]

Fourth of July, 2012, by Robyn Schiff (7/4/2015) I remember a performance of Antigone in which she threw herself on the floor of the universe and picked up a piece of dust. Is that the particle? It startled me. Was it Scripted? Directed? Driven? I am a girl, Antigone. I have a sister. We love each other terribly. I am a woman of […]

Earth Tremors Felt in Missouri, by Mona Van Duyn (7/5/2015) The quake last night was nothing personal, you told me this morning. I think one always wonders, unless, of course, something is visible: tremors that take us, private and willy-nilly, are usual. But the earth said last night that what I feel, you feel; what secretly moves you, moves me. One small, sensuous catastrophe makes […]

Etta’s Elegy, by Maureen Seaton (7/5/2015) for Etta Silver (1913–2013) This is where the poem holds its breath, where the usable truth sways, sorrowing, and the people sway with the truth of it, and this is where the poem enters the dark. This is where the book closes and the clock opens and the clock closes and the book opens to […]

From the Long Sad Party, by Mark Strand (7/6/2015) Someone was saying something about shadows covering the field, about how things pass, how one sleeps towards morning and the morning goes. Someone was saying how the wind dies down but comes back, how shells are the coffins of wind but the weather continues. It was a long night and someone said something about the […]

Sally’s Hair, by John Koethe (7/6/2015) It’s like living in a light bulb, with the leaves Like filaments and the sky a shell of thin, transparent glass Enclosing the late heaven of a summer day, a canopy Of incandescent blue above the dappled sunlight golden on the grass. I took the train back from Poughkeepsie to New York And in the […]

Rapture: Lucus, by Traci Brimhall (7/7/2015) Posters for the missing kapok tree appear on streetlights offering a reward for its safe return. I hate to spoil it, but the end of every biography is death. The end of a city in the rainforest is a legend and a lost expedition. The end of mythology is forgetfulness, placing gifts in the hole where the worshipped tree should be. But my […]

The Last 4 Things [That hard thread], by Kate Greenstreet (7/7/2015) That hard thread between us. Is it gold? Do I have to be so outshined by my curtain? Opened, especially by breaking. people who would die people who would almost die and who would be injured My dad was in the water. Across an unprecedented space. It would rain for days, they said he’d come […]

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, by Anne Sexton (7/8/2015) No matter what life you lead the virgin is a lovely number: cheeks as fragile as cigarette paper, arms and legs made of Limoges, lips like Vin Du Rhône, rolling her china-blue doll eyes open and shut. Open to say, Good Day Mama, and shut for the thrust of the unicorn. She is unsoiled. She […]

The Real Enough World, by Karen Brennan (7/8/2015) Spider City After a while I dreamt about                  the Spider City& when I woke up in my                  flannel pj’sthe curtain flapped open                  & the sky greeted me. Hello Karen, Hello Little Bee,         it said which is whenI remembered the strange         webbed sky of the SpiderCity & your face in the         middle saying Kiss Me. Breathless […]

Blue Oxen, by Dara Wier (7/9/2015) (it’s scaffolding) (it’s supposed to be temporary) (the domino effect) (had been forgotten about) (it was in storage) (nobody knew where) (that’s a logging road) (you can see its gutters) (they leave handprints) (they shudder with dolor) (nobody could settle on any particular color) (they meant different things to different people) (for luck) (on the […]

Body Mostly Flown, by Terese Svoboda (7/9/2015) A De Chirico head aslant on a coverlet, body mostly flown, the dazed prayers dumb. The ritual cigarette, the ritual drink: incense, holy water. No ambivalence, the woman inside fled, the whispers I make of tenderness—hers—she sleeps through. She’s in that corridor, tunnel, the light is left on— shut if off. But the nurse has […]

XIII, by César Vallejo (7/10/2015) I think about your sex. My heart simplified, I think about your sex, before the ripe daughterloin of day. I touch the bud of joy, it is in season. And an ancient sentiment dies degenerated into brains. I think about your sex, furrow more prolific and harmonious than the belly of the Shadow, though Death […]

Letter to Denise, by Hayden Carruth (7/10/2015) Remember when you put on that wig From the grab bag and then looked at yourself In the mirror and laughed, and we laughed together? It was a transformation, glamorous flowing tresses. Who knows if you might not have liked to wear That wig permanently, but of course you Wouldn’t. Remember when you told me […]

The Ghost Has No Home, by Jeff Clark (7/11/2015) This morning in an alleyway I was startled by a face I seemed to recognize, in a dormer above a garage and so slunk up to him, who was ranting quietly, mauling the mind of some imagined ear out the pane as if maligned, or high, like one moony and almost witless in a poppy […]

Two Nudes, by Mary Jo Bang (7/11/2015) I was working in a bookstore and as an antidote to the twin torment of exhaustion and boredom, one day I went with a friend on a walking tour. We made it as far as Berlin and there I met the man I would move with to a boarding house, then to furnished rooms in […]

Sound and Structure, by Barbara Guest (7/12/2015) “Sound leads to structure.” Schönberg. On this dry prepared path walk heavy feet. This is not “dinner music.” This is a power structure. heavy as eyelids. Beams are laid. The master cuts music for the future. Sound lays the structure. Sound leaks into the future.

You Are Not a Statue, by Mark Yakich (7/12/2015) And I am not a pedestal. We are not a handful of harmless scratches on pale pink canvas. Today is not the day to stop looking for the woman to save you. What was once ivory is wood. What was once whalebone is cotton. My coif and corset are duly fastened, and your shirttail is […]

Sex with a Famous Poet, by Denise Duhamel (7/13/2015) I had sex with a famous poet last night and when I rolled over and found myself beside him I shuddered because I was married to someone else, because I wasn’t supposed to have been drinking, because I was in fancy hotel room I didn’t recognize. I would have told you right off this was […]

Furthermore, by Christina Davis (7/13/2015) It was something to let him go. It was a having to believe, furthermore, in the voyage of the other, a Ulysses without an Ithaca, was to speak of the sea without speech of the shore— and to have for a body the going away of the body, to have for eyes the going away […]

Queen Maeve, by Eloise Bruce (7/14/2015) Dreaming within these walls all night, we woke with both eyes open, barely winking at the morning light. We shower and sing with the long-legged fly. Queen Maeve keeps time in the attic, and the pig-keepers roar in the toy box below stairs. Turn out the lamp whose fringe rhymes with orange. Our words wait […]

The Part of the Bee’s Body Embedded in the Flesh, by Carol Frost (7/14/2015) The bee-boy, merops apiaster, on sultry thundery days filled his bosom between his coarse shirt and his skin with bees—his every meal wild honey. He had no apprehension of their stings or didn’t mind and gave himself—his palate, the soft tissues of his throat— what Rubens gave to the sun’s illumination stealing his fingers across […]

Séance at Tennis, by Dana Goodyear (7/15/2015) I play with an old boyfriend, to tease you out. In white shorts that you’ve never seen before. You storm-wind, panic in the tree. Rattling like the genius like the jealous man. Making it impossible to hit. So nothing clears the net. An inside joke, my comingback love: He can’t return, but you can? After […]

Fisherman, by Kurt Brown (7/15/2015) A man spends his whole life fishing in himself for something grand. It’s like some lost lunker, big enough to break all records. But he’s only heard rumors, myths, vague promises of wonder. He’s only felt the shadow of something enormous darken his life. Or has he? Maybe it’s the shadow of other fish, greater […]

Vigo Martin, by Victor Hernández Cruz (7/16/2015) In a city that now floats in a bottle, In a dimension outside of the census, within walls that were unregistered, there was a painter, Who performed his roll like the Taino cave etchers, the pyramid illustrators of Mexico, the scribblers of hieroglyphs. Vigo painted the hallways of the tenements, While through the air he […]

The Junior High School Band Concert, by David Wagoner (7/16/2015) When our semi-conductor Raised his baton, we sat there Gaping at Marche Militaire, Our mouth-opening number. It seemed faintly familiar (We’d rehearsed it all that winter), But we attacked in such a blur, No army anywhere On its stomach or all fours Could have squeezed through our crossfire. I played cornet, seventh chair, Out of […]

Canzone Delle Preposizioni, by Caroline Knox (7/17/2015) I packed up the books: Under Milk Wood, Of Mice and Men, Under the Window, Under the Volcano, Up from Slavery, The Thunder- ing Herd, Under the Greenwood Tree, The Over- Coat, The Changing Light at Sandover, Under- world, Out of Africa, Paris Trout; and I went over to the Under- woods’ house over on […]

The Geese, by Hyam Plutzik (7/17/2015) A miscellaneous screaming that comes from nowhere Raises the eyes at last to the moonward-flying Squadron of wild-geese arcing the spatial cold. Beyond the hunter’s gun or the will’s range They press southward, toward the secret marshes Where the appointed gunmen mark the crossing Of flight and moment. There is no force stronger (In the […]

Landing Under Water, I See Roots, by Annie Finch (7/18/2015) All the things we hide in water hoping we won’t see them go— (forests growing under water press against the ones we know)— and they might have gone on growing and they might now breathe above everything I speak of sowing (everything I try to love).

After Mandelshtam, by Reginald Gibbons (7/18/2015) To the futile sound of midnight church bells, out back someone is rinsing her thoughts in unfathomable universal sky— a cold faint glowing. As always stars are white as salt on the blade of an old axe. The rain-barrel’s full, there’s ice in its mouth. Smash the ice—comets and stars melt away like salt, the […]

Mary’s Duties, by Lola Haskins (7/19/2015) He is rid away to the tenant farms and I take up my pen to list the shakings-out and openings. And my thin letters lean as sails that, though driven, cannot arrive. May the ninth, I write. And: Mrs. Ferguson. Unbutton the bed pillows and plump them to the air. Then: Take the curtains down […]

Evolution of Danger, by Tina Chang (7/19/2015) I’m the one in the back of the bar, drinking cachaça, fingering the lip of the glass. Every dream has left me now as I wait for the next song: Drag and drum. They’ll be no humming in this room, only fragrance of sweat and fuel. To make the animal go. To make it Hungry. […]

Short Burst on Ames, Iowa, by Ander Monson (7/20/2015) Ames, Iowa, just west of the city. Y Avenue south of Lincoln Way, where it crosses over US-30, nighttime, summer, faint smell of at least two kinds of manure, overpass. There is very little traffic. You are alone. A woman whom you do not know yet that you love has just left and, not satisfied […]

Readings in French, by Larry Levis (7/20/2015) 1. Looking into the eyes of Gerard de Nerval You notice the giant sea crabs rising. Which is what happens When you look into the eyes of Gerard de Nerval, Always the same thing: the giant sea crabs, The claws in their vague red holsters Moving around, a little doubtfully. 2. But looking into the […]

In General, by Pattiann Rogers (7/21/2015) This is about no rain in particular, just any rain, rain sounding on the roof, any roof, slate or wood, tin or clay or thatch, any rain among any trees, rain in soft, soundless accumulation, gathering rather than falling on the fir of juniper and cedar, on a lace-community of cobwebs, rain clicking off the […]

Our Many Never Endings, by Courtney Queeney (7/21/2015) You entered the bedroom and fell to your knees. I wait the rest of my life to hear you say, I made a mistake. Inside my chest, a mangle. Inside yours, a deflating balloon. You took the vacuum cleaner, the ironing board, the dish rack and left me some lint, an iron to scorch shirts, […]

Any God, by Gail Martin (7/22/2015) The rocks beneath her heart began to move the night her daughter lost her native tongue. No god of French-milled soap and lavender could build a church on cradled hands and love. The night that artist lost her native tongue something seismic dropped, rolled away, faith in that childish church of hands tested and sung, […]

Poetry Anonymous, by Prageeta Sharma (7/22/2015) Do not fall in love with a poet they are no more honest than a stockbroker. (Do you have a stockbroker? If you do, your poet is with you because you have one.) If you think that they are more sensitive because they care about language pay attention to how they use language. Are you […]

A Fox’s Tail is Called a Brush, by Emily Pettit (7/23/2015) There is the room I will pretend does not exist, for now. For now that room does not exist. Really remember colors reflected in pools of water. The marshaling of evidence. Cats of what colors. A spectrum. Color to describe the cat that is down. That cat that is to the side. With one eye. […]

Prints, by Joseph Bruchac (7/23/2015) Seeing photos of ancestors a century past is like looking at your own fingerprints— circles and lines you can’t recognize until someone else with a stranger’s eye looks close and says that’s you.

Parochial Poetry, by Ben Doller (7/24/2015) whiter I make it when walking right in unswerved, sweating fluorescent bleach, preaching a moon page that says its welts: learn this by heart is empty but do it to do it. I make it somehow whiter, zombied and I opified allover the absolutely whitest room. I say keep your lines in line and look […]

We Are Seven, by William Wordsworth (7/24/2015) —A simple child, That lightly draws its breath, And feels its life in every limb, What should it know of death? I met a little cottage girl: She was eight years old, she said; Her hair was thick with many a curl That clustered round her head. She had a rustic, woodland air, And she […]

A Light Says Why, by Karen Volkman (7/25/2015) A light says why. From all the poor prying. Again we attain a more regal posture–small bird accompanying slips between our whim. Where will we flicker, loose as two feathers from a wren’s back? Gone, do not brood for all the hands that miss you. They hardly hold. Don’t wait, one who thought a dark […]

The Witch-Bride, by William Allingham (7/25/2015) A fair witch crept to a young man’s side, And he kiss’d her and took her for his bride. But a Shape came in at the dead of night, And fill’d the room with snowy light. And he saw how in his arms there lay A thing more frightful than mouth may say. And he […]

Last Things, by William Meredith (7/26/2015) For Robert Lowell I In the tunnel of woods, as the road Winds up through the freckled light, a porcupine, Larger than life, crosses the road. He moves with the difficulty of relics— Possum, armadillo, horseshoe crab. To us they seem creatures arthritic with time, Winding joylessly down like burnt-out galaxies. In all their slowness […]

Dead Fires, by Jessie Redmon Fauset (7/26/2015) If this is peace, this dead and leaden thing, Then better far the hateful fret, the sting. Better the wound forever seeking balm Than this gray calm! Is this pain’s surcease? Better far the ache, The long-drawn dreary day, the night’s white wake, Better the choking sigh, the sobbing breath Than passion’s death!

Night Train Through Inner Mongolia, by Anthony Piccione (7/27/2015) Now the child is a runny-nosed stranger you’ve finally decided to share your seat with, and the whole thing keeps heaving into the dark. The child sleeps unsweetly hunched against you, your side is slowly stinging, he has wet himself, so you do not move at all. I know you. You sit awake, baffling about […]

Thirst, by Laura Cronk (7/27/2015) Unclouded third eye and lush red wings. I’m pouring water from cup to cup. This is the water we are meant to drink with the other animals. There are daffodils by the water, a road leading from the water to the shining crown of the sun. My white hospital gown— off-the-rack and totally sane. My […]

Salmon, by Kim Addonizio (7/28/2015) In this shallow creek they flop and writhe forward as the dead float back toward them. Oh, I know what I should say: fierce burning in the body as her eggs burst free, milky cloud of sperm as he quickens them. I should stand on the bridge with my camera, frame the white froth of […]

The Land of Story-books, by Robert Louis Stevenson (7/28/2015) At evening when the lamp is lit, Around the fire my parents sit; They sit at home and talk and sing, And do not play at anything. Now, with my little gun, I crawl All in the dark along the wall, And follow round the forest track Away behind the sofa back. There, in the […]

Quid Pro Quo, by Paul Mariani (7/29/2015) Just after my wife’s miscarriage (her second in four months), I was sitting in an empty classroom exchanging notes with my friend, a budding Joyce scholar with steelrimmed glasses, when, lapsed Irish Catholic that he was, he surprised me by asking what I thought now of God’s ways toward man. It was spring, such spring […]

The Vampyre, by John Stagg (7/29/2015) “Why looks my lord so deadly pale? Why fades the crimson from his cheek? What can my dearest husband ail? Thy heartfelt cares, O Herman, speak! “Why, at the silent hour of rest, Dost thou in sleep so sadly mourn? Has tho’ with heaviest grief oppress’d, Griefs too distressful to be borne. “Why heaves thy […]

Road Tar, by Chase Twichell (7/30/2015) A kid said you could chew road tar if you got it before it cooled, black globule with a just-forming skin. He said it was better than cigarettes. He said he had a taste for it. On the same road, a squirrel was doing the Watusi to free itself from its crushed hindquarters. A man […]

Poem for Adlai Stevenson and Yellow Jackets, by David Young (7/30/2015) It’s summer, 1956, in Maine, a camp resort on Belgrade Lakes, and I am cleaning fish, part of my job, along with luggage, firewood, Sunday ice cream, waking everyone by jogging around the island every morning swinging a rattle I hold in front of me to break the nightly spider threads. Adlai Stevenson is being […]

Void and Compensation (Karaoke Genesis), by Michael Morse (7/31/2015) Since when did keeping things to ourselves help us to better remember them? We need tutorials from predecessors. To restore what’s missing makes a science of equating like with like, or touching small pebbles on a larger mental abacus. We hitch a memory of order to ourselves: From rotating bodies in space comes wind, by […]

Disciplines [Near adust. Caves. Closings], by Dawn Lundy Martin (7/31/2015) Near adust. Caves. Closings. Relentlessly the body leaves the bed. Does things. A day is merry and eager for prosperity. It dings dings the bell in its own head. The ritual of masking the breasts in heavy fabric, of covering the legs and feet. A face from the mirror says, I am pretty, I am […]

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