Tuesday, November 24, 2020

To Paula in Late Spring by W. S. Merwin

To Paula in Late Spring 

 
Let me imagine that we will come again
when we want to and it will be spring
we will be no older than we ever were
the worn griefs will have eased like the early cloud
through which the morning slowly comes to itself
and the ancient defenses against the dead
will be done with and left to the dead at last
the light will be as it is now in the garden
that we have made here these years together
of our long evenings and astonishment 



Monday, November 23, 2020

The Bride Tree Lives Three Times by Brenda Hillman

The Bride Tree Lives Three Times

 
In willing textures where the wood rat lives
 the drought lets trees die twice.
 Realism & magic steady one another
  & the hurt in your heart
 from the human fact
circles the edge of the park. The bride
  tree blooms late this year, its nature
 stored at the edge of day—
 
 some like to avoid the word “nature”
but what to put in its place
 for ants & thoughts & parking meters,
stars & skin & granite, quarks,
  the world above & below . . .
When you are confused about poetry
& misunderstand its brown math,
  the sessile branches & a seal of awe
 
attach the tree to the dark.
  Someday, you’ll need less evidence;
the missing won’t cease to exist.
For now, you stop to eat the free fruit
 only you knew would appear
& for that you have your human hands,
  infinite nature, a single
 body standing on this earth—
  


Sunday, November 22, 2020

Stranger by Atsuro Riley

Stranger


They would congregate right regular.
 
 
(In the dirt-lot of the First Baptist
Or along by that abbatoir off the brackcreek.)
 
 
The hot meat of the matter
Being to parse-patch what they’d heard of what she was.
 
 
Marrowwise what she was to them
Was foreign-faced Not natural: Not from here.
 
 
Of no (known) rhizomatic strain nor kith nor kin.
 
 
Word said and word’d spread She’s some flotsam
From that load of ‘those’ what flooded here by boat.
 
 
Say they bought some bait from off her cart—
How they’d pincer-snatch their change like she was hot.
 
 
pink dew-worms I got! fish-eyes & roaches. Live
minnows for cheap. chicken (neck) gristle. no crickets.
 
 
Her (uncreased) neck her every body-part their snack.
 
 
Theirs to eyeball-eat and memorize
To judge; to pass from each to each from mouth to ear.
 
 
Have you smelled the hair on her. Have you
Bagged a feel of leg. Would you
 
 
You could always put a bag on her. Why she all the time
Bansheeing (bent down) dawn-sweeping her dirt.
 
 
Possessed by slingstone fireball-bags of shit they torched her yard.
 
 
(Wouldn’t they congregate
Right regular.)
 
 
By time and ire her rent-house formed a skin of dunt and char.



  

Saturday, November 21, 2020

I Cannot Say I Did Not Ask by Sharon Olds

I Cannot Say I Did Not Ask

 
I cannot say I did not ask
to be born. I asked with my mother’s beauty,
and her money. I asked with my father’s desire
for his orgasms and for my mother’s money.
I asked with the cradle my sister had grown out of.
I asked with my mother’s longing for a son,
I asked with patriarchy. I asked
with the milk that would well in her breasts, needing to be
drained by a little, living pump.
I asked with my sister’s hand-me-downs, lying
folded. I asked with geometry, with
origami, with swimming, with sewing, with
what my mind would thirst to learn.
Before I existed, I asked, with the love of my
children, to exist, and with the love of their children.
Did I ask with my tiny flat lungs
for a long portion of breaths? Did I ask
with the space in the ground, like a portion of breath,
where my body will rest, when it is motionless,
when its elements move back into the earth?
I asked, with everything I did not
have, to be born. And nowhere in any
of it was there meaning, there was only the asking
for being, and then the being, the turn
taken. I want to say that love
is the meaning, but I think that love may be
the means, what we ask with.
  


Friday, November 20, 2020

Edward Hopper Study: Room in New York by Victoria Chang

Edward Hopper Study: Room in New York


The woman's finger hangs
above the F key. She always
wears the same red dress.
The man's hands cup
the newspaper edge, his face
ashen, half-edible.
The woman's back
to the man, head down,
her arm, dairy and bloated,
long before men preferred
peeling brown shoulders,
the midriff. She can't leave him,
doesn't know how.
How many times have you
heard this? You will hear it
again and again, like the F key
that in a moment will
glaze the room with its
throbbing mouth. 



Thursday, November 19, 2020

You Talk of Going but Don’t Even Have a Suitcase by John Wieners

You Talk of Going but Don’t Even Have a Suitcase

 
I will be an old man sometime
And live in a dark room somewhere.
 
I will think of this night someplace
the rain falling on stone.
 
There will be no one near
no whisper on the street
 
only this song of old yearning
and the longing to be young
 
with you together on some street.
 
Now is the time for retreat,
This is the last chance.
 
This is not the last chance.
Why only yesterday I lay drugged
on the dark bed while they came
and went as the wind
 
and they shall come again
and bear me down into that pit
there is no returning from.
 
Old age, disaster, doom.
 
It shall be as this room
With you by the sink, pinching your face
 
in the mirror.
Time is as a river
 
and I shall forget this night,
its joy.
 
You shall disappear down the road
and I shall moan your name
 
in the pillow, while candles burn outside
in windows of strange houses
to mark our fame. 



Wednesday, November 18, 2020

The Rules by Leila Chatti

The Rules

 
There will be no stars—the poem has had enough of them. I think we can agree
we no longer believe there is anyone in any poem who is just now realizing
 
they are dead, so let’s stop talking about it. The skies of this poem
are teeming with winged things, and not a single innominate bird.
 
You’re welcome. Here, no monarchs, no moths, no cicadas doing whatever
they do in the trees. If this poem is in summer, punctuating the blue—forgive me,
 
I forgot, there is no blue in this poem—you’ll find the occasional
pelecinid wasp, proposals vaporized and exorbitant, angels looking
 
as they should. If winter, unsentimental sleet. This poem does not take place
at dawn or dusk or noon or the witching hour or the crescendoing moment
 
of our own remarkable birth, it is 2:53 in this poem, a Tuesday, and everyone in it is still
at work. This poem has no children; it is trying
 
to be taken seriously. This poem has no shards, no kittens, no myths or fairy tales,
no pomegranates or rainbows, no ex-boyfriends or manifest lovers, no mothers—God,
 
no mothers—no God, about which the poem must admit
it’s relieved, there is no heart in this poem, no bodily secretions, no body
 
referred to as the body, no one
dies or is dead in this poem, everyone in this poem is alive and pretty
 
okay with it. This poem will not use the word beautiful for it resists
calling a thing what it is. So what
 
if I’d like to tell you how I walked last night, glad, truly glad, for the first time
in a year, to be breathing, in the cold dark, to see them. The stars, I mean. Oh hell, before
 
something stops me—I nearly wept on the sidewalk at the sight of them all.