Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Out of Research Into Reveries by Mai Der Vang

Out of Research Into Reveries

                                   Give up      the brain 
        Offer down its clumsy
meditations      its blurred face
                      of fury      its hellbound 
      policies bugged into my throat
        Cough out
that sickled attitude      the ragged shelves
                    downing my ankles      every 
            era of hibernation
It’s all in the performance      the butcher 
      operating on slabs
of my identity      the bereaved dissecting
                      memories of an octopus
                        Lift out      far from of it 
      Careen the elbows      out of murk
                        with wine       taken by
                              the midsummer full 
Constantly stoneward
                        hunting toward heartstill

Monday, November 29, 2021

Oracle by Ari Banias


I was wrong it isn’t
suffering that’s easy pleasure that’s difficult
How is it I have been living this way
holding my piss
a mirror scuffed by distant talk, secretly livid
worried what the dead would think?
Someone greets with only the top half of her head
brown curly hair behind a computer monitor
Today for one second a woman is anyone who has a body
and can’t forget it
The tight loops of the office carpet start to unhook
Some men are women too
the way a mountain is land and a harbor is land and a parking lot
Refuse the difference between sameness and difference
The ocean is on fire
green flame on the neck of a god
who is a pile of rocks
not apologizing for themselves

Sunday, November 28, 2021

Love Poem by Linda Gregerson

Love Poem

Once, my very best darling, the sea
  and the land were all one mass
and the light was confused and hadn’t found
  a place to rest. And, Megan, love,
my sister’s eyes were not yet there to hold it all
  together since she hadn’t yet been born so when
the world dropped out from under us and no one,
  not the on-calls with their CAT scans, not
the sovereign souls who monitor
  the twilit room where newborns come to die
or live, when no one could tell us if you
  would be one of the lucky ones able to
walk and speak and only this, the one
  unstinted blessing fate had given us to
give you was a sister in whose eyes you were
  the sun and moon, it meant we all no matter
what befell us all
  had solid ground.    Pity the part
we think we do on purpose.
When Karen was dying and books had shut
  their doors to her, she could still make out the
puzzle of knit and purl. I’m keeping it simple,
  she said, although the pattern
emerging beneath her fine hands did not
  look simple to me. An
A. A B. An alphabet. And all in the single
  color, milk. The letters distinguished
by only the altered stitchwork so
  the nursery would be beautiful.
Whichever of the children has a baby first,
  she said, she loved
the future, no matter she wouldn’t be there.
Second-born. As fateful as the transit
  to light and air or so you’ve often tried
to teach me I will never properly understand.
  But I know
how the hair at your temples curls in
  summer when the air is moist. As if
she’d been returned to me.
  I must have had some under-the-radar
notion even then when we were children how
  that little looseness threw
my petty masteries in the shade. And so
  the joy of it was lost on me. Till you.
I’m the only person living who
  remembers her childhood curls.

Ghazal (Even the Rain) by Agha Shahid Ali

Ghazal (Even the Rain)

What will suffice for a true-love knot? Even the rain?
But he has bought grief’s lottery, bought even the rain. 
“our glosses / wanting in this world” “Can you remember?”
Anyone! “when we thought / the poets taught” even the rain? 
After we died--That was it!--God left us in the dark.
And as we forgot the dark, we forgot even the rain. 
Drought was over. Where was I? Drinks were on the house.
For mixers, my love, you’d poured--what?--even the rain. 
Of this pear-shaped orange’s perfumed twist, I will say:
Extract Vermouth from the bergamot, even the rain. 
How did the Enemy love you--with earth? air? and fire?
He held just one thing back till he got even: the rain. 
This is God’s site for a new house of executions?
You swear by the Bible, Despot, even the rain? 
After the bones--those flowers--this was found in the urn:
The lost river, ashes from the ghat, even the rain. 
What was I to prophesy if not the end of the world?
A salt pillar for the lonely lot, even the rain. 
How the air raged, desperate, streaming the earth with flames—
to help burn down my house, Fire sought even the rain. 
He would raze the mountains, he would level the waves,
he would, to smooth his epic plot, even the rain. 
New York belongs at daybreak to only me, just me—
to make this claim Memory’s brought even the rain. 
They’ve found the knife that killed you, but whose prints are these?
No one has such small hands, Shahid, not even the rain.

Friday, November 26, 2021

D.O.A. by Tim Dlugos


“You knew who I was
when I walked in the door.
You thought that I was dead.
Well, I am dead. A man
can walk and talk and even
breathe and still be dead.”
Edmond O’Brien is perspiring
and chewing up the scenery
in my favorite film noir,
D.O.A. I can’t stop watching,
can’t stop relating. When I walked down
Columbus to Endicott last night
to pick up Tor’s new novel,
I felt the eyes of every
Puerto Rican teen, crackhead,
yuppie couple focus on my cane
and makeup. “You’re dead,”
they seemed to say in chorus.
Somewhere in a dark bar
years ago, I picked up “luminous
poisoning.” My eyes glowed
as I sipped my drink. After that,
there was no cure, no turning back.
I had to find out what was gnawing
at my gut. The hardest part’s
not even the physical effects:
stumbling like a drunk (Edmond
O’Brien was one of Hollywood’s
most active lushes) through
Forties sets, alternating sweats
and fevers, reptilian spots
on face and scalp. It’s having
to say goodbye like the scene
where soundtrack violins go crazy
as O’Brien gives his last embrace
to his girlfriend-cum-Girl
Friday, Paula, played by Pamela
Britton. They’re filmdom’s least
likely lovers—the squat and jowly
alkie and the homely fundamentally
talentless actress who would hit
the height of her fame as the pillhead-
acting landlady on My Favorite Martian
fifteen years in the future. I don’t have
fifteen years, and neither does Edmond
O’Brien. He has just enough time to tell
Paula how much he loves her, then
to drive off in a convertible
for the showdown with his killer.
I’d like to have a showdown too, if I
could figure out which pistol-packing
brilliantined and ruthless villain
in a hound’s-tooth overcoat took
my life. Lust, addiction, being
in the wrong place at the wrong
time? That’s not the whole
story. Absolute fidelity
to the truth of what I felt, open
to the moment, and in every case
a kind of love: all of the above
brought me to this tottering
self-conscious state—pneumonia,
emaciation, grisly cancer,
no future, heart of gold,
passionate engagement with a great
B film, a glorious summer
afternoon in which to pick up
the ripest plum tomatoes of the year
and prosciutto for the feast I’ll cook
tonight for the man I love,
phone calls from my friends
and a walk to the park, ignoring
stares, to clear my head. A day
like any, like no other. Not so bad
for the dead.

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Virginia Is for Lovers by Nicole Sealey

Virginia Is for Lovers

At LaToya’s Pride picnic,
Leonard tells me he and his longtime
love, Pete, broke up.
He says Pete gave him the house
in Virginia. “Great,” I say,
“that’s the least his ass could do.”
I daydream my friend and me
into his new house, sit us in the kitchen
of his three bedroom, two bath
brick colonial outside Hungry Mother Park,
where, legend has it, the Shawnee raided
settlements with the wherewithal
of wild children catching pigeons.
A woman and her androgynous child
escaped, wandering the wilderness,
stuffing their mouths with the bark
of chokecherry root.
Such was the circumstance
under which the woman collapsed.
The child, who could say nothing
except hungry mother, led help
to the mountain where the woman lay,
swelling as wood swells in humid air.
Leonard’s mouth is moving.
Two boys hit a shuttlecock back and forth
across an invisible net.
A toddler struggles to pull her wagon
from a sandbox. “No,” Leonard says,
“It’s not a place where you live.
I got the H In V. H I—”
Before my friend could finish,
and as if he’d been newly ordained,
I took his hands and kissed them.

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

A Vision of the Garden by James Merrill

A Vision of the Garden

One winter morning as a child
Upon the windowpane’s thin frost I drew
Forehead and eyes and mouth the clear and mild
Features of nobody I knew
And then abstracted looking through
This or that wet transparent line
Beyond beheld a winter garden so
Heavy with snow its hedge of pine
And sun so brilliant on the snow
I breathed my pleasure out onto the chill pane
Only to see its angel fade in mist.
I was a child, I did not know
That what I longed for would resist
Neither what cold lines should my finger trace
On colder grounds before I found anew
In yours the features of that face
Whose words whose looks alone undo
Such frosts I lay me down in love in fear
At how they melt become a blossoming pear
Joy outstretched in our bodies’ place. 

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Witchgrass by Louise Glück


comes into the world unwelcome
calling disorder, disorder—
If you hate me so much
don’t bother to give me
a name: do you need
one more slur
in your language, another
way to blame
one tribe for everything—
as we both know,
if you worship
one god, you only need
one enemy—
I’m not the enemy.
Only a ruse to ignore
what you see happening
right here in this bed,
a little paradigm
of failure. One of your precious flowers
dies here almost every day
and you can’t rest until
you attack the cause, meaning
whatever is left, whatever
happens to be sturdier
than your personal passion—
It was not meant
to last forever in the real world.
But why admit that, when you can go on
doing what you always do,
mourning and laying blame,
always the two together.
I don’t need your praise
to survive. I was here first,
before you were here, before you
ever planted a garden.
And I’ll be here when only the sun and moon
are left, and the sea, and the wide field.
I will constitute the field. 

Monday, November 22, 2021

Letter to My Father by Martín Espada

Letter to My Father 
You once said: My reward for this life will be a thousand pounds of dirt
shoveled in my face. You were wrong. You are seven pounds of ashes
in a box, a Puerto Rican flag wrapped around you, next to a red brick
from the house in Utuado where you were born, all crammed together
on my bookshelf. You taught me there is no God, no life after this life,
so I know you are not watching me type this letter over my shoulder.
When I was a boy, you were God. I watched from the seventh floor
of the projects as you walked down into the street to stop a public
execution. A big man caught a small man stealing his car, and everyone
in Brooklyn heard the car alarm wail of the condemned: He’s killing me.
At a word from you, the executioner’s hand slipped from the hair
of the thief. The kid was high, was all you said when you came back to us.
When I was a boy, and you were God, we flew to Puerto Rico. You said:
My grandfather was the mayor of Utuado. His name was Buenaventura.
That means good fortune. I believed in your grandfather’s name.
I heard the tree frogs chanting to each other all night. I saw banana
leaf and elephant palm sprouting from the mountain’s belly. I gnawed
the mango’s pit, and the sweet yellow hair stuck between my teeth.
I said to you: You came from another planet. How did you do it?
You said: Every morning, just before I woke up, I saw the mountains.
Every morning, I see the mountains. In Utuado, three sisters,
all in their seventies, all bedridden, all Pentecostales who only left
the house for church, lay sleeping on mattresses spread across the floor
when the hurricane gutted the mountain the way a butcher slices open
a dangled pig, and a rolling wall of mud buried them, leaving the fourth
sister to stagger into the street, screaming like an unheeded prophet
about the end of the world. In Utuado, a man who cultivated a garden
of aguacate and carambola, feeding the avocado and star fruit to his
nieces from New York, saw the trees in his garden beheaded all at once
like the soldiers of a beaten army, and so hanged himself. In Utuado,
a welder and a handyman rigged a pulley with a shopping cart to ferry
rice and beans across the river where the bridge collapsed, witnessed
the cart swaying above so many hands, then raised a sign that told
the helicopters: Campamento los Olvidados: Camp of the Forgotten.
Los olvidados wait seven hours in line for a government meal of Skittles
and Vienna sausage, or a tarp to cover the bones of a house with no roof,
as the fungus grows on their skin from sleeping on mattresses drenched
with the spit of the hurricane. They drink the brown water, waiting
for microscopic monsters in their bellies to visit plagues upon them.
A nurse says: These people are going to have an epidemic. These people
are going to die. The president flips rolls of paper towels to a crowd
at a church in Guaynabo, Zeus lobbing thunderbolts on the locked ward
of his delusions. Down the block, cousin Ricardo, Bernice’s boy, says
that somebody stole his can of diesel. I heard somebody ask you once
what Puerto Rico needed to be free. And you said: Tres pulgadas
de sangre en la calle: Three inches of blood in the street. Now, three
inches of mud flow through the streets of Utuado, and troops patrol
the town, as if guarding the vein of copper in the ground, as if a shovel
digging graves in the backyard might strike the ore below, as if la brigada
swinging machetes to clear the road might remember the last uprising.
I know you are not God. I have the proof: seven pounds of ashes in a box
on my bookshelf. Gods do not die, and yet I want you to be God again.
Stride from the crowd to seize the president’s arm before another roll
of paper towels sails away. Thunder Spanish obscenities in his face.
Banish him to a roofless rainstorm in Utuado, so he unravels, one soaked
sheet after another, till there is nothing left but his cardboard heart.
I promised myself I would stop talking to you, white box of gray grit.
You were deaf even before you died. Hear my promise now: I will take you
to the mountains, where houses lost like ships at sea rise blue and yellow
from the mud. I will open my hands. I will scatter your ashes in Utuado.

Sunday, November 21, 2021

Mesh by Maureen N. McLane


Everything in the world
has a name
if you know it.
You know that.
The fungus
secreting itself
from the bark
is Colt’s Hoof.
The dignity
of cataloguers
bows before code.
The thing
about elements—
they don’t want
to be split
Every time
I collide with your mind
I give off—
something happens—
we don’t know what
Particles, articles
this bit, a bit
digital, simple
fission, fusion
—a great vowel shift.
I saw the world
dissolve in waves
the trees as one
with the sun
and their shadows.
The trees on the shore
the trees in the pond
branch in the mind
The screech of the subway
decelerating its knife
into the brain
of all riders
In the morning the hummingbird
In the evening five deer
Why should I feel bad
about beauty?
The postmodernists
are all rational
& sad though they mug
in zany gear.
Everyone knows
what is happening.
They disagree why
& what then.
It turns out
the world was made for us
to mesh.

A Supermarket in California by Allen Ginsberg

A Supermarket in California

What thoughts I have of you tonight, Walt Whitman, for I walked down the sidestreets under the trees with a headache self-conscious looking at the full moon.
         In my hungry fatigue, and shopping for images, I went into the neon fruit supermarket, dreaming of your enumerations!
         What peaches and what penumbras! Whole families shopping at night! Aisles full of husbands! Wives in the avocados, babies in the tomatoes!—and you, Garcia Lorca, what were you doing down by the watermelons?
         I saw you, Walt Whitman, childless, lonely old grubber, poking among the meats in the refrigerator and eyeing the grocery boys.
         I heard you asking questions of each: Who killed the pork chops? What price bananas? Are you my Angel?
         I wandered in and out of the brilliant stacks of cans following you, and followed in my imagination by the store detective.
         We strode down the open corridors together in our solitary fancy tasting artichokes, possessing every frozen delicacy, and never passing the cashier.
         Where are we going, Walt Whitman? The doors close in an hour. Which way does your beard point tonight?
         (I touch your book and dream of our odyssey in the supermarket and feel absurd.)
         Will we walk all night through solitary streets? The trees add shade to shade, lights out in the houses, we'll both be lonely.
         Will we stroll dreaming of the lost America of love past blue automobiles in driveways, home to our silent cottage?
         Ah, dear father, graybeard, lonely old courage-teacher, what America did you have when Charon quit poling his ferry and you got out on a smoking bank and stood watching the boat disappear on the black waters of Lethe?

Friday, November 19, 2021

This’ll hurt me more by Camille T. Dungy

This’ll hurt me more

Don’t make me send you outside to find a switch,
my grandmother used to say. It was years before
I had the nerve to ask her why switch was the word
her anger reached for when she needed me to act
a different way. Still, when I see some branches—
wispy ones, like willows, like lilacs, like the tan-yellow
forsythia before the brighter yellow buds— I think,
these would make perfect switches for a whipping.
America, there is not a place I can wander inside you
and not feel a little afraid. Did I ever tell you about that
time I was seven, buckled into the backseat of the Volvo,
before buckles were a thing America required.
My parents tried, despite everything, to keep us
safe. It’s funny. I remember the brown hills sloping
toward the valley. A soft brown welcome I looked for
other places but found only there and in my grandmother’s
skin. Yes, I have just compared my grandmother’s body
to my childhood’s hills, America. I loved them both,
and they taught me, each, things I needed to learn.
You have witnessed, America, how pleasant hillsides
can quickly catch fire. My grandmother could be like that.
But she protected me, too. There were strawberry fields,
wind guarded in that valley, tarped against the cold.
America, you are good at taking care of what you value.
Those silver-gray tarps made the fields look like a pond
I could skate on. As the policeman questioned my dad,
I concentrated on the view outside the back window.
America, have you ever noticed how well you stretch
the imagination? This was Southern California. I’d lived
there all my life and never even seen a frozen pond.
But there I was, in 70 degree weather, imagining
my skates carving figure eights on a strawberry field.
Of course my father fit the description. The imagination
can accommodate whoever might happen along.
America, if you’ve seen a hillside quickly catch fire
you have also seen a river freeze over, the surface
looking placid though you know the water deep down,
dark as my father, is pushing and pushing, still trying
to get ahead. We were driving home, my father said.
My wife and my daughters, we were just on our way
home. I know you want to know what happened next,
America. Did my dad make it safely home or not?
Outside this window, lilac blooms show up like a rash
decision the bush makes each spring. I haven’t lived
in Southern California for decades. A pond here
killed a child we all knew. For years after that accident,
as spring bloomed and ice thinned, my daughter
remembered the child from her preschool. And now,
it’s not so much that she’s forgotten. It’s more that
it seems she’s never known that child as anything other
than drowned. My grandmother didn’t have an answer.
A switch is what her mother called it and her grandmother
before her. She’d been gone from that part of America
for over half a century, but still that southern soil
sprang up along the contours of her tongue. America,
I’ll tell you this much, I cannot understand this mind,
where it reaches. Even when she was threatening
to beat me, I liked to imagine the swishing sound
a branch would make as it whipped toward my body
through the resisting air. She’d say, this is hurting me
more than it’s hurting you. I didn’t understand her then,
but now I think I do. America, go find me a switch.

Thursday, November 18, 2021

You Have Harnessed Yourself Ridiculously to This World by Lucie Brock-Broido

You Have Harnessed Yourself Ridiculously to This World
Tell the truth I told me                                When I couldn’t speak.
Sorrow’s a barbaric art, crude as a Viking ship                Or a child
Who rode a spotted pony to the lake away from summer 
In the 1930s                                       Toward the iron lung of polio.
According to the census I am unmarried                And unchurched.
                                    The woman in the field dressed only in the sun.
Too far gone to halt the Arctic Cap’s catastrophe, big beautiful
Blubbery white bears each clinging to his one last hunk of  ice.
I am obliged, now, to refrain from dying, for as long as it is possible.
For whom left am I first?
                                                          We have come to terms with our Self
Like a marmoset getting out of  her Great Ape suit.

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

From The Keeper of the Sheep by Fernando Pessoa / Alberto Caeiro

From The Keeper of the Sheep

If only my life were an oxcart
That creaks down the road in the morning,
Very early, and returns by the same road
To where it came from in the evening . . .
I wouldn’t have to have hopes, just wheels . . .
My old age wouldn’t have wrinkles or white hair . . .
When I was of no more use, my wheels would be removed
And I’d end up at the bottom of a ditch, broken and
Or I’d be made into something different
And I wouldn’t know what I’d been made into . . .
But I’m not an oxcart, I’m different.
But exactly how I’m different no one would ever tell me.
(Translated by Richard Zenith)

Monday, November 15, 2021

Krishna, 3:29 A.M. by Meena Alexander

Krishna, 3:29 A.M.

In a crumpled shirt (so casual for a god)
Bow tucked loosely under an arm still jittery from battle
He balanced himself on a flat boat painted black.
Each wave as I kneel closer a migrant flag
A tongue with syllables no script can catch.
The many births you have passed through, try to remember them as I do mine
Memory is all you have.
Still, how much can you bear on your back?
You’ve lost one language, gained another, lost a third.
There’s nothing you’ll inherit, neither per stirpes nor per capita
No plot by the riverbank in your father’s village of Kozencheri
Or by the burning ghat in Varanasi.
All you have is a writing hand smeared with ink and little bits of paper
Swirling in a violent wind.
I am a blue-black child cheeks swollen with a butter ball
I stole from mama’s kitchen
Stones and sky and stars melt in my mouth
Wooden spoon in hand she chased me
Round and round the tamarind tree.
I am musk in the wings of the koel which nests in that tree —
You heard its cry in the jolting bus from Santa Monica to Malibu
After the Ferris wheel, the lovers with their wind slashed hair
Toxic foam on the drifts of the ocean
Come the dry cactus lands
The child who crosses the border water bottle in hand
Fallen asleep in the aisle where backpacks and sodden baskets are stashed.
Out of her soiled pink skirt whirl these blood-scratched skies
And all the singing rifts of story.

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Terence, This is Stupid Stuff by A. E. Housman

Terence, This is Stupid Stuff

'Terence, this is stupid stuff:
You eat your victuals fast enough;
There can't be much amiss, 'tis clear,
To see the rate you drink your beer.
But oh, good Lord, the verse you make,
It gives a chap the belly-ache.
The cow, the old cow, she is dead;
It sleeps well, the horned head:
We poor lads, 'tis our turn now
To hear such tunes as killed the cow.
Pretty friendship 'tis to rhyme
Your friends to death before their time
Moping melancholy mad:
Come, pipe a tune to dance to, lad.'
Why, if 'tis dancing you would be,
There's brisker pipes than poetry.
Say, for what were hop-yards meant,
Or why was Burton built on Trent?
Oh many a peer of England brews
Livelier liquor than the Muse,
And malt does more than Milton can
To justify God's ways to man.
Ale, man, ale's the stuff to drink
For fellows whom it hurts to think:
Look into the pewter pot
To see the world as the world's not.
And faith, 'tis pleasant till 'tis past:
The mischief is that 'twill not last.
Oh I have been to Ludlow fair
And left my necktie God knows where,
And carried half way home, or near,
Pints and quarts of Ludlow beer:
Then the world seemed none so bad,
And I myself a sterling lad;
And down in lovely muck I've lain,
Happy till I woke again.
Then I saw the morning sky:
Heigho, the tale was all a lie;
The world, it was the old world yet,
I was I, my things were wet,
And nothing now remained to do
But begin the game anew.
Therefore, since the world has still
Much good, but much less good than ill,
And while the sun and moon endure
Luck's a chance, but trouble's sure,
I'd face it as a wise man would,
And train for ill and not for good.
'Tis true, the stuff I bring for sale
Is not so brisk a brew as ale:
Out of a stem that scored the hand
I wrung it in a weary land.
But take it: if the smack is sour,
The better for the embittered hour;
It should do good to heart and head
When your soul is in my soul's stead;
And I will friend you, if I may,
In the dark and cloudy day.
There was a king reigned in the East:
There, when kings will sit to feast,
They get their fill before they think
With poisoned meat and poisoned drink.
He gathered all the springs to birth
From the many-venomed earth;
First a little, thence to more,
He sampled all her killing store;
And easy, smiling, seasoned sound,
Sate the king when healths went round.
They put arsenic in his meat
And stared aghast to watch him eat;
They poured strychnine in his cup
And shook to see him drink it up:
They shook, they stared as white's their shirt:
Them it was their poison hurt.
I tell the tale that I heard told.
Mithridates, he died old.

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

The Hug by Tess Gallagher

The Hug

A woman is reading a poem on the street
and another woman stops to listen. We stop too,
with our arms around each other. The poem
is being read and listened to out here in the open.
Behind us no one is entering or leaving the houses.
Suddenly a hug comes over me and I am giving it to you,
like a variable star shooting light off to make itself comfortable,
then subsiding. I finish but keep on holding you. A man walks up
to us and we know he has not come out of nowhere, but if he could, he would have.
He looks homeless because of how he needs.
“Can I have one of those?’ he asks you, and I feel you nod.
I am surprised, surprised you don’t tell him how it is –
that I am yours, only yours, etc., exclusive as a nose to its face.
Love - that’s what we’re talking about. Love that nabs you with “for me only” and holds on.
So I walk over to him and put my arms around him and try to
hug him like I mean it. He’s got an overcoat on so thick I can’t feel him past it.
I’m starting the hug and thinking. “How big a hug is this supposed to be?
How long shall I hold this hug?” Already we could be eternal,
His arms falling over my shoulders, my hands not meeting behind his back, he is so big!
I put my head into his chest and snuggle in. I lean into him. I lean
my blood and my wishes into him. He stands for it. This is his and he’s starting
to give it back so well I know he’s getting it. This Hug. So truly,
so tenderly, we stop having arms and I don’t know if my lover has walked away
Or what, or if the woman is still reading the poem, or the houses - what about them? - the houses.
Clearly, a little permission is a dangerous thing. But when you hug someone
you want it to be a masterpiece of connection, the way the button on his coat
will leave the imprint of a planet in my cheek when I walk away.
When I try to find some place to go back to.

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Still When I Picture It the Face of God Is a White Man’s Face by Shane McCrae

Still When I Picture It the Face of God Is a White Man’s Face

Before it disappears
on the sand his long white      beard before it disappears
The face of the man
in the waves I ask her does she see it ask her does
The old man in the waves      as the waves crest she see it does
she see the old man his
White     his face crumbling face it looks
as old as he’s as old as
The ocean looks
and for a moment almost looks
His face like it’s     all the way him
As never such old skin
looks my / Daughter age four
She thinks it might he might be real she shouts Hello
And after there’s no answer answers No

Monday, November 8, 2021

I’m Going to Sleep by Alfonsina Storni

I’m Going to Sleep

Teeth of flowers, bonnet of dew,
hands of grass, you, lovely nursemaid,
turn down the earthen sheets for me
and the quilt of weeded moss.
I’m going to sleep, my nurse, tuck me in,
put a lamp on my headboard;
a constellation; whichever you like;
both are fine; lower the light a little.
Leave me alone: you hear buds bursting open . . .
An unearthly foot rocks you from above
and a bird sketches you a few beats
so you’ll forget . . . Thanks. Oh, a favor:
if he calls again on the phone
tell him not to insist, that I’ve gone . . .
(Translated by Lauren K. Watel)