Archive for the ‘Poetry’ Category

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Submission

In Poetry, Writing on June 26, 2012 at 9:40 pm

In the process of submitting writing to literary magazines, one often stumbles upon an “About” section on the mag’s website.  I did that today, in a cubby in the children’s corner of my library.  Before my brain could catch my tongue, I was whispering in this corner to this scroll of employed, word-scrubbing faces smiling intimately off my shine-screen.  “Ahh, let’s see who’ll be rejecting my work,” I said: a soft exhale, pleased as always for benevolent strangers to throw even those words down cliffs.



In Poetry on June 7, 2012 at 10:12 pm

Not much to say.  Dark overtook the day.  In Starbucks cafe.  The chamomile’s okay.

Good Days, Good Nights

In Poetry on March 6, 2012 at 3:53 pm

On good days, I pluck pastries from trays.  My breath curls in walk-in freezers, and I don’t smudge the frosting much.

On good days, the blues cat curls round my register and asks how’s things?  He gives me names, which the library turns into CDs.

On good days, the sun harrasses my kitchen windows so much that when I come home and twist the mounted wood-wall lamp, my pot of mint is an obese tabletop Buddha.  It’s an absolute weed, an aesex jackrabbit, and we laugh together at how the world is so not wrong: me and shoots of babies doing dinner.

Good nights don’t care that my house isn’t breathing downstairs when I’m laying alone in my long, low bedroom that feels like the inside of a bullet.  A cozy one, to be sure, full with floor pillows and jewelry.

Good nights wrap their hands around a guitar neck or a flute head and sing loud.

Good nights are hard to come by.  But bad ones are, too.  Mostly there’s just this longing for you.  Still I do crawl out of my covers in dim lamplight and press my hands upon the floor.  My prayer is a whole one, even if by goodnight, I’m not.

from A Cup of Sun

In Poetry on February 28, 2012 at 2:18 pm

by Joan Walsh Anglund

A bird does not sing
because he has an answer.

He sings
because he has a song.


In Music, Poetry on February 22, 2012 at 11:16 am

Harpo from Horse Feathers (1932), “Everyone Says I Love You”

Harpo quickly takes a seat between the spent guffaws
And brushes solemn majesty on forty-seven strings
His mouth is still as usual, but his hands sing.
What could be more water-true than everything this was?
In dashing turn and rivet rise I pause
To play my heart, whose winter wore a sting,
Whose tuning matched a well-thrown Groucho zing,
A madcap game of dash and broken laws.
It’s time There called my balconies to sound
And sat beside the trees of shading pine
Too long have I been neither Here nor thine,
A spinning top flung outward, up, and down.
Sit patient, now: strum pause and present rhyme – 
In music lost is found an interlude for he who plays the clown.

P. Tuesday, II

In Poetry on February 14, 2012 at 1:17 pm

IV (from Little Gidding) – T.S. Eliot

The dove descending breaks the air
With flame of incandescent terror
Of which the tongues declare
The one discharge from sin and error.
The only hope, or else despair
Lies in the choice of pyre or pyre –
To be redeemed from fire by fire.

Who then devised the torment? Love.
Love is the unfamiliar Name
Behind the hands that wove
The intolerable shirt of flame
Which human power cannot remove.
We only live, only suspire
Consumed by either fire or fire.

Poem Tuesday

In Poetry on February 7, 2012 at 3:07 pm

In an effort to instill regular readership, one must offer regular reading material.  So!  Welcome to my word-home, far-flung friends.  Poetry Tuesdays is now…a thing!  And just like we were holding hands above the alter, I promise to think thoughts and write them down.  Come wrapping round my door these winter nights.  I’ll put on jazz records and your boots’ll sog the corner; we’ll share that blanket! and Barry’s tea will warm our hands.


The Wait

I am sore with the wait.
My gums itch and I ply
myself out from another day
of the night
of the morning
of waking up
passing love around my teeth
like a stone
too smooth to swallow
too hard to eat.


Refill?  Next week, same time, same place?

A Few Minutes of Honey

In Life, Love, Poetry on January 21, 2012 at 1:35 am

I need a few minutes of honey.

Not ten minutes, not twenty-five, not sixty.

Just a few.

I will stick them between my hands

And rub them across my palms and it will feel


And when they pull apart lazily

Like a cat’s cradle, it will be


Because you will unravel them with me

Not with your hands but with your eyes

On mine, watching

My amber-drip fist

Bear cub into my mouth,

Where each sticky loop will fold into and under itself upon my tongue –


Into atoms

Into quarks

Into figilblops

And donlidoops

And the smaller and smaller things inside the sweetness

Birthing backwards –

Until the end is so far gone, it’s just made of me,

Which is made of the minutes

I spend with you.


In Poetry on July 16, 2010 at 7:30 pm

What is it about poetry?  Art and film and dance and all manner of other disciplines are grand.  In their time, they all call our souls from our bodies, and play them far away on wooden flutes.  But poetry.  There’s something about poetry.

All I can think of is one morning in an airport.  A lady got on a mic and called out my departure from the foreign land, called down the axe on my foreign life.  I watched the line form.  My hands shook.  They did not wipe my eyes.  As I stood and took my place in the slow moving machine, suddenly, something shuddered awake.  It sang and spoke and leapt in the chorus of many unmet friends – Linda Hogan and Ani Difranco and Edna St. Vincent Millay.  They had come to see me off and paint their cacophonous, whispered, triumphant and timorous words upon the end.  “The end is where we start from,” one of them said, as they grabbed my hands and coaxed them and walked me onto the plane.

I’d like to share some poetry.  I’m not even sure what poetry is, but I know it’s necessary.

Travel – Edna St. Vincent Millay

The railroad track is miles away,
And the day is loud with voices speaking,
Yet there isn’t a train goes by all day
But I hear its whistle shrieking.

All night there isn’t a train goes by,
Though the night is still for sleep and dreaming,
But I see its cinders red on the sky,
And hear its engine steaming.

My heart is warm with the friends I make,
And better friends I’ll not be knowing;
Yet there isn’t a train I wouldn’t take,
No matter where it’s going.

[FOR THE SAKE OF A SINGLE POEM] – Rainer Maria Rilke

…Ah, poems amount to so little when you write them too early in your life.  You ought to wait and gather sense and sweetness for a whole lifetime, and a long one if possible, and then, at the very end, you might perhaps be able to write ten good lines. For poems are not, as people think, simply emotions (one has emotions early enough) – they are experiences. For the sake of a single poem, you must see many cities, many people and Things, you must understand animals, must feel how birds fly, and know the gesture which small flowers make when they open in the morning. You must be able to think back to streets in unknown neighborhoods, to unexpected encounters, and to partings you had long seen coming; to days of childhood whose mystery is still unexplained, to parents whom you had to hurt when they brought in a joy and you didn’t pick it up (it was a joy meant for somebody else-); to childhood illnesses that began so strangely with so many profound and difficult transformations, to days in quiet, restrained rooms and to mornings by the sea, to the sea itself, to seas, to nights of travel that rushed along high overhead and went flying with all the stars, – and it is still not enough to be able to think of all that. You must have memories of many nights of love, each one different from all the others, memories of women screaming in labor, and of light, pale, sleeping girls who have just given birth and are closing again. But you must also have been beside the dying, must have sat beside the dead in the room with the open window and the scattered noises. And it is not yet enough to have memories. You must be able to forget them when they are many, and you must have the immense patience to wait until they return. For the memories themselves are not important. Only when they have changed into our very blood, into glance and gesture, and are nameless, no longer to be distinguished from ourselves – only then can it happen that in some very rare hour the first word of a poem arises in their midst and goes forth from them.

Nothing – Linda Hogan

Nothing sings in our bodies

like breath in a flute.

It dwells in the drum.

I hear it now

that slow beat

like when a voice said to the dark,

let there be light,

let there be ocean

and blue fish

born of nothing

and they were there.

I turn back to bed.

The man there is breathing.

I touch him with hands already owned by another world.

Look, they are desert,

they are rust. They have washed the dead.

They have washed the just born.

They are open.

They offer nothing.

Take it.

Take nothing from me.

There is still a little life

left inside this body,

a little wilderness here

and mercy

and it is the emptiness

we love, touch, enter in one another

and try to fill.