5.13.2019

Of the two possibilities, take your choice

                    4.
Let laughter come to you now and again, that
sturdy friend.

The impulse to leap off the cliff, when the
body falsely imagines it might fly, may be
restrained by reason, also by modesty. Of the
two possibilities, take your choice, and live.

Refuse all cooperation with the heart's death.

                    5.
Sing, if you can sing, and if not still be
musical inside yourself.

[Mary Oliver {1935-2019} from 'More Evidence', in Swan: Poems and Prose]

5.11.2019

I do not know what to do with my heart

I am saying                                it is summer
still in the passing of
                                       sighing breeze

& my heart                                 my heart
            I do not know what to do with my heart

It slips away     from me with a crowd

of roses shaking        in the same air
             I am shaking in
                                        & she wears that same dress

it is summer
                           the legs of girls exposed in joyful light

& the grace of being human here
but not human together
                                              I am just this

clamor of longing in afternoon

[Nate Pritts {1974- } 'A poem for early summer', from Sweet Nothing]

4.30.2019

What had been there 
is gone now
 and lives in my heart

Under a cherry tree

I found a robin’s egg,

broken, but not shattered.

I had been thinking of you,

and was kneeling in the grass

among fallen blossoms

when I saw it: a blue scrap,

a delicate toy, as light

as confetti

It didn’t seem real,

but nature will do such things

from time to time.

I looked inside:

it was glistening, hollow,

a perfect shell

except for the missing crown,

which made it possible

to look inside.

What had been there

is gone now

and lives in my heart

where, periodically,

it opens up its wings,

tearing me apart.

[Phillis Levin {1954- } 'End of April', from The Afterimage]

4.29.2019

optimism is not my strongest suit

There are heard melodies and h-e-r-d melodies.
My teachers never taught us poetry;
instead they gave us poems to memorize.
The most difficult rhetorical form for me
is the commencement address, especially
since optimism is not my strongest suit.
Hope's not optimism--"All will be all right"--
but takes root and blossoms when history
advances from atrocious to merely messy;
hope says, "There's work to be done, stick to it."
My own history in northern Ireland was fraught
with high voltage under decorousness. What
better definition of poetry could you have?
I'm still learning to read the poems I love.

[Philip Dacey {1939-2016} 'Seamus Heaney: Cento Sonnet' from The Ice-Cream Vigils: Last Poems]

4.28.2019

I don't want To remember

Don't want to put my glasses on
Cause I don't want to see

Don't want to move again
Because I don't want to
Live

Don't want to love again
Because I don't want
To lose

Don't want to eat again
Because I don't want
To be full

Don't want to drink
Again because I don't
Want to feel quenched

Don't want to sleep again
Because I don't want to
Wake up

Don't want to live in the summer
Again because I don't want
To be hot

Don't want you to kiss me again
Because I don't want to be alive

Don't want to see you again
Because I don't want to vanish

Don't want to ride my bike
Because I don't want to
Get there

Don't want to know my family
Anymore because I don't want
To remember me

Don't want to walk my dog
Because I don't want to be out

Don't want to stay in anymore
Because I don't want to be
Alone

Don't want to be tired anymore
Because I don't want to feel old

Don't want to eat candy anymore
Because I don't want to feel sweet

Don't want to talk to my friends anymore
Because I don't want them to know me

Don't want to sing anymore
Because I don't want to hear me.

Don't want to die anymore
Because I don't want to see god.

Don't want to live anymore
Because I don't want to repeat

[Eileen Myles {1949- } 'Harmonica', from I Must Be Living Twice]

4.27.2019

There is beauty in balance.

It doesn't begin on the surface.
It begins below. The exchange
of heat that burns the spring
up through winter. Frozen roots
grow green again. The seed,
ripe and bursting, trades green
for green, and its energy is
at once a void, and a negation
of that void.
                                             Rope of red leaves.
Pool of yellow flowers.
What does not sink, floats on
the unrelenting surface of the water.
A river is a line across the land.
Vine strings tie the water to
the land, the land to the trees,
the trees to the sky blue
as water.
                                 My life, another layer
upon the land. My window
looking out onto the hillside
where I must take my work
to the edge of collapse.
There is beauty in balance.
A process of failure that redefines
success. What stands, stands only
for its lifetime. I draw a circle
in the air - a window out,
a doorway in.
                                              Absence is
the intangible, the potency
of life. How tangible is life?
A river rushing. A gust of wind.
A chain of green unwinding
in the current like a great snake,
silent, swimming downstream.
The snake is the water.
The snake is the color of
everything that lives.
                                                         I must know
the stones if the wall is to stand.
The trees take shelter in the wall and grow.
Trees speak to stone, and the wall
lives in sympathy with the land
through which it flows. How many
miles does the stone snake stretch
before it finds the river, the road,
the path through the trees?
                                                        The red
of life, iron in the blood. Iron
in the stone. A river of red holds
the energy and violence of the color.
Red stones hidden under the earth's
skin. Pools of blood pour into
the water. The current, metamorphosis.
The stone begins as liquid fire,
ends as sand and earth.
                                                       We are born
out of clay, slick mud pulled up
from the river banks. We are cast in
such shapes, whole or broken. Look!
An iron ghost rises in a cloud of red dust.
A white ghost lingers in the snow's breath.
The green snake moves silently against
the river's red current.

[William Reichard {1963- } 'Natural History' from Two Men Rowing Madly Toward Infinity]

4.26.2019

too much burning here

I am sick of feeling
I never eat or sleep
I just sit here and let the words burn into me
I know you love her
And don't love me
No, I don't think you love her
I know there are clouds that are very pretty
I know there are clouds that trundle around the globe
I take anything I can to get to love
Live things are what the world is made of
Live things are black
Black in that they forget where they came from
I have not forgotten, however I choose not to feel
Those places that have burned into me
There is too much burning here, I'm afraid
Readers, you read flat words
Inside here are many moments
In which I have screamed in pain
As the flames ate me

[Dorothea Lasky {1978- } 'Jakob' from Black Life]