Sunday, November 27, 2011

By Sara King

Don't say you'd mourn my passing.
You a writer, and a liar.
Writers are the worst of liars---
their audience has no face,
so they don't have to smile,
don't have to weep,
don't even pretend to love.

I know you will forget me
while I sleep with the worms.
You have forgotten me already
and I am breathing still,
here in the wet leaves and wind,
you, hiding somewhere in the city,
behind Dostoyevsky and cognac.

If only I were a book,
then maybe you would read my body---
run your eyes right to left
over my flesh,
bury your face
in the pages of my breasts.

But I am only a bookmark---
a place to rest
when you are reluctantly tangled,
a voracious reader,
a vicarious lover. 
Your Heart Was My Home Until You Handed Me An Eviction Notice
by Amanda Bower

I removed the layers of blankets from my aching bones
to excavate the secrets that were held together by saliva
in papier-mâché envelopes, only to chew on disappointments
and lie on shards of fragile stained glass that tampered with my flaws,
instead of putting me back together with multicolored duct tape
so gray was only found inside of my body.

I wrung the tears from your sweatshirt and decided it was time
to give it back to you, in exchange for my serpent heart

[barely beating,

barely breathing];

instead of curling inside your stomach and making you
nearly as ill as I had become, just by drinking venomous nectar
and digesting fireflies so a small portion of me would feel alive,
I climbed over your picket fence and let you recline my eyes
in another awkward position to the point where I only chain-smoked
the main exhibits of your aesthetic proportions and declined
every deficiency of the person you truly are,

i. blunt
Mugged By Poetry
By Dorianne Laux—for Tony Hoagland who sent me a handmade chapbook made from old postcards called OMIGOD POETRY with a whale breaching off the coast of New Jersey and seven of his favorite poems by various authors typed up, taped on, and tied together with a broken shoelace.
Reading a good one makes me love the one who wrote it,
as well as the animal or element or planet or person
the poet wrote the poem for. I end up like I always do,
flat on my back like a drunk in the grass, loving the world.
Like right now, I'm reading a poem called "Summer"
by John Ashbery whose poems I never much cared for,
and suddenly, in the dead of winter, "There is that sound
like the wind/Forgetting in the branches that means
something/Nobody can translate..." I fall in love
with that line, can actually hear it (not the line
but the wind) and it's summer again and I forget
I don't like John Ashbery poems. So I light a cigarette
and read another by Zbigniew Herbert, a poet
I've always admired but haven't read enough of, called
"To Marcus Aurelius" that begins "Good night Marcus
put out the light/and shut the book For overhead/is raised
a gold alarm of stars..." First of all I suddenly love
anyone with the name Zbigniew. Second of all I love
anyone who speaks in all sincerity to the dead
and by doing so brings that personage back to life,
plunging a hand through the past to flip off the light.
The astral physics of it just floors me. Third of all
is that "gold alarm of stars..." By now I'm a goner,
and even though I have to get up tomorrow at 6 am
I forge ahead and read "God's Justice" by Anne Carson,
another whose poems I'm not overly fond of
but don't actively disdain. I keep reading one line
over and over, hovering above it like a bird on a wire
spying on the dragonfly with "turquoise dots all down its back
like Lauren Bacall". Like Lauren Bacall!! Well hell,
I could do this all night. I could be in love like this
for the rest of my life, with everything in the expanding
universe and whatever else might be beyond it
that we can't grind a lens big enough to see. I light up
another smoke, maybe the one that will kill me,
and go outside to listen to the moon scalding the iced trees.
What, I ask you, will become of me?

Time by Louise Erdrich

By Louise Erdrich

My breasts are soft.
My hair is dull.
I am growing into the body
of the old woman who will bear me
toward my death,
my death which will do me no harm.
Every day the calico cat returns from the fields
with a mouse in her jaws.
After every bite of the tender lawn, the ground squirrel
jerks and flinches,
but no hawk drops out of the sky.
The fat creature continues to eat, nervously
stuffing itself with pleasure.

I watch him as I drink from a bottle of grassy wine.

Why do I long
to be devoured and to forget
in life rather than in death?
What is the difference?

From:  "Original Fire, Selected and New Poems" by Louise Erdrich

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Words by Anne Sexton

Annie, thank you for the words, the scroll of amazing words and YOUR caring, beautiful heart...
By Anne Sexton
Be careful of words,
even the miraculous ones.
For the miraculous we do our best,
sometimes they swarm like insects
and leave not a sting but a kiss.
They can be as good as fingers.
They can be as trusty as the rock
you stick your bottom on.
But they can be both daisies and bruises.

Yet I am in love with words.
They are doves falling out of the ceiling.
They are six holy oranges sitting in my lap.
They are the trees, the legs of summer,
and the sun, its passionate face.

Yet often they fail me.
I have so much I want to say,
so many stories, images, proverbs, etc.
But the words aren't good enough,
the wrong ones kiss me.
Sometimes I fly like an eagle
but with the wings of a wren.

But I try to take care
and be gentle to them.
Words and eggs must be handled with care.
Once broken they are impossible
things to repair.
From:  "The Complete Poems:  Anne Sexton", pages 463, 464


"A friend is the one who comes in when the whole world has gone out."  ~Grace Pulpit

Friday, November 25, 2011

The Moon on Friday Night by Susan Goyette

The Moon on Friday Night

                                        erased all paths to Saturday
and swept up footsteps from the day before. It coaxed buttons
to the lips of buttonholes and whispered, ‘ you’re beautiful,
so beautiful,’ to women who speak the vernacular

of loneliness. Softly it slid into the hands of the men
they were with and lent its light to everything they touched.
‘See,’ the moonlight seemed to say, ‘there are so many ways
to be naked and so many ways to be far

from home.’ The light reminded the women of songs
they knew, songs written to gauge distance. Later,
still later on this island of Friday night, they sang
those songs under their breath as they bent

to tie their shoes. And they stayed bent long after
their shoes were tied, hearing the wind for the first time
caught in a bucket of baby teeth. It was then they remembered
they were toothfairies, medicine men, and their children’s

mouths were empty. They knew of light switches, window
blinds, they knew to throw sand on fire, to blow
at a candle, but this light, this light they knew nothing
about so they carried it home with them. And now they wish

they hadn’t. It lights up corners they’d kept dark, lights
their words and gives them new meaning. At night,
they hold their husbands’ hands to their mouths.
‘Know this light,’ they pray, ‘touch me with this light.’

By Susan Goyette
From: “Open Field, 30 Contemporary Canadian Poets”, page 114


"The walls we build around us to keep sadness out also keeps out the joy."  ~Jim Rohn


When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but creatures of emotion.  ~Dale Carnegie

A sad, drooping December Rose.

In the Art Gallery
By Susan Browne

The painting of flowers
next to the painting of flames,
and I remember that time, years ago,
when the psychiatrist said, "You feel too much,
you are too sensitive, take these,"
giving me a bottle of pills. I took them
to the beach, watched light become flame
on the water, and along the ragged cliffs,
small flowers like blue stars,
the world a painting
I couldn't live in.
I opened the bottle, then put it down,
pills spilling on the sand.
Waves carried the flames
and didn't mind the burning,
the arising from and disappearing
into the vastness. I swam,
let the waves take me,
then treaded water, looking at the sky,
a silver tray full
of the most beautiful nothing.
I swam back, the water was black,
I could sink beyond caring,
but I wanted to live,
to be there
with the beauty and the burning
and let it be too much.

From: "Buddha's Dogs" by Susan Browne, page 59


I've tried & tossed away every kind of anti-depressant there is. Maybe I should have kept taking them, but they all made me feel dead inside. Now I just feel invisible, sad & empty. So sad. I don't like holiday time ever since my cousins died in a car wreck when I was a kid. We went to two double funerals that year, two of them young children in tiny coffins. My aunt and uncle with whom we lived lost their only two adult children and all of their grandchildren in one fell swoop, killed by a drunk driver. It was a few weeks before Christmas and every year after that a black cloud settled on everyone...and how do you lose a black cloud that's been with you since childhood? I don't know.



"Give sorrow words; the grief that does not speak whispers the o'er-fraught heart and bids it break." ~William Shakespeare


She was no longer wrestling with the grief, but could sit down with it as a lasting companion and make it a sharer in her thoughts. ~George Eliot

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Monet Refuses the Operation by Lisel Mueller

My Garfield Kitty & Dragonfly Lamp
Monet Refuses the Operation
Doctor, you say that there are no haloes
around the streetlights in Paris
and what I see is an aberration
caused by old age, an affliction.
I tell you it has taken me all my life
to arrive at the vision of gas lamps as angels,
to soften and blur and finally banish
the edges you regret I don't see,
to learn that the line I called the horizon
does not exist and sky and water,
so long apart, are the same state of being.
Fifty-four years before I could see
Rouen cathedral is built
of parallel shafts of sun,
and now you want to restore
my youthful errors: fixed
notions of top and bottom,
the illusion of three-dimensional space,
wisteria separate
from the bridge it covers.
What can I say to convince you
the Houses of Parliament dissolve
night after night to become
the fluid dream of the Thames?
I will not return to a universe
of objects that don't know each other,
as if islands were not the lost children
of one great continent.  The world
is flux, and light becomes what it touches,
becomes water, lilies on water,
above and below water,
becomes lilac and mauve and yellow
and white and cerulean lamps,
small fists passing sunlight
so quickly to one another
that it would take long, streaming hair
inside my brush to catch it.
To paint the speed of light!
Our weighted shapes, these verticals,
burn to mix with air
and changes our bones, skin, clothes
to gases.  Doctor,
if only you could see
how heaven pulls earth into its arms
and how infinitely the heart expands
to claim this world, blue vapor without end.
~ Lisel Mueller ~
~Happy Thanksgiving~
"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.  It turns what we have into enough, and more.  It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity.  It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.  Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow."  ~Melody Beattie
"God has two dwellings; one in heaven, and the other in a meek and thankful heart."  ~Izaak Walton

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Scaffolding Inside You by Olena Kalytiak Davis

The Scaffolding Inside You
By Olena Kalytiak Davis

Your thoughts have hung themselves from nails
like workshirts.

The sky has stopped
offering you reasons to live and your heart is the rock
you threw through each window
of what's deserted you, so you turn
to the burnt out building inside you: the scaffolding
overhead, the fallen beams,
the unsound framework;

according to the blue that's printed on the inside of your arms
you have no plans, no plans
uncovered, or uncovering: the offing is emptying,

the horizon empty

now that your sanity is
a tarp or a bedsheet
in the rough hands of the wind,

now that everything is hooded
in drop cloth.

It didn't happen
overnight. Or maybe it did:

your heart, the rock;
your soul, the Gothic barn.

You've even started envying the flowers their stems.

Will the Norther let up?

Will the moon ever again be so full of itself
that that ragged barn will fill with light, through its tin-covered roof?

You should bury more than the dead.
You should try harder.
You should give up.

From:  "And Her Soul Out of Nothing"


I've swept my house clean and am starting over.  ~Marion


"The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation."  ~Henry David Thoreau, Walden