Women in Labor- Mary Ruefle
August 26, 2012, 3:32 pm
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Women who lie alone at midnight
because there is no one else to lie to

 

Women who lie alone at midnight
at noon in the laundromat
destroying their own socks

 

Women who lie alone at midnight:
Hans Brinker, or The Silver Skates

 

Women who lie alone at midnight
as the first furl of starlight
pearls the moon with nacre

 

Women who lie alone at midnight
sending a postcard bearing
the face of a bawling infant
who cries “I am for the new”

 

Women who lie alone at midnight
reciting the names of shoes

 

Women who lie alone at midnight
spurting unjustified tears,
the kind that run sideways
never reaching the mouth,
the kind you cannot swallow

 

Women who lie alone at midnight
singing breast away the burden of my tender
and afterwards burp

 

Women who lie alone at midnight
obeying the laws of physics
Women who let their dreams curl at the end
Women in a monastery of flamingos

 

Women who die alone at midnight
contributing to the end, to
lost time, to the rain and flies,
seeing the bird they saw trapped in the airport
surviving by the water fountain

 

What’s more, try it sometime
It works


Time of Need – Allison Seay
August 26, 2012, 3:29 pm
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In the road, a dog. Days dead,
that dog. Liliana was walking beside me awhile
(I am sure) and I was almost not crying but then found

 

what I was looking for.
She heaved it for me—all of it, the stench, the weight—
in her thin arms until it was too much.

 

Tired, she dragged the thing by its wasted paws
all the way home. Her dress was stained. This is how

 

I learned about love. She did not mind at all
the silent, steady distance I placed between us.


Your Other Heart -NATALIE SHAPERO
August 25, 2012, 10:41 pm
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Mossy and thumping, bare of logic, red:
             why do they say your other head
                         and not your other heart?
The snack cakes of Smut Wonderland
turn Alice smaller than her dress. She stirs,
nude in the folds of so much baby blue.
             To think, they called this lesser art.
I ate mostly orders then, and you—
you were thinking with your other heart.
I took in a dog the way some might take in
             a dress (I had become just skin).
                          It coughed. I cried for it
to stop, I fed it meat, its malady
recurrent and untreatable. I had
to give it up, like some bum body part
             whose incidental benefit
the human form has out-evolved. Don’t start.
That dog: I called it Help, and I cried for it.


My Mother Was No White Dove -Reginald Shepherd
August 25, 2012, 5:30 pm
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and foraging for small seeds
My mother was the clouded-over night
a moon swims through, the dark against which stars
switch themselves on, so many already dead
by now (stars switch themselves off
and are my mother, she was never
so celestial, so clearly seen)

My mother was the murderous flight of crows
stilled, black plumage gleaming
among black branches, taken
for nocturnal leaves, the difference
between two darks:

a cacophony of needs
in the bare tree silhouette,
a flight of feathers, scattering
black. She was the night
streetlights oppose (perch
for the crows, their purchase on sight),
obscure bruise across the sky
making up names for rain

My mother always falling
was never snow, no kind
of bird, pigeon or crow


An Old Story- Richard Hoffman
August 24, 2012, 8:28 pm
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A few days after my mother died
the furnace went out, and my father,
who had been sitting in his chair
across from hers since the funeral,
his unshaven chin on his chest,
heaved himself up and went down
the cold gray cellar stairs to see if
he could relight the pilot himself
or would have to call for help.
I know what it must have been like
because I remember him other times
on his back down there, cursing
match after match, god damning
each for burning his fingers, as he
reached through the tiny metal door
as many times as it took. This time
it lit, caught, and roared back to life.
When my father sat up he faced
the washer, the dryer, the empty
laundry basket, the ironing board,
and my mother’s radio above the sink,
her absence so vivid that climbing
the stairs he thought he heard her
behind him, and he turned around.


From “I Remember, I Remember” -Mary Ruefle
August 22, 2012, 7:21 am
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“I remember standing in a field in Switzerland at dusk, surrounded by cows with bells around their necks, and reading John Keats’s “Ode to a Nightingale” out loud from an open book I was holding in my hands, and I started to weep—weep is a better word for it than cry—and I remember the tears slowly streaming down my face, it was that beautiful to me, and I loved poetry that much. I was eighteen.

I remember (later) thinking that it was actually hilarious that I used to read poetry to cows, that they were an integral part of my most serious moment.

I remember in junior high my leg was in a cast and it was summer and I was lying on a sofa in the basement where it was cool; there was a TV down there, and an ironing board, and a room for my sister to stay in when she came home from college, and my sister was ironing—she was always ironing, sewing, or cooking, she was majoring in Home Economics—and to pass the time she gave me one of her college textbooks, a book of poems by the British Romantics, and the only other thing I can remember is that my life changed that summer. My life changed for good.

I remember when I graduated from college, we were asked to submit exactly how we wanted our names to appear on our diplomas, and I spelled my middle name (which is Lorraine) Low Rain, because the day before I had been reading W.S. Merwin’s new book and in it was some kind of brief Japanese thing along the lines of ‘Low Rain, Roof Fell.’ ”

*

“I remember I was a child, and when I grew up I was a poet. It all happened at sixty miles an hour and on days when the clock stopped and all of humanity fit into a little chapel, into a pinecone, a shot of ouzo, a snail’s shell, a piece of soggy rye on the pavement.”

*

“I remember the night I decided I would call myself a poet. I had been invited to a dinner party of literati, and I knew I would inevitably be asked what I did. I usually said I was a teacher; I was twenty-seven years old and had been writing poems since I was nine. I made up my mind that if anyone asked, I would say I was a poet; I left my apartment with resolve, a sense of mission, and security. And someone asked. Alain, a charismatic French poet wearing a blue velvet jacket and a long white scarf, asked me what I did; I took a deep breath and said I was a poet; his face distorted into a human field of disgust: “A poet!” he cried. “If you call yourself a poet then you cannot possibly be one; poets live in shadows and never admit and do not discuss, and besides, a real poet knows that all the poems in the world do not a poet make. I would no more call myself a poet than call myself a man—it is the height of arrogance, as any dog knows.” Dear me! I left the party in tears—hard cold tears of confusion and humiliation. It seemed my final hour.”



Thunderbird- Dorothea Lasky
August 21, 2012, 7:26 am
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Thunderbird
Dorothea Lasky. Wave (Consortium, dist.), $16 trade paper (128p) ISBN 978-1-933517-63-6

Even after titling her last book Black Life, Lasky’s latest aims to go darker–more death-driven–with poems that can be as commanding and loud as they can understated and vulnerable. “I like weird ass hippies,” she writes in a poem of the same name, “I like the lamb’s blood you throw on my face.” Elsewhere Lasky pulls even fewer punches: “I want to be dead.” What makes her voice so inviting, easy to love, and ultimately disarming is how ambivalent Lasky can be about the emotion she braids into her lines. “What I say are feelings,” she writes, “Are also not feelings.” And the same voice that tells us “it’s true, I love you guys and gals” also issues this fired-up correction to both poets and idol worshippers alike: “God is wild, and not human/ And when people make God human/ He stares at you through the eyes of a bear/ And beats his terrible bearded chest.” It’s perhaps unavoidable that Lasky’s willful innocence will lead her to lines that belittle her complexity, as when she declares that “The world doesn’t care if you are sad” or asks “Why are people so cruel?” But all of this is worth Lasky’s thoughts on where poets should take their art: “Poets should go back to saying crazy shit.” (Oct.)