Saturday, January 31, 2009

High Fidelity - Thom Gunn

I play your furies back to me at night,
The needle dances in the grooves they made,
For fury is passion like love, and fury's bite,
These grooves, no sooner than a love mark fade;
Then all swings round to nightmare: from the rim,
To prove the guilt I don't admit by day,
I duck love as a witch to sink or swim
Till in the ringed and level I survey
The tuneless circles that succeed a voice.
They run, without distinction, passion, rage,
Around a soloist's merely printed name
That still turns, from the impetus not choice,
Surrounded in that played-out pose of age
By notes he was, but cannot be again.

The Sound - Kim Addonizio

Marc says the suffering that we don’t see
still makes a sort of sound—a subtle, soft
noise, nothing like the cries of screams that we
might think of--more the slight scrape of a hat doffed
by a quiet man, ignored as he stands back
to let a lovely woman pass, her dress
just brushing his coat. Or else it’s like a crack
in an old foundation, slowly widening, the stress
and slippage going on unnoticed by
the family upstairs, the daughter leaving
for a date, her mother’s resigned sigh
when she sees her. It’s like the heaving
of a stone into a lake, before it drops.
It’s shy, it’s barely there. It never stops.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

January - Melanie Carter

Already the starlings the wind whips
eastward are circling back
like a crown to their beginning.

On the ground below, the headstones
turn even the quiet maples
into chiseled monuments, sculpted boughs.

If one dark bird could grant
a wish, I'd ask to see the scepter
that directs this flight, that carves

a track so clearly in the air
these birds could fall into their sleep
and weave themselves back

to barren branches (their name alone
could make small sparks sing
in the fine trees, these tall trees).

I want to say that the man who could be king
is already my father (fine bones;
tall enough even to press his head

against the fragile hat these birds
are making with their thorny wings).
But he is gone, and the villagers have all gone

home and hung up their black coats.
I had not thought possible this plenty,
these songs unfastened from the empty trees.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

A Dream Within A Dream - Edgar Allan Poe

Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow—
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.

I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand—
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep—while I weep!
O God! can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Praise Song For The Day - Elizabeth Alexander

Each day we go about our business,
walking past each other, catching each other's
eyes or not, about to speak or speaking.

All about us is noise. All about us is
noise and bramble, thorn and din, each
one of our ancestors on our tongues.

Someone is stitching up a hem, darning
a hole in a uniform, patching a tire,
repairing the things in need of repair.

Someone is trying to make music somewhere,
with a pair of wooden spoons on an oil drum,
with cello, boom box, harmonica, voice.

A woman and her son wait for the bus.
A farmer considers the changing sky.
A teacher says, Take out your pencils. Begin.

We encounter each other in words, words
spiny or smooth, whispered or declaimed,
words to consider, reconsider.

We cross dirt roads and highways that mark
the will of some one and then others, who said
I need to see what's on the other side.
I know there's something better down the road.
We need to find a place where we are safe.

We walk into that which we cannot yet see.
Say it plain: that many have died for this day.

Sing the names of the dead who brought us here,
who laid the train tracks, raised the bridges,
picked the cotton and the lettuce, built
brick by brick the glittering edifices
they would then keep clean and work inside of.

Praise song for struggle, praise song for the day.
Praise song for every hand-lettered sign,
the figuring-it-out at kitchen tables.

Some live by love thy neighbor as thyself,
others by first do no harm or take no more
than you need. What if the mightiest word is love?

Love beyond marital, filial, national,
love that casts a widening pool of light,
love with no need to pre-empt grievance.

In today's sharp sparkle, this winter air,
any thing can be made, any sentence begun.
On the brink, on the brim, on the cusp,
praise song for walking forward in that light.

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised - Gil Scott Heron

You will not be able to stay home, brother.
You will not be able to plug in, turn on and cop out.
You will not be able to lose yourself on skag and skip,
Skip out for beer during commercials,
Because the revolution will not be televised.

The revolution will not be televised.
The revolution will not be brought to you by Xerox
In 4 parts without commercial interruptions.
The revolution will not show you pictures of Nixon
blowing a bugle and leading a charge by John
Mitchell, General Abrams and Spiro Agnew to eat
hog maws confiscated from a Harlem sanctuary.
The revolution will not be televised.

The revolution will not be brought to you by the
Schaefer Award Theatre and will not star Natalie
Woods and Steve McQueen or Bullwinkle and Julia.
The revolution will not give your mouth sex appeal.
The revolution will not get rid of the nubs.
The revolution will not make you look five pounds
thinner, because the revolution will not be televised, Brother.

There will be no pictures of you and Willie May
pushing that shopping cart down the block on the dead run,
or trying to slide that color television into a stolen ambulance.
NBC will not be able predict the winner at 8:32
or report from 29 districts.
The revolution will not be televised.

There will be no pictures of pigs shooting down
brothers in the instant replay.
There will be no pictures of pigs shooting down
brothers in the instant replay.
There will be no pictures of Whitney Young being
run out of Harlem on a rail with a brand new process.
There will be no slow motion or still life of Roy
Wilkens strolling through Watts in a Red, Black and
Green liberation jumpsuit that he had been saving
For just the proper occasion.

Green Acres, The Beverly Hillbillies, and Hooterville
Junction will no longer be so damned relevant, and
women will not care if Dick finally gets down with
Jane on Search for Tomorrow because Black people
will be in the street looking for a brighter day.
The revolution will not be televised.

There will be no highlights on the eleven o'clock
news and no pictures of hairy armed women
liberationists and Jackie Onassis blowing her nose.
The theme song will not be written by Jim Webb,
Francis Scott Key, nor sung by Glen Campbell, Tom
Jones, Johnny Cash, Englebert Humperdink, or the Rare Earth.
The revolution will not be televised.

The revolution will not be right back after a message
about a white tornado, white lightning, or white people.
You will not have to worry about a dove in your
bedroom, a tiger in your tank, or the giant in your toilet bowl.
The revolution will not go better with Coke.
The revolution will not fight the germs that may cause bad breath.
The revolution will put you in the driver's seat.

The revolution will not be televised, will not be televised,
will not be televised, will not be televised.
The revolution will be no re-run brothers;
The revolution will be live.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

A Poem written by a bear - Tao Lin

let me go eat some salmon

why are there coke cans in the river

what if i wore a bullet proof vest during hunting season

i’m a bear; i walk in the forest and look at the river and the river is cold

i saw campers today and they ran away and i was alone and i destroyed their tent

let me go scratch my paw on a tree

let me go eat a salmon

last night i cried onto my salmon

the salmon was sad but it still wanted to live

it wanted to swim and be sad and i ate it under moonlight

i saw a moose scream the other day

it screamed quietly under a tree

i felt embarrassed and sad and i thought, ‘oh, no; oh god, oh my god’

sometimes i climb a tree and sit there and sing very quietly

sometimes i want to go to a shopping mall and chase the humans and claw them

i’ll ride the moose into the shopping mall and ram the humans

the moose and i will ride the escalator and i will hug the moose and the moose and i will cry

i will eat the moose

i don’t care

i will scream and throw the bubblegum machine from the second floor to the first floor

i felt compassion for the salmon and now i don’t care anymore

i’ll walk into a parking lot and chase a large human and hug the human and cry

i’ll walk into a house at night and push the humans off the bed

i’ll stare at the bed and i’ll feel fake

Monday, January 12, 2009

The Butterfly - Arun Kolatkar

There is no story behind it
It is split like a second.
It hinges around itself.

It has no future.
It is pinned down to no past.
It's a pun on the present.

It's a little yellow butterfly.
It has taken these wretched hills
under its wings.

Just a pinch of yellow,
it opens before it closes
and closes before it o

where is it

Thursday, January 08, 2009

All Objects Reveal Something About the Body - Catie Rosemurgy

Crisp is to the apple what
flexed is to the body.

Poor apple.

Being bitten is to the crisp apple
what walking is to the ripe body, but it's more complicated than that:

the apple of the face has been given
to the running juice of the body

and the body, which is often gracious,
makes it shine.

Lucky apple.

Having a core is to the apple
what having a core is to the body, city, method, circumstance, endeavor.

Having a core is flower-shaped and hurts
in the way that having a shape hurts, which is to say

it hurts ironically, because to have limits
is not just to make a declaration upon a mountainside,

it is also to be the mountainside. Having a flowering core
also hurts in the way that being flower-like always hurts,

which is to say sexually, as if the whole self
has exceeded the skin, which it hasn't, which means

we always seem to be opening but never ever do.
Both these types of suffering color the air

when we pause to have them. The affected atoms
are hard to see amongst the billions

of sofa atoms, newsprint atoms
but, like the illnesses in the crystalline sea, they are there.

Red apple sliced, quartered, salted. Green apple,

alone in the basket.
Anything left on the shelf becomes weak,

suggestible, vulnerable to other shapes, hungry to be refilled
by something other than itself,

a poison apple.
The joining we do with others needs containing.

Apple pie.
Imagine the mess. Imagine a finger touching the sack of the heart.

Imagine being stopped, controlled that powerfully.
Imagine nothing like that being possible. Nothing ever stopping you

at the root of the breath. Huge apple.
The world in reference to you. How you move. Time a backdrop.

Or close the other eye: you in reference to the world.
How it varies and happens simultaneously.

Good morning.
Little apple.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

For Example, A Flower - Arkaye Kierulf

We are protected from so much pain. For example: graves.
The earth’s roots and brown-black blood are busy

covering the soft, violated bodies of our loves.
Death is a secret, and the rain with its many hands

washes off the streets to the gutters death’s thick surprise.
The automatic shutter of the eye never fails,

the courtesies of the tongue. What goes on in the rooms of houses
is guarded from us by the hardwood doors,

the carefully closed windows. Whatever was said or done,
night will come, eagerly, to clean up.

And death will shield us, in time,
from the sun’s megalithic promise:

Tomorrow, the same day.
Tomorrow, the same day.

For example: A flower
is the most beautiful lie.