Saturday, March 28, 2009

My Sister, Who Died Young, Takes Up the Task - Jon Pineda

A basket of apples brown in our kitchen,
their warm scent is the scent of ripening,

and my sister, entering the room quietly,
takes a seat at the table, takes up the task

of peeling slowly away the blemished skins,
even half-rotten ones are salvaged carefully.

She makes sure to carve out the mealy flesh.
For this, I am grateful. I explain, this elegy

would love to save everything. She smiles at me,
and before long, the empty bowl she uses fills,

domed with thin slices she brushes into
the mouth of a steaming pot on the stove.

What can I do? I ask finally. Nothing,
she says, let me finish this one thing alone.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Untitled - Margaret Atwood

You want to go back
to where the sky was inside us

animals ran through us, our hands
blessed and killed according to our
wisdom, death
made real blood come out

But face it, we have been
improved, our heads float
several inches above our necks
moored to us by
rubber tubes and filled with
clever bubbles,

our bodies
are populated with billions
of soft pink numbers
multiplying and analyzing
themselves, perfecting
their own demands, no trouble to anyone.

I love you by
sections and when you work.

Do you want to be illiterate?
This is the way it is, get used to it.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A Little Love Poem - Andy Weaver

Someone who hates scrabble.

Someone who sleeps on her back near an open window in winter, her breath rolling like a river into night.

Someone who wants me to wake her in the morning by reading ee cummings' love poems, giving a small candle-flicker of a smile just before opening her eyes.

Someone who appreciates the architecture of churches, but refuses to step inside.

Someone who has hands fit to hold hurt sparrows and robins.

Someone who threw out all her Alice Cooper records when she found out he loves to golf.

Someone who would swerve a new car into the ditch to avoid a frog crossing the road.

Someone who would tattoo my name on her arm in writing the same colour as her skin, so it would appear slowly from nowhere when she suntanned, people thinking her blood was telling secrets to the world of its own accord.

Someone who learned Spanish to read Marquez, or Lorca, or Neruda.

Someone whose hips whisper their own stories of the serpent and the garden of Eden.

Someone who bites the back of my neck like a leopardess carrying her kitten to safety.

Someone who'll make me wait for her to come out of the shower.

Someone whose smallest movements amaze me: her hair falling over her eyes, the soft swell of her hips when she ties down, a deep sigh when she sleeps.

Someone who maps every ticklish part of my body and then uses her knowledge strictly for evil.

Someone who paints our bodies black and makes love with me under the stars.

Someone who burns through my chest like that first shot of scotch.

Someone whose tongue, if we're kept apart too long, would nervously trace my face into the roof of her mouth.

Someone who practices her signature with her wrong hand, in case of accidents or a sudden arrest.

Someone whose fingernails smell faintly of her hair.

Someone who reminds me of the soft tickle of fog.

Someone who would rush outside in the middle of the night, setting a spider onto the lawn, never admitting it's because she hates rain.

Someone who understands the unforgivable importance of ravens.

Someone who'll flicker into my lips with the ferocity of a dragonfly.

Someone who will open, thick, pungent and vital, like a Mapplethorpe flower.

Someone who has searched for me like a near-sighted woman groping for her glasses, stubbing her toes and swearing in Yiddish.

Someone who would understand why Steve and Dave and Paul and I sat in a bar staring at the mirror behind us for twenty minutes because somebody had asked what would happen if you looked at yourself in a mirror using a pair of binoculars until we had to admit the question was too big for us, and we turned back to the safe optics of the beer bottle.

Someone who would just happen to cut my wrist shortly after reading Ondaatje's "The Time Around Scars."

Someone who'll stare softly but straight at me, smiling reassuringly when I tell her how my 73 year old Medieval lit prof looked up from Chaucer, stared blankly over the class's heads and said that even the happiest marriage will end in death.

Someone who understands the efficiency inherent in suicide.

Someone who knows that love can be the thickest slice of hell we’ll ever taste.

Someone who would dance with me by the sides of highways.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Absence Makes the Heart. That's It: Absence Makes the Heart. - Bob Hicok

Waving hello versus waving goodbye
is an interpretative act. We could make it
directional: from left to right is hello,
right to left, goodbye. The buoy

clanged all night so my sleep
would know where to go. I could pray.
Tambourine myself to death.
Electroshock the worms. Wrap the maple
in tinfoil and decry the lightning
that splits it as misguided and deceived.
Nothing I do will bring you back. So this

is freedom: being ineffectual. Here
is where spiders set up shop
during the night, here is where a crow
decided to perch. Then it gets up
and perches over there, beside
where another crow perched last week.
It would be peaceful to be a sail

except during the storm.
During the storm, I would like to be
the storm. If you're the storm,
there's nothing frightening
about the storm except when it stops,
then you're dead and the maps
are drowned. Within my heart

is another heart, within that heart,
a man at war writes home:
this is like digging a hole in the rain.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Crows - Doug Anderson

Hunch in the trees
to gossip
about God and his inexorable
about deer guts and fish so stupid
you could sell them air
and how out in the deserts
there's a dog called coyote
with their mind
but no wings.
Crow with Iroquois hair.
Crow with a wisecrack
for everybody,
Crow with his beak
thrust through a bun,
the paper still clinging.
Then one says something
and they all leave,
the trees are not
what they used to be.
Crow with oilslick eyes.
Crow with a knife
sheathed in a shark's fin.
in a midnight blue suit
standing in front of a judge:
Your Honor, I didn't
kill him,
just ate him
and I wasn't impressed.
clustered in the bruise light
in the bottoms
of dreams.
Crows in the red maple.
Crows keeping disrespect
Crows teasing a stalking cat,
lifting off at the last minute,
snow shagging down
from their wings.
Crows darkening the sky,
making fun of the geese
on their way to Florida.
Crows in the roses,
beaks and thorns.
Crows feeding lizards
to their brood.
Crows lifting off road kill,
floating back down
after the car has passed.
Crow with a possum eye
speared on its beak.
Crow with a French fry.
in the chicken cages
on their way to market,
the farmer finally gone mad.
Crows hunkered down
rumpling feathers,
announcing the cataract
of snow
over the sun.
The crows prosper.
Carrion is everywhere.
The night
that is coming
is so dark
it will feel
like fur on the eyes.
So dark suddenly
you cannot see the snow.
Thrust your hand in it.
Hear it like sand
blowing on the roof.
A crow shifts his foot
and snow sifts
down from the tree.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Kindness - Naomi Shihab Nye

Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.

Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
It is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Gretel In Darkness - Louise Glück

This is the world we wanted.
All who would have seen us dead
are dead. I hear the witch’s cry
break in the moonlight through a sheet
of sugar: God rewards.
Her tongue shrivels into gas. . . .

Now, far from women’s arms
and memory of women, in our father’s hut
we sleep, are never hungry.
Why do I not forget?
My father bars the door, bars harm
from this house, and it is years.

No one remembers. Even you, my brother,
summer afternoons you look at me as though
you meant to leave,
as though it never happened.
But I killed for you. I see armed firs,
the spires of that gleaming kiln—

Nights I turn to you to hold me
but you are not there.
Am I alone? Spies
hiss in the stillness, Hansel,
we are there still and it is real, real,
that black forest and the fire in earnest.