you shall love your crooked neighbor

April 12, 2014: I Don’t Miss It, Tracy K. Smith

april-is:

I Don’t Miss It
Tracy K. Smith

But sometimes I forget where I am,
Imagine myself inside that life again.

Recalcitrant mornings. Sun perhaps,
Or more likely colorless light

Filtering its way through shapeless cloud.

And when I begin to believe I haven’t left,
The rest comes back. Our couch. My smoke

Climbing the walls while the hours fall.
Straining against the noise of traffic, music,

Anything alive, to catch your key in the door.
And that scamper of feeling in my chest,

As if the day, the night, wherever it is
I am by then, has been only a whir

Of something other than waiting.

We hear so much about what love feels like.
Right now, today, with the rain outside,

And leaves that want as much as I do to believe
In May, in seasons that come when called,

It’s impossible not to want
To walk into the next room and let you

Run your hands down the sides of my legs,
Knowing perfectly well what they know.

On this day in:

2013: Hotel Orpheus, Jason Myers
2012: Emily Dickinson’s To-Do List, Andrea Carlisle
2011: Now That I Am in Madrid and Can Think, Frank O’Hara
2010: The Impossible Marriage, Donald Hall
2009: The Rider, Naomi Shihab Nye
2008: from Homage to Mistress Bradstreet, John Berryman
2007: This Heavy Craft, P.K. Page
2006: Late Ripeness, Czeslaw Milosz
2005: A Martian Sends A Postcard Home, Craig Raine

April 6, 2014: For the Dead, Adrienne Rich

april-is:

For the Dead
Adrienne Rich

I dreamed I called you on the telephone
to say: Be kinder to yourself
but you were sick and would not answer

The waste of my love goes on this way
trying to save you from yourself

I have always wondered abut the leftover
energy, water rushing down a hill
long after the rains have stopped

or the fire you want to go to bed from
but cannot leave, burning-down but not burnt-down
the red coals more extreme, more curious
in their flashing and dying
than you wish they were
sitting there long after midnight
 

==

Also by Adrienne Rich: Song | Miracle Ice Cream | from An Atlas of the Difficult World

On this day in: 

2013: Miracle Ice Cream, Adrienne Rich
2012: 
The Soul Bone, Susan Wood
2011: Pluto, Maggie Dietz
2010: Slant, Stephen Dunn
2009: Distressed Haiku, Donald Hall
2008: Question, May Swenson
2007: Song, Adrienne Rich
2006: Scheherazade, Richard Siken
2005: What the Living Do, Marie Howe

sonny’s purple heart | adrian c. lewis

But it’s too late to say you’re sorry. — The Zombies

                                   I

Man, if you’re dead, why are you leading
me to drink after five sober years?
Sonny, can I get a witness?
I had a Snow White vision of the prodigal
son returning to America
that day of my final hangover.
I tried to clear the mixture
of cobwebs and shooting stars
from my brain with spit-warm
Budweiser, but the hair of the dog
just was not doing the trick.
I ended up pummeling myself
seven times that day and named each egg
white load for a Disney dwarf.
The first was Dopey.
The final was Sleepy, I think, or Droopy.

Read More

(Source: poetryfoundation.org)

and then it was less bleak because we said so | wendy xu

Today there has been so much talk of things exploding
into other things, so much that we all become curious, that we
all run outside into the hot streets
and hug. Romance is a grotto of eager stones
anticipating light, or a girl whose teeth
you can always see. With more sparkle and pop
is the only way to live. Your confetti tongue explodes
into acid jazz. Small typewriters
that other people keep in their eyes
click away at all our farewell parties. It is hard
to pack for the rest of your life. Someone is always
eating cold cucumber noodles. Someone will drop by later
to help dismantle some furniture. A lot can go wrong
if you sleep or think, but the trees go on waving
their broken little hands.

(Source: poetryfoundation.org)

knocks on the door | maram al-massri

Knocks on the door.
Who?
I sweep the dust of my loneliness
under the rug.
I arrange a smile
and open.

(Source: poetryfoundation.org)

to my oldest friend, whose silence is like a death | lloyd schwartz

In today’s paper, a story about our high school drama
teacher evicted from his Carnegie Hall rooftop apartment

made me ache to call you — the only person I know
who’d still remember his talent, his good looks, his self-

absorption. We’d laugh (at what haven’t we laughed?), then
not laugh, wondering what became of him. But I can’t call,

because I don’t know what became of you.

— After sixty years, with no explanation, you’re suddenly
not there. Gone. Phone disconnected. I was afraid

you might be dead. But you’re not dead.

You’ve left, your landlord says. He has your new unlisted
number but insists on “respecting your privacy.” I located

your oldest son, who refuses to tell me anything except that
you’re alive and not ill. Your ex-wife ignores my letters.

What’s happened? Are you in trouble? Something
you’ve done? Something I’ve done?

We used to tell each other everything: our automatic
reference points to childhood pranks, secret codes,

and sexual experiments. How many decades since we started
singing each other “Happy Birthday” every birthday?

(Your last uninhibited rendition is still on my voice mail.)

How often have we exchanged our mutual gratitude — the easy
unthinking kindnesses of long friendship.

This mysterious silence isn’t kind. It keeps me
up at night, bewildered, at some “stage “of grief.

Would your actual death be easier to bear?

I crave your laugh, your quirky takes, your latest
comedy of errors. “When one’s friends hate each other,”

Pound wrote near the end of his life, “how can there be
peace in the world?” We loved each other. Why why why

am I dead to you?

Our birthdays are looming. The older I get, the less and less
I understand this world,

and the people in it.

(Source: NPR)

who said it was simple | audre lorde

There are so many roots to the tree of anger
that sometimes the branches shatter
before they bear.

Sitting in Nedicks
the women rally before they march
discussing the problematic girls
they hire to make them free.
An almost white counterman passes
a waiting brother to serve them first
and the ladies neither notice nor reject
the slighter pleasures of their slavery.
But I who am bound by my mirror
as well as my bed
see causes in colour
as well as sex

and sit here wondering
which me will survive
all these liberations.

(Source: poetryfoundation.org)

topography | sharon olds

After we flew across the country we
got in bed, laid our bodies
delicately together, like maps laid
face to face, East to West, my
San Francisco against your New York, your
Fire Island against my Sonoma, my
New Orleans deep in your Texas, your Idaho
bright on my Great Lakes, my Kansas
burning against your Kansas your Kansas
burning against my Kansas, your Eastern
Standard Time pressing into my
Pacific Time, my Mountain Time
beating against your Central Time, your
sun rising swiftly from the right my
sun rising swiftly from the left your
moon rising slowly from the left my
moon rising slowly from the right until
all four bodies of the sky
burn above us, sealing us together,
all our cities twin cities,
all our states united, one
nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

(Source: greatpoets.livejournal.com)

becoming a book | howard schwartz

"When writers die they become books, which is, after all,
not too bad an incarnation.”
—Jorge Luis Borges

for Ben Furnish

All these years,
without knowing it,
I’ve been preparing for my rebirth
as a book.

Each day
I try to condense
light and darkness
into one more page.

At night
I count the pages left
before it’s time
to come back.

Now that my destiny is known,
we need not say goodbye.
I’ll be there guarding you
from a shelf.

(Source: poems.com)

present light | charles ghigna

If I could
hold light
in my hand

I would
give it
to you

and watch it
become
your shadow.

(Source: poetryfoundation.org)

one love story, eight takes | brenda shaughnessy

       Where you are tender, you speak your plural. 
                                    Roland Barthes

                                             1

One version of the story is I wish you back—
that I used each evening evening out
what all day spent wrinkling.
I bought a dress that was so extravagantly feminine
you could see my ovaries through it.
This is how I thought I would seduce you.
This is how frantic I hollowed out.

Read More

(Source: poetryfoundation.org)

my problem is my mamma raised me far too nice
to ever wish death on somebody, regardless of how much
they’d harmed me so instead i’m compiling a list
of odd karmatic punishments
for the assholes of my existence like

i hope the girl who ruined my senior year of high school
by bullying the hope out of my bones
has a bad hair day on every first date. i hope
the words she said behind my back tangle around
her head so when people meet her for the first time
they can see how unkind
she really is.

my mother and my father were talking in public
and a policeman asked her if she wanted the
‘dirty hispanic’ to leave her alone
and i really hope that policeman goes home
to heat that never works properly and that
the cold makes his bones ache, i hope the
warmth of my daddy’s sun never kisses
the sweaty temples of men who use their
position of power as an excuse to be racist

the man who hit me until i bled from the
corners of my mouth and who kissed me no matter
how much i asked him to stop better constantly get
his dick stuck in his zipper and i hope a large rash
develops because of it because maybe being
in constant pain will make him learn
some empathy

i want the teacher who told my friend joe
‘you can’t be a boy just because you say so’
to spill overheated 99-cent coffee on her ironed skirt
every other thursday, i hope it stains because
her words never washed out of his ears either

i hope the boy who broke my heart is
doing well, because i’m doing well too, but i want
the boy who broke my sister by promising forever
when he really meant ‘just until you give me everything’
to get a tattoo with a misspelling
just because i think it would be funny
since he was so afraid of commitment

the man who told my friend to kill herself, just get it over
should wake up to a leak in his roof
that has no particular origin and constantly drips
onto his face no matter where he moves his pillow to
because maybe then he’ll have some idea about
drowning

i hope the people who told my brother
he couldn’t succeed
solely based on his disability
constantly hit their heads when getting into the car,
i want them to blink back little black dots
and wonder what they’ve ever done wrong to deserve
this and then i want them to see my brother’s company
on a full-page spread because he’s twenty-four and
making more money than they ever did

my math teacher told me most girls are stupid
with numbers and i hope his wife is funneling large
sums of his money into an offshore account without
him noticing while my english teacher told me
he didn’t expect much because i’m not a native speaker
so i really hope in class one day
he unknowingly passes out one of my poems

and i hope if you’ve been hurt, your life has
turned around. keep your head up,
square your shoulders, trust that
the universe will find some way to sort things out. hold on
until your heart mends. regardless of what happens,
know that happiness
is the best revenge.

I can’t wish true evil or true evil will come back to me but that doesn’t mean I want assholes to go around happy /// r.i.d | inkskinned (via inkskinned)

keeping things whole | mark strand

eating-poetry:

In a field
I am the absence
of field.
This is
always the case.
Wherever I am
I am what is missing.

When I walk
I part the air
and always
the air moves in
to fill the spaces
where my body’s been.

We all have reasons
for moving.
I move
to keep things whole.

worth repeating

you are remarkable changed my life & shaped so very much of who I am today. not a day goes by that I don’t thank the beautiful universe for the letter I received & the person who made it possible. so thank you, thank you, thank you. more than I could ever explain.

for my lover, returning to his wife | anne sexton 

eating-poetry:

She is the sum of yourself and your dream.
Climb her like a monument, step after step.
She is solid.

As for me, I am a watercolor.
I wash off.

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