Monday, April 30, 2012

Some Like Poetry

Some -
thus not all. Not even the majority of all but the minority.
Not counting schools, where one has to,
and the poets themselves,
there might be two people per thousand.

Like -
but one also likes chicken soup with noodles,
one likes compliments and the color blue,
one likes an old scarf,
one likes having the upper hand,
one likes stroking a dog.

Poetry -
but what is poetry.
Many shaky answers
have been given to this question.
But I don't know and don't know and hold on to it
like to a sustaining railing.

- Wislawa Szymborska

Sunday, April 29, 2012

What Came to Me

I took the last
dusty piece of china
out of the barrel.
It was your gravy boat,
with a hard, brown
drop of gravy still
on the porcelain lip.
I grieved for you then
as I never had before.

- Jane Kenyon

Saturday, April 28, 2012

When You are Old

When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;

How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;

And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.

- W. B. Yeats

Friday, April 27, 2012

This Kind of Thing Doesn't Happen Often

This Kind of Thing Doesn't Happen Often and When It Does You Should Pay Attention

i thank heaven somebody's crazy
enough to send me a daisy
--e.e. cummings

On Piedmont Road, going north,
before my car there floated forth

a soapy bubble in the traffic,
glistening and holographic.

It drifted down into my path,
this ghostly sphere from someone's bath.

I watched it bob and almost tickle
A Harley-Davidson motorcycle

then rise (as it got quite exhausted)
That's where I left it, fair and frosted.

For this unexpected act
I thank heaven (I think), in fact,

that someone went to all the trouble
to blow me a bubble.

- John Stone

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Poem in Your Pocket Day

Today is national Poem in Your Pocket Day. The idea is simple: pick one of your favorite poems and share it with your friends, and family. Since I don't really feel like printing off a bunch of these and driving around to all of your houses, this will have to suffice. Please enjoy one of my favorite poems by my favorite poet, Edna St. Vincent Mallay.

Love is not all: it is not meat nor drink
Nor slumber nor a roof against the rain;
Nor yet a floating spar to men that sink
And rise and sink and rise and sink again;
Love can not fill the thickened lung with breath,
Nor clean the blood, nor set the fractured bone;
Yet many a man is making friends with death
Even as I speak, for lack of love alone.
It well may be that in a difficult hour,
Pinned down by pain and moaning for release,
Or nagged by want past resolution's power,
I might be driven to sell your love for peace,
Or trade the memory of this night for food.
It well may be. I do not think I would.

The Embrace

You weren't well or really ill yet either;
just a little tired, your handsomeness
tinged by grief or anticipation, which brought
to your face a thoughtful, deepening grace.

I didn't for a moment doubt you were dead.
I knew that to be true still, even in the dream.
You'd been out--at work maybe?--
having a good day, almost energetic.

We seemed to be moving from some old house
where we'd lived, boxes everywhere, things
in disarray: that was the story of my dream,
but even asleep I was shocked out of the narrative

by your face, the physical fact of your face:
inches from mine, smooth-shaven, loving, alert.
Why so difficult, remembering the actual look
of you? Without a photograph, without strain?

So when I saw your unguarded, reliable face,
your unmistakable gaze opening all the warmth
and clarity of you--warm brown tea--we held
each other for the time the dream allowed.

Bless you. You came back, so I could see you
once more, plainly, so I could rest against you
without thinking this happiness lessened anything,
without thinking you were alive again.

- Mark Doty

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A Blessing

Just off the highway to Rochester, Minnesota,

Twilight bounds softly forth on the grass.

And the eyes of those two Indian ponies

Darken with kindness.

They have come gladly out of the willows

To welcome my friend and me.

We step over the barbed wire into the pasture

Where they have been grazing all day, alone.

They ripple tensely, they can hardly contain their happiness

That we have come.

They bow shyly as wet swans. They love each other.

There is no loneliness like theirs.

At home once more,

They begin munching the young tufts of spring in the darkness.

I would like to hold the slenderer one in my arms,

For she has walked over to me

And nuzzled my left hand.

She is black and white,

Her mane falls wild on her forehead,

And the light breeze moves me to caress her long ear

That is delicate as the skin over a girl's wrist.

Suddenly I realize

That if I stepped out of my body I would break

Into blossom.

- James Wright

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A Color of Sky

Tony Hoagland

Windy today and I feel less than brilliant,
driving over the hills from work.
There are the dark parts on the road
when you pass through clumps of wood
and the bright spots where you have a view of the ocean,
but that doesn’t make the road an allegory.

I should call Marie and apologize
for being so boring at dinner last night,
but can I really promise not to be that way again?
And anyway, I’d rather watch the trees, tossing
in what certainly looks like sexual arousal.

Otherwise it’s spring, and everything looks frail;
the sky is baby blue, and the just-unfurling leaves
are full of infant chlorophyll,
the very tint of inexperience.

Last summer’s song is making a comeback on the radio,
and on the highway overpass,
the only metaphysical vandal in America has written
in big black spraypaint letters,

which makes us wonder if Time loves Memory back.

Last night I dreamed of X again.
She’s like a stain on my subconscious sheets.
Years ago she penetrated me
but though I scrubbed and scrubbed and scrubbed,
I never got her out,
but now I’m glad.

What I thought was an end turned out to be a middle.
What I thought was a brick wall turned out to be a tunnel.
What I thought was an injustice
turned out to be a color of the sky.

Outside the youth center, between the liquor store
and the police station,
a little dogwood tree is losing its mind;

overflowing with blossomfoam,
like a sudsy mug of beer;
like a bride ripping off her clothes,

dropping snow white petals to the ground in clouds,

so Nature’s wastefulness seems quietly obscene.
It’s been doing that all week:
making beauty,
and throwing it away,
and making more.

- Tony Hoagland

Monday, April 23, 2012

Sigourney Weaver

When I woke up today
the air was very strange
I couldn't feel my skin
and there was evil in my bones
I tried to speak but found
that I didn't have a voice
It was a prison like the one
you would find in the twilight zone.

And I feel just like Sigourney Weaver
When she had to kill those aliens
and one guy tried to get them back to the earth
and she couldn't believe her ears

So I was taken or I went towards what was west
to where the ground was dead
and struck out at the giant sky
the sky was black and filled with tiny silver holes
and it was there with a frightened voice
that I began to cry out loud

And I feel just like Winona Ryder
in that movie about vampires
and she couldn't get that accent right
and neither could that other guy

And I feel just like I am on Jupiter
the one that looks rainbow sherbert
but it doesn't lend itself to life
and I haven't finished yet.

- John Grant, "Sigourney Weaver

Sunday, April 22, 2012


You know the parlor trick.
wrap your arms around your own body
and from the back it looks like
someone is embracing you
her hands grasping your shirt
her fingernails teasing your neck
from the front it is another story
you never looked so alone
your crossed elbows and screwy grin
you could be waiting for a tailor
to fit you with a straight jacket
one that would hold you really tight.

- Billy Collins

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Rambling Man

oh naive little me
asking what things you have seen
you're vulnerable in your head
you'll scream and you'll wail till you're dead

creatures veiled by night
following things that aren't right
and they're tired and they need to be lead
you'll scream and you'll wail till you're dead

but give me to a rambling man
let it always be known that i was who i am

beaten, battered, and cold
my children will live just to grow old
but if i sit here and weep
i'll be blown over by the slightest of breeze

and the weak need to be lead
and the tender i'll carry to their bed
and its a pale and cold affair
i'll be damned if i'll be found there

but give me to a rambling man
let it always be known that i was who i am

its funny how the first chords that you come to
are the minor notes that come to serenade you
it's hard to accept yourself as someone
you don't desire
as someone you don't want to be

oh give me to a rambling man
let it always be known that i was who i am
oh give me to a rambling man
let it always be known that i was who i am

- Laura Marling, "Rambling Man"

Friday, April 20, 2012

Three for Mona Lisa


It is not what she did
at 10 o'clock
last evening

accounts for the smile

It is
that she plans
to do it again



Only the mouth
all those years

letting on.


It's not the mouth

it's not the eyes
exactly either

it's not even
exactly a smile

But, whatever,
I second the motion.

- John Stone

Thursday, April 19, 2012


I know I know
I took in too much
but the tree was there
with its enticing skins,
the garden intolerably quiet,
the snake so colorful, resolute,
I thought if I could just fondle
the fruit… but now, Please God
I want to go back to the beginning
of the day so I can say no thank you:
it’s all considerably more than I can handle.

- Susan Hahn

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


I love the time and in between
The calm inside me
In the space where I can breathe
I believe there is a
Distance I have wandered
To touch upon the years of
Reaching out and reaching in
Holding out holding in

I believe
This is heaven to no one else but me
And I'll defend it as long as I can be
Left here to linger in silence
If I choose to
Would you try to understand

I know this love is passing time
Passing through like liquid
I am drunk in my desire
But I love the way you smile at me
I love the way your hands reach out and hold me near
I believe
I believe

This is heaven to no one else but me
And I'll defend it as long as
I can be left here to linger in silence
If I choose to
Would you try to understand

Oh the quiet child awaits the day when she can break free
The mold that clings like desperation
Mother can't you see I've got
To live my life the way I feel is right for me
Might not be right for you but it's right for me
I believe
I believe

This is heaven to no one else but me
And I'll defend it as long as
I can be left here to linger in silence
If I choose to
Would you try to understand it

I would like to linger here in silence
If I choose to
Would you understand it
Would you try to understand

- Sarah Mclachlan, "Elsewhere"

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Selected Recent and New Errors

On mornings when I hope you forget my name,
I walk through the high wet weeds
that don’t have names either.
I do not remember the word dew.
I do not remember what I told you
with your ear in my teeth.

- Dean Young, from "Selected Recent and New Errors"

Monday, April 16, 2012

It Started in the Winter

It started in the winter,
it ended in the fall.
We ruffled through Lolita,
and somehow you didn't see me at all.
But then I mumbled something
and you raised your eye.
A fiery little evening.
And then we said, "Goodbye."

We started in the winter,
and pushed on towards the fall.
Lay safe in ivory sheets and
sketched verses of Shakespeare on your bedroom wall.
But we were not like Shakespeare.
Ran out of things to say.
And like our penciled verses
began to fade away.

I won't hear when you say that this somehow can't work,
that we won't have the time,
that the distance between us is too much.

And I know the time at the palace, the time with the view,
my hand on your leg and your scuffed yellow shoe,
and we were just perfect, I know this is true --
but do I just know it,
just me and not you?

It started in the winter.
It ended in the fall.
Some markings on a calendar,
beginning and ending, I guess that's all.
Some things they last forever,
and some things, well, they don't.

It started in the winter.
But I still wonder --
do you still scoff at Ophelia?
What's he think of Humbert Humbert?

It started in the winter.
It ended in the fall.

- Jeremy Lloyd, from his original song cycle I GUESS I WISH.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Raw With Love

I will remember the kisses
our lips raw with love
and how you gave me
everything you had
and how I
offered you what was left of
and I will remember your small room
the feel of you
the light in the window
your records
your books
our morning coffee
our noons our nights
our bodies spilled together
the tiny flowing currents
immediate and forever
your leg my leg
your arm my arm
your smile and the warmth
of you
who made me laugh

- Charles Bukowski, from "Raw With Love"

Saturday, April 14, 2012

A Partial History of My Stupidity

Traffic was heavy coming off the bridge
and I took the road to the right, the wrong one,
and got stuck in the car for hours.

Most nights I rushed out into the evening
without paying attention to the trees,
whose names I didn't know,
or the birds, which flew heedlessly on.

I couldn't relinquish my desires
or accept them, and so I strolled along
like a tiger that wanted to spring,
but was still afraid of the wildness within.

The iron bars seemed invisible to others,
but I carried a cage around inside me.

I cared too much what other people thought
and made remarks I shouldn't have made.
I was slient when I should have spoken.

Forgive me, philosophers,
I read the Stoics but never understood them.

I felt that I was living the wrong life,
spiritually speaking,
while halfway around the world
thousands of people were being slaughtered,
some of them by my countrymen.

So I walked on--distracted, lost in thought--
and forgot to attend to those who suffered
far away, nearby.

Forgive me, faith, for never having any.

I did not believe in God,
who eluded me.

-- Edward Hirsch

Friday, April 13, 2012


If you took a butter knife
and stuck it in
just two inches
below my ribs
and pulled it out
it would be clean:
then you would know
that I
was done
with you.

Beverly-jane Vasquez
Fall 2005
Suffolk County Community College

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Word

Down near the bottom
of the crossed-out list
of things you have to do today,

between “green thread”
and “broccoli” you find
that you have penciled “sunlight.”

Resting on the page, the word
is as beautiful, it touches you
as if you had a friend

and sunlight were a present
he had sent you from some place distant
as this morning—to cheer you up,

and to remind you that,
among your duties, pleasure
is a thing,

that also needs accomplishing

- Tony Hoagland, from "The Word"

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

It's such a little thing to weep

It's such a little thing to weep --
So short a thing to sigh --
And yet -- by Trades -- the size of these
We men and women die!

- Emily Dickinson

Monday, April 9, 2012

Let Us Go Then

Let us go then

through the trip
wired minefield

hand in hand
eyes for nothing

but ourselves

undaunted by
the traps & pits

of wasted land

you stoop
& pluck

a stem
of eyebright

- Ciaran Carson

Sunday, April 8, 2012


There's one way out and no way in
Back to the beginning
There's one way back to home again
To where I feel forgiven

What is this I feel? Why is it so real?
What am I to say?

It's only love, it's only pain
It's only fear that runs through my veins
It's all the things you can't explain
That make us human

I am just an image of
Something so much greater
I am just a picture frame
I am not the painter

Where do I begin? Can I shed this skin?
What is this I feel within?

It's only love, it's only pain
It's only fear that runs through my veins
It's all the things you can't explain
That make us human, that make us human
That make us human

It's only love, it's only pain
It's only fear that runs through my veins
It's all the things you can't explain
That make us human, that make us human
That make us human, oh, that make us human

- Civil Twilight, "Human"

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Autopsy in the Form of an Elegy

In the chest
in the heart
was the vessel

was the pulse
was the art
was the love

was the clot
small and slow
and the scar
that could not know

the rest of you
was very nearly perfect.

- John Stone

Friday, April 6, 2012

Sad and Alone

Well, this is nothing new, nothing
to rattle the rafters in the noggin,

this moment of remembering
and its kissing cousin the waking dream.

I wonder if I'll remember it?
I've had a vision of a woman

reclining underneath a tree:
she's about half naked and little by little

I'm sprinkling her burial mounds
with grass. This is the kind of work

I like. It lets me remember, and so
I do. I remember the time I laid

my homemade banjo in the fire
and let it burn. There was nothing else

to burn and the house was cold;
the cigar box curled inside the flames.

But the burst of heat was over soon,
and once the little roar was done,

I could hear the raindrops plopping up
the buckets and kettles, scattered out

like little ponds around the room.
It was night and I was a boy, alone

and left to listen to that old music.
I liked it. I've liked it ever since.

I loved the helpless people I loved.
That's what a little boy will do,

but a grown man will turn it all
to sadness and let it soak his heart

until he wrings it out and dreams
about another kind of love,

some afternoon beneath a tree.
Burial mounds—that's hilarious.

- Maurice Manning

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Love and a cough...

As it has been said:
Love and a cough
cannot be concealed.
Even a small cough.
Even a small love.

- Anne Sexton

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

National Poetry Month!


TO what purpose, April, do you return again?
Beauty is not enough.
You can no longer quiet me with the redness
Of little leaves opening stickily.
I know what I know.
The sun is hot on my neck as I observe
The spikes of the crocus.
The smell of the earth is good.
It is apparent that there is no death.
But what does that signify?
Not only under ground are the brains of men
Eaten by maggots.
Life in itself
Is nothing,
An empty cup, a flight of uncarpeted stairs. *
It is not enough that yearly, down this hill,
Comes like an idiot, babbling and strewing flowers.

- Edna St. Vincent Millay
eXTReMe Tracker