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Old 04-28-2016, 05:50 PM View Post #431 (Link)
Raconteur (Offline)
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Issei Strawberry | David Mura

Taste this strawberry, spin it in motion
on the whirl of your tongue, look west
towards Watsonville or some other
sleepy California town, spit
and wipe your sleeve across
your mouth, then bend down again, dipping
and rising like a piston, like fire, like a swirling
dervish, a lover ready to ravish this harvest, this
autumn of thirty-one or eight or nine, years
when, as everyone declines
around you, as swing and Capra redefine
an American dream, as some are deferred and some
preferred, and some complain, and some confer
and strike, and are stricken, are written
out of history, you have managed your own
prosperity, a smacking ripeness on the vine, acres
and acres you mine as your own, as your children's
whose deed it is, knowing you own nothing
here, you're no one here
but your genes, the ones who spit back
so readily in English on their tongues, tart
and trickier, phrases that blow past
you, winking, even as they
sink in, you're losing
them, you're gaining a harvest, a country, a future
so much to lose when, in biting your tongue,
the red juice flows between your teeth
with the strawberries
of loam and sweat, of summers in the valley
when you made it before the war had come.
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Old 05-02-2016, 07:08 PM View Post #432 (Link)
lalodragon (Offline)
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Shower, Storm, Shooting Stars
Matthew Murrey


For the third time in my life
I got in a cold car,
and drove away from the lights
of town—twice for the Perseids,
and this time for the Leonids.
Each time I’d gone hoping
for something spectacular.
The first two were nothing
but a slow wheeling sky of stars—
this time, three faint streaks of light
in the half hour I lay on the hood of the car
trying to keep my neck loose,
trying to keep my backside warm.
It wasn’t fireworks, or even fireflies.
It was just the beginning of dawn:
soft fade of light seeping up,
a fat, yellowed moon settling down,
and three shooting stars for luck.
Nothing to come home talking about,
nothing to remember on my deathbed—
unless dying turns out to be like lying
on the hood of a car in the cold,
staring up into the dark, hoping
for a dazzle of shooting stars.
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Old 05-03-2016, 11:18 PM View Post #433 (Link)
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The Spinning Place
Chelsea Wagenaar

http://crazyhorse.cofc.edu/wp-conten...ning-Place.pdf
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Old 05-17-2016, 03:31 PM View Post #434 (Link)
Jack (Offline)
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Love is Like a Bottle of Gin by Stephin Merritt

It makes you blind, it does you in
It makes you think you're pretty tough
It makes you prone to crime and sin
It makes you say things off the cuff

It's very small and made of glass
And grossly over advertised
It turns a genius into an ass
And makes a fool think he is wise

It could make you regret your birth
Or turn cartwheels in your best suit
It costs a lot more than it's worth
And yet there is no substitute

They keep it on a higher shelf
The older and more pure it grows
It has no color in itself
But it can make you see rainbows

You can find it on the Bowery
Or you can find it at Elaine's
It makes your words more flowery
It makes the sun shine, makes it rain

You just get out what they put in
And they never put in enough
Love is like a bottle of gin
But a bottle of gin is not like love
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Old 07-04-2016, 09:57 PM View Post #435 (Link)
lalodragon (Offline)
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Hello Morning
by Ellen Bass

Little maple
taking shape against my window,
night’s dark gauze falling from your limbs.

Hello bird whose name I don’t know.
Wing feathers louvering open, first light
shining through as they lift.

And curled tea leaves
sleeping in your tin.

There you are, my dead mother
in your red lacquer frame.
You once carried the sea home in a jar
and held out a spoonful to me each day.

And you baby chicks, peeping
when I pull back the towel from your cage,
pecking corn mash, sipping water,
raising your beaks
so the water slides down your throats.

The Times folded in the driveway,
The Dow breaking 16,000.
Minimum wage at $7.25.

In China, minks and foxes are skinned alive.
An artist has sculpted them in clay—
sticking in a needle for each hair.
In Toronto, an anesthesiologist is found guilty
of putting his penis in the mouths of twenty-one women
behind the blue drape of the operating table.

There are the ten thousand beautiful things
and the ten thousand terrible things
the Buddha said we must open our hearts to.

Dear breasts. Half a century ago
I wrapped you in black lace and a boy laughed,
astonished this was all for him.

Welcome cracked spines of paperbacks,
pearls with a broken clasp.

My neighbor is down on his knees,
scissoring the grass around the daffodils.

Hushed children of the world, your green bones
broken, yellow bruises blooming.

Hello to the shovel leaning on the fence
and to the excellent grave
my son dug for the dog—so deep
I had to stretch flat, to lower her body.

I’m listening, Mozart. You make a world
in which loss is bearable.

Good morning, my mother-in-law.
You still know my voice.
I love you forever, we say, over and over.
Speech burned down to these embers.

My daughter is just now
boarding a plane for an ice-slicked coast,
looking for a doctor to save her.

Rose petals have fallen into the grooves
of our beat-up truck bed, verses
of pink blossoms against the rusted paint.

There are only a hundred elements.
The same chord shivering
through everything.

I should have been kinder
to the man who sat beside me
at the D league basketball game.
He was so lonely he wouldn’t stop talking.
I never even took a good look at him.
Only the cat hair silvering his dark pants.

Hello my jacket. Maybe happiness
is nothing more than how much pleasure
I can take from the act
of zipping your little metal teeth together.
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Old 07-18-2016, 12:29 AM View Post #436 (Link)
owl (Offline)
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Chaclid Wasps Emerging
Ellen Bass

I like to stare into the microscope at the cluster of eggs
Janet found on the hollyhock growing by the shed
and reared in a petri dish
amid the clutter on the kitchen counter.
Their shells are lined in tight, neat rows,
most empty now,
tops sheared off like soft-boiled eggs,
minute wasps hatched and gone.
Yet one lies dead on its side,
frozen where it fell—
metallic green body, bright yellow legs—
perfect, gem-like,
as if to illustrate its kind.
Another is caught halfway out, like a woman
jumping from a cake,
upper body gleaming, arms raised, glamorous.
One freed only its head,
huge eyes glistening with silvery mold.
And the last had just, when breath stopped,
stabbed both antennae through the dome
as if forever sensing the air.
Every time I look, they are still trapped there,
as though buried in a past ice age,
only now exposed.
Half a million species—the smallest of the small—
each burning its own brief blaze.
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Old 08-26-2016, 01:38 AM View Post #437 (Link)
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90 North
BY RANDALL JARRELL

At home, in my flannel gown, like a bear to its floe,
I clambered to bed; up the globe's impossible sides
I sailed all night—till at last, with my black beard,
My furs and my dogs, I stood at the northern pole.

There in the childish night my companions lay frozen,
The stiff furs knocked at my starveling throat,
And I gave my great sigh: the flakes came huddling,
Were they really my end? In the darkness I turned to my rest.

—Here, the flag snaps in the glare and silence
Of the unbroken ice. I stand here,
The dogs bark, my beard is black, and I stare
At the North Pole . . .
................................... And now what? Why, go back.

Turn as I please, my step is to the south.
The world—my world spins on this final point
Of cold and wretchedness: all lines, all winds
End in this whirlpool I at last discover.

And it is meaningless. In the child's bed
After the night's voyage, in that warm world
Where people work and suffer for the end
That crowns the pain—in that Cloud-Cuckoo-Land

I reached my North and it had meaning.
Here at the actual pole of my existence,
Where all that I have done is meaningless,
Where I die or live by accident alone—

Where, living or dying, I am still alone;
Here where North, the night, the berg of death
Crowd me out of the ignorant darkness,
I see at last that all the knowledge

I wrung from the darkness—that the darkness flung me—
Is worthless as ignorance: nothing comes from nothing,
The darkness from the darkness. Pain comes from the darkness
And we call it wisdom. It is pain.
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Old 09-01-2016, 10:44 AM View Post #438 (Link) Doomsday
Zoey141 (Offline)
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The idiot bird leaps out and drunken leans
Atop the broken universal clock:
The hour is crowed in lunatic thirteens.
Out painted stages fall apart by scenes
While all the actors halt in mortal shock:
The idiot bird leaps out and drunken leans.

Streets crack through in havoc-split ravines
As the doomstruck city crumbles block by block:
The hour is crowed in lunatic thirteens.

Fractured glass flies down in smithereens;
Our lucky relics have been put in hock:
The idiot bird leaps out and drunken leans.

The monkey's wrench has blasted all machines;
We never thought to hear the holy cock:
The hour is crowed in lunatic thirteens.

Too late to ask if end was worth the means,
Too late to calculate the toppling stock:
The idiot bird leaps out and drunken leans,
The hour is crowed in lunatic thirteens.

Sylvia Plath
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Old 05-06-2017, 01:09 PM View Post #439 (Link)
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Starting this again

[Love] BY ARIANA REINES

Love

Is an interruption or an aberration, a force in opposition to the ultimate inertia
of the universe,

Wrote Marguerite Duras.

Whether or not it is worth it it occurs. Whether or not it is to be believed it is.

The wind moves us without a frond being needed to be held by a slave girl.

The rudiments of sentences are ancient without a mouth needing to remember
what it is losing as it lets those words out, something eviller than what they
even mean right now, something too evil to be known right now

Or ever.

I feel sure that even the most culpable people have other qualities secreted
away

Adjusting their garments in light of fate

He turned his head upward, he looked up the white wall. The light from the
lamp could be light coming from a great distance, it could be a great distance
away, and the wall could be snow it is so beautiful, he said. His head looking
up the wall, his eyes looking up it, he said, that nail in the wall could also be
beautiful, for so far away.
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Old 05-15-2017, 01:26 PM View Post #440 (Link)
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Children Walk on Chairs to Cross a Flooded Schoolyard
Patrick Rosal

Taytay, Rizal Province, Philippines
(based on the photo by Noel Celis)

Hardly anything holds the children up, each poised
mid-air, barely the ball of one small foot
kissing the chair’s wood, so
they don’t just step across, but pause
above the water. I look at that cotton mangle
of a sky, post-typhoon, and presume
it’s holding something back. In this country,
it’s the season of greedy gods
and the several hundred cathedrals
worth of water they spill onto little tropic villages
like this one, where a girl is likely to know
the name of the man who built
every chair in her school by hand,
six of which are now arranged
into a makeshift bridge so that she and her mates
can cross their flooded schoolyard.
Boys in royal blue shorts and red rain boots,
the girls brown and bare-toed
in starch white shirts and pleated skirts.
They hover like bells that can choose
to withhold their one clear, true
bronze note, until all this nonsense
of wind and drizzle dies down.
One boy even reaches forward
into the dark sudden pool below
toward someone we can’t see, and
at the same time, without looking, seems
to offer the tips of his fingers back to the smaller girl
behind him. I want the children
ferried quickly across so they can get back
to slapping one another on the neck
and cheating each other at checkers.
I’ve said time and time again I don’t believe
in mystery, and then I’m reminded what it’s like
to be in America, to kneel beside
a six-year-old, to slide my left hand
beneath his back and my right under his knees,
and then carry him up a long flight of stairs
to his bed. I can feel the fine bones,
the little ridges of the spine
with my palm, the tiny smooth stone
of the elbow. I remember I’ve lifted
a sleeping body so slight I thought
the whole catastrophic world could fall away.
I forget how disaster works, how it can turn
a child back into glistening butterfish
or finches. And then they’ll just do
what they do, which is teach the rest of us
how to move with such natural gravity.
Look at these two girls, center frame,
who hold out their arms
as if they’re finally remembering
they were made for other altitudes.
I love them for the peculiar joy
of returning to earth. Not an ounce
of impatience. This simple thrill
of touching ground.
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