Tuesday, 14 July 2020

The Roses of Saadi by Marceline Desbordes-Valmore (Marie Felicite Josephe Desbordes)

I wanted to bring you roses this morning.
There were so many I wanted to bring,
The knots at my waist could not hold so many.

The knots burst. All the roses took wing,
The air was filled with roses flying,
Carried by the wind, into the sea.

The waves are red, as though they are burning.
My dress still has the scent of the morning,
Remembering roses. Smell them on me.

From: https://newcriterion.com/issues/1995/11/four-poems-by-marceline-desbordes-valmore

Date: 1860 (original in French); 1995 (translation in English)

By: Marceline Desbordes-Valmore (Marie Felicite Josephe Desbordes) (1786-1859)

Translated by: Louis Aston Marantz Simpson (1923-2012)

Monday, 13 July 2020

Inside the Good Idea by Matthea Harvey

From the outside it is singular. One wooden horse. Inside ten men sit cross-
legged, knees touching. No noun has been invented yet to describe this. They
whisper that it would be like sitting in a wine barrel if the curved walls were
painted red. The contents are not content. They would like some wine. They
quarrel about who gets to sit in the head until finally the smallest man
clambers in, promising to send messages back to the belly. He can only look
out of one eye at a time. At first there is nothing to report. Black, Dark, The
Occasional Star. Then Quiet Footsteps mixed with Questions. The children
are clamoring for it to be brought inside the walls. The head sends back
another message which gets caught in the throat: They are bringing their toy
horses to pay their respects to us, brushing their tiny manes, oiling the little
wheels. It must be a welcome change from playing war.

From: https://www.pbs.org/newshour/arts/weekly-poem-matthea-harvey-reads-two-poems

Date: 2013

By: Matthea Harvey (1973- )

Sunday, 12 July 2020

Voidcraft by Ben Mirov

When the time comes for you
to board death’s shifty raft

of mirror shards and plastic coffee cups,
I hope you’re ready.

I hope you’ve made peace
with everyone you’ve ever done wrong

and you feel no more use for pencils
and your robe is warm and dry

and nothing obstructs
your view of the void.

When the moment arrives
I hope you pass through the membrane

that separates this world
from the next whatever

snowstorm wishbone yadda yadda
with very little pain. And a modicum of pride.

That’s all I have to say for now.
That’s all I ever have to say.

From: https://www.thespectrum.com/story/opinion/blogs/educationitself/2016/08/07/poem–day—voidcraft-ben-mirov/88360544/

Date: 2016

By: Ben Mirov (1980- )

Saturday, 11 July 2020

American Sonnet for My Past and Future Assassin by Terrance Hayes

It was discovered the best way to combat
Sadness was to make your sadness a door.
Or make it an envelope of wireless chatter
Or wires pulled from the radio tape recorder
Your mother bought you for Christmas in 1984.
If you think a hammer is the only way to hammer
A nail, you ain’t thought of the nail correctly.
My problem was I’d decided to make myself
A poem.  It made me sweat in private selfishly.
It made me bleed, bleep & weep for health.
As a poem I could show my children the man
I dreamed I was, my mother & fathers, my half
Brothers, the lovers I lost. Just morning, as a poem,
I asked myself if I was going to weep today.

From: https://aprweb.org/poems/american-sonnet-for-my-past-and-future-assassin

Date: 2018

By: Terrance Hayes (1971- )

Friday, 10 July 2020

I Can Do It Myself by Kate Litterer

I am Juliet’s velvet dress.
I am Marie Antoinette’s ridiculous hair.
I am Princess Diana’s bulimia rot.
I am a crisis hotline.
I am Tank Girl from the movie Helpless Tank Girl.
I am the meat industry.
I am never going to be rehired because I am unreliable.
I am vague fingers.
My name was caught and ripped and regenerated.
My name is Mr.’s.
My name is a tattoo removed.
My name is whatever you say it is.
My name is Witness Protection Agency.
My name is four letters, one e.
You forgot my name and called me hon.
You forgot the natural axis of a human body.
You forgot to clean up the scene.
You forgot that I have feelings.
You forgot to bring me flowers.
I don’t like flowers anyway.
I don’t like Marie Antoinette’s stupid dress.
I am black miniskirts.
I prefer my limbs move in their natural axis.
I wish Juliet had murdered Romeo in a rage and lived.
I prefer abortions to children.
I am a horrible mother.
I am a wondrous body axis.
I am going to beat you with my own great wings.
I am going to build a wall around you and master you.
I am knowledge.
What I was before you was a black axis.
I am a black widow.
I will widow your body from its axis.
I will meat industry your ability to do manual labor.
I will build you a hospital and name it after me: four big brick letters.
It is whatever I say it is.
My name is I forgot to clean up the scene.
I will call you unreliable without your great wings.

From: http://www.coconutpoetry.org/litterer18

Date: 2020

By: Kate Litterer (19??- )

Thursday, 9 July 2020

Dispatch From the Future by Leigh Stein

In the future, we are tender.

We temper our irreverence
with intimacy.

It’s, like, slightly wonderful.

We pronounce magic
like we’re from Michigan,
and all our mothers continue
mothering, like harbors,

indefinitely.

There’s a sense of indeterminacy
with mothering and we take

turns standing like breakwaters.

Life is dangerous, wild, and yet
we welcome it.

We’re in therapy.
It’s called water.

From: https://www.mhpbooks.com/dispatch-from-the-future-four-poems-by-leigh-stein/

Date: 2012

By: Leigh Stein (1984- )

Wednesday, 8 July 2020

History is Not a Great Tree by Fleda Sue Brown

History is not a great tree. It’s more
like a bush, I think, or maybe
a sponge, soaking up and periodically
wringing out. Wow, a tree would mean
you could get to the top, to the upper
branches that would weave
from your weight! It would be broad
from there, and still. You could see
dis-ease roll across like wind over wheat.
The way you see a tenement
from the wide glass of your penthouse.
You could imagine yourself down there,
sleeping in your unwashed clothes,
breathing the factory fumes,
eating what’s available at Seven Eleven.
You could almost imagine
dying just from living. Growing fatter
in the process. No wonder the germs
love people, no wonder the germs
are joining hands as if they were
playing Red Rover. History would be
branching and tangling and translating
down there. It would be growing
improbable and efficient. It might come
by air. It could show up either as
the time-that-was, or as the beginning:
an annunciation, a trumpet you didn’t
know you heard, until you did.

From: http://losangelesreview.org/history-not-great-tree-fleda-brown/

Date: 2020

By: Fleda Sue Brown (1944- )

Tuesday, 7 July 2020

Diaspora Sonnet 11 by Oliver de la Paz

In absence of blackbirds I give you
a diamond-studded sky.

In absence of heat, let there be
a window. Let it be lacquered

with the slow dust of our bodies
settling the sill. In absence of

our bodies, let there be a skein
of geese arrowing past. I give

you the veins of dead vines
festooning the frame. I give

placidity in certain places,
holy with our breath. Let me

smell the once clover-rich field
where we once dwelt, sugared and thick.

From: https://www.worldliteraturetoday.org/2018/march/two-poems-oliver-de-la-paz

Date: 2018

By: Oliver de la Paz (1972- )

Monday, 6 July 2020

Love is the Answer to God’s Question by Dorothea Lasky

Art cannot be without love.
There are no paintings done out of hunger.
That is longing you are thinking of, not hunger.
In you, I am sitting alone on a frighteningly sunny day.
The yellow sun rays making even my fingernails seem blue.
My ankles are completely shaven.
I am like some kind of freak,
But you see, now love is on my side.
I am eating tropical jelly beans and drinking coffee.
I have just gotten satsuma body wash and
Elderflower eye gel and orange essence facial cleanser.
Later I will take a bath in bergamots
And the bathroom will fill with moonsun.
The clear milky light will flood on me.
Completely bloodless, I in the white tub, surrounded with greenish fruits,
Will be almost not breathing.
The great event which is beauty
Can only happen when one is full.
You to me are like leaves on candy.
All of a sudden the candy is growing
And from the candy, blue flowers and leaves grow.
Made entirely of sugar,
Their grainy pores give food to the soul.

From: http://bostonreview.net/dorothea-lasky-poets-sampler

Date: 2005

By: Dorothea Lasky (1978- )

Sunday, 5 July 2020

lady liberty by Jesús Abraham “Tato” Laviera

for liberty, your day filled in splendor,
july fourth, new york harbor, nineteen eighty-six,
midnight sky, fireworks splashing,
heaven exploding
into radiant bouquets,
wall street a backdrop of centennial adulation,
computerized capital angling cameras
celebrating the international symbol of freedom
stretched across micro-chips,
awacs surveillance,
wall-to-wall people, sailing ships,
gliding armies ferried
in pursuit of happiness, constitution adoration,
packaged television channels for liberty,
immigrant illusions
celebrated in the name of democratic principles,
god bless america, land of the star
spangled banner
that we love,

but the symbol suffered
one hundred years of decay
climbing up to the spined crown,
the fractured torch hand,
the ruptured intestines,
palms blistered and calloused,
feet embroidered in rust,
centennial decay,
the lady’s eyes,
cataract filled, exposed
to sun and snow, a salty wind,
discolored verses staining her robe,

she needed re-molding, re-designing,
the decomposed body
now melted down for souvenirs,
lungs and limbs jailed
in scaffolding of ugly cubicles
incarcerating the body
as she prepared to receive
her twentieth-century transplant
paid for by pitching pennies,
hometown chicken barbecues,
marathons on america’s main streets.
she heard the speeches:
the president’s
the french and american partners,
the nation believed in her, rooted for the queen,
and lady liberty decided to reflect
on lincoln’s emancipatory resoluteness
on washington’s patriotism,
on jefferson’s lucidity,
on william jennings bryan’s socialism,
on woodrow wilson’s league of nations,
on roosevelt’s new deal,
on kennedy’s ecumenical postures,
and on martin luther king’s non-violence.

lady liberty decided to reflect
on lillian wald’s settlements,
on helen keller’s sixth sense,
on susan b. anthony’s suffrage movement,
on mother cabrini’s giving soul,
on harriet tubman’s stubborn pursuit of freedom.

just before she was touched,
just before she was dismantled,
lady liberty spoke,
she spoke for the principles,
for the preamble,
for the bill of rights,
and thirty-nine peaceful
presidential transitions,
and, just before she was touched,
lady liberty wanted to convey
her own resolutions,
her own bi-centennial goals,
so that in twenty eighty-six,
she would be smiling and she would be proud.
and then, just before she was touched,
and then, while she was being re-constructed,
and then, while she was being celebrated,
she spoke.

if you touch me, touch ALL of my people
who need attention and societal repair,
give the tired and the poor
the same attention, AMERICA,
touch us ALL with liberty,
touch us ALL with liberty.

hunger abounds, our soil is plentiful,
our technology advanced enough
to feed the world,
to feed humanity’s hunger . . .
but let’s celebrate not our wealth,
not our sophisticated defense,
not our scientific advancements,
not our intellectual adventures.
let us concentrate on our weaknesses,
on our societal needs,
for we will never be free
if indeed freedom is subjugated
to trampling upon people’s needs.

this is a warning,
my beloved america.

so touch me,
and in touching me
touch all our people.
do not single me out,
touch all our people,
touch all our people,
all our people
our people
people.

and then i shall truly enjoy
my day, filled in splendor,
july fourth, new york harbor,
nineteen eighty-six, midnight sky,
fireworks splashing,
heaven exploding
into radiant bouquets,
celebrating in the name of equality,
in the pursuit of happiness,
god bless america,
land of star
spangled banner
that we love.

From: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/58195/lady-liberty

Date: 1988

By: Jesús Abraham “Tato” Laviera (1950-2013)