Archive for September, 2018

Sunday, 30 September 2018

Privacy 2 by Shane McCrae

I tell the keeper I don’t know
What he or any white man means
When he says privacy

In the phrase In the privacy
Of one’s own home
     / I understand
he thinks he means a kind of
Militarized aloneness

If he would listen I would ask him whether
The power / To enforce alone-
ness and aloneness
can exist together

Instead I tell him where I’m from we
Have no such con-
cept if he thinks I am     / Too wise
he won’t speak honestly

And so I talk the way the men
He says are men like me
Talk in the books he reads to me
I understand

Those books are not supposed to make me wise
And yet I think perhaps
They show me what he means
By privacy     // Perhaps

by privacy he means / This
certainty he has that
The weapons he has made
Will not be used against him.


Date: 2016

By: Shane McCrae (1975- )

Saturday, 29 September 2018

The Soul by Benny Andersen

My soul is not really working
I have so much inside
that I can’t get out
don’t have any use for it myself
but maybe someone else would
could save someone
from something
give a little support when it counted
people go by
with oozing depression
gaping problems
and I have the solution inside me
but it’s just getting it out
I stand on my head
do cartwheels
but all kinds of other things
come out
corrections to old memories
I’m not really like that
I can almost taste it
it’s stuck in my throat
my head feels like a champagne cork
I shake myself a little and say
just a second
here comes the big bang
then everyone will be happy
but people get tired of waiting
if only they believed in me
then the big bang would come
but people don’t have time
think it’s just the usual
don’t know what they’re missing
and there I stand
misunderstood volcano
burning to let out my lava
I’ve got to try again
Give me a second –


Date: 1964 (original in Danish); 2013 (translation in English)

By: Benny Andersen (1929- )

Translated by: Michael Favala Goldman (1966- )

Friday, 28 September 2018

Verdict by Michael Goldman

Nothing has happened.
We sit as if preserved.

at random.


Date: 1973

By: Michael Goldman (19??-????)

Thursday, 27 September 2018

Gone by Peter Makuck

Walking through maritime forest,
he tops the ridge dune, beach empty,

ocean blue as the ink of her last letter,
that perfect nun-schooled cursive,

this last aunt, gone with family
stories he should have listened

more closely to. Afternoon shadows
thicken in the white sandy hollows,

sea oats at his back and far out
a sharp line that divides two worlds.

He is thinking of a Polish uncle escaped
from Nazis when, as if sent by a deity,

appears a woman in a blue wetsuit.
She drags a red kayak out through the wash,

hops in, and paddles out
to the eight footers that

tip her over and send her back
boiling in a white seethe to the sand.

At last she finds her feet, staggers
and retrieves the kayak. Again

she launches out and again goes upside-
down in the loud pound of the surf zone.

All this emptiness but for sandpipers
that suddenly rise, as if with one will,

twist and head in a new direction,
then swirl down a hundred yards east.

When he looks back
the red kayak is beyond the breakers

in a field of sun sparks pointed west, slowly
appearing and disappearing far from shore.


Date: 2009

By: Peter Makuck (1940- )

Wednesday, 26 September 2018

The Evolution of A “Name” by Charles Battell Loomis

When Hill, the poet, first essayed
To push the goose’s quill,
Scarce any name at all he made.
(‘Twas simply “A. H. Hill.”)

But as success his efforts crowned,
Rewarding greater skill,
His name expanded at a bound.
(It was “A. Hiller Hill.”)

Now that his work, be what it may,
Is sure to “fill the bill,”
He has a name as wide as day.
(“Aquilla Hiller Hill.”)

From: Loomis, Charles Battell, Just Rhymes, 1899, R. H. Russell: New York, p. 31.

Date: 1899

By: Charles Battell Loomis (1861-1911)

Tuesday, 25 September 2018

The Optometrics of Love by Tony Gruenewald

Thank you for being the one
who never looked
through lenses distorted
by the residue
of former boyfriends,
spouses and lovers
and saw


Date: 2010

By: Tony Gruenewald (1959- )

Monday, 24 September 2018

In Immemoriam by Edward Bradley (Cuthbert Bede)

We seek to know, and knowing seek;
We seek, we know, and every sense
Is trembling with the great Intense
And vibrating to what we speak.

We ask too much, we seek too oft,
We know enough, and should no more;
And yet we skim through Fancy’s lore
And look to earth and not aloft.

A something comes from out the gloom;
I know it not, nor seek to know;
I only see it swell and grow,
And more than this world would presume.

Meseems, a circling void I fill,
And I, unchanged where all is changed;
It seems unreal; I own it strange,
Yet nurse the thoughts I cannot kill.

I hear the ocean’s surging tide,
Raise quiring on its carol-tune;
I watch the golden-sickled moon,
And clearer voices call besides.

O Sea! whose ancient ripples lie
On red-ribbed sands where seaweeds shone;
O Moon! whose golden sickle ‘s gone;
O Voices all! like ye I die!

From: Wells, Carolyn (ed.), A Parody Anthology, 1922, Charles Scribner’s Sons: New York, pp. 174-175.

Date: c1860

By: Edward Bradley (Cuthbert Bede) (1827-1889)

Sunday, 23 September 2018

First Gestures by Julia Spicher Kasdorf

Among the first we learn is good-bye,
your tiny wrist between Dad’s forefinger
and thumb forced to wave bye-bye to Mom,
whose hand sails brightly behind a windshield.
Then it’s done to make us follow:
in a crowded mall, a woman waves, “Bye,
we’re leaving,” and her son stands firm
sobbing, until at last he runs after her,
among shoppers drifting like sharks
who must drag their great hulks
underwater, even in sleep, or drown.

Living, we cover vast territories;
imagine your life drawn on a map—
a scribble on the town where you grew up,
each bus trip traced between school
and home, or a clean line across the sea
to a place you flew once. Think of the time
and things we accumulate, all the while growing
more conscious of losing and leaving. Aging,
our bodies collect wrinkles and scars
for each place the world would not give
under our weight. Our thoughts get laced
with strange aches, sweet as the final chord
that hangs in a guitar’s blond torso.

Think how a particular ridge of hills
from a summer of your childhood grows
in significance, or one hour of light–
late afternoon, say, when thick sun flings
the shadow of Virginia creeper vines
across the wall of a tiny, white room
where a girl makes love for the first time.
Its leaves tremble like small hands
against the screen while she weeps
in the arms of her bewildered lover.
She’s too young to see that as we gather
losses, we may also grow in love;
as in passion, the body shudders
and clutches what it must release.


Date: 1998

By: Julia Spicher Kasdorf (1962- )

Saturday, 22 September 2018

The Tale of the Earth by Raquel Vasquez Gilliland

There is an earth inside you
and he howls until his feet
pierce the space
between your hips.

You scream.
It sounds

Three pushes and he’s out,
face-down, slippery
as though covered
in huckleberry jam.

Put him to your breast,
lean back against the tree.
Introduce little Earth
to ancient Earth.

Tell them both how
they have oceans
and moons. Tell them both
how they’re held with stars.


Date: 2018

By: Raquel Vasquez Gilliland (1986- )

Friday, 21 September 2018

The Romance of Middle Age by Mary Meriam

Now that I’m fifty, let me take my showers
at night, no light, eyes closed. And let me swim
in cover-ups. My skin’s tattooed with hours
and days and decades, head to foot, and slim
is just a faded photograph. It’s strange
how people look away who once would look.
I didn’t know I’d undergo this change
and be the unseen cover of a book
whose plot, though swift, just keeps on getting thicker.
One reaches for the pleasures of the mind
and heart to counteract the loss of quicker
knowledge. One feels old urgencies unwind,
although I still pluck chin hairs with a tweezer,
in case I might attract another geezer.


Date: 2009

By: Mary Meriam (1955- )