Archive for September, 2021

Thursday, 30 September 2021

After Life and In Between by Christina Stoddard

When you ask again if I believe in ghosts,
insisting I commit, I answer with
a vision my cousin had two summers ago
in Canyonlands. She was beaten

by a prisoner on work-release, her voice disabled,
drifting out, when our grandmother—
sixteen years gone—appeared above her. Solid
as the trees. Without an ounce of tenderness

our grandmother said Get up, girl. My cousin
does not remember crawling to the road
but a minivan found her stretched across
its lane. A family wrong-turned

in an unmarked branch of the park. The driver
used my cousin’s walkie to guide the helicopter,
and she woke from the coma
saying our grandmother’s name.

While you half-listen, I can see you arranging
your argument. The steely pearl
of your intellect. But my love,

you have never lain bleeding on any ground.
And there are things I knew
before I knew you. Which is why
I never told you what happened last spring

while the dogwoods bloomed,
a few nights after some god’s hand fished inside me
for the heart that was growing there

and plucked it out. In grief
I opened my eyes to a little girl, four or five,
standing quietly beside our bed. She held my hand.

If I thought you would listen, I would tell you
she was almost ours. That before she
vanished, she told me her name.


Date: 2019

By: Christina Stoddard (19??- )

Wednesday, 29 September 2021

For the Buyer of Breakfasts in Salem by Colleen Michaels

I wish for you a lifetime of eggs
over easy, poached, sunny side up
on a raft, scrambled with Vermont cheddar

I wish for you that every time you walk
into the diner on Washington St.
somebody says, “What do ya know, Jo.

You’re that guy, the one who secretly
shelled out to strangers. Just ‘cause.
Hot ticket. Mayor of the counter.”

I wish for you that when the story gets
english muffin dry and day old stale
you will still be known as a lumber jack.

Pass him the sports page, pass him the syrup
give him a warm up, little creamers on ice.
No, bring him the real milk from the cooler.

Every small generosity is now yours to pocket:
parcels and postcards, secret santas,
the resurrection of men’s hat departments.

All those hats worn by other nice men
who will search for you on sidewalks
just for the opportunity to tip a brim in your direction.

I wish for you full satisfaction:
not from the silver-dollar pancakes
which are on the house at my thank-you counter,

but because, when I took your cue
and bought dessert for the couple two tables over,
it tasted sweeter than cannoli.


Date: 2012

By: Colleen Michaels (19??- )

Tuesday, 28 September 2021

All I Crave is Intrinsic Peace by Jonathan Otamere Endurance

when i say my body is a parquet
littered with bones, i mean everything
i once knew is dead & what remains
is the fire you left behind.

in the garden, i mistake the redness
of roses for your breath—which
means i hallucinate about our pastime–
& when i touch the lilies by their necks
i realize how much of a shadow
you have become.

your absence: a flickering candle light
whose ray burns best in the darkest of day
which means i carry your absence like
a language left untranslated.

grief is an ageless animal. it’s months
since the ocean swept your remains
to shore, & here i am waiting
for the rain to wash off the bloodstains.

this body: an ignorant child to the touch
of grief. a crossroad between loss and fear.

i stretch my voice across continents
which means i am growing wings again.
which means i am not afraid to cross
borders with my grief, to wear your absence
like it’s the last thing you left behind.


Date: 2021

By: Jonathan Otamere Endurance (19??- )

Monday, 27 September 2021

The Pea Princess by Colleen Mills

She arches like a bowed branch of willow,
Quivering from stem to leaf.
With each flex of the wrists,
Roll of a shoulder,
Gentle realignment of the ribs,
The lump burrows deeper.

Now beneath the breast plate,
Now between hipbone and pelvis,
Now knotted at the base of the neck,
Clicking between the knobs of the spinal column
Where the vertebrae, like the panels of a washboard, find the lump,
As it rickets over the thinly sheathed bones with each shift in motion.

Whether between knucklebones or toe bones,
Nestled in the many small joints and junctures of the body,
It journeys like a pebble smoothed over in a sea of feathers,
Pressing against the inside of the knee cap,
Working its way up the thigh,
Wandering the flesh land of the belly.

Each night the same rotation
As she arches, curves, twines her body about the bedposts,
Weaved like a tight shoe lace between the pillars of the bed,
Spiraling between the sheets
Trying to find the one place
Such a lump will fit beneath her frame.

With each stretch,
Each extension or contortion of a limb,
The minutest of lumps,
Buried beneath bedding twenty upon twenty layers high,
Burrows still deeper, pressing into the skin of thinly padded skeletal extensions
As it grates to a final rest against the gentle hollow above the collarbone.

Like the smoothed sand in the mouth of an oyster,
The tenderest of peas seeks shelter
In only the softest concaves of flesh,
Where the pea, like the pearl,
Proves perfection
By defining the flaw.


Date: 2003

By Colleen Mills (19??- )

Sunday, 26 September 2021

My Mom Buried a Saint in the Yard by Laura Villareal

Not like you think, but yes, he’s upside down.
St. Joseph faces my childhood window.

The internet says he should face
what must be moved.

My mom buried him 20 years ago to sell our house.
I use the same trowel to plant seeds in the garden.

There must be something to it,
holy intervention,

because the grass where he’s buried
stays green when July browns the fields.

But the house never sold & the only one
who hasn’t stopped moving is me.

My mom prays to St. Anthony when I don’t text back.
She believes in woo woo like I trust in vanishing points.

I pack her remedies with me wherever I go.
I’ve beckoned St. Anthony when love is lost

& I can’t be found. In church
I read Revelations, as a kid, while everyone prayed the rosary.

Forgive me, mother, for I often forget to text back.
Glory be to the suitcase, the postcard, & care package.

I buy a St. Christopher medal for my partner
when his flights get cancelled three times in a row.

I know I should dig St. Joseph up,
but some things are better unmoved.

A novena candle melted in my car, the pink wax filled each corner
of a cardboard moving box & honeycombed the bubble wrap.

Our Lady of Perpetual Wandering,
should I settle like this wax or overflow?


Date: 2021

By: Laura Villareal (19??- )

Saturday, 25 September 2021

Ravishment by Anna Rose Welch

Over the trees, birds hang themselves from the sky.
In portraits, the Christ Child clutches sparrows like these
in his fist. Something this ordinary is supposed to represent my soul.
In your fist, a tangle of my hair the color of a finch.
With each tug, my skull understands rapture.
Somewhere, I know there’s a hunter with astonishing red hands
tossing a heart aside like a broken clock. It leaves its brilliance behind
on his skin, on the snow like a scarlet ribbon torn from a gift.
This is how we decide who the hunter and who the hunted:
by whichever has the most light.
First there’s the blaze, then the chase, then the taking.
Into the woods like marionettes, the man, the sudden doe.
The trees tremble to flee themselves. The moon’s silver yawns
holy and wide like the jaws of a trap. Love, so much love,
thrown over a shoulder, its legs tied together with cord.


Date: 2015

By: Anna Rose Welch (19??- )

Friday, 24 September 2021

Mad in the Morning by Gōzō Yoshimasu

I shout the first line of my poem
I write the first line
A carving knife stands up madly in the morning
These are my rights!

The glow of morning or a woman’s breasts are not always beautiful
Beauty is not always first
All music is a lie!
Ah! First of all, let’s close all the petals and fall down to the earth!

This morning, September 24, 1966
I wrote a letter to my dearest friend
About original sin
About the perfect crime and the method of destroying intelligence

What a drop of water rolling on my pale pink palm!
The woman’s breasts are reflected in a coffee saucer!
Oh! I can’t fall down!
Though I ran rapidly over the edge of the sword, the world has not disappeared!


Date: 1966 (original in Japanese); 2017 (translation in English)

By: Gōzō Yoshimasu (1939- )

Translated by: Y Yoshida (24 September 2021)

Thursday, 23 September 2021

The Wolves by Rollie Lynn Riggs

Puzzled and challenging
At our fear,
They have wavered, waiting to spring
Ear by ear.

Circuitous their path
Through rivers of mud,
Avoiding our spilt wrath
Like blood.

Laughter may suffice
To avert the pack—
Fanged, snapping, twice
Turned, but never turned back.

From: Riggs, Lynn, ‘The Wolves’ in Poetry: A Magazine of Verse, Volume XXXII, Number V, August 1928, p. 262.

Date: 1928

By: Rollie Lynn Riggs (1899-1954)

Wednesday, 22 September 2021

Jacket Notes by Ishmael Scott Reed

Being a colored poet
Is like going over
Niagara Falls in a

An 8 year old can do what
You do unaided
The barrel maker doesn’t
Think you can cut it

The gawkers on the bridge
Hope you fall on your

The tourist bus full of
Paying customers broke-down
Just out of Buffalo

Some would rather dig
The postcards than
Catch your act

A mile from the drink
It begins to storm

But what really hurts is
You’re bigger than the


Date: 1973

By: Ishmael Scott Reed (1938- )

Tuesday, 21 September 2021

& The Tea Will Seem Golden by Peter Anton Orlovsky

Oh, Oh mama whare did you go
what did you do with your human cry
the wine you drank when I was 14-teen
you beat your head on the grownd
I stood near by watching this
its the tears I remember most
the yells forgotten, my age disappeared
I wanted you to stop, I even got mad at you
for banging your self so
So I through you in bed but you kissed me good night
night has made lonely dances in your head
cigrette ashes dry up your tears
I’m older now I could put my arm around you if you were to
cry again So Ma cry like you used to
lets go thro that sadness again, more agoney Ma
& then we’ll have a long talk afterwards & the tea will seem golden
& we’ll pat bellies again & tickle each others feet –

1959 N.Y.C.


Date: 1959

By: Peter Anton Orlovsky (1933-2010)