Archive for June, 2022

Thursday, 30 June 2022

How It Is by Christopher Sawyer-Lauçanno

Say it is a geranium in a black pot
or a warbler on the shoulder
that make the difference in how we do
what we do when we do it.
As if the clouds never existed,
as if rain hadn’t come.

Your fur-lined chemise seems as natural
as an avocado without a pit,
yet you persist in wearing it,
despite the heat.

I peel off the yellow cigar band,
attempt deftness, though it does not
come naturally to my right hand.

These are the basic facts of everydayness:
Nothing will ever be like something.
Pumpkins will never fall from any tree.

And the sun stays aloft, at least for now,
and the moon is far far away.


Date: 1998

By: Christopher Sawyer-Lauçanno (1951- )

Wednesday, 29 June 2022

Explanation by Tess Taylor

Because the snow eclipsed the woods and formed
the definite wet gravel and the lumber pilings
into rounded banks and slate diagonals.

Because across blank snow, dark cherry boughs
cast intricate, protracted hieroglyphs,
and the falling downs spun in the light.

All this new hidden-ness lay spread around us
hinting, as at some forgotten word.
Because, as if in offering you said

chrysanthemum. O I adored
the sudden world you made with your red lips:
I wanted some, and plundered it.


Date: 2003

By: Tess Taylor (1977- )

Tuesday, 28 June 2022

When we got to the beach by Hollie McNish

i screamed
sprinted to the sea
flung off shoes and socks
ran towards imagined heaving waves
and jumped each tiny trickle that I found there
with just the same excitement

you stayed back
took your socks off more timidly
giggled at your stupid mother
eventually took my hand

we jumped together
and we jumped together
and we jumped together

three hours later
collapsing on our backs
we made angels in the sand

the seaside always made me
want to scream

with you
i can.


Date: 2017

By: Hollie McNish (1983- )

Monday, 27 June 2022

I Keep Lil Uzi Vert’s Lady Bug Bic Lighter in My Pocket by Kayleb Rae Candrilli

and for as long as I’m allowed to live, Uzi’s lighter is good luck.
In Philadelphia, the ATVs roll through the streets, much the same
as where I come from—all four wheelers, going too fast, with a dash

of toxic masculinity. Who am I to judge the engines that bring men
together, the raw exhaust of it all. When I was young, I wanted so
badly to become a boy that I became one. Nearly anything is possible,

if you pursue it. From the back seat of my Mother’s Ford Expedition
I’d claim I could run as fast as the car was rolling, thirty or forty
or seventy miles per hour. I miss that particular hubris of youth.

Now, there’s not much cartilage left in my knees and I only run
when running from someone. The world is a difficult place to live
and most days I’m thankful. But then again, recently, metric tons

of red ink spilled into a creek, and I’ll be honest, it’s hard
to even look at all that blood in the water.


Date: 2020

By: Kayleb Rae Candrilli (19??- )

Sunday, 26 June 2022

Cat Lives by Taylor Graham (Judith Ann Taylor)

The old cat weighs no more than
teeth, claws, and purr, the bones inside.

A cat is a cat: lap comfort, or
too much togetherness, Egyptian god,
mummy demanding my mind.

Tonight “I want to tell you something
with my hands,” I say. She turns
to lick her flank, her thigh, what’s left

of fur after thirteen years together.
I could tabulate each vertebra

down her spine. She still knows how
to purr, as long as hands
think of pain as a flit against the pane,

a bird that flies. Teeth and purr,
feathers of bird-wings in flight, bones
inside. In her next life, in mine.


Date: 2011

By: Taylor Graham (Judith Ann Taylor) (1944- )

Saturday, 25 June 2022

Ritual With Fish Water by Jennifer Givhan

When the doorbell rang this time, she knew
it would be different. The driftwood
of his shoulders knocked his rigid chest

like hooves. Her floating man. “This
rotten world,” he said almost before she could
react, “it’s half-gutted, isn’t it?” Did

she nod? She opened the door wider, allowed
him in—dragging his fish, his strings of light,
his wounds—from the rain. She didn’t feel hope,

exactly, nor dread. “A drink?” she asked.
“Scotch,” he said, folding
to unfold as an origami lantern on her couch,

muddying her pillowslips. She said nothing.
She’d gone on living without
his good nights beating against her

like a broken radio signal. “I’ve missed you—”
She watched him hold his glass restlessly,
a bit of brine pooling at his pant legs, his loafers.

“There’s albondigas on the stove.” Out of habit,
“Will you stay? Can you eat?” He set down
his empty glass, picked up some walnut husks

from their little basket on the table
and began cracking them on his knees,
her prince of gnats and ache, her shining

mollusk king, debuting from death in
minor latch and key. “Hey, look. Dorothea—”
But she lurched toward him anyway. There’d be no

confetti tonight. No clean pears on the windowsill.
“You need to know what I’m here for,” he tried
again, not quite pushing her back, not quite

accepting her embrace. “Never mind that,”
she said, her neck growing scaly, salt
spindling her hair. She waited for the drowning—


Date: 2015

By: Jennifer Givhan (19??- )

Friday, 24 June 2022

Fragrant Harbor* by Miho Nonaka

To be Lord to the four seas of China
a man must let men make verses
he must let people play comedies
and historians write down the facts . . .
—Ezra Pound, Canto LIII

You are determined to stay. The last
persimmon hanging on the top branch
against the winter sky.

A city, an ocean of colors dazzle
bird brains, lure them toward
lit surfaces, where they crash

headlong. Larger bodies, beaten to
death, are thrown into the sea, ruled
suicides. The new normal, don’t

dress in black, keep a voluntary curfew.
You need multiple cell phones
for separate contact lists. No more

crossing borders. Your old teacher
shot point-blank in the eye
for halting on the pavement.

The police are still after anyone
who holds up a blank sheet of paper.
At dusk or dawn, the city looks

beautiful from Sky Lounge,
the water reflecting pink, yellow, blue,
opalescent lights like bolts of fabric:

There have been a lot of such
suicides since July.
So you ask,
What is home? A cool hand

on the forehead when you awake,
suddenly a child and sweating
from fever and dreams. The only

light you notice in the middle
of dark plains from the train window,
because your companion, whom

you won’t see again after he gets off,
suddenly turns and speaks to you
in a soft voice, That’s my home. Look.

*Literal meaning of the name, Hong Kong (香港 ) in Chinese.


Date: 2021

By: Miho Nonaka (19??- )

Thursday, 23 June 2022

The Road North by Zbigniew Machej

We were driving north, to the sea,
through a land of dry lips and useless sweat.
All around were empty fields. Forests burned.
The sun stripped the ashen riverbeds,
the stones on the bottom white like bones.
Our hands stuck to the steering wheel, tar
to the car’s tires. The wrinkled air
throbbed with heat. Ahead and behind
the horizon blurred. On the radio
just news, ads, and songs
by Michael Jackson. By now almost everywhere
democracy had triumphed, but no one was
happy. The great furnaces had gone out.
Tankers brought water to the cities. Gas
had gone up again. Courage, of course, cost the same.
The authorities were patiently questioning
citizens. Doctors had discovered new, mysterious
infections. The bazaars were hopping, corruption
blossomed, there was an increase in assaults with a deadly
weapon, people told tales of the games
the mafia played. Olympic champions
were eliminated in the first round. In the stadiums
new messiahs worked cures, crowds sang.
Peasant prophecies of the world’s end
spread, not just among tourists.
The idolatry of computers compacted
with the superstition of satellite disks. Black icons
wept red tears and mice
fed on the epidermis of the faithful
who miaowed in the churches a miaow
of their own which wearied their God…

We were driving north.
And in the south the wars went on,
states fell apart…

When we got to the sea,
a hundred sailboats under a cloudless sky
sailed into the bay and from the forest onto the shore
the wild boar came
to lap, lap, lap
the salt water.


Date: 1992 (original in Polish); 2003 (translation in English)

By: Zbigniew Machej (1958- )

Translated by: Georgia Scott (19??- ) and David Malcolm (1952- )

Wednesday, 22 June 2022

Midsummer by Marco Yan

Pale sky     high clouds     the heat soaks into the concrete
making shadows out of everything     it’s the Establishment
of Summer again     the city open to light and humidity
see the dust     gnats     pollen     tinsels of pollution
the sweat on my arm     coursing through the hair
like cars along the winding coastline     where my brother and I
swam and paddled as dogs     swallowing brine     small stones
our own piss     our mouths embittered     only to spit
at each other’s face     the length of the shore measured
by the clams we picked     then dropped into the blue bucket
we laid the shells on charcoals at night     watched them
crackle     their meat     dead and full of sand
the sand of some other beach     where my childhood
friends and I dug with our hands     nails collecting grains
a pit to bury     driftwood     crabs and soda cans
a treasure chest     we made no map to     wouldn’t uncover
even if we stood on the X     one more time     we shouldn’t
ask for the keepsakes     we’ve gifted to the land     let the land
remember us     let it remember for us     because I can’t return
to the time the girl I liked lay next to me     the damp towels
the fearful sun     the angst of not knowing how to talk
without leaving     a clue of what I wanted     we ran
to the waves     and sank ourselves     so we could touch
spume clinging to our skin     a straitjacket of salt
we struggled to strip off     it was sticky     it was
bliss     eternally thick on these bodies of ours     dear
brother     dear friends     my dearest girl     here we are
look how much we’ve perspired     on this day
there are things we can never wash off     can we.


Date: 2020

By: Marco Yan (19??- )

Tuesday, 21 June 2022

Winter Morning by Richard Meier

Shyly coated in greys, blacks, browns—
to keep us out of sight of the cold—
we weren’t expecting this this morning: sun
and shadows, like a summer’s evening, like summer
teasing. And not quite under the shelter on
the northbound platform, an old man, the sun
behind him, just his crown ablaze; and heading
southbound, a woman inching ever nearer
the platform edge, the light a tear
across her midriff, ribcage, shoulders, closer
and closer that dearest thing, completeness,
all her darkness light at the one time.


Date: 2012

By: Richard Meier (1970- )