Posts tagged ‘1991’

Monday, 7 December 2020

Gertrude by Philip Dean Appleman

Gertrude Appleman, 1901-1976

God is all-knowing, all-present, and almighty.
— A Catechism of Christian Doctrine

I wish that all the people
who peddle God
could watch my mother die:
could see the skin and
gristle weighing only
seventy-nine, every stubborn
pound of flesh a small
death.

I wish the people who peddle God
could see her young,
lovely in gardens and
beautiful in kitchens, and could watch
the hand of God slowly
twisting her knees and fingers
till they gnarled and knotted, settling in
for thirty years of pain.

I wish the people who peddle God
could see the lightning
of His cancer stabbing
her, that small frame
tensing at every shock,
her sweet contralto scratchy with
the Lord’s infection: Philip,
I want to die.

I wish I had them gathered round,
those preachers, popes, rabbis,
imams, priests – every
pious shill on God’s payroll – and I
would pull the sheets from my mother’s brittle body,
and they would fall on their knees at her bedside
to be forgiven all their faith.

From: https://reasonandmeaning.com/2014/12/08/philip-appleman-poetry-about-dying/

Date: 1991

By: Philip Dean Appleman (1926-2020)

Monday, 19 October 2020

Riddle by Nancy Mallet Fry

We are animal cries,
groans the body makes,
the shrill keening of grief,
pain and rage howled out,
grunts of satisfaction,
someone crooning to her young.
We’re animal cries becoming
human, five daughters
of your mother tongue.

[Answer: Vowels]

From: https://poetrysociety.org/poetry-in-motion/riddle

Date: 1991

By: Nancy Mallet Fry (1945-2016)

Thursday, 27 August 2020

He Fades Away* by Alistair Hulett

There’s a man in my bed I used to love him
His kisses used to take my breath away
There’s a man in my bed I hardly know him
I wipe his face and hold his hand
And watch him as he slowly fades away

And he fades away
Not like leaves that fall in autumn
Turning gold against the grey
He fades away
Like the bloodstains on the pillow case
That I wash every day
He fades away

There’s a man in my bed, he’s on a pension
Although he’s only fifty years of age
The lawyer says we might get compensation
In the course of due procedure
But he couldn’t say for certain at this stage

And he’s not the only one
Who made that trip so many years ago
To work the Wittenoom mines
So many young men old before their time
And dying slow
He fades away
A wheezing bag of bones his
Lungs half clogged and full of clay
He fades away

There’s a man in my bed they never told him
The cost of bringing home his weekly pay
And when the courts decide how much they owe him
How will he spend his money
When he lies in bed and coughs his life away?

*This song is about an Australian blue asbestos miner. The miners (and often their families) were exposed to blue asbestos through the mine at Wittenoom in Western Australia and had a long and very bitter legal battle for compensation with many miners (and their family members) dying of the effects of the asbestos exposure (specifically mesothelioma) before receiving compensation. Wittenoom itself is a declared contaminated site and was phased out as a townsite, being removed from road signs and maps, in the 1990s. As of 2019, there was only one remaining permanent resident.

From: https://unionsong.com/u484.html

Date: 1991

By: Alistair Hulett (1951-2010)

Friday, 14 February 2020

Valentine by Lorna Dee Cervantes

Cherry plums suck a week’s soak,
overnight they explode into the scenery of before
your touch. The curtains open on the end of our past.
Pink trumpets on the vines bare to the hummingbirds.
Butterflies unclasp from the purse of their couplings, they
light and open on the doubled hands of eucalyptus fronds.
They sip from the pistils for seven generations that bear
them through another tongue as the first year of our
punishing mathematic begins clicking the calendar
forward. They land like seasoned rocks on the
decks of the cliffs. They take another turn
on the spiral of life where the blossoms
blush & pale in a day of dirty dawn
where the ghost of you webs
your limbs through branches
of cherry plum. Rare bird,
extinct color, you stay in
my dreams in x-ray. In
rerun, the bone of you
stripping sweethearts
folds and layers the
shedding petals of
my grief into a
decayed holo-
gram—my
for ever
empty
art.

From: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/49589/valentine-56d22bd28689d

Date: 1991

By: Lorna Dee Cervantes (1954- )

Thursday, 19 December 2019

Help Wanted by Timothy Tocher

Santa needs new reindeer.
The first bunch has grown old.
Dasher has arthritis;
Comet hates the cold.
Prancer’s sick of staring
at Dancer’s big behind.
Cupid married Blitzen
and Donder lost his mind.
Dancer’s mad at Vixen
for stepping on his toes.
Vixen’s being thrown out—
she laughed at Rudolph’s nose.
If you are a reindeer
we hope you will apply.
There is just one tricky part:
You must know how to fly.

From: https://www.panmacmillan.com/blogs/literary/our-favourite-christmas-poems

Date: 1991

By: Timothy Tocher (19??- )

Sunday, 16 June 2019

Poem Reaching For Something by Quincy Thomas Troupe, Junior

we walk through a calligraphy of hats slicing off foreheads
ace-deuce cocked, they slant, razor sharp, clean through imagination, our
spirits knee-deep in what we have forgotten entrancing our bodies now to
dance, like enraptured water lilies
the rhythm in liquid strides of certain looks
eyeballs rippling through breezes
riffing choirs of trees, where a trillion slivers of sunlight prance across
filigreeing leaves, a zillion voices of bamboo reeds, green with summer
saxophone bursts, wrap themselves, like transparent prisms of dew drops
around images, laced with pearls & rhinestones, dreams
& perhaps it is through this decoding of syllables that we learn speech
that sonorous river of broken mirrors carrying our dreams
assaulted by pellets of raindrops, prisons of words entrapping us
between parentheses — two bat wings curving cynical smiles
still, there is something here, that, perhaps, needs explaining
beyond the hopelessness of miles, the light at the end of a midnight tunnel —
where some say a speeding train is bulleting right at us ——
so where do the tumbling words spend themselves after they have spent
all meaning residing in the warehouse of language, after they have slipped
from our lips, like skiers on ice slopes, strung together words linking
themselves through smoke, where do the symbols they carry
stop everything, put down roots, cleanse themselves of everything
but clarity —— though here eye might be asking a little too much of any
poet’s head, full as it were with double-entendres.

From: https://www.lacan.com/frameIII5.htm

Date: 1991

By: Quincy Thomas Troupe, Junior (1939- )

Friday, 7 June 2019

Extemporaneous by Betsugen Enshi

The courtyard is so lonely in autumn rain
that I open the window and gaze all day at the peak.
From the beginning of the world my two eyes
have been fixed to those mile-high pines on top.

From: Carter, Steven D. (ed. and transl.), Traditional Japanese Poetry: An Anthology, 1991, Stanford University Press: Stanford, California, p. 271.
(https://books.google.com.au/books?id=dq7TOrkTCP0C)

Date: 14th century (original in Japanese); 1991 (translation in English)

By: Betsugen Enshi (1294-1364)

Translated by: Steven D. Carter (19??- )

Saturday, 11 May 2019

Mansize by Maura Dooley

Now you aren’t here I find
myself ironing linen squares,
three by three, the way
my mother’s always done,
the steel tip steaming over your
blue initial. I, who resent
the very thought of this back-breaking
ritual, preferring radiator-dried
cottons, stiff as boards, any amount
of crease and crumple to this
soothing, time-snatching chore.

I never understood my father’s trick,
his spare for emergencies, but was glad
of its airing-cupboard comforts often enough:
burying my nose in it, drying my eyes
with it, staunching my blood with it,
stuffing my mouth with it. His expedience,
my mother’s weekly art, leaves me
forever flawed: rushing into newsagents
for Kleenex, rifling your pockets in the cinema,
falling on those cheap printed florals.

What I really want is Irish linen,
shaken out for me to sink my face in,
the shape and scent of you still warm
in it, your monogram in chainstitch
at the corner. Comforter, seducer, key witness
to it all, my neatly folded talisman,
my sweet flag of surrender.

From: https://anthonywilsonpoetry.com/2012/06/05/lifesaving-poems-ian-duhigs-from-the-irish-and-maura-dooleys-mansize/

Date: 1991

By: Maura Dooley (1957- )

Monday, 7 May 2018

Teaching the Ape to Write Poems by James Vincent Tate

They didn’t have much trouble
teaching the ape to write poems:
first they strapped him to the chair,
then tied the pencil around his hand
(the paper had already been nailed down).
Then Dr. Bluespire leaned over his shoulder
and whispered into his ear:
“You look like a god sitting there.
Why don’t you try writing something?”

From: https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/teaching-ape-write-poems

Date: 1991

By: James Vincent Tate (1943-2015)

Saturday, 28 April 2018

I’m A Nobody by Bianor

I’m a nobody,
no one special,
a nothing —
yet even I am loved.
Even I am the master
of someone else’s soul.

From: Nystrom, Bradley P. (ed. and transl.), The Song of Eros: Ancient Greek Love Poems, 1991, Southern Illinois University Press: Carbondale, p. 20.
(https://books.google.com.au/books?id=f9nNuChxuREC)

Date: 1st century (original in Greek); 1991 (translation in English)

By: Bianor (1st century)

Translated by: Bradley P. Nystrom (19??-)