Posts tagged ‘2006’

Saturday, 23 July 2022

Anonymity by Anne Atik

These strollers here under the arcades,
these anonymous passersby,
how would you greet them if met at parties
except in banter?
“Are you vegetarian? Virgo?
Rhesus? An alto?
Mesomorphic? Melancholic? Here’s
someone sanguine. Phlegmatic?
Rheumatic? Optimist? You must be my-
opic. Blotto? Sit down. A zero? Now, now.”
But no, they walk past each other,
step out each in his rectangle
that isolates one from another.
These strangers whose blood types may be incompatible
walk down together, unmindful of any danger;
in fact some of them stroll hand in hand.
They navigate, swarm,
free to not give their name,
through what only cities make possible,
flow and reflux as home.
Throngs of the meanwhile, the now, the soon,
of a lovely day in decline.

From: Atik, Anne, “Anonymity” in Ploughshares, Vol. 32, No. 4, Winter 2006/2007, p. 9.

Date: 2006

By: Anne Atik (1932-2021)

Wednesday, 25 May 2022

Hawk is Talking by Allan Peterson

Whether the passing hawk is talking
about the unquenchability of need,
or complaining its short wings unbecoming,
or announcing how this time the mouse
will stay put to hope it so, it must anticipate
early, almost before it launches, or the trees
will flash by before it arrives and its perfect
gold feet will clutch on nothing.


Date: 2006

By: Allan Peterson (19??- )

Tuesday, 12 April 2022

Spell of the Bridge by Helen Lamb

Hold the wish on your tongue
As you cross
What the bridge cannot hear
Cannot fall

For the river would carry
Your hopes to the sea
To the net of a stranger
To the silt bed of dreams

Hold the wish on your tongue
As you cross
And on the far side
Let the wish go first.


Date: 2006

By: Helen Lamb (1956-2017)

Thursday, 17 February 2022

After Eden by Rachel Wetzsteon

Somewhere Zeno was smiling, the foul
goblins of paradox were wearing
their fairest clothes that night. My Dinner
with a Chainsaw, the evening could have
been called; and when one too many led
to wise judgements too few, “I’m trying
to break up with you!” he shouted as
stockings and scruples flew; and what was
over wasn’t; the brutal doings
were sweeter than a caress; the thrill
of it happening and the horror
of it being an awful mistake
collided like sweaty bodies in
the dark, disheveled room. So this is
moving on, she reflected after
he left. But what was motion? No straight
bright line but a wind every bit as
stormy as the people it carried
away from safety, through towns that froze
and burned, helping them forward but not
letting them forget for a second
their ceaseless looking for what is lost,
their sad resemblance to the quick and
stubborn arrows that never arrive.


Date: 2006

By: Rachel Wetzsteon (1967-2009)

Tuesday, 1 February 2022

Frog by Chard DeNiord

My tongue leapt out of my mouth
when I lied to her and hopped away
to the stream below the house.
Mute then, I started to write the truth.
My tongue turned wild in the stream,
for which I was glad and unashamed.
I listen now from my porch to the complex things
it says in the distance about my heart.
How hard it is to tell the truth inside my mouth.
How much it needs to sing in the dark.


Date: 2006

By: Chard DeNiord (1952- )

Wednesday, 27 October 2021

The Orange Alert by Douglas Kearney

Picture the upturned millipede, dead,
and see the streets of Altadena:
palm tree rows against the concrete, stiff
to the horizon.
There have been no birds big enough,
we are comforted, to pluck
the chitins from before our yards
and vanish
into the sun like dog-fighting MiGs.
War bears litters of similes.

Altadena, smog hugs the foothills like mustard gas
where our rich peer through their blinds
into ravines, Santa Anas sway the mustard plants, yuccas
bob, some man—his cigarette,
a full gas-can, an itch. We’ve known
the orange alert, fires reaching for helicopters
like cartoon cats clawing at panicked birds.

Yesterday, fire engines and HAZMAT trucks
jostled at Alameda and El Molino
like beetles eating a four-legged spider.
That morning, radios warned of orange.
Neighborhood kids watched officers climb in
and out an open manhole,
consulting the entrails of the great dead millipede.
We watched the ground;
the sun hotter than all year.
The mountains hid Santa Anas,
the smog went orange with dusk, the growing shadows
of lingering birds.


Date: 2006

By: Douglas Kearney (1974- )

Tuesday, 24 August 2021

Island by Kristin Hannaford

Standing with this map, unfolded
open on the hot car bonnet,
silver fittings heat white with glare,
you try to place my finger on the map, to place
the heart along seams of paper
small creases, origamis of river
deltas and highways.
Thick conduit of traffic
beasting past
as hordes of buffalo
drum the terrain of passage,
the singular hum of motorcycle
countering overhead bypass.
You run the fingers of your hand
along the inner rim of shirt collar
wiping sweat or fatigue,
uncertain gestures, which
you adjust as sunglasses and side mirrors.
Upholstery of our seats burning
until you lean forward,
the wash of cooler air signalling
you know the way, it’s resolved.


Date: 2006

By: Kristin Hannaford (1972- )

Saturday, 21 August 2021

Madness by Graham Catt

on and off and on
the shoplight flickers
like a nervous twitch
at the corner of my eye

the jammed cars creep forward
indicators tick off the seconds
I tap tap tap on the steering wheel
to the thud of the city’s heartbeat

stranded in the afternoon rush
an old man leans over a bin
mutters at the rubbish
his face clenched in anger

getting ready to fight
he takes off his coat
then puts it on again
off again, and then on.


Date: 2006

By: Graham Catt (19??- )

Friday, 13 August 2021

Some People Don’t Say Much by Han Dong

some people don’t say much
they are neither mute nor introverted
saying only what’s necessary
speaking only when courtesy demands it
floating on the surface of speech
this is how they are all their lives
summed up in a few phrases
some people live like epitaphs
long years reduced to a sentence or two
soberly like headstones they stand there
facing us.


Date: 2004 (original in Chinese); 2006 (translation in English)

By: Han Dong (1961- )

Translated by: Simon Patton (19??- )

Saturday, 10 April 2021

Rules for Captain Ahab’s Provincetown Poetry Workshop by Martín Espada

1.   Ye shall be free to write a poem on any subject, as long as it’s the White Whale.
2.   A gold doubloon shall be granted to the first among ye who in a poem sights the White Whale.
3.   The Call Me Ishmael Award shall be given to the best poem about the White Whale, with publication in The White Whale Review.
4.   The Herman Melville Memorial Picnic and Softball Game shall be open to whosoever of ye writes a poem about following thy Captain into the maw of hell to kill the White Whale.
5.   There shall be a free floating coffin for any workshop participant who falls overboard whilst writing a poem about the White Whale.
6.   There shall be a free leg, carved from the jawbone of a whale, for any workshop participant who is dismasted whilst writing a poem about the White Whale.
7.   There shall be a free funeral at sea, complete with a chorus of stout hearties singing sea chanteys about the White Whale, for any workshop participant who is decapitated whilst writing a poem about the White Whale.
8.   Ye who seek not the White Whale in thy poems shall be harpooned.


Date: 2006

By: Martín Espada (1957- )