Posts tagged ‘2009’

Saturday, 19 October 2019

A Month After Her Birth by Leah Sewell

The bed is a cloud, and I am afraid
to step off into the cold otherworld,
to take her with me into the vaporous after.

I nestle in backwards, pose fetal and pull
her into the cocoon of comforter,
to the bulge of hot breast,
back to the body. I rest
and bide and tend.

Spring shows in white spurts
through the yellowing curtains,
dust stars diving into her breath-stream,
man in green-smelling work boots,
red splash of tulips in his fist
and a new hazel rimming
her muddled eyes like a moss.

I swaddle us both
and plummet

out to a concrete porch, facing the street.
I see an old friend pass
in a pickup, a case of beer clinking in his bed.

Goodbye, I say to him and the shadow-dappled
homes standing casually still
as if no earthquake occurred,
goodbye to infant grass fingering snow.

I breathe the rust of the screen door
as it closes me in shadow, and squeeze
my new flesh, so long in the making.


Date: 2009

By: Leah Sewell (19??- )

Tuesday, 13 August 2019

I And by Tridib Mitra

Autumn’s phantasmagorical tempest
I at the door of 1964
wooden knocks–who are you wood pecker?
What is this?
Shocked vision
chances dreams haha reality’s become more dense
still boozed in love?
another revolt squanders like 1857 thrashes
Fire in Shantiniketan, fire here at Calcutta
In Midnapore Shyambazar Khalasitola
Fire in eyes face heart cock
This fireball gnarling
in happiness hatred pain intellect dream reality
All—junk–ho ho smoke net—
tinsel like groundnut
all around chirping
afar angry shadows roar, flounder on earth…


Date: ?1964 (original in Bengali); ?2009 (translation in English)

By: Tridib Mitra (1940- )

Translated by: Tridib Mitra (1940- )

Wednesday, 6 March 2019

Abyss by Katrina Vandenberg

If the best love poems have a little darkness,
how far down can I go? Thousands of feet?
The coelecanth is near, but it’s too easy —
the metaphor nettable and clear, the lost
link found, the beginnings of our own bones
in its pelvic fins — and I want to write about love

with depth to hold the unverifiable, the oarfish
that survives with half its body gone.
I want it to hold the giant squid no one has seen
alive, strong enough to scar sperm whales;
sailors have claimed its tentacles unfurl
from the night’s water, taking down their mates.

But can such poems survive these confused witnesses?
Can they handle the scanty evidence that surfaces:
the mottled sick and dead, the night-feeding
viperfish impaling victims with fangs
at high speed, its first vertebra designed
to absorb the shock? And how much horror

can this poem sustain before you forbid me to say
some call this love, the hagfish that bores
into the unsuspecting body, rasping
its flesh from inside out? Am I making you
uncomfortable? The pressure at these depths
could crush a golf ball. Are you cold?

Or is it enough to be awed by the blue-
green photophores of the lantern fish, the brief
and brilliant light displays? What the lights say:
I want you. Not so close. I am moonlight;
I am not here. I would eat you raw —
tell me if you want me to stop.


Date: 2009

By: Katrina Vandenberg (19??- )

Tuesday, 5 March 2019

The Survivors by Jeff Friedman

They come back with wool sweaters
and coats smelling of straw and shit

smoking their old cigars
ashes flaking from chin and cheeks.

They come back with glistening shells
pain in their joints — rooms of water.

Salt glittering on their lips
they walk on rock

where fish gasp and choke
and stars cluster in sand.

Sun rains into the abyss.
They come back with ruined hands and backs

hurling coins across oceans
building bridges with knots and fists

digging up cities of corpses
rotting under the rainbow

as doves fly out of their pockets
scavenging the carnage.


Date: 2009

By: Jeff Friedman (19??- )

Wednesday, 20 February 2019

Half-life by Rosie Breese

It comes upon you when you least expect it:
when you’re stepping out to the offy on a freezing night
and don’t stop to sniff the air or feel
the stars’ insane glimmer, and light-
footed you trip along as if nobody
could cancel out the mirrored knock
of your feet. The fireless clay.
The half-life of heat.


Date: 2009

By: Rosie Breese (1983- )

Friday, 25 January 2019

Dark Matter by Jack Elliott Myers

I’ve lived my life as if I were my wife
packing for a trip—I’ll need this and that
and I can’t possibly do without that!

But now I’m about
what can be done without.
I just need a thin valise.

There’s no place on earth
where I can’t unpack in a flash
down to a final spark of consciousness.

No place where I can’t enter
the joyless rapture
of almost remembering

I’ll need this and I’ll need that,
hoping to weigh less than silence,
lighter than light.


Date: 2009

By: Jack Elliott Myers (1941-2009)

Wednesday, 24 October 2018

Sprout by Linda Parsons Marion

The gardener I never reckoned on, she sows
with the fire of a zealot—rows cowlicked
in garlic, snow peas fence-latticed, mounds
studded gold—my daughter bends to earth’s
pure bidding. She’s living up to her baby name,
called Tater for the sun-brown quickness on nose
and arms. She means to mine these coffers
for yields unborn, sequin the counter with
a gracious plenty. Her reach is the surest we know,
to feed and be sated, even as she nurses
a sprout on her belly’s milk, all of us waiting
for the fruit made flesh, for the muskmelon
to twirl its sweet mouth in pearlized clay
yearning toward first harvest.


Date: 2009

By: Linda Parsons Marion (1953- )

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- )

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- )

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Middle Age by Jason Shinder

Many of my friends are alone
and know too much to be happy
though they still want to dive
to the bottom of the green ocean
and bring back a gold coin
in their hand. A woman I know wakes
in the late evening and talks
to her late husband,
the windows blank photographs.
On the porch, my brother,
hands in pockets,
stares at the flowing stream.
What’s wrong? Nothing.
The cows stand
in their own slow afternoons.
The horses gather
wild rose hips in the sun
the way I longed for someone
long ago. What was it like?
The door opening
and no one on either side.


Date: 2009 (published)

By: Jason Shinder (1955-2008)