Posts tagged ‘2010’

Tuesday, 17 January 2023

Grandmother’s Angels by Jo Carroll

My grandmother spoke about angels;
they stood at the foot of my bed.
They counted the sins of the daylight;
they counted the sins in my head.

They glared as I crept beneath bedclothes,
sought solace from teddies and dolls.
But they knew of the time when I ate all the sweets;
the time when I drew on the walls.

The time when I farted, blamed Great Uncle Ted,
who seemed unconcerned by the pong.
The time when I failed at my spellings;
the time my additions were wrong.

The time I was late down to breakfast;
when I left my bike out in the frost.
The time when I hid the crisp letters from school
that warned I was weaker than most.

Oh yes, they saw it all, these angels of mine,
that stood at the foot of my bed.
Did they count the sins of my grandmother?
They disappeared once she was dead.


Date: 2010

By: Jo Carroll (19??- )

Thursday, 29 December 2022

Cold Tea by Sarah Pemberton Strong

Come upon later,
like a dream recalled at lunchtime.

Dark as deep water, bone cold.
Where is she now, the woman

who poured into a white cup?
She was standing on the lip

of the whole river with her plan
when the current called her and she had to

go: answer the knocking
that she in her not-knowing

called interruption.


Date: 2010

By: Sarah Pemberton Strong (19??- )

Sunday, 6 November 2022

Even Be It Built of Boards Planed by Hand and Joined Without Nails, Yet May a Barn Burn by Harvey Lee Hix

The three men now stood satisfied, arms crossed,
joking among themselves, but only moments before
they hadn’t been laughing. It had taken all three
to bind the struggling man. First, to limit his movement,
they had duct-taped his wrists together behind his back:
for that, one man had held his legs and another had pinned him,
one hand on each shoulderblade and one knee on his head,
at his left temple, grinding his right cheek and eye into
the dust and straw and dried shit that formed the floor of the barn.
First they bound his wrists, then his ankles. Then it got easier.
More tape over his mouth, wound all the way around his head,
three full loops, much more than was necessary, which was one thing
they were laughing about, the two bigger men making fun
of the smaller one, who had done that part of the binding.
Then they’d bound him down on the mattress, again with the tape.

The bound man continued to struggle, but once the tape
denied him movement he felt as if he were thinking clearly,
as if his panic had lifted, resistance become
mere obligation. He thought surely the tape would run out,
but they had another roll, just in case. He noticed
the new order—head first this round—when it came to the mattress.
One man would lift one end just off the dirt, enough
for another to wrap the tape, which cursed coming off the roll
in what the man construed as sympathy, all the way
around the mattress in loops that included his head and neck,
then the same process at the other end,
all the way around the mattress and his ankles.

They couldn’t figure how to get the tape around his torso
because it was so near the middle of the mattress.
The bound man found himself wanting to help, but of course
he couldn’t speak, and anyway they didn’t need his advice.
His hands bound behind his back and against the mattress meant
his feet and head, and most of all his neck, were plenty
to keep him from getting loose and grabbing one of their guns.

The bound man’s life didn’t pass before him in summary,
exactly, but he did see things now that in all these years
he hadn’t noticed. The wiring, for instance.
He thought it must have been his own father who’d wired the barn
with that odd blend of pride and makeshift half-competence
that showed up in all his father’d made, himself not least.
One bare bulb bragging from the highest joist
about its white porcelain fixture, but better, really,
at casting long shadows than at lighting the place,
though if the three men would just leave him alone, he thought,
he’d be able to count up all the birds’ nests and speculate
on where swallows had built before there were barns.
The wire ran from switchbox to fixture in straight lines
and right angles, through half-inch galvanized surely intended
for plumbing but good, too, for frustrating the rats.

It was the short man, the one who’d done all the taping, who then
poured kerosene across the mattress and over the man,
soaking his clothes, making sure to splash some into his eyes.
No one else noticed, but he spelled out fuck with the kerosene.
Or anyway swung his arms in that pattern. That was when
they could relax a little, the three men, and start their joking,
once the kerosene was poured. One tall man slapped his forehead:
“You brought matches, right?” “Matches?” the other replied,
furrowing his brow and patting his pockets,
and both laughed out loud. Even the short man smiled.

Barns burn, it turns out, just the way you’d think
if you thought about it, hay fast and hot,
siding lighting the roof and the flooring of the loft,
all the slender strips of wood, with the few parts not tinder—
the frame, the beams and joists—starting last and lasting longest.
But that’s not what the mattress-bound man’s great-great-grandfather
had thought about, its someday burning, as he built the barn.
He had a daughter to worry about, and a wife
big with what he thought might be a boy. And weather,
and a dozen cows. Plenty to fret more immediate
than which fuck-up would later taint his bloodline
and preside over the decay, finally
inviting the sacrifice, of what he had built to last.

Barns burn like bonfires built for the burning,
stacked just so by one mortal for the next.
They burn best at night, whether or not communicants
travel up and down billows lit silver from above,
red from below. And whether or not three men
have stopped among sycamores on the rise just opposite
and turned for a moment to admire their handiwork.


Date: 2010

By: Harvey Lee Hix (1960- )

Tuesday, 11 October 2022

But Instead Has Gone into Woods by Lyn Diane Lyfshin

A girl goes into the woods
and for what reason
disappears behind branches
and is never heard from again.
We don’t really know why,
she could have gone shopping
or had lunch with her mother
but instead has gone into
woods, alone, without the lover,
and not for leaves or flowers.
It was a clear bright day
very much like today.
It was today. Now you might
imagine I’m that girl,
it seems there are reasons. But
first consider: I don’t live
very near those trees and my
head is already wild with branches


Date: 2010

By: Lyn Diane Lifshin (1942-2019)

Thursday, 28 July 2022

Dictator by Melissa Stein

The quail are back: the big quail,
and the smaller quail, scurrying
to keep up. They’re pecking in the garden,
rooting for seeds or grubs or whatever
quail root for. They’re absurd, these birds,
apostrophes bobbing from their heads,
burbling staccato in their collective fright.
Each time I see them, I feel lulled
lazy, enormous. Each time it’s like
watching puzzle pieces of myself
scattering for their lives,
and yet here I am, above it all,
leaning against the porch railing,
sipping a cool glass of lemonade, coolly
noting that for all the terror of their collective flight
it sounds like nothing so much as umbrellas opening.


Date: 2010

By: Melissa Stein (19??- )

Sunday, 12 June 2022

Untitled (Dark Breadth of the Sea) by Pēters Brūveris

dark breadth of the sea,
dunes like creased, crumbling
nameless gods,
on the horizon a lead-grey Sun sinks
and in the sky a fine
shroud of snowflakes;

closing eyes, on inner lids
the grazing touch of glimmering Ostracoderms,
red-streaked snail shell chambers open
and, bass flutes humming,
reveal their beauty’s fossils

a fine snow in my hair;
pack on my back, full of unresuscitated minerals;
my feet feeling the upper sediments,
heart linked to the Devonian, the age of fish;

I’ll thaw like snow;
in the best case scenario like mineral
I’ll be scraped free and put in some strange backpack;
yes, my feet in this century no longer know how to
touch the ground; even though my heart reaches back to the Devonian,
the age of fish!

the sea’s a dark nude
incessant transit of the snails of sorrow
through the provisional harbor of my being;
I write letters to humankind
with spear-grass on my sandy palm…


Date: 2010 (original in Latvian); 2010 (translation in English)

By: Pēters Brūveris (1957- )

Translated by: Inara Cedrins (19??- )

Friday, 13 May 2022

Better Brown than Blonde by Elisabeth Koolart-Hoofman

Don’t ever change your colour, fair brunettes,
For lighter hue or blonder tress.
The rose looks pale beside dark violets
And white grapes never equal reds.
How can scent of blooms soon gone
Rival ripe morellos?
Does the proud brown oak not throne
High above white willows?
Unlike others I’ll praise brown
Rather than light yellows;
What Nature aims to clothe in loveliness,
She gives a darker hood or dress.
So never change your colour, fair brunettes,
For lighter hue or blonder tress.

From: van Gemert, Lia; Joldersma, Hermina; van Marion, Olga; van der Poel, Dieuwke; and Schenkeveld-van der Dussen, Riet (eds.), Women’s Writing from the Low Countries 1200-1875: A Bilingual Anthology, 2010, Amsterdam University Press: Amsterdam, p. 347.

Date: 1774 (published) (original in Dutch); 2010 (translation in English)

By: Elisabeth Koolart-Hoofman (1664-1736)

Translated by: Myra Heerspink Scholz (1944- )

Monday, 9 May 2022

Merry-Go–Round by Julian Randolph Stow

This is the playground circumnavigation:
The leap in space and safe return to land,
Past sea and hills, boats, trees, familiar buildings,
Back to the port of one assisting hand.

Adventurers learn here; but do not venture
Yet from their circular continuous sweep
From start to start. Where going is home-turning
Nothing is lost, what’s won is all to keep.

The gulls stoop down, the big toy jerks and flies;
And time is tethered where its centre lies.


Date: 2010

By: Julian Randolph Stow (1935-2010)

Thursday, 20 January 2022

Brush Turkey’s by Sue Watson

powerful claw
scrapes  leaves
into a metre high
incubator   eco-mound
for the eggs of many hens
it’s shoulder peak season
he has a Rolls Royce address
instinct outweighs his beauty
given an ugly head & neck
of the worst sunburnt hue
a goitre of bright yellow
ruffles the base of his throat
contrasts with the blue black
of his feathers   his walk is neither
swagger nor trot
he’s reclaimed his spot on the hill
in flannel flower cul-de-sac.


Date: 2010

By: Sue Watson (19??- )

Friday, 14 January 2022

How to Ask for My Hand at My Grandmother’s Grave by Mihaela Moscaliuc

“What a waste of space,” you murmur as the train cuts
through a cemetery whose halves rest like drowsy wings
between two pine forests, then “spooky” as our window
zips by faces smiling from porcelain plates glued to crosses.
You’ve crossed the ocean to marry me, so I cannot say
I knew only one of them, but they are all mine,
these dead turned strigoi who’ll not return
to their bodies because the earth’s too loud
and the town has betrayed them.
But I have to warn you—
We carry cemeteries on our heads,
in our bellies, round our ankles,
we carry them to work
and we carry them to sleep
and when we make love
they moan, they rattle, they sing.
When our spine starts sinking we spit
and curse and dance the pain off.
When I bring you to Grandmother’s grave,
behind the Dacian fortress, she’ll be armed
with questions: how hardy your love, how soft your fingers,
and your dead, how do you spoil them?
“After you cup your hands to catch the soul,”
she’ll want to know, “how do you release it?”
Don’t tell her about ashes thrown to winds, don’t say
you’ve never spilled red wine onto the earth
to quench your father’s thirst, or that you never read him
the Sunday paper. Do not tell her you love him
but have never seen his grave. I’ll translate your silence
and spread a white cloth under the rose trellis. We’ll offer
walnut breads and gossip, and she’ll forgive, and bless us,
then send me back across the ocean with a saddlebag of ghosts.


Date: 2010

By: Mihaela Moscaliuc (19??- )