Posts tagged ‘2010’

Thursday, 19 September 2019

Goodbye My Fancy by Douglas A. Powell

For years now, we’ve been crisscrossing
this same largesse of valley.
It has provided for us, plenty. You’ve been
my homoerotic sidekick, Bryan.
Excuse me. Ryan. There. You see?
I am promiscuous with even my own wit.
& I can never keep you straight.

All the boys of recent memory
have been like this: accomplice,
adjutant, aide-de-camp.

I should just toss you my thesaurus.
There are words for the kind
of love we have,
though none of them quite suffice.
Well. Why be verbose?
This is—to put it quite demotic—
how we roll.

Whether stopping off in Stanislaus
so I could nibble me some ribs,
or taking the back road up to Dixon
for your taste of hot tamale,
we’ve served each other well.
Oh, we’re a fine pair.
We also know exactly what to order.

Eventually, they kick us out
at the Silver Dollar Saloon.
Buck up, my little buckaroo.
Every Western ends this way:
Sunset. Chaps.
The valley’s just like San Francisco,
but without so many kissers.

The warbler has two notes
that he prefers from all his repertoire.
But there are others he reserves
for loftier joys, profound sadness,
as well as his most savage flights of fancy.

These he also reserves for you.


Date: 2010

By: Douglas A. Powell (1963- )

Friday, 30 August 2019

Stone by Nick Makoha

The best thing I did was
move my body from one side of the world
to the other. This required a visa
which required a bribe.

The bribe placed in the palm
of a man with a gun,
took my mother’s monthly wage packet.
The man with a gun

let you speak to a clerk.
He too wanted a wage
because it would be his job
to have words with a judge

for another month’s salary.
The official wanted his bribe
so listened to the clerk
escorted by the soldier as he held his gun.

As I sat with my mother
at the steps of the court
drinking soda waiting
for one man to say yes, my mother said

In Uganda a bribe stops men
doing nothing. It rolls away the stone.
Her sips were slower than mine,
each separated by this prayer.


Date: 2010

By: Nick Makoha (1974- )

Friday, 9 August 2019

Pap by Carolyn Creedon

The whole thing was necessary. But for me,
up here on the third floor, each nerve
every day already humming down each synapse
give me valium like prisoners banging their trays,
a song on steel, it was hardly the thing.
But it was what to do, and needed, the goddamn
deck was falling to pieces, rotted from the inside
out so that each day I listen to the workers walk through
my living room, all whistles and Budweisers and dusty
boots, and hammers and miter-saws that dive in
like bees, and it really was necessary, what shouldn’t have
been there, what is rotting, or written on a womb like
a word, or a doctor’s number a year ago on a card
I never called, whose name I don’t remember
though he went right through me but didn’t get it
all, sewed me crooked, washed me almost clean
like a dress with a wine stain, or a sweater in danger
from one loose thread. It really was necessary. I miss
that goddamn deck. I want to ask you if you miss it
out of me, if I am the same, if I am still necessary, if
I am still here. I sing something half-remembered to drown
the sounds of the men and the saws and all the things that are
almost all there. I sing to sink the wreck.

From: Creedon, Carolyn. “Pap.” The Massachusetts Review, vol. 51, no. 3, 2010, pp. 561–561. JSTOR,

Date: 2010

By: Carolyn Creedon (1969- )

Thursday, 8 August 2019

Sorrows of Moraima by Shadab Zeest Hashmi

And so she is wed
in her plain mantilla,
the stoic vezir’s
sixteen-year old Moraima*
to Abu-abdallah, rey el chico.
She has three times as many sorrows as you,
lone cypress with the bent torso!
I watch her burn before she has bloomed.
I, the window they call
the eyes of Ayesha.
I, myself a gaping book waiting to be written,
watch her pace through white corridors,
reading passages between
the hissing walls.
A husband at war, a child taken captive,
all day she digs for a window.
All the while I let in common sparrows,
twigs, pollen, arrows of winter rain,
she is behind deaf carmen walls
in the city below
shut away from this, her palace.
Three times your sorrows, broken cypress.

*Notes: Moraima, wife of the last Muslim emperor of Granada (Al Andalus), suffered imprisonment and exile when Spain fell to Castilian rule (1492). The speaker of the poem is a window known as “Ain al Ayesha” or “the eyes of Ayesha” in the Alhamra palace. The window overlooked the city of Albaicin where Moraima was imprisoned.


Date: 2010

By: Shadab Zeest Hashmi (1972- )

Wednesday, 3 July 2019

Of the Parrat and Other Birds that Can Speake by Nick Lantz

It is for certain knowne that they have died for very anger and griefe that they could not learn to pronounce some hard words.—Pliny the Elder

When you buy the bird for your mother
you hope it will talk to her. But weeks pass
before it does anything except pluck the bars
with its beak. Then one day it says, “infect.”

Your mother tells you this on the phone,
and you drive over, find the frozen meals
you bought for her last week sweating
on the countertop. “In fact,” she says

in answer to your question, “I have been
eating,” and it’s as you point to the empty
trash can, the spotless dishes, that you
realize the bird is only saying, “in fact,”

that this is now the preamble to all
of your mother’s lies. “In fact,” she says,
“I have been paying the bills,” and you
believe her until you find a cache

of unopened envelopes in the freezer.
More things are showing up where
they shouldn’t. Looking out the back
window one evening you see craters

in her yard. While she’s watching TV,
you go out with a trowel and excavate
picture frames, flatware that looks like
the silver bones of some exquisite

animal. You worry when you arrive
one day and see the open, empty cage
that you will find the bird dead, stuffed
in an oven mitt and left in a drawer,

but you find it sitting on her shoulder
in the kitchen. “In fact,” she says,
“he learned to open the cage himself.”
The bird learns new words. You learn

which lies you can ignore. The stroke
that kills her gives no warning, not—
the doctor assures you—that anyone
can predict such things. When you

drive home that night with the cage
belted into the passenger seat, the bird
makes a sound that is not a word
but that you immediately recognize

as the sound of your mother’s phone
ringing, and you know it is the sound
of you calling her again and again,
the sound of her not answering.


Date: 2010

By: Nick Lantz (19??- )

Monday, 20 May 2019

An Aunt’s Advice to her Niece by Alyt van Bronckhorst uunde Batenborch

Suffering is my finery;
A cloak of suffering sewn for me
Is lined with all the grief I bear.
Oh, help me God, it shows no wear or tear.

If suffering were a joy I’d seldom grieve.
Wherever I go it accompanies me.
The lining is the grief I bear.
Help me, God, this cloak will show no wear or tear.

I see more clearly every day
That I was born for grief and pain.
If I were somehow free of all this misery,
I would be lost eternally.

So I will put all trust and hope
In no one but almighty God,
Who never will leave me alone
As long as I cling to His Word.

From: van Gemert, Lia; Joldersma, Hermina; van Marion, Olga; van der Poel, Dieuwke; Schenkeveld-van der Dussen, Biet (eds.), Women’s Writing from the Low Countries, 1200-1875: A Bilingual Anthology, 2010, Amsterdam University Press: Amsterdam, p. 197.

Date: 1586 (original in Dutch); 2010 (translation in English)

By: Alyt van Bronckhorst uunde Batenborch (fl. 1586)

Translated by: Myra J. Heerspink Scholz (1944- )

Saturday, 23 March 2019

Spiderweb by Kay Ryan

From other
angles the
fibers look
fragile, but
not from the
spider’s, always
hauling coarse
ropes, hitching
lines to the
best posts
possible. It’s
heavy work
fighting sag,
winching up
give. It
isn’t ever
to live.


Date: 2010

By: Kay Ryan (1945- )

Wednesday, 19 December 2018

Something’s There by Barbara R. Vance

There’s something down beneath my bed;
What it is, I’m not quite sure.
But it’s only just arrived there;
I’d have noticed it before.
My mother says it’s nothing,
And my father shakes his head.
I guess they don’t believe in
The thing beneath my bed.

I am sure that it is waiting
Till I turn out the last light,
And settle on my pillows
For a very long, dark night.
And when I’m softly drowsing,
And my mind is fast asleep,
Out from underneath my bed
That something there will creep.

In the morning they’ll be sorry
When they find my bunk empty;
They’ll know they should have listened –
I was speaking truthfully.
And they’ll forever mourn the day
That they simply didn’t care,
And will always look under their bed,
For a something might be there.


Date: 2010

By: Barbara R. Vance (19??- )

Saturday, 3 November 2018

Honeysuckle by Janice N. Harrington

                        Vernon, Alabama, 1962

With backs bent, the daughters
of Vernon clean the graves of their dead,
casting aside the wind-scattered litter
and long necklaces of ants, leaving instead
foil-swaddled tins of plastic posies, phlox,
cockscomb, and biscuit-wide roses.

They move unspeaking between
the grassy plats, through doilies
of shade and sun, to the carved serifs
of familiar names, the lives
they knew: that one killed by fire,
the one whose heart grew watery as a melon,
there and there the others lost to cancer.

They tarry beside particular deaths,
their sorrow both daybook and parable:
how afterwards they too wanted to die
and couldn’t stop cryin’. No, couldn’t stop
The daughters of Vernon step
carefully, as they were taught.

Hush. Do not disturb these dead ones.
Let them sleep. Free of burden.
Let them sleep. At rest beneath that yella clay.
Let them sleep, Lord, let them sleep.

But the dead hear anyway and, listening
to those muffled feet, the rub of work-worn
hands against a gravestone’s edge, the whis,
whis of a sweeping whisk, they stare out
of dead spaces at the shapes above and see
the industry of shadows. They watch
for a moment, incurious, and then, closing
dead eyes, return to solitude’s unmoving dust.
But the honeysuckle remains, having planted itself,
feral and heavy-scented, left by grief’s gleaning
to fill the silence and draw from passing bees
a music that any might hear who still listen.


Date: 2010

By: Janice N. Harrington (1956- )

Tuesday, 25 September 2018

The Optometrics of Love by Tony Gruenewald

Thank you for being the one
who never looked
through lenses distorted
by the residue
of former boyfriends,
spouses and lovers
and saw


Date: 2010

By: Tony Gruenewald (19??- )