Posts tagged ‘2010’

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??- )

Thursday, 30 August 2018

Misfit by Tito Rajarshi Mukhopadhyay

There was the earth, turning and turning.
The stars receded, as if
Finding no wrong with anything.

Birds flew by all morning—
The sky lit
From the earth’s turning and turning.

My hands, as usual, were flapping.
The birds knew I was Autistic;
They found no wrong with anything.

Men and women stared at my nodding;
They labeled me a Misfit
(A Misfit turning and turning).

And then I was the wind, blowing.
Did anyone see my trick?
I found no wrong with anything.

Somewhere a wish was rising,
Perhaps from between my laughing lips.
Why stop turning and turning
When right can be found with everything?


Date: 2010

By: Tito Rajarshi Mukhopadhyay (1989- )

Monday, 28 May 2018

The Victorian Age by Karin Gottshall

One thousand lockets minus a lace handkerchief
equals a flock of passenger pigeons, each
carrying a Valentine heart. Seven hundred

ladies’ gloves plus a fishing village
amounts to one temperamental swan and a missing
engagement ring. The alphabet backwards

equals the cemetery on the hill. Marzipan
equals almonds, eggs, sugar, and a scullery maid
weeping into her apron. We’ve lost count

of cravats, hair brooches, and riding boots, traded
a deck of cards for two gentlemen playing
at charades. Top hats can be added to tapioca—

flavor with rum. Two hundred and fifty
petticoats multiplied by twelve chimneysweeps
equals a shattered femur. One locomotive

plus a dozen headmasters comes to a bakery
on Easter morning: hot cross buns with currants.
A dirge equals a dirge. Twenty-seven

daguerreotypes times three overwrought aviaries
is a solar eclipse. Christmas divided by deep mourning
equals burnt porridge. Thirteen hundred orphans left over.


Date: 2010

By: Karin Gottshall (19??- )

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Morning Song by Marcia F. Brown

Here, I place
a blue glazed cup
where the wood
is slightly whitened.
Here, I lay down
two bright spoons,
our breakfast saucers, napkins
white and smooth as milk.

I am stirring at the sink,
I am stirring
the amount of dew
you can gather in two hands,
folding it into the fragile
quiet of the house.
Before the eggs,
before the coffee
heaving like a warm cat,
I step out to the feeder—
one foot, then the other,
alive on wet blades.
Air lifts my gown—I might fly—

This thistle seed I pour
is for the tiny birds.
This ritual,
for all things frail
and imperiled.
Wings surround me, frothing
the air. I am struck
by what becomes holy.

A woman
who lost her teenage child
to an illness without mercy,
said that at the end, her daughter
sat up in her hospital bed
and asked:

What should I do?
What should I do?

Into a white enamel bath
I lower four brown eggs.
You fill the door frame,
warm and rumpled, kiss
the crown of my head.
I know how the topmost leaves
of dusty trees
feel at the advent
of the monsoon rains.

I carry the woman with the lost child
in my pocket, where she murmurs
her love song without end:
Just this, each day:
Bear yourself up on small wings
to receive what is given.
Feed one another
with such tenderness,
it could almost be an answer.


Date: 2010

By: Marcia F. Brown (19??- )

Sunday, 1 April 2018

Ode to Chocolate by Barbara Crooker

I hate milk chocolate, don’t want clouds
of cream diluting the dark night sky,
don’t want pralines or raisins, rubble
in this smooth plateau. I like my coffee
black, my beer from Germany, wine
from Burgundy, the darker, the better.
I like my heroes complicated and brooding,
James Dean in oiled leather, leaning
on a motorcycle. You know the color.

Oh, chocolate! From the spice bazaars
of Africa, hulled in mills, beaten,
pressed in bars. The cold slab of a cave’s
interior, when all the stars
have gone to sleep.

Chocolate strolls up to the microphone
and plays jazz at midnight, the low slow
notes of a bass clarinet. Chocolate saunters
down the runway, slouches in quaint
boutiques; its style is je ne sais quoi.
Chocolate stays up late and gambles,
likes roulette. Always bets
on the noir.


Date: 2010

By: Barbara Crooker (1945- )

Saturday, 24 February 2018

Epigram V by Leonidas of Tarentum

Often she shook off evening and morning sleep,
The old woman Platthís, so she could keep
Poverty far distant; grizzled and grayed,
To distaff and to spindle, spinner’s aide,
She sang until the dawn around the place
Of the long course of Athena, moving with grace,
Twirling in wrinkled hand on wrinkled knee
Enough thread for the loom; lovely was she,
At eighty years the Acheron perceiving,
Who, beautiful, was beautifully weaving.

From: Fain, Gordon L., Ancient Greek Epigrams: Major Poets in Verse Translation, 2010, University of California Press: Berkeley, Los Angeles and London, p. 52.

Date: 3rd century BCE (original in Greek); 2010 (translation in English)

By: Leonidas of Tarentum (3rd century BCE)

Translated by: Gordon L. Fain (19??- )

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Ophelia to the Court by Meghan O’Rourke

My shoes are unpolished, my words smudged.
I come to you undressed (the lord, he whispers
Smut; that man, he whispers such). I bend
My thoughts, I submit, but a bird
Keeps flying from my mind, it slippers
My feet and sings—barren world,
I have been a little minx in it, not at all
Domestic, not at all clean, not at all blinking
At my lies. First he thought he had a wife, then
(of course) he thought he had a whore. All
I wanted (if I may speak for myself) was: more.
If only one of you had said, I hold
Your craven breaking soul, I see the pieces,
I feel them in my hands, idle silver, idle gold…
You see I cannot speak without telling what I am.
I disobey the death you gave me, love.
If you must be, then be not with me.


Date: 2010

By: Meghan O’Rourke (1976- )

Friday, 3 November 2017

Bernini by James Marcus Schuyler

Not one of the first, the inventors, the wonder-workers,
Yet, water-born, he took what was theirs and there
And from it worked his own:
Let fountaining water fall among figures
Gesturing freely as the water sketched
At the height of its jet,
Changed jets to obelisks,
Bubbled the fish-scale domes,
Made doorways and windows bloom like lotuses
On the water-flat faces of palaces,
Cast, like a net’s cork floats, a colonnade around St. Peter’s fountain.

From the blown conch-shell water foams
In the tangled, stony water world of Bernini’s Rome.


Date: 2010 (published)

By: James Marcus Schuyler (1923-1991)

Monday, 24 July 2017

Pharoah by Lucia Maria Perillo

In the saltwater aquarium at the pain clinic
lives a yellow tang
who chews the minutes in its cheeks
while we await our unguents and anesthesias.

The big gods offer us this little god
before the turning of the locks
in their Formica cabinets
in the rooms of our interrogation.

We have otherwise been offered magazines
with movie stars whose shininess
diminishes as the pages lose
their crispness as they turn.

But the fish is undiminishing, its face
like the death mask of a pharaoh
which remains while the mortal face
gets disassembled by the microbes of the tomb.

And because our pain is ancient,
we too will formalize our rituals with blood
leaking out around the needle
when the big gods try but fail

to find the bandit vein. It shrivels when pricked,
and they’ll say I’ve lost it
and prick and prick until the trouble’s brought
to the pale side of the other elbow

from which I wrench my head away—
but Pharaoh you do not turn away.
You watch us hump past with our walkers
with the tennis balls on their hind legs,

your sideways black eye on our going
down the corridor to be caressed
by the hand with the knife and the hand with the balm
when we are called out by our names.


Date: 2010

By: Lucia Maria Perillo (1958-2016)