Posts tagged ‘2012’

Thursday, 9 July 2020

Dispatch From the Future by Leigh Stein

In the future, we are tender.

We temper our irreverence
with intimacy.

It’s, like, slightly wonderful.

We pronounce magic
like we’re from Michigan,
and all our mothers continue
mothering, like harbors,


There’s a sense of indeterminacy
with mothering and we take

turns standing like breakwaters.

Life is dangerous, wild, and yet
we welcome it.

We’re in therapy.
It’s called water.


Date: 2012

By: Leigh Stein (1984- )

Saturday, 29 February 2020

Leap Year by Eileen Chong

for Noah Goh

The morning you are born,
I am in the future and spy
a flower among the glossy leaves
of the magnolia. It is creamy,

perfect, not yet unfurled
but poised to break and blossom
with the turning of the hours.
In the past your mother lies,

strapped in a blue gown, waiting.
We all hold our breath, connected
by pixels and satellites—poor substitutes
for flesh, scent and human presence.

Rain here in Sydney veils the city.
A caul of wet drapes the buildings
that fist at and puncture the sky.
To my right the armadillo sweep

of the opera house, scales unmoving.
The steel-sprung back of the bridge
soars high above the harbour. A ferry paddles
on its everyday, pedestrian way, not knowing

that on a tiny island perched on the equator,
a baby is budding and will soon emerge
in mucus and blood, limbs flailing,
screaming, breathing. Free and beginning.


Date: 2012

By: Eileen Chong (1980- )

Thursday, 13 February 2020

The Love Affair by Kate Hammerich

life slides under the door and
I think about you not knowing how to love
and touching a person’s sleeping eyelids

to change a dream, to lie here with you
under a silent oak tree, the sunlight

has begun to breathe and I am digging you a grave
for your past and your future, I am

holding you here, the trunk of my car open to let the sweet
sound of a song rise into the
air, it is rushing by

too swiftly

and I have premonitions or
I just got lucky or everything
means something

nothing vanishes without a trace

I hold despair in the palm of my hand and cannot dance
without spilling it onto the floor, it
seeps into the carpet

but you are holding out a towel and the sound
of your laughter is like paper birds settling on the branches of
the tree growing from my ribs.


Date: 2012

By: Kate Hammerich (19??- )

Tuesday, 4 February 2020

Darwin and the Wasp – A Sceptic’s Sestina by Camille Ralphs

Ichneumonidae, hymenoptera: leaded-glass
wings, inkblot thorax bruised with words
of doubt. A tract that no religious man –
when Paley’s prose dictates there is a God –
would ever read aloud, or dare to whisper.
It looks out, alive, through warm amoral eyes.

Darwin, beard of moths and fossil eyes,
sips chai tea from a crystal glass.
Pushing along his pen’s soft whisper
he sows his page with words.
The summer air’s abuzz with breath of God.
The garden is a world to such a man.

And so it is that such a man
should see among the shrubs, with pious eyes,
the ichneumon wasp – the scythe-tailed God
and Reaper to the worms. He drains his glass,
and kneels before the plants. He finds no words
he comprehends within its sinner’s whisper;

his heartbeat trills a devil’s whisper.
He reaches out a hand, like a beaten man.
The ichneumon alights; he’s lost for words.
Its legs are bars around his wedding ring. “I…”
He stops, confused. He overturns his glass
to trap the wasp, observing like a god.

“…I know not what good-hearted God
would work to this design,” he whispers.
A straining larva lies outside the glass
and with cruellest curiosity of Man
he pushes it beneath, with narrowed eyes.
He scribbles something – incoherent words –

and the wasp translates these words
to wings, swaps death for life – a swindler god –
sets upon its life-warm host with hard maternal eye –
abdomen throbbing, legs a warning whisper –
packs the flesh with eager eggs, paralysing man
and worm. Its body’s a syringe of black glass.

A cynic’s eye outside the crystal glass
blinks out, fatal, “there is no God but Man” –
irrevocable words – a new wasp’s foetal whisper.


Date: 2012

By: Camille Ralphs (19??- )

Thursday, 16 January 2020

Decaf Immigrant by Madiha Arsalan

My name is not Beneatha,
or at least I don’t think it was until
when my coffee cup informed with the imperial authority
of permanent black ink over smooth white cardboard
that my name was,
in fact,

Come to think of it,
I’ve never had the pleasure of seeing my own name on a coffee cup,
mocking me with its ironic green and white,
the familiar colors of a Pakistani flag.
There’s been Anita, Rita, Mida, Deepa,
and my personal favorite,
but never

I am the decaffeinated coffee in my careless cup:
boiling, brown and bitter without the kick,
or an invisible celery stick
sitting next to a mountain
of tantalizing buffalo wings.


Date: 2012

By: Madiha Arsalan (19??- )

Tuesday, 24 December 2019

Christmas Mail by Theodore J. (Ted) Kooser

Cards in each mailbox,
angel, manger, star and lamb,
as the rural carrier,
driving the snowy roads,
hears from her bundles
the plaintive bleating of sheep,
the shuffle of sandals,
the clopping of camels.
At stop after stop,
she opens the little tin door
and places deep in the shadows
the shepherds and wise men,
the donkeys lank and weary,
the cow who chews and muses.
And from her Styrofoam cup,
white as a star and perched
on the dashboard, leading her
ever into the distance,
there is a hint of hazelnut,
and then a touch of myrrh.


Date: 2012

By: Theodore J. (Ted) Kooser (1939- )

Saturday, 30 November 2019

Casa Grande by Hannah Gamble

At the Casa Grande disco, men hold on
to other men’s behinds, and women
hold on to men’s behinds,
and everyone is holding on
to what it means to be dancing
and holding on, and I am there
too, doing the two things
I am always doing:
holding on, and drinking enough
water so that tomorrow I’ll be able
to document all the things humans do
to endear themselves to me, conscious
of how dancing means that the music
will bring them closer,
and take them further away.


Date: 2012

By: Hannah Gamble (19??- )

Sunday, 29 September 2019

Picking Whitman’s Pocket by Philip Dacey

                              “I had my pocket picked in a jam and hurry, changing cars, in Philadelphia.”

I have picked Walt Whitman’s pocket.
Oh, we have all picked his pocket,
put our hands deep into his fibrous dark
and left them there,
no ordinary pickpockets,
left them there so that he could not help but feel them,
though he did not mind,
rather enjoyed the intimacy,
appreciated the compliment
of our thievery.

We were not quick about it,
were slow, like lovers,
the extraction a process of years,
a tender thievery,
our fingers sticky indeed,
their tips so sensitive
they were like eyes reading the finest print.

And before long, he slipped his own hand
into the pocket where our hands burrowed,
his own wrapping around ours
to hold them there, lest we consider
removing and inserting them elsewhere,
so that he became accomplice in this theft of himself,
encouraging us to take what we found there,
for it is what he always wanted,
that his lovers empty him out,
that he be left with nothing,
the perfect baggage
for the open road.


Date: 2012

By: Philip Dacey (1939-2016)

Saturday, 7 September 2019

In love by Jennifer Wallace

because the city won’t let up
no matter how much rocking.
In love with this city
as if a surprise walked through the door
wearing suspenders and red-striped pants.
In love with the intersection
and its ingenious abutment of asphalt and grit
where chicory roots in their joining
and age-old rainwater bubbles in the gutter,
bobbing toward the harbor and the sea.
In love with the difficult stories
because they are not mine, because they are mine.
The just-after-dawn light
like Caravaggio’s on the row house bricks.


Date: 2012

By: Jennifer Wallace (19??- )

Sunday, 18 August 2019

Harbinger by Helen Dunmore

Small, polished shield-bearer
abacus of early days
and harbinger of life’s happiness

that the world offers
things scarlet and spotted
to alight, hasping and unhasping
unlikely wings,

that there can be three or thousands
but not a plague of ladybirds
no, a benediction of ladybirds
to enamel the weeds.

Small, polished shield-bearer
abacus of early days,
harbinger of life’s happiness.

From: Dunmore, Helen, The Malarkey, 2012, Bloodaxe Books: Northumberland, p. 35.

Date: 2012

By: Helen Dunmore (1952-2017)