Posts tagged ‘2013’

Monday, 12 December 2022

The Radium Girls by Liz Ahl

Time used to tick, to trip,
to click between seconds
to dangle at the ends of chains
inside the pockets of gentlemen.

Behind glass, time’s chariot
was driven by tiny toothed wheels,
wound along tense springs.

Time was meted out in minutes
on slender hands painted with radium
so that even at night,
the hour would glow,
could be known and told.

Once, time burned, radioactive,
but still lurched along as if
the beginning and end of a second
could be mapped and understood
as sturdy fences standing
between past, present, future.

Once, hunched over, with tiny brushes,
the factory girls painted
radium ticks and stripes
onto watch faces and hands,
filled in the black outlines of numerals
with deadly luminescence.

And in between brush strokes,
they quickly licked the brush
to keep its tip sharp, to save time,
to make the quota imposed by bosses
who wouldn’t go near the stuff.

Some of the sassy girls, their shifts over,
even painted their nails for a lark,
for a dark boudoir surprise.

But then they started losing teeth.
Their bones reinvented themselves.
The radium girls did not glow;
they bent and ached and died.

Even now Marie Curie’s notebooks
are too hot to handle, and so I stow
grandpa’s fishing watch, stopped now
but still glowing, in a basement lockbox.

Upstairs, I’m lit with pulsing curiosity:
what girl’s pink tongue licked the brush
that painted the hands that told my grandfather
when to pull his creel stuffed with rainbow trout
from Coffee Creek and start the hike home,
to the woman who would outlive him by decades?

What girl’s glow still ghosts
the space between those stilled seconds?


Date: 2013

By: Liz Ahl (19??- )

Tuesday, 25 October 2022

Ahoy in the Neighborhood by Tim Suermondt

A cruise ship is docked
two blocks
from Spiro’s Apothecary,
yet it feels galaxies away.

A man comes home
with a bag of groceries,
a pack of light bulbs—
and some travel brochures

that will quickly find
themselves in the drawer,
plopped among the ever-
growing clutter the years

have lazily ignored.
The man will sit in his
tattered but faithful chair,
readying himself

for another passable night
and try to ignore
the city’s parade of sirens,
including the blasts

from the cruise ship
slowly plowing out to sea,
under a stark, lobsters
on ice-colored moon.


Date: 2013

By: Tim Suermondt (19??- )

Saturday, 1 October 2022

Abuela, Mi Muerta by Amaris Diaz

I find you here,
In the gardening section at Lowe’s.
Not the house where my mother learned her silence
Or the backyard with water hose for sprinkler.
Not the crippled languages of my youth
Or the eight-house-long walk to stained glass windows.

You, clearance rose bush.
No longer a myth.
Not ghost or bone,
Only wilt. No drown or surrender
But ungrowing.

Today, my own unbecoming.
I cannot make promises on blood anymore, Abuela.
I’ve stopped asking the trees permission to climb them.
I’ve forgotten to water the plants
To call each flower by name.

Today, your own death in another body.
I’ve nowhere to bury you.


Date: 2013

By: Amaris Diaz (1995- )

Wednesday, 3 August 2022

She Said It Was Like Talking to a Post by James Galvin

When talking to a post
That the post hears everything—
Every nuance,
Every innuendo.
You can’t let your mind wander.
Try structuring an argument:
If, but, therefore, or
In the first place, the second place
And so forth.
Talking to a post requires
Absolute attention;
That the post is not a post.
The post is Heraclitus,
Hitler, or a fire hydrant.
If that doesn’t work,
The post was once a pine tree
With greeny needles
That sang in thin wind
High on the snowy slopes
Of the Rocky Mountains.
Talking to a post
Is the hardest thing there is
The post is talking to you
Beyond your understanding.


Date: 2013

By: James Galvin (1951- )

Monday, 1 August 2022

Leaves by Afaa Michael Weaver

The lines that make you are infinite, but I count them
every day to hear the stories you carry. These are not secrets
but records, things we should know but ignore. If I commit
the sin of tearing you from the tree, I find another world
inside the torn vein, another lifetime of counting the records
of who walked here before, of what lovers lay here
holding each other through wars and starvation.

Some days I stand here until I lose focus and travel,
drifting off out of the moment, too full of it, and my legs
are now like trees, mindless but vigilant, held
into the earth by the rules of debt, what we owe
to nature for trying to tear ourselves away. I drift
and the pleasure of touch comes again, layers of green
in the mountainside a tickling in my palms.

The pleasure is that of being lost here in the crowd
of trunks and pulp, the ground thick with the death of you,
sinking under my feet as I go, touching one and another,
linking myself through until the place where I entered
is gone. When I am afraid, my breath is caught in my throat.
When I am not afraid, I lift both hands up under a bunch
of you to find the way the world felt on the first day.


Date: 2013

By: Afaa Michael Weaver (1951- )

Sunday, 29 May 2022

After the Funeral by Peter Paul Everwine

We opened closets and bureau drawers
and packed away, in boxes, dresses and shoes,
the silk underthings still wrapped in tissue.
We sorted through cedar chests. We gathered
and set aside the keepsakes and the good silver
and brought up from the coal cellar
jars of tomato sauce, peppers, jellied fruit.
We dismantled, we took down from the walls,
we bundled and carted off and swept clean.
Goodbye, goodbye, we said, closing
the door behind us, going our separate ways
from the house we had emptied,
and which, in the coming days, we would fill
again and empty and try to fill again.

From: Everwine, Peter, Listening Long and Late, 2013, University of Pittsburgh Press: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, p. [unnumbered].

Date: 2013

By: Peter Paul Everwine (1930-2018)

Monday, 16 May 2022

The Braille of Evening by Judy Kronenfeld

The last coins of sunlight flash while I read…half-read…
And I’m still inside, waiting—

preparing for something that takes infinite preparation,
yet may reveal itself at any moment…if I am waiting.

An impish prof once ambled towards me—surrounded by books and ash at a dank desk—
and said “It’s the cocktail hour! What are you waiting for?”

My ancestors in their black coats and fur hats
were lost in thickets of holy letters, waiting

for Moshiach. Their pages crumbled, their skin
yellowed to parchment while they were waiting.

The quickly-brushed luster of the day is drying,
going flat, but I am still waiting.

I imagine leaf-shadow lacework on the grass,
the dog dozing in the sun—no longer waiting

for me—and seeing these so clearly, lift my head,
but cannot read the darkness-gathering trees.


Date: 2013

By: Judy Kronenfeld (19??- )

Saturday, 30 April 2022

Translation by Sam Langer

“negativity’s power grows outside
of this repressive

totality, from forces &
movements that are

still untouched by the
so-called ‘luxury

society”’s aggressive & repressive
productivity, or that

have freed themselves from
this development already,

& therefore the historic
chance to go

a truly other industrialisation/
modernisation’s way, a

human progress’s way to
go.” marcuse, 1965.


Date: 2013

By: Sam Langer (1983- )

Tuesday, 19 April 2022

Sexing the Rabbits by Angela Readman

In the years war dragged behind it, my father bred rabbits,
built hutches out of kitchen cabinets, ketchup and batter
on the walls, he nailed a mesh of silent radios to doors.
On the edge
of dinner he hovered by Mother’s knife, and sloped
out to feed his miniature cows scraps.
He took a hook from an eye, cabbage quivering,
twitchy bouquets of green roses in his hands. Rabbits
nosed out, ran circles around minutes,
hop hopped,
cotton tails swabbing his dry boots.
Rabbits, rabbits
nibbled their way towards strokes or stews, or trade
on a kid’s birthday for a sleeve of Lucky Strikes.
When they were born was the best,
in those early weeks, the man hardly moved, hand resting
just inside the hutch to be sniffed, and pick up a kit
on the dot of a first whisker of trust.
He whispered rabbits unscared,
blades of light flickering in his fingertips, ears
held steady as a match.
Later, on one knee,
he sorted the pies from the pets, took a rabbit
to blow on fur by its back legs – something showed itself
then went in. I watched, with a fistful of burdock,
my father pucker-up
as if wishing a year away on a candle, time tolled
by a dandelion, in a breath a rabbit was sexed;
the does left be; and only one or two males kept.


Date: 2013

By: Angela Readman (1973- )

Monday, 4 April 2022

Ink by Angela Sorby

Samuel Steward, d. 1993

The tattoo artist’s
testicular tumor
came from a teratoma,
a malabsorbed embryonic twin.
The doctor said what mattered
was a cure.
The tattooist demurred:
what mattered to him
was the little sib lodged
in his right teste,
expanding benignly
at first, then deadly.

The teratoma took it slow.
Always the muffled music.
Always the black ink bath.
Always the guest in the guestroom


its fragments of DNA.
The tattooist covered
his calves with roses.
He wanted to send a single
stem to his twin,
but it couldn’t be delivered
past the blood-brain barrier,
past the wall in the heart
that holds the possible
and the impossible
in adjoining cells,
but apart.


Date: 2013

By: Angela Sorby (1965- )