Posts tagged ‘2015’

Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Cormorants by Alan Feldman

The colder the wind, the more they seem to perch
in clusters, like a small minion
of hasids, or like Puritans at a burial.
And when they rise in fright,
they head off different ways,
a survival tactic programmed into their genes
from back when they were dinosaurs.

They eat and eat,
without the gaucherie of chewing,
fish as large as they can swallow.
And in China, where they may fish for decades,
wearing a ring constricting their necks,
they are honored in old age with a pension,
living with imprinted loyalty with their human families,
and eating any sized fish they want.

Look at their long necks as they fly:
like living crosses. And notice how,
when they ride amidst the waves,
they dive all the way under, at home
in an element that isn’t theirs.
Watch them dry their wings in the breeze
like laundry––black laundry––
lest, having no oil in their feathers,
they grow logy and drown.

Can you say they are really of the devil?
Part of the bargain we make
to live on this hostile and abundant sea?
When we see them perched
amidst the stench of whatever boat they meet on,
fouling their resting place with vital abandon,
their wings stretched wide in the sun,
we have to remember they are birds,
hoisting the same black flag
of survival that we hoist,
hungry beings that we are.

From: https://acrossthemargin.com/three-poems-by-alan-feldman/

Date: 2015

By: Alan Feldman (19??- )

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Thursday, 20 December 2018

Summer Solstice by Rose Burgunder Styron

Suddenly,
there’s nothing to do
and too much—
the lawn, paths, woods
were never so green
white blossoms of every
size and shape—hydrangea,
Chinese dogwood, mock orange
spill their glistening—

Inside, your photographs
and books stand guard
in orderly array. Your
half of the bed is smooth,
the pillows plump, the phone
just out of reach beyond it.

No one calls early—they
remember your late hours.
The shades are down, so
sunlight’s held at bay
though not the fabulous winged
song of summer birds
waking me as ever, always in our
favorite room, our season.
Yesterday’s mail on the desk
newspaper, unread. Plans for the day
hover bright out all our doors—

Don’t think of evening.

From: https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/summer-solstice

Date: 2015

By: Rose Burgunder Styron (1928- )

Monday, 10 December 2018

Elijah Versus Santa by Richard Michelson

Weight advantage: Santa. Sugar and milk
at every stop, the stout man shimmies
down one more chimney, sack of desire
chuting behind, while Elijah, skinny
and empty-handed, slips in invisible as
a once favored, since disgraced uncle,
through the propped open side door.
Inside, I’ve been awaiting a miracle
since 1962, my 9 year-old self slouching
on this slip-covered sofa, Manischewitz
stashed beneath the cushion. Where
are the fire-tinged horses, the chariots
to transport me? Where is the whirlwind
and brimstone? Instead, our dull-bladed
sleigh rusts in the storage bin beneath
the building’s soot-covered flight
of cellar stairs. Come back to me father,
during December’s perfect snowfall
and pull me once more up Schenck
and down Pitkin, where the line wraps
around Church Hall. Show me, again,
the snapshot of the skull-capped boy
on Santa’s lap. Let me laugh this time
and levitate like a magician’s assistant,
awed by my own weightlessness. Give me
the imagination to climb the fire escape
and look up toward the Godless Heavens
and to marvel at the ordinary sky.

From: Michelson, Richard, More Money than God, 2015, University of Pittsburgh Press: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, p. [unnumbered].
(https://books.google.com.au/books?id=b1izBgAAQBAJ)

Date: 2015

By: Richard Michelson (1953- )

Wednesday, 10 October 2018

Bujold by Annie Freud

She marries him in a ‘marriage blanc’
so that he can stay in the country.
He is a fugitive whose visa has run out
and there is every kind of impediment:

the ambitious local cop in dark glasses
and leather jacket, determined to hound them,
the provocative younger sister, the absurd mother
giving a huge white wedding nobody wants.

An explosion of debauchery, revelry and waste
saw the church lose its hold on the medieval world,
she tells her class of docile undergraduates,
and feels the need for a full-time man.

At forty, she is ravishing in a haggard way
and he looks seedy with his too-long hair.
There are some good jokes about lonely, frightened
people trapped in forced proximity.

I know this place is a mess, but don’t touch anything.
I know where everything is. The cafetière is complicated.
Love prevails in the end. We never see them
in bed and they only ever kiss at the wedding.

From: http://poems.poetrysociety.org.uk/poets/annie-freud/

Date: 2015

By: Annie Freud (1948- )

Tuesday, 2 October 2018

Between Nectarines, a Genealogy by Doireann Ní Ghríofa

All winter, the infant inside me dreams
of nectarines. She thirsts
for dimpled clefts, jewel-juice, sweet guzzled flesh.

With each craving, I think of my great-grandmother,
stranger, girl who crossed an ocean
to scour grates and polish brass,

and returned home in a red
dress and cloche hat, brimful
with remembered fruits —

not our blackberries or crabapples,
no: she spoke of blood
-oranges, mangos, blueberries, nectarines.

I stand between them now
on the cold tile of this dawn-dark kitchen,
pressing my teeth through skin to pulp and pit.

In a hollow husk, it waits: small, furred seed,
hardy cargo, clenched
between future and past.

All winter, it dreams.

From: http://one.jacarpress.com/issue-7/

Date: 2015

By: Doireann Ní Ghríofa (1981- )

Sunday, 1 July 2018

Jellyfish by Leonard Ng

By the breakwater I watched: a pulsing dome
like a beating heart or a bird’s steady wings,
barely visible in the lazy brown eddies
of the current and tide.

Then lying on the sand, a heap of gelatin
clear as the back of a wristwatch
revealing its precise machinery,
ticking away
the final fleeting seconds of its life.

Rolling now and again in the foam, sand-choked.
Marooned on the drying shore,
cast up without malice by the waves
with all the care given to shells or sailors.
Rocking like an infant in the surf.

The birds will not eat it
and the crabs will not come.
Only the sea will rise
to take the body back again
with the next tide,
without any pomp or solemn procession,
back again
into the waters once its home.

From: https://kitaab.org/2015/12/28/three-poems-by-leonard-ng/

Date: 2015

By: Leonard Ng (1979- )

Thursday, 28 June 2018

Phone-Booths by Robert Gibb

Back before the private life went public
Like shares, they were a fixture of it, the old indoor
Wooden ones, sentinel or all in a line

With their seats and shelves and pleated fronts,
The lights coming on when they shut.

You sat in a glassed-faced closet the size of the confessional,
Dropping coins through their slots,
The clang of change tripping the circuitry open.

The dials were like the clocks back then,
Circumferenced with numbers,

The phones black-boxed to walls
On which clumsy glyphs and messages were scrawled.

So there you were, snugged in, out of earshot
And ready to have your say.

Landlines, sea-floor cables, the creosote-soaked poles—
You were connected to all of it.

Which has now turned all to cloud.

From: https://thegalwayreview.com/2015/03/17/robert-gibb-five-poems/

Date: 2015

By: Robert Gibb (1946- )

Thursday, 7 June 2018

In the Mountains by Wang Wei

Bramble stream, white rocks jutting out.
Heaven cold, red leaves scarce. No rain

up here where the mountain road ends,
sky stains robes empty kingfisher-blue.

From: https://www.terrain.org/2015/poetry/wang-wei-david-hinton/

Date: 8th century (original); 2015 (translation)

By: Wang Wei (699-759)

Translated by: David Hinton (1954- )

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Ariburnu Savasi, Turkey, 25 April 2015 by Judith Brooks

‘I do not order you to fight; I order you to die.’
Lieutenant Colonel Mustafa Kemal Bey

I
I could tell you
we were farmers and strong enough
yet our skin chafed like a newborn’s might
caught red and hot against new wool
smelling of camphor like home
but soon stinking of sand and dust
as we bent our backs in this wild place
to scrape some shelter from the wrath to come.
Then we waited.
Some of us knelt for the prophet’s words
others dreamt of lemons and tea
while they watched the half moon
cross slowly through the night.

II
A mile away on still water men
smarted from their last adventure
cramped hot and itching into boats,
legs aching in the heavy dark
loaded with a soldier’s kit.
They groaned at sailor’s jokes
or dreamt of action like a postcard
in their pocket waiting for words,
or a game plan folded neatly
by a steady hand to count the hours,
while the sea air cooled their mouths
until they shivered and their lips tasted of salt.

III
They were fast across the beach.
Deaf to the song of bullets
or cries from the shallows
moving from crevice to crevice
upwards, swift as family ferrets
through sharp gullies
they ran onto a high ridge and shook hands
and laughed at the splendour of it all,
with the sea clear and blue below
and the morning golden all around
and all things true at last
so when the enemy called their names
they felt like men at a fair
surrounded by admirers,
lifting their rifles to hit all the ducks in a row.

They would not speak of prisoners shot for timely gain
They would not speak of surrender, no, never again.

IV
Let me tell you this.
Our Sergeant drew his bayonet.
This is the last order he said
gentle as if he were feeding lambs.
Cleaning his hands across his chest
he divided the ammunition
in silence without sigh or lamentation
for we were now ghosts in a haunting tale,
standing thin as pastel shadows
to fall quietly in the brown light
till the sergeant led us out, shoulder to shoulder,
so calm flowed man through man
and bayonets fixed before us
was all the meaning we needed.

They would not speak of prisoners shot for timely gain
They would not speak of surrender, no, never again.

V
They were so surprised at death
it passed by without comment
like a cartoon of itself
urging the captain’s bloody face
to wake from his dream unaided
and command away the scent of wild thyme
and the sharp piping of bees
as they lay in open ground
with snipers pecking at their skin
and the bodies of mates warm beside them.
When the colonel arrived he was breathless,
a hooked fish gaping, but they read his gesture
and bit their tongues, turning elbows up
to roll down through sharp gravel
and prickly gorse back to the beach
where they would hear the wounded
and bridle at the clamour and confusion of defeat.

They would not speak of prisoners shot for timely gain
They would not speak of surrender, no, never again.

VI
Kemal Bey was wordless and sat
on the canvas seat prepared for him
as if he would never rise.
And his officers stood uncertain
as he stared out to the western sea.
Then he spoke: remember this day, he said.
Remember this day.
And they said Amen.

From: Brooks, Judith. “Ode for an anniversary 1914-2014; The last day Wilfred Owen 4 November 1918; Ariburnu Savasi, Turkey, 25 April 1915” in Arena Magazine, No. 138, Oct/Nov 2015, 2015, Fitzroy, Victoria, pp. 41-42.
(https://search-informit-com-au.ezproxy-b.deakin.edu.au/documentSummary;dn=595383461028996;res=IELAPA)

Date: 2015

By: Judith Brooks (1945- )

Thursday, 5 April 2018

Journal of Dr. Beaurieux by Brooks Haxton

Witness to an execution by guillotine, June 28, 1905

After the blade dropped, and the eyelids twitched,
the spasms tugging at the lips went calm,
and when I called out to the head, “Languille!”
the eyelids lifted up, this time, I swear,
in a distinctly normal movement, slow,
as if awakening, or torn from thought.
With pupils focusing themselves, the eyes
looked sharp, not like a dying man’s, not vague,
and when the lids went shut, I called again,
“Languille!” and again, without a twitch,
they lifted, and the eyes looked into mine.

From: Haxton, Brooks, “Journal of Dr. Beaurieux” in VQR, Spring 2015, Volume 91, No. 2.
(http://www.vqronline.org/poetry/2015/04/journal-dr-beaurieux

Date: 2015

By: Brooks Haxton (1950- )