Posts tagged ‘2016’

Sunday, 13 October 2019

Sound and Fury by Claudia Rankine

Dispossessed despair, depression, despondent
dejection, the doom is the off-white of white. But wait,
white can’t know what white feels. Where’s the life in that?
Where’s the right in that? Where’s the white in that?

At the bone of bone white breathes the fear of seeing,
the frustration of being unequal to white. White-male portraits
on white walls were intended to mean ownership of all,
the privilege of all, even as white walls white in.

And this is understandable, yes,
understandable because the culture claims white
owns everything—the wealth
of no one anyone knows. Still the equation holds—
jobs and health and schools and better than
before and different from now and enough
and always and eventually mine.

This is what it means to wear a color and believe
the embrace of its touch. What white long expected
was to work its way into an upwardly mobile fit.
In the old days white included a life, even without luck
or chance of birth. The scaffolding had rungs
and legacy and the myth of meritocracy fixed in white.

Now white can’t hold itself distant from the day’s touch—
even as the touch holds so little white would own—
foreclosure vanished pensions school systems
in disrepair free trade rising unemployment unpaid
medical bills school debt car debt debt debt.

White is living its brick-and-mortar loss,
staving off more loss, exhaustion, aggrieved
exposure, a pale heart even as in daylight
white hardens its features. Eyes, which hold all
the light, harden. Jaws, which close down on nothing,
harden. Hands, which assembled, and packaged,
and built, harden into a fury that cannot call

power to account though it’s not untrue jobs were
outsourced and it’s not untrue an economic base
was cut out from under. It’s not untrue.

If people could just come clean about their pain,
the being at a loss when just being white
is not working. Who said there is no hierarchy
inside white walls? Who implied white owns
everything even as it owns nothing? But white
can’t strike its own structure. White can’t oust
its own system. All the loss is nothing
next to any other who can be thrown out.
In daylight this right to righteous rage doubles
down the supremacy of white in this way.

From: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2016/03/28/sound-fury-by-claudia-rankine

Date: 2016

By: Claudia Rankine (1963- )

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Sunday, 15 September 2019

She Came Late to Writing by Davi Walders

She came late, her wheelchair hooked
to a Critikon, her smile still slightly there,
a bright red bandana tight around her head.
She wanted to talk about poems and poets.
She did not wish to talk about her family
in Africa, about her sweats, or being ill.

Maya Angelou she wanted to read, so we read.
Marge Piercy she wanted to read, so we read.
We did not talk about her family in Africa,
her sweats, or her illness. She wanted
to hear sounds of savannahs, rhythms
of rivers, and to write like the poets she loved.

So she wrote, shaping a world far away
from her twenty-one years, words welling
up from desire and deprivation,
from other poets who whispered to her
through the night. We did not talk about
her family in Africa, her sweats, or illness.

The last time I saw her, she was surrounded
by her family from Africa, her poems
on her cool blanket and bedside table,
smiling that broad smile, as though she had
just heard a favorite line of a favorite poem
and was in deep conversation with poets she loved.

From: https://aumag.org/2016/07/13/she-came-late-to-writing-poetry-by-davi-walders/

Date: 2016

By: Davi Walders (19??- )

Monday, 12 August 2019

Elegy for the Bully by Bruce Snider

You have always been nosebleed
and nail-bite, the spit-shined halls
where you harvested us with your tribal
clang. Too long we saw your face
in every shadow, felt the whole forest
await your arrival like a nagging frost.
We hid from you in toilet stalls,
quit band to avoid the music
room where you waited near your
locker. Back then, there was nothing
we could say. In death we greet you
now as brothers, your dark
silence wailing from those glittering
trumpets we never learned to play.

From: https://www.vqronline.org/poetry/2016/07/elegy-bully

Date: 2016

By: Bruce Snider (19??- )

Thursday, 1 August 2019

Intrigue in the Trees by John Brehm

Often I wonder:
Is the earth trying to get
rid of us, shake us off,
drown us, scorch us
to nothingness?
To save itself and all other
creatures slated for extinction?
The trees around here
seem friendly enough —
stoic, philosophically inclined
toward nonjudgmental
awareness and giving
in their branchings
perfect examples
of one thing becoming two
and remaining one —
but who knows
what they really feel?

Just last night I was walking
to my favorite cafe,
the Laughing Goat,
when I saw a flock of crows
circling raincloudy sky,
arguing, speaking strangely,
suddenly alight on
a maple tree, dozens of them
closing down their wings
like arrogant, ill-tempered
magistrates. Some kind
of consultation
was happening there,
some plan unfolding
(animals think we’re crazy
for thinking they can’t think),
and everybody was looking up,
looking up and watching.

From: https://www.thesunmagazine.org/issues/484/intrigue-in-the-trees

Date: 2016

By: John Brehm (1960- )

Thursday, 18 July 2019

Black Pan by Joseph Millar

Let the evening spread over the garden
like the broad skirts of a mother
covering the windy potato plants
with their pale blossoms fluttering,
the spuds on their stems
having grown up from their parents’ eyes
clothed in a delicate skin,
then slow-cooked with oil in a black pan,
eaten with salt and white chicken meat
on the night of the equinox.

I stole this round-point shovel from work
with its fine-grained handle
and shiny blade
right after I twisted my back
the last day pouring some concrete stairs
on a job where there wasn’t much shade.

And now the sun shines down just the same
over the equator
so the night will last as long as the day
and Orion will appear with his belt and sword
before dawn, over the front porch
where my wife sits with her iPhone
picking up messages from outer space.
I can hear the straw chair
rock back and forth
I hear her deep sigh at summer’s end.

Will we have music? Will we have rain?
Listening to autumn coming down close
with its rake and scythe
stepping gently between the rows
over the mulch and fallen leaves
the celery, garlic, beets, and chives
unmindful of injury or pain.

From: https://blackbird.vcu.edu/v15n2/poetry/millar-j/black-page.shtml

Date: 2016

By: Joseph Millar (19??- )

Sunday, 23 June 2019

Another Country by James Harrison

I love these raw moist dawns with
a thousand birds you hear but can’t
quite see in the mist.
My old alien body is a foreigner
struggling to get into another country.
The loon call makes me shiver.
Back at the cabin I see a book
and am not quite sure what that is.

From: https://lithub.com/where-is-jim-harrison-seven-poems-from-a-master/

Date: 2016

By: James Harrison (1937-2016)

Wednesday, 24 April 2019

The Press of Other Lives by Panni Palásti (Eva Brown)

Like a leaf of grass
in a dense pasture
I am entwined in the tendrils
of other lives.
My roots tangle
with their roots.
My need for light
shares their need.
My reach for food
meets with their hunger.
I dream their dreams
and taste their tears.
Their faces may fade
on my night screen,
their cries smothered
by my remote,
but they echo,
claim and crowd me,
make me swallow
more than I can hold.

From: https://www.stuff.co.nz/nelson-mail/opinion/79090878/war-poetry-not-just-for-anzac-day

Date: 2016

By: Panni Palásti (Eva Brown) (1932- )

Monday, 28 January 2019

Our Silence by Julian Farmer

Every moment of silence is beautiful.
And then, on the silence, is played
a tune:

something traditional, earthy,
with a lilt, a poise, in the silence,
the simplest tune.

And love is like that…
It plays on the silence, becomes its theme
and conjoins.

Our hearts beat a pulse,
meter the silence, playing the tune
of our years.

From: https://thegalwayreview.com/2016/07/08/julian-farmer-five-poems-translations/

Date: 2016

By: Julian Farmer (19??- )

Friday, 28 December 2018

Sibelius and Marley by Ishion Hutchinson

History is dismantled music; slant,
bleak on gravel. One amasses silence,
another chastises silence with nettles,
stinging ferns. I oscillate in their jaws.

The whole gut listens. The ear winces
white nights in his talons: sinking mire.
He wails and a comet impales the sky
with the duel wink of a wasp’s burning.

Music dismantles history; the flambeaux
inflame in his eyes with a locust plague,
a rough gauze bolting up his mouth unfolds,
so he lashes the air with ropes and roots

that converge on a dreadful zero,
a Golden Age. Somewhere, an old film.
Dusk solders on a cold, barren coast. There
I am a cenotaph of horns and stones.

From: https://www.poetryinternationalweb.net/pi/site/poem/item/28380/auto/0/SIBELIUS-AND-MARLEY

Date: 2016

By: Ishion Hutchinson (1983- )

Saturday, 1 December 2018

Advent by Heather Derr-Smith

Birds pulse above the blood-black line of horizon.
I walk out through the sliding glass door into the backyard,

hoarfrost on the fallen leaves like thrush on a baby’s tongue.

Over the chain-link fence, three bald eagles fight for their kill
on the train tracks. My brother writes a postcard

from someplace near Bagram, fog veiling and unveiling
the Hindu Kush. In a dream he lifts his arm to cover his eyes

and I kiss the top-stitch scars along his mended wound.

In the middle of the night, a child screams awake.
But it’s only the engine of the refrigerator, faintly.

The neighbor is a mystery, a stranger to us. He lives alone,
blinds shut at all times. I suspect what we all suspect.

Sometimes I stand in the dark of my window, facing the dark of his.

From: https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/advent

Date: 2016

By: Heather Derr-Smith (1971- )