Posts tagged ‘2017’

Thursday, 19 January 2023

Good Bones by Maggie Smith

Life is short, though I keep this from my children.
Life is short, and I’ve shortened mine
in a thousand delicious, ill-advised ways,
a thousand deliciously ill-advised ways
I’ll keep from my children. The world is at least
fifty percent terrible, and that’s a conservative
estimate, though I keep this from my children.
For every bird there is a stone thrown at a bird.
For every loved child, a child broken, bagged,
sunk in a lake. Life is short and the world
is at least half terrible, and for every kind
stranger, there is one who would break you,
though I keep this from my children. I am trying
to sell them the world. Any decent realtor,
walking you through a real shithole, chirps on
about good bones: This place could be beautiful,
right? You could make this place beautiful.


Date: 2017

By: Maggie Smith (1977- )

Thursday, 12 January 2023

That by A. Anupama

that separates this world
and opens figs in this world

that question and stance
operates all rigs in this world

quiet that patience and sing
while your voice still digs in this world

not fair to say what gold is
when demons wear wigs in this world

to hide this world in “that separates”
and in stomachs of pigs in this world

the second-nature glance of the jay
stains joy in the amygdala: this world.


Date: 2017

By: A. Anupama (19??- )

Tuesday, 15 November 2022

In Lieu of Flowers by Shawna Lemay

A few years ago I read a friend’s father’s obituary on Facebook. His father had requested in lieu of flowers, please take a friend or loved one out for lunch.

Although I love flowers very much, I won’t see them when I’m gone. So in lieu of flowers:
Buy a book of poetry written by someone still alive, sit outside with a cup of tea, a glass of wine, and read it out loud, by yourself or to someone, or silently.
Spend some time with a single flower. A rose maybe. Smell it, touch the petals.
Really look at it.
Drink a nice bottle of wine with someone you love.
Or, Champagne. And think of what John Maynard Keynes said, “My only regret in life is that I did not drink more Champagne.” Or what Dom Perignon said when he first tasted the stuff: “Come quickly! I am tasting stars!”
Take out a paint set and lay down some colours.
Watch birds. Common sparrows are fine. Pigeons, too. Geese are nice. Robins.
In lieu of flowers, walk in the trees and watch the light fall into it. Eat an apple, a really nice big one. I hope it’s crisp.
Have a long soak in the bathtub with candles, maybe some rose petals.
Sit on the front stoop and watch the clouds. Have a dish of strawberry ice cream in my name.
If it’s winter, have a cup of hot chocolate outside for me. If it’s summer, a big glass of ice water.
If it’s autumn, collect some leaves and press them in a book you love. I’d like that.
Sit and look out a window and write down what you see. Write some other things down.
In lieu of flowers,
I would wish for you to flower.
I would wish for you to blossom, to open, to be beautiful.


Date: 2017

By: Shawna Lemay (1966- )

Friday, 4 November 2022

Manzanita by Robert Walton

Leaves bursting like blossoms,
Sprung from the first
Good rain
In seven years,
Grace a thousand slender fingers.

Those emerald wreathed fingers
Weave morning light into life,
And stretch toward a new moon
Fleeing west –
A crescent cup
Holding its stolen treasure
Of lucid sky.


Date: 2017

By: Robert Walton (1948- )

Sunday, 30 October 2022

The Phantoms for Which Clothes are Designed by Chase Twichell

Sewing patterns are designed for imaginary
people, based on average measurements
taken in the 1930s by the WPA

and adjusted over the decades by the Industry.

I sew a Misses 14, designed for a woman
5’5” to 5’6”, 36/28/38,

which is to say no one,

so I alter the pattern to fit a phantom of me
instead of a phantom of her.

She doesn’t need any more dresses.


Date: 2017

By: Chase Twichell (1950- )

Monday, 24 October 2022

Forsake of Naming by James Hannon

Pretend that I charge you
to name all the creatures,
great and small, leaf and limb,
so you can feel in control
of your outer world when
so much inside is unnamable.

Your numberless descendants
will count and classify
kingdoms they think they rule.
Dominion they will call it,
like one of their orders of angels.

Always with them will be
the orders and ranks
columns and rows
greater than and less than.
Until some learn—
that which is named is no longer itself.
Then will begin the unknowing.


Date: 2017

By: James Hannon (19??- )

Saturday, 15 October 2022

Mulch by Linda Michele Hasselstrom

A mulch is a layer of organic matter
used to control weeds,
preserve moisture,
and improve the fertility of the soil.
You will not find naked soil
in the wilderness.

I started cautiously: newspapers,
hay, a few magazines;
Robert Redford stared up
between the rhubarb and the lettuce.

Then one day, cleaning shelves,
I found some old love letters.
I’ve always burned them,
for the symbolism.
But the ashes, gray and dusty
as old passions,
would blow about the yard for days
stinging my eyes,
bitter on my tongue.

So I mulched them:
gave undying love to the tomatoes,
the memory of your gentle hands
to the squash.
It seemed to do them good,
and it taught me a whole new style
of gardening.

Now my garden is the best in the
and I mulch everything:
bills; check stubs;
dead kittens and baby chicks.
I seldom answer letters; I mulch them
with the plans I made
for children of my own,
photographs of places I’ve been
and a husband I had once;
as well as old bouquets
and an occasional unsatisfactory lover.

Nothing is wasted.

Strange plants push up among the corn,
leaves heavy with dark water,
but there are
no weeds.


Date: 2017

By: Linda Michele Hasselstrom (1943- )

Wednesday, 12 October 2022

Medicine Tin by David Subacchi

Our medicine cabinet, a faded biscuit tin,
Circular with scratched roses,
Appearing only when sickness called
Or sticking plasters were required;
Air-tight it sighed when the lid
Was lifted clumsily by bloodied fingers,
An old bandage once used for a sling
Smothering the rattle of pill bottles,
Protecting against injury
From spread-eagled scissors.

Nothing remained, no crumb
Or other trace of past treats,
No odour of sweetness,
Only the sticky residue
Of congealed cough mixture
And a faint trace
Of smelling salts
Awaiting deployment
To revive consciousness
In some emergency.

And those Liver Salts
In a rusting container
“For a pick me up”
Our mother would say
In a tired voice,
Rummaging roughly
For her favourite
Headache pills;
But we knew they were
Really for hangovers.


Date: 2017

By: David Subacchi (19??- )

Saturday, 8 October 2022

Missing My Sister by Brigitte Goetze

It’s like calling your friend’s new phone number
after she moved out of state, only to hear
“This number is no longer in service.”

It’s like caring for your tender geranium, the only one
with those unusual wine-red, velvety blooms;
you are too late–one cool fall night does it in.

It’s like trying to start your beloved, but stalled companion
of a car, first using jumper cables, then a push in neutral,
but nothing can get it going again.

It’s like pulling up your winter pants,
so loose-fitting they almost slide off your hips;
last year you lost—not knowing how—pound after pound.


Date: 2017

By: Brigitte Goetze (19??- )

Wednesday, 24 August 2022

Hurriedly, in Premature Celebration by Timur Kibirov

The roses bloom! Oh this is Paradise!
And we shall see the infant Christ!
– Andersen, ‘The Snow Queen’

Hurriedly, in premature celebration,
the little boy bursts again from the crowd
and says, once more: ‘But the king isn’t wearing…’

then he clams up,
as he sees
that not only the king,
but all his retinue

(the ministers, Life Guards, ladies-in-waiting,
even the two con-men tailors themselves…)

are all naked!
All of them literally
in their birthday suits!

He spins in confusion
back to the gathered crowd
and beholds only naked bodies,
the denuded
woeful flesh of humanity.

And now, confused and fearful,
he senses his own naked,
goose-fleshed, bluish,
little boy’s skin,

and sees leafless trees in the distance,
sees how the forest has been stripped,
how the fields are bare,
how the naked earth is a desert

and winter is on its way…

Now who, who will wrap us up warm,
us, who have been stripped of everything?
Who, who will protect us,
the little naked soldiers
of a naked king?

For our leader is bare,
and his queen is the snow queen;
darkness and impenetrable snow!
And as for standing against him:
ay, ay, ay!

Oh dear. Oh wow.
Go and lie in the snow.

Make your mind up,
silly little Kay.

Run along now,
stupid little Gerda.

There, ahead of you:
the kingdom of death.

There, behind you:
the roses are blooming.

Well, maybe they’re not…
Maybe they’ve withered…
So what?

You’ll find out soon enough.
If you can get that far.


Date: 2009 (original in Russian); 2017 (translation in English)

By: Timur Kibirov (1955- )

Translated by: James Womack (1979- )