Posts tagged ‘2017’

Friday, 22 March 2019

Outside by Karen McCarthy Woolf

under the arcade
and the floor-length glass shop front:
a green pop-up dome

flanked by a Burberry
suitcase and a sleeping-bag

a makeshift shelter
for Sai from Stratford
with time to invest

in a four-day queue – he’s first
in line for an iPhone 6s

no-one moves him on
or threatens arrest
as it’s not about where

but why you pitch your tent.


Date: 2017

By: Karen McCarthy Woolf (19??- )

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

The White Poet Wants to Know Why I Don’t Write More Arab Poems by Leila Chatti

Because, while a war blooms at the margins
of the other country that claims me, still

I am here with my ordinary grief and its language.

Because every time I open my mouth
I am an Arab opening my mouth

and the poem is, and isn’t, responsible.

Sometimes I have to shake
the sand from my story
like a shoe by the side of the road.

I have lost nearly everyone I love, and all
to mundane tragedies.

I have never felt in my bones a bomb’s
radius of light.

The truth is I can only write about God
so many times

before he starts listening.

The truth is, like you,
some days I am struck

by pleasure so simple and insistent
I can’t resist—the sun offering indiscriminate

brightness against my window, on the table
an empty glass glittering

—or sometimes, too, I am unwilling
to mention the wild

flowers staked in the field like flags.


Date: 2017

By: Leila Chatti (1990- )

Friday, 2 November 2018

Return by Anya Krugovoy Silver

When he returned home after many years,
an enormous oak had split his house in two,
its trunk growing right through the center hall.
Though there was nobody living in the tilting
rooms, he recognized some simple objects:
a milk jug once filled with daisies, a single shoe.
Where a mirror had hung, a darkened oval
remained on the wall. No bark, no call, no singing.
But though he didn’t understand what he saw,
he knew the tree, broad and green, was a blessing.


Date: 2017

By: Anya Krugovoy Silver (1968-2018)

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

We’ll Always Have Parents by Mary Jo Salter

It isn’t what he said in Casablanca
and it isn’t strictly true. Nonetheless
we’ll always have them, much as we have Paris.
They’re in our baggage, or perhaps are baggage
of the old-fashioned type, before the wheels,
which we remember when we pack for Paris.
Or don’t remember. Paris doesn’t know
if you’re thinking of it. Neither do your parents,
although they’ll say you ought to visit more,
as if they were as interesting as Paris.
Both Paris and your parents are as dead
and as alive as what’s inside your head.
Meanwhile, those lovers, younger every year
(because with every rerun we get older),
persuade us less, for all their cigarettes
and shining unshed tears about the joy
of Paris blurring in their rear view mirror,
that they’ve surpassed us in sophistication.
Granted, they were born before our parents
but don’t they seem by now, Bogart and Bergman,
like our own children? Think how we could help!
We could ban their late nights, keep them home
the whole time, and prevent their ill-starred romance!
Here’s looking at us, Kid. You’ll thank your parents.


Date: 2017

By: Mary Jo Salter (1954- )

Friday, 12 October 2018

Locker Room Talk by John Adams

I keep dirty things in my locker,
I keep dirty things in my locker,
I keep dirty things, I keep dirty things
and I talk dirty in my locker room

Unbelievable support I’m receiving,
Unbelievable support I’m receiving,
I’m closing one eye, I’m rating very high,
to be honest, it’s just unbelievable.

I’d lock people out of my country,
I’d lock people out of my country,
I’d lock people out, I’d lock people out –
my country could become a locker room.
I keep dirty things in my locker,
I keep dirty things in my locker,
I keep dirty things, I keep dirty things
and I talk dirty in my locker room.


Date: 2017

By: John Adams (19??- )

Sunday, 7 October 2018

In the Dark Times, Will There Be Singing? by Marjorie Saiser

In the dark times
Will there also be singing?
~ Bertolt Brecht

Desert morning, the coyotes return
to their cubbyholes, the stars
have wheeled in arcs

to stand in their appointed doorways.
The great horned owl on the light pole
sees the neighborhood, sees, if he wants to,

how I stand shoeless on the cool sand,
lucky cuss, wingless bird that I am.

In the dark times there will be singing
and I, in a forgotten crevice in the universe,
will spread my arms and inhale deep, enormous.


Date: 2017

By: Marjorie Saiser (1943- )

Thursday, 4 October 2018

His and Hers by Diane Gilliam Fisher

She cannot imagine it otherwise.
She wakes in the morning and twists her ring,
loves how every night in their bed he lies

breathing warm in the dark and never shies
away. He lets her talk, he lets her sing.
She cannot imagine it otherwise.

One night she’s surprised how gently he tries
to move her arm when he thinks she’s sleeping.
In the night, in their bed, she sees he lies

watching the ceiling long before sunrise.
Too much coffee, too many late nights working.
She cannot imagine it otherwise.

He quiets. The more she worries and pries
the less he tells her about anything.
She’s sure every night in their bed he lies

wanting a room beyond reach of her eyes.
He sighs—she cries so much, Over nothing.
She cannot imagine it otherwise:
Every night in their bed, he lies.


Date: 2017

By: Diane Gilliam Fisher (1957- )

Sunday, 9 September 2018

Elevator Music by Christa Romanosky

We never cared for opera, our mouths were just for kissing: maps, fast food,
phosphorescent bourbon, then you went rogue, and that was life. I followed

horoscopes, fortune-tellers into heavenly basements, anything was better
if I felt “found.” She said, “You will have success but never love.” I wanted

someone to prove it. Sunflowers strung into gravely sunlight, littered
cities, everything else gleaned. And I thought of you on jets, worldwide,

dreaming of Carl Sagan, eating tortoise on Western shores, not yet
holy but believing in strategies and making deadlines – while I watched

red plum saplings sprout like pins, crawled into sauna just to feel
the threshold met, time perch – everything exhale claret. Not dreaming

but becoming more animal. The fuzz of my thigh lifting
when doorways gaped, prayers exhumed. That is how I went about my life

waiting for you: developing pyrotechnic tendencies, a sixth sense for dangerous
men. Sometimes indulging, but never resulting. I still believe

you must get under things to understand anyone, but I prefer
to make quick exits, avoid ruins. Often I am not “lost” at all, but missing

childhood, maternal soothe. They say “solo” is not technically
a disorder, but the factories close around me, and the nights stay up so late.


Date: 2017

By: Christa Romanosky (19??- )

Saturday, 8 September 2018

Of Fullness by Abeir Soukieh

fill me up on foreign words so that I might,
in meaning,
feel full.
and play me music, absolute; though map-less,
goes farther


Date: 2017

By: Abeir Soukieh (19??- )

Saturday, 14 July 2018

Paris by Night by Tristan Corbière

It’s not a city, it’s a world

—  It’s the sea: — dead calm — The Spring tide has felt bound,
With a distant rumbling, to withdraw its sway.
Its waves will return, rolling themselves in their sound —
—  Can you hear the crabs of night scratching away…

—  It’s the dried-up Styx: Rag ’n bone Diogenes,
Lantern in hand, wanders down it; he never squirms
But it’s the black gutter where depraved poets please
To cast their lines, their hollow skulls the cans for worms.

—  It’s the wheat-field: Hideous harpies swirl and swoop
On what’s impure, gleaning shreds of lint caked in pus.
The alley cat, on the watch for rats, flees the troop
Of Shit-creek’s sons, harvesters of night’s detritus.

—  It’s death: Here lieth the police — And love, upstairs,
Taking a siesta, sucks a heavy arm’s meat
Where an old love-bite’s left its blotch — Love is for pairs —
The hour is solitary — Listen: … dreams drag their feet…

—  It’s life: Listen: the spring water is up for air,
Singing its everlasting song, that seems to slide
Over a sea-god’s slimy head, and his stretched bare
Green limbs on the bed of the Morgue… Eyes open wide!


Date: 1873 (original in French); 2017 (translation in English)

By: Tristan Corbière (1845-1875)

Translated by: Christopher Pilling (1936- )