Posts tagged ‘2018’

Tuesday, 16 July 2019

No One Congratulates You by Zack Rogow

No one congratulates you.
No one throws you a party
with mirrory invitations.
You don’t get to try on a floorlength
or new jet tux.
No marquise-cut diamond
or 24-carat dream.
No shower with ooh-and-aah packages,
or a frou-frou gâteau several stories high
with just one figure on the top.
You hear no toasts over bubbles and smiles,
sacerdotal blessings,
Pachelbel on the buzzcut lawn,
or sendoffs to a colada destination.

When you end a relationship,
no one congratulates you.
All you get is the delicious ozone of freedom,
and shadows growing ever heavier.


Date: 2018

By: Zack Rogow (1952- )

Friday, 12 July 2019

My Daughter Was Always the Resourceful One by Francesca Bell

In the days of her death wish,
my eyes were fixed, open

my life
a watchtower
I couldn’t stop
looking down from.

She couldn’t be
trusted even to sleep
separately then

though we’d locked up
so many things:

belts that seemed
before her

the well-meaning medicines
electrical cords
in their tyranny of tangles

her scarves/my scarves

the noose we found
when we searched
her closet

two deluxe Swiss Army knives

a handful of bare blades
she’d extracted
from her plastic razors

all our shoelaces
in a messy, little pile

dental floss, reeking of mint

keys to all four cars

and every pair of scissors
in the house
no matter how small.

I lay beside her
in the dark
to watch, weeping,

while she kept on
against her will.

I worked so hard
to give her life.

She worked so hard
to hand it back.


Date: 2018

By: Francesca Bell (19??- )

Sunday, 28 April 2019

These Mountains by Ion Corcos

In this still bay, limestone blue,
the fall of mountain steep with scree.

Clumps of hard grass grip the slope, shorn
like valleys I have seen in eastern Turkey.

Don’t tell the Greeks, don’t tell the Turks;
some of them at least. The far mountains,

covered in a haze of sun and clouds,
look like the Anatolia I have seen.

In this still bay, mountains rise,
while men sit around, drink coffee, complain;

until one day the earth trembles,
rips the land apart, and the mountains

sink into the sea.

Birds roost in caves, menace to keep their space,
until they too move on, or are banished.

We talk about this place, but we talk too much.
This place is about mountains, born from the sea,

from Venetians, Ottomans, Turks, Greeks;
everything that belongs to yesterday.

Everything that belongs to today.

One day a volcano exploded under the sea,
raised mountains. The volcano is still here.


Date: 2018

By: Ion Corcos (1969- )

Sunday, 24 March 2019

You Have the Tools, Use Them by Carol Moldaw

Meanwhile, while we were off
practicing mindfulness, a deer
staggered half-way up our drive
and collapsed on the front lawn,
most likely struck by a car.
Robin left it on voicemail,
asking if she could remove the deer
for us, in exchange for the meat
which she would butcher up then
and there. The meat, she said,
was pristine, so far untouched
by flies. She was impatient
to reach me, to get going
before a mountain lion found it.
At first I heard only “deer”
and called back thinking
she just wanted to let me know
she was there with the dogs
and had seen some deer
rubbing against aspen bark,
chewing the orchard grass.
That was almost that, until
she went through it all again,
this time making sure I heard.


Date: 2018

By: Carol Moldaw (1956- )

Saturday, 23 February 2019

Another Episode Buried at Sea: Overhead by Jeanne Larsen

shearwaters veer, debating his chances, his girlish
facile infidelities, which they admire,
pass on. He passes on, or will, our mobile
Odysseus, remembering immemorial singers,
how they placed in the sea’s abyss the whole
in small: lie well & learn; feint & stay true;
forgotten is dry bones. But what song’s that
for a sailor boy, sea dog, pollywog, old tarpaulin,
storm-scoured gob? Those gals are fathomless.
Out of control, they break the code. They offer
mooring—a new unauthorized field of view.

Maybe sisters, maybe lovers, they show us
every song’s a chronicle of Sing!
Show, on their unnamed island, wasted Troy’s corpse.


Date: 2018

By: Jeanne Larsen (1950- )

Thursday, 7 February 2019

Personal Effects by Dilruba Ahmed

Tattered voting ballot. Business card smudged
with coffee. Medicare card. Senior center
card. Senior shuttle ID. Power port card
with implant date, reference number,
doctor’s phone. Expired coupon for coffee.
Receipt for overdue book fine. Torn fortunes
pulled from hollow cookies. Photo
of next of kin. Pizza card, fully stamped,
tenth slice given free. Bonus shopper card.
Library cards from another county. Pharmacy
savings card. Library due dates. Dentist reminder
with calendar sticker. Jotted notes: items
for sale (“Coffee table in decent condition”).
Scuffed faculty ID, permit for parking.


Date: 2018

By: Dilruba Ahmed (1970- )

Saturday, 12 January 2019

The Magnolia by Lee Rossi

O . . . great-rooted blossomer
are you the leaf, the blossom or the bole?
— W.B. Yeats

“I hate this tree”—the first words from my new neighbor
bending over the ground cover beneath her magnolia,

Belle of the Old South, “sweet and fresh,”
subtropical exile to our fertile desert.

She was 80 or 85, the tree half her age
and tall as a three-story house,

still dropping leaves and seed pods
like a teenager with a bad case of dandruff.

“It killed my lawn,” she said,
a violation twenty years in the past, which she held onto

as if it were last year, or last week. It soothed
and fueled her anger, I imagined, to pluck the brown

papery leaves from their hiding place in ivy
and stuff them in a green bin. I wondered if Sisyphus

hated his rock as much as she hated that tree.
I knew how much I hated my job, eight or nine

hours every day trying to lift the world another inch.
And every night more leaves would fall, leaves

and pods, those sexual hand grenades, those
pregnant cluster bombs. And yet she could no more live

without the tree than she could without her anger.
They were like an old couple, so deformed

by their love that they couldn’t want anything else.
Every day after work I’d come home and find her,

bowed or kneeling, or toward the end just sitting in the ivy—
city of beetles, city of mice—and see the tree,

blazoned with sunset’s gilt, its orange
and ruby ornaments a flaming candelabra.


Date: 2018

By: Lee Rossi (19??- )

Thursday, 13 December 2018

Searching for Light by Yao Feng (Yao Jingming)

The light retires to the lamp
and suddenly all is dark again
who out there has caught the night-moth
and instructs it in shadow?

After countless drills
the torn-winged moth
no longer knows how to fly
and trails through the twilight
crawling snail-slow
toward the light.


Date: 2018

By: Yao Feng (Yao Jingming) (1958- )

Translated by: Julia Sanches (19??- )

Friday, 5 October 2018

Bottle of Wine by Carl Dennis

I like to park a few blocks from the house of my hosts
And walk with my bottle of wine the tree-lined streets,
Anticipating the dinner with friends that awaits me.
A bottle of wine showing not only that I’m grateful
To be included but that I’m eager to do my part,
To offer a gift that won’t survive the evening,
That says I’ve set aside the need for transcendence
And made my peace at last with living in time.
Soon we’ll welcome the evening with a toast.
Soon we’ll be toasting it in farewell
As it starts on its journey into the near past
And then the far. Do the houses I’m passing
Regard me as a creature about to vanish
Into the realm of shadow while they have resolved
To hold their ground? But the bottle I’m carrying
Shows how the past can enhance the present.
The grapes it was made from were plucked and pressed
Seven years ago in a vineyard in Burgundy
According to customs already in place for generations
By the time these houses moved from the realm
Of blueprints and estimates into brick and wood.
The bottle will testify that traditions once honored
Are being adhered to still, with patience, with pride.
And if the past is present this evening, isn’t the future
Present as well in the thought that the ritual
I’m helping to pass along will prove enduring,
That however much the world around it may alter,
Guests will still perform it in eras to come?
I hope I feel their presence in spirit
Under these trees later this evening
As I walk back to my car with empty hands.


Date: 2018

By: Carl Dennis (1939- )

Saturday, 22 September 2018

The Tale of the Earth by Raquel Vasquez Gilliland

There is an earth inside you
and he howls until his feet
pierce the space
between your hips.

You scream.
It sounds

Three pushes and he’s out,
face-down, slippery
as though covered
in huckleberry jam.

Put him to your breast,
lean back against the tree.
Introduce little Earth
to ancient Earth.

Tell them both how
they have oceans
and moons. Tell them both
how they’re held with stars.


Date: 2018

By: Raquel Vasquez Gilliland (1986- )