Posts tagged ‘2019’

Saturday, 9 April 2022

For Nothing Tender About It by Carl Phillips

If as shame is to memory, so too desire,
then is this desire, this cloak of shadows,
that I wrap close around me, that I
refuse to take off?

But the lake looks endless.
And my boat’s increasingly but a slowish swimmer,
across the waves –  I’ve known
hurt, I mean; and I have been afraid.  Sometimes

the difference between forgetting
to bring along artillery and showing up
on purpose to the war unarmed

is just that: a difference.  Sometimes a lost tune,
unreckoned on, unearned, resurfaces anyway. Just because.

Am I not the animal by belief alone I myself make possible?


Date: 2019

By: Carl Phillips (1959- )

Friday, 8 April 2022

To Someone Somewhere After All These Years by Richard Foerster

I thought divorcing was an art worth perfecting
over time, like a vintage coaxed through fermentation,
bottled, with a label, then consigned to a near-subconscious
cavern till it might mature, and decades later be ready
for a toast to old times’ sake and savoring. But after more

than twice the span our marriage lasted, when I uncorked
the email labeled Hi!, I sensed by the way it swirled
before my eyes that this was nothing I’d have chosen
for dining alone, and yet I sipped: We should be able to
, then more, I told you you’d win awards—I dreamt it.

Then came the subtler undertaste of I lost the real love of my life
to Alzheimer’s
, and despite the way my head reeled
I knew she clearly meant not me. I swallowed hard,
Were you ever going to tell me you were/are gay?
and I’m not writing with recriminations in mind, but

I just thought we might—I don’t know what—be friends?
I paced the room awhile, then turned and sat back down
to finish what she’d poured out for me, and after the final
dot and her new last name, I was amazed
how my finger wavered on “Reply” and then “Delete.”


Date: 2019

By: Richard Foerster (1949- )

Thursday, 7 April 2022

A Brother Like You by Brandon Grill

Your co-workers found you lying on the
Ground, “the tweak passed out,” they told us. You said
You were tired after drinking all night. I asked
Why you drank before work, and instead of answering
You recited some lines from your favorite movies.
Three minutes went by, and you went through the
Independence Day script, doing every voice.
Your Will Smith impersonation was unreal, and when
I asked how much you practiced it you told me
You’ve only seen the movie twice. You
Rocked back and forth in your seat,
and kept trying to hug me. It made putting on
Your seatbelt very difficult, but the joyousness
Of your giggle makes it worth it. Few others
Let you hug them, I presumed. You asked me
If the nurses would be pretty and if they would
Comb your hair. My partner whispers in
My ear that I shouldn’t let you push me
Around, but I don’t get the sense that you’re
Trying to take advantage of me. “Sometimes,
I just want to stop thinking over and over and
Over so I drink. My social worker won’t comb
My hair,” you tell me. I ask you about your
Living conditions, and you tell me you hate
Being at home. I ask you what medications
You take, and you tell me you don’t take them
Unless someone combs your hair. You put your
Arm around my shoulders as we walk into
The emergency room, and tell me you wish
You had a brother like me growing up.
“Nobody in the home laughs at my voices
Like you do.”


Date: 2019

By: Brandon Grill (19??- )

Wednesday, 9 March 2022

Forum of Virgins by Helen Hofling

Knocked over behind the garden bench
Her stone torso gathers ivy.

Vestal, a body premised on removal and now seated
In ruin, her being dependent on what she lacks.

Across the capital, her open face
Crowns a fountain with

Eyes like a dead horse—
Milked over and cataract wide.

The Vestal wonders which component
Of her marble body

Has been photographed more times
Since separation.

Her parts consult. Their recollections
Form a single stream.

They murmur to each other
Over our dumb, sun-grazed heads.

She thinks of her sisters, their snuffed flame, and
For some reason, Leda’s attack.

Of the cruelty collapsed around her pedestal
In cinders, refuse, leaves.

Each sister’s head removed
Far from the vestal flock,

Condemned by anger to
Mannequin silence.

Consigned by new media to
B-roll selfies’ mise-en-scéne.

When had a chip of sea moss elided
Her roaring secret?

She plots their return,
First, gathering in a circle,

The spaces between them will divide
Ever in regress and too brightly,

Volcanic ash women
Risen from Pompei.

A vee of white feathers
Falling from the sky.


Date: 2019

By: Helen Hofling (19??- )

Monday, 28 February 2022

Anger by Max Sessner

I want to be someone else a
yellow midday spreads itself out
all the way into my pocket
where coins clink and my
fist lives with which today I
would like to hit someone
in the face but that will subside
in the evening the hand of a
strange poet opens by itself
then lies in front of me and
I lay the television
remote in it which it
clearly likes because suddenly
we are friends have already lived
on the same bank of the river
a very long time


Date: 2019 (original in German); 2021 (translation in English)

By: Max Sessner (1959- )

Translated by: Francesca Bell (19??- )

Friday, 7 January 2022

The Roseland Peninsula by G. E. Stevens

Tell me now – how often do we live in our own description? (Charles Tomlinson)

Looking west, the hill has no house so you imagine one.
Curved stone lintels. A deep-set door where you’d expect.
Outside, an unassuming car with cassette tapes in the glovebox
and on the passenger seat, last week’s tide times.
Here and there clumps of hydrangeas burst a stupid blue
giving the impression from where you sit, of a garden —
and the more you look the more the house obliges with fire
in the fireplace, with those ochre curtains she made all crooked
on the pole and her face as she leant to kiss you goodnight —
blocking, for a moment, what was left of the light.


Date: 2019

By: G. E. Stevens (19??- )

Wednesday, 3 November 2021

Back Home by Julia Travers

My body
is my home,
but I shuttered it
awhile back,
and I’ve hovered nearby
like a tangled kite,
a drunken bird.
Now I look through the windows,
knock on panes, trace ledges.
My hands follow mossy walls.
I see how the roof
points to the sky,
and I want to live
in there again,
where my stuff is
and the myths are mine,
where my limbs meet
and my paths cross,
where I walk in my own footsteps.
I started to pick the lock
and push the door,
but now,
I’m just breathing,
waiting to be recognized,
to find I am
back home.


Date: 2019

By: Julia Travers (19??- )

Tuesday, 19 October 2021

Spare Parts for the Human Spirit by Amanda McLeod

Spare parts for the human spirit
are not easy to come by.

Life would be simplified
if we could only remove
the broken pieces of ourselves
and replace them with
newer, shinier versions
coated in titanium or sapphire
so they don’t wear out.

Instead, we pry off our
covers and peer into the depths
shaking our heads at the dust
and fragments that crunch
between our fingers, wondering
what value there is in this

But as we pull the pieces out
one by one, they start to make
sense, and we begin to rebuild
what they once were.

It looks different.

Some pieces are gone forever,
ground away and carried
off by the wind. Others
Are worn at the edges and
don’t quite fit.
As it all comes back together
even as a distorted version of what was
it starts to mean something.
And we begin to love the cracks
the missing pieces
As much as we loved the pristine original
and maybe even more.


Date: 2019

By: Amanda McLeod (19??- )

Saturday, 9 October 2021

Sowing the Field by Sara Henning

To love is to tell the story of the world.
–Nomi Stone, “On World-Making”

If my body is a field you once lost yourself in,
Mother, if your body was a field I once lost myself

in—I could say sweet things about windflower,
musk thistle, some fractured kaleidoscope of purples

and blues. But these metaphors do not hold us long.
We are the truth beyond. You, catching like shrapnel

in my cellular heat before you skimmed your way
into a different ether. Before you made crucial

alchemy of this life and let go, I was proof of your
longing. Now, when my husband touches me,

he’s searching for some part of himself that will stay.
He wants some part of our love he can hold in his

hands. Someone once told me that to have a child
is to feel like your heart is walking outside your body.

I do not want a child to fall to her knees when I die.
This is how love becomes circular. This is how

love outlives us. Every time my husband reaches
for me in the dark, I think: I am alive. I think—

it starts this way, one cell breaching another.
Then a world unfurling, a world that will go on.


Date: 2019

By: Sara Henning (19??- )

Friday, 8 October 2021

This is How I Choose to Remember by Brittany Coppla

you: arm & hammer toothpaste slobbers
towards your chin and i don’t even have
the itch to thumbscoop it away.
framed by the bathroom doorway, you perform
a pop song while your phone thumps its tiny bass pulse.
this recital is more for the fandom
of your own reflection in the mirror than for me,
which only raises the stakes of hitting the high notes.
the toothbrush wedges down the corner of your mouth
to make room for the peppermint suds
you gargle through during the chorus.
the intervals between lyrics are a time to either
rework the instrumentals into nasally vocal solos,
or feverishly brush the enamel like a kid who thinks
a few furious scrubs will keep the cavities away.
you lasso your shirt over your head at the final
crescendo before the end. as the room yields to a staccato
quiet, your body folds into itself. standing in your boxers,
you bow. the proud and bent you during this silence:
this is who i choose to remember.


Date: 2019

By: Brittany Coppla (19??- )