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16 April 2012 @ 09:38 pm

    little dark girl with
    kind eyes
    when it comes time to
    use the knife
    I won't flinch and
    I won't blame
    as I drive along the shore alone
    as the palms wave,
    the ugly heavy palms,
    as the living does not arrive
    as the dead do not leave,
    I won't blame you,
    I will remember the kisses
    our lips raw with love
    and how you gave me
    everything you had
    and how I
    offered you what was left of
    and I will remember your small room
    the feel of you
    the light in the window
    your records
    your books
    our morning coffee
    our noons our nights
    our bodies spilled together
    the tiny flowing currents
    immediate and forever
    your leg my leg
    your arm my arm
    your smile and the warmth
    of you
    who made me laugh
    little dark girl with kind eyes
    you have no
    knife. the knife is
    mine and I won't use it

    Charles Bukowski
[RIP Adrienne Rich]


    There's a place between two stands of trees where the grass grows uphill
    and the old revolutionary road breaks off into shadows
    near a meeting-house abandoned by the persecuted
    who disappeared into those shadows.

    I've walked there picking mushrooms at the edge of dread, but don't be fooled
    this isn't a Russian poem, this is not somewhere else but here,
    our country moving closer to its own truth and dread,
    its own ways of making people disappear.

    I won't tell you where the place is, the dark mesh of the woods
    meeting the unmarked strip of light—
    ghost-ridden crossroads, leafmold paradise:
    I know already who wants to buy it, sell it, make it disappear.

    And I won't tell you where it is, so why do I tell you
    anything? Because you still listen, because in times like these
    to have you listen at all, it's necessary
    to talk about trees.

    Adrienne Rich
16 February 2012 @ 01:46 pm

    during my worst times
    on the park benches
    in the jails
    or living with
    I always had this certain
    I wouldn't call it
    it was more of an inner
    that settled for
    whatever was occuring
    and it helped in the
    and when relationships
    went wrong
    with the

    it helped
    through the
    wars and the
    the backalley fights

    to awaken in a cheap room
    in a strange city and
    pull up the shade-
    this was the craziest kind of

    and to walk across the floor
    to an old dresser with a
    cracked mirror-
    see myself, ugly,
    grinning at it all.

    what matters most is
    how well you
    walk through the

    Charles Bukowski
06 November 2011 @ 08:24 am

    I looked at all the trees and didn't know what to do.

    A box made out of leaves.
    What else was in the woods? A heart, closing. Nevertheless.

    Everyone needs a place. It shouldn't be inside of someone else.
    I kept my mind on the moon. Cold moon, long nights moon.

    From the landscape: a sense of scale.
    From the dead: a sense of scale.

    I turned my back on the story. A sense of superiority.
    Everything casts a shadow.

    Your body told me in a dream it's never been afraid of anything.

    Richard Siken

    When the dead rise in movies they're hideous
    and slow. They stagger uphill toward the farmhouse
    like drunks headed home from the bar.
    Maybe they only want to lie down inside
    while some room spins around them, maybe that's why
    they bang on the windows while the living
    hammer up boards and count out shotgun shells.
    The living have plans: to get to the pickup parked
    in the yard, to drive like hell to the next town.
    The dead with their leaky brains,
    their dangling limbs and ruptured hearts,
    are sick of all that. They'd rather stumble
    blind through the field until they collide
    with a tree, or fall through a doorway
    like they're the door itself, sprung from its hinges
    and slammed flat on the linoleum. That's the life
    for a dead person: wham, wham, wham
    until you forget your name, your own stinking
    face, the reason you jolted awake
    in the first place. Why are you here,
    whatever were you hoping as you lay
    in your casket like a dumb clarinet?
    You know better now. The soundtrack's depressing
    and the living hate your guts. Come closer
    and they'll show you how much. Wham, wham, wham,
    you're killed again. Thank God this time
    they're burning your body, thank God
    it can't drag you around anymore
    except in nightmares, late-night reruns
    where you lift up the lid, and crawl out
    once more, and start up the hill toward the house.

    Kim Addonizio
25 September 2011 @ 10:30 pm

    Our heart wanders lost in the dark woods.
    Our dream wrestles in the castle of doubt.
    But there's music in us. Hope is pushed down
    but the angel flies up again taking us with her.
    The summer mornings begin inch by inch
    while we sleep, and walk with us later
    as long-legged beauty through
    the dirty streets. It is no surprise
    that danger and suffering surround us.
    What astonishes is the singing.
    We know the horses are there in the dark
    meadow because we can smell them,
    can hear them breathing.
    Our spirit persists like a man struggling
    through the frozen valley
    who suddenly smells flowers
    and realizes the snow is melting
    out of sight on top of the mountain,
    knows that spring has begun.

    Jack Gilbert
05 September 2011 @ 03:15 pm

    When Hades decided he loved this girl
    he built for her a duplicate of earth,
    everything the same, down to the meadow,
    but with a bed added.

    Everything the same, including sunlight,
    because it would be hard on a young girl
    to go so quickly from bright light to utter darkness

    Gradually, he thought, he'd introduce the night,
    first as the shadows of fluttering leaves.
    Then moon, then stars. Then no moon, no stars.
    Let Persephone get used to it slowly.
    In the end, he thought, she'd find it comforting.

    A replica of earth
    except there was love here.
    Doesn't everyone want love?

    He waited many years,
    building a world, watching
    Persephone in the meadow.
    Persephone, a smeller, a taster.
    If you have one appetite, he thought,
    you have them all.

    Doesn't everyone want to feel in the night
    the beloved body, compass, polestar,
    to hear the quiet breathing that says
    I am alive, that means also
    you are alive, because you hear me,
    you are here with me. And when one turns,
    the other turns—

    That's what he felt, the lord of darkness,
    looking at the world he had
    constructed for Persephone. It never crossed his mind
    that there'd be no more smelling here,
    certainly no more eating.

    Guilt? Terror? The fear of love?
    These things he couldn't imagine;
    no lover ever imagines them.

    He dreams, he wonders what to call this place.
    First he thinks: The New Hell. Then: The Garden.
    In the end, he decides to name it
    Persephone's Girlhood.

    A soft light rising above the level meadow,
    behind the bed. He takes her in his arms.
    He wants to say I love you, nothing can hurt you

    but he thinks
    this is a lie, so he says in the end
    you're dead, nothing can hurt you
    which seems to him
    a more promising beginning, more true.

    Louise Glück
01 September 2011 @ 11:48 pm

    The moon is backing away from us
    an inch and a half each year. That means
    if you’re like me and were born
    around fifty years ago the moon
    was a full six feet closer to the earth.
    What’s a person supposed to do?
    I feel the gray cloud of consternation
    travel across my face. I go on thinking
    about the moon-lit past, how if you go back
    far enough you can imagine the breathtaking
    hugeness of the moon, prehistoric
    solar eclipses when the moon covered the sun
    so completely there was no corona, only
    a darkness we had no word for.
    And future eclipses will look like this: the moon
    a small black pupil in the eye of the sun.
    But these are bald facts.
    What bothers me most is that someday
    the moon will spiral right out of orbit
    and all land-based life will die.
    The moon keeps the oceans from swallowing
    the shores, keeps the electromagnetic fields
    in check at the polar ends of the earth.
    And please don’t tell me
    what I already know, that it won’t happen
    for a long time. I don’t care. I’m afraid
    of what will happen to the moon.
    Forget us. We don’t deserve the moon.
    Maybe we once did but not now
    after all we’ve done. These nights
    I harbor a secret pity for the moon, rolling
    around alone in space without
    her milky planet, her only love, a mother
    who’s lost a child, a bad child,
    a greedy child or maybe a grown boy
    who’s murdered and raped, a mother
    can’t help it, she loves that boy
    anyway, and in spite of herself
    she misses him, and if you sit beside her
    on the padded hospital bench
    outside the door to his room you can’t not
    take her hand, listen to her while she
    weeps, telling you how sweet he was,
    how blue his eyes, and you know she’s only
    romanticizing, that she’s conveniently
    forgotten the bruises and booze,
    the stolen car, the day he ripped
    the phones from the walls, and you want
    to slap her back to sanity, remind her
    of the truth: he was a leech, a fuck-up,
    a little shit, and you almost do
    until she lifts her pale puffy face, her eyes
    two craters, and then you can’t help it
    either, you know love when you see it,
    you can feel its lunar strength, its brutal pull.

    Dorianne Laux
05 August 2011 @ 10:15 am

    the way loss seeps
    into neck hollows
    and curls at temples
    sits between front teeth
    empty and waiting
    for mourning to open
    the way mourning stays
    forever shadowing vision
    shaping lives with memory
    a drawer won't close
    sleep elusive
    smile illusive
    the only real is grief
    forever counting the days
    minutes missing without knowing
    so that one day
    you find yourself
    showering tears
    missing that love
    like sugar
    aches teeth

    Suheir Hammad

    How astonishing it is that language can almost mean,
    and frightening that it does not quite. Love, we say,
    God, we say, Rome and Michiko, we write, and the words
    get it all wrong. We say bread and it means according
    to which nation. French has no word for home,
    and we have no word for strict pleasure. A people
    in northern India is dying out because their ancient
    tongue has no words for endearment. I dream of lost
    vocabularies that might express some of what
    we no longer can. Maybe the Etruscan texts would
    finally explain why the couples on their tombs
    are smiling. And maybe not. When the thousands
    of mysterious Sumerian tablets were translated,
    they seemed to be business records. But what if they
    are poems or psalms? My joy is the same as twelve
    Ethiopian goats standing silent in the morning light.
    O Lord, thou art slabs of salt and ingots of copper,
    as grand as ripe barley lithe under the wind's labor.
    Her breasts are six white oxen loaded with bolts
    of long-fibered Egyptian cotton. My love is a hundred
    pitchers of honey. Shiploads of thuya are what
    my body wants to say to your body. Giraffes are this
    desire in the dark. Perhaps the spiral Minoan script
    is not laguage but a map. What we feel most has
    no name but amber, archers, cinnamon, horses, and birds.

    Jack Gilbert