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1st March 2012
stitched_up_mew @ : Hospital Wing Voices
Maybe I am as sick as they sayIn hushed tones,Hospital voicesMaybe there is truth in thatI felt the world shudder Collapse beneath meAnd I am hit with piercing word shrapnalI am thrown to the mercy of The GodWho really prefers to see me on my kneesIf I were to repentWhat difference would it make?I’ve wished to be someone elseI’ve wished for life to cease, for time to stopI’ve seen my demons, I’ve seen my godI’ve begged for forgivenessScreamed for them to stopI’ve crawled along on dirt roads, I’ve layed upon desert sandsFelt Hells fire licking my neckI’ve walked among heroes, I’ve walked among sinnersI crave cookie cutter housesLining quiet streetsWith uniform grass growing in place of dead mens hands,With bony fingers reaching to heavenWith children laughing, playing with false prophetsKnowing nothing of the horror that lies behind their own eyelidsWhen the dark comes, there are only make-believe monstersInvisible and scared away by mothers gently singingFathers opening the doorI want that,I want itInstead of screaming ghosts with coal black eyesLips dripping with spilt words, words that don’t make senseTightly clentched hands,Struggling to hold to slick realityCheeks wet with tears brimming with uncertainty, of the terror of not knowing if this is make-believe, or if I’m a figment of a sick persons imagination.I don’t want to be sickI want to be realI want the ghosts to leaveI want to be meI don’t want to see myself from the vantage point of the angels, watching as I lie, day in and day outWhen I’m asked if I’m fine, when I say I amWhy am I this way? Why…I feel as if their watching me through my windowsJudging meTaunting me as I play make-believePretending I’m okayPretending I’m untouched by their skinless fingersUnconcerned with the whispering voices at my earWitches brews Sliding down my throatTrying to stop the posion before it spreadsTrying to stop the monsters, Tearing apart the only place I can feel safe
4th January 2008
katbert22 @ :
I Had a Dream About You by Siken
All the cows were falling out of the sky and landing in the mud.
You were drinking sangria and I was throwing oranges at you,
but it didn't matter.
I said my arms are very long and your head's on fire.
I said kiss me here and here and here
And you did.
Then you wanted pasta,
so we trampled out into the tomatoes and rolled around to make the sauce.
You were very beautiful.
We were in the Safeway parking lot. I couldn't find my cigarettes.
You said Hurry up! but I was worried there would be a holdup
And we would be stuck in a hostage situation, hiding behind
the frozen meats, with nothing to smoke for hours.
You said Don't be silly,
so I followed you into the store.
We were thumping the melons when I heard somebody say Nobody move!
I leaned over and whispered in your ear I told you so.
There was a show on the television about buried treasure.
You were trying to convince me that we should buy shovels
and go out into the yard
and I was trying to convince you that I was a vampire.
On the way to the hardware store I kept biting your arm
and you said if I really was a vampire I would be biting your neck,
so I started biting your neck
and you said Cut it out!
and you bought me an ice cream, and then we saw the UFO.
These are the dreams we should be having. I shouldn't have to
clean them up like this.
You were lying in the middle of the empty highway.
The sky was red and the sand was red and you were wearing a brown coat.
There were flecks of foam in the corners of your mouth.
The birds were watching you.
Your eyes were closed and you were listening to the road and I could
hear your breathing, I could hear your heart beating.
I carried you to the car and drove you home but you
weren't making any sense.
I took a shower and tried to catch my breath.
You were lying on top of the bedspread
in boxer shorts, watching cartoons and laughing but not making any sound.
Your skin looked blue in the television light.
Your teeth looked yellow.
Still wet, I lay down next to you. Your arms, your legs, your naked chest,
your ribs delineated like a junkyard dogs.
There's nowhere to go, I thought. There's nowhere to go.
You were sitting in a bathtub at the hospital and you were crying.
You said it hurt.
I mean the buildings that were not the hospital.
I shouldn't have mentioned the hospital.
I don't think I can take this much longer.
In the dream I don't tell anyone, you put your head in my lap.
Let's say you're driving down the road with your eyes closed
but my eyes are also closed.
You're by the side of the road.
You're by the side of the road and you're doing all the talking
while I stare at my shoes.
They're nice shoes, brown and comfortable, and I like your voice.
In the dream I don't tell anyone, I'm afraid to wake you up.
In these dreams it's always you:
The boy in the sweatshirt,
The boy on the bridge, the boy who always keeps me
from jumping off the bridge.
Oh, the things we invent when we are scared
and want to be rescued.
Your jeep. Your teeth. The coffee that you bought me.
The sandwich cut in half on the plate.
I woke up and ate ice cream in the dark,
hunched over on the wooden chair in the kitchen,
listening to the rain.
I borrowed your shoes and didn't put them away.
You were crying and eating rice.
The surface of the water was still and bright.
Your feet were burning so I put my hands on them, but my hands
were burning too.
You had a bottle of pills but I wouldn't let you swallow them.
You said Will you love me even more when Im dead?
And I said No, and I threw the pills on the sand.
Look at them, you said. They look like emeralds.
I put you in a cage with the ocelots. I was trying to fatten you up
with sausages and bacon.
Somehow you escaped and climbed up the branches of a pear tree.
I chopped it down but there was nobody in it.
I went to the riverbed to wait for you to show up.
You didn't show up.
I kept waiting.
16th November 2007
murdermystery @ :
by Ariana Reines
I am the bride of my baby, I am the bride of this ok day. The sun is a
peeled yolk. I broke.
I = Miss Havisham. Combustion heaven. To be changed, to go up up
up, to be translated. HOW DO THE BEASTS GROAN! THE HERDS OF
CATTLE ARE PERPLEXED, BECAUSE THEY HAVE NO PASTURE
YEA, THE FLOCKS OF SHEEP ARE MADE DESOLATE
I hate you and therefore we will be together forever, slice me open if I
ever smooth this over, slice me open if I ever soften, if I ever moisten, if I
ever fall for you again.
14th November 2007
murdermystery @ :
Ten Past Nine
In my speech shines a radiant energy,
I can destroy hype, the wind flashes with its end,
fury and barriers become smashed
out, the music chars hype
broke out from me. I sing and the serrated horizon
tilts, dirt splashes become zero each. We are
okay. I am not even a fucking person any more.
Without the bloom
of flowers set to crash, and without day after day,
antique throats would char. I am not even
despite fire victimized but am okay. The
grainy void over my speech flares and yellows,
day after day remains, ashen, vital. The things I
do say distort hype, which may become over,
is to say our worst speech. A face at
my window faces that. Without extrapolation
on me what could become smashed,
deep into her tongue with broken glass,
with your fist you strike out. I am ready
today, I can reduce the significance of love.
8th May 2007
ismaelson @ : Makeup by Dora Malech
by Dora Malech
My mother does not trust
women without it.
What are they not hiding?
Renders the dead living
and the living more alive.
Everything I say sets
the clouds off blubbering
like they knew the pretty dead.
True, no mascara, no evidence.
Blue sky, blank face. Blank face,
a faithful liar, false bottom.
Sorrow, a rabbit harbored in the head.
The skin, a silly one-act, concurs.
At the carnival, each child's cheek becomes
a rainbow. God, grant me a brighter myself.
Each breath, a game called Live Forever.
I am small. Don't ask me to reconcile
one shadow with another. I admit—
paint the dead pink, it does not make
them sunrise. Paint the living blue,
it does not make them sky, or sea,
a berry, clapboard house, or dead.
God, leave us our costumes,
don't blow in our noses,
strip us to the underside of skin.
Even the earth claims color
once a year, dressed in red leaves
as the trees play Grieving.
(May 2007), http://www.poetrymagazine.org/magazine/0
4th May 2007
ismaelson @ : The Invited by Lucy Ives
by Lucy Ives
she plays the aluminum side
of the refrigerator with one of their drumsticks
the boy with a mohawk says her name
a recollection of his one pair of sneakers
logos bouncing like dimes where he
jacks his knees crossing the street
and took his small muscles off
saying, as they exchanged places on the
greenwood porch, starrily
consumed by beer
“this is something you can never
singing to himself, placing James Dean
over his face
bearing the girl he loves off through
the heat to the cinder block where
they are teaching themselves to speak
daylight; the dented red car like a skull
I’ll remember the refuse in here forever,
soda bottles the color of flowers, souvenirs,
clothing, the gold egyptian head
D. dresses in a pink shirt the color of
running once through the airport to no purpose
her speaking to me as she drives, saying
and in the kitchen with his own shirt
around his head he says
“stay out of my kitchen”
making a meatless soup
of yellow fruit one afternoon
I praise him afterward for this, and
how well he plays pool
in their wind-up bedroom
walls of navy, windows which shake with
every footfall, the filmmaker lights
up a cigarette, and comparing his
eyebrows to each other in secret
begins smoothing his video
making sounds and
the mouths move, in sync
his bed which he claims a ghost
precious his head
when will he remember? I ask myself
as in its dark bluejeans, the specter
makes itself a sandwich behind my
back whenever I sleep
the greenwood porch taken up entire by nesting lions
he came to the door the hungry kind
breathing so I heard, heart of some smaller animal
points of four teeth salted round the heart
he waited on all-fours
pathetic at the perfect center of the door
working with a new sadness, their
taut skin along the ribs and the red
insides of his hands
there, I say, must be where
you keep your blood
he says everyone says that
there was a lot of pale boys going on
about being uneducated that night
one of them, you know, the one with the
his head on the sides
so you thought
of a spine, whenever
over annoyed, or
took himself into
the next room to speak for
that particular smallness
one feels certain those
flat sneakers stand for
he cries out if I appear
there are vipers in green suits somewhere in
the early morning this morning
an owl hisses its way toward the center of town
who knows what anyone told me before
I didn’t believe them
so you thought yourself a believer
they were old-fashioned
they lived kind of like punks
still the serious song won’t go
it’s the only chance I’ve got
scent of the face coming off in the hands
and up above them lies another land
each and every time
I cannot live it
again they say, looking up
[from The Bedazzler
9th January 2007
ismaelson @ : Study Nature by Gertrude Stein
by Gertrude Stein
Was a disappointment
We say it.
Study from nature.
It is very likely.
They said so.
Of turning around.
I will wait.
19th April 2006
ismaelson @ : In Praise of Stones by Gabriela Mistral
Kneeling stones, stones falling in cavalcades, and those never wanting to fall, like a heart become too weary.
Stones resting on their shoulders like dead warriors -- their wounds are sealed with pure silence, not with bandages.
Stones hold scattered gestures like lost children: an eyebrow on the sierra, an ankle in a stone bench.
Stones remember a unified face and want to piece it back together, gesture by gesture, someday.
Stones heavy with sleep, rich with dreams, like a peppercorn guarding pure essence, languid and drowsy, like a tree of conjunctures, stone savagely clutches its treasure of absolute dreams.Kneeling stones, commingled stones, stones falling in cavalcades, and those not wanting to fall, like a heart become too weary.
The headstone destined for Jacob's neck, the stone of mourning is like a number -- without a blush and without dew -- it is just like a number.
Round stone is simply a great eyelid, with eyelashes, like Methuselah's. The hooked summit of the mystical Andes, that flame that doesn't dance, halted abruptly like Lot's wife Sarah. It did not want to answer me when I was a child, and it still does not answer me.
Stones flashing with gold or silver, suddenly pierced by copper, are startled by the intrusion. Stones are irritated by metallic almonds, as though they were invisible darts.Kneeling stones, commingled stones, stones running in phalanxes or throngs, without arriving anywhere.
Ancient river stones from slippery shores are like the drowned -- they hold the same withered vegetation that sticks fast to the hair of the drowned. But tender stones exist; they can touch someone who has been flayed and not hurt him. They pass over his body with a tongue like this own mother's, and they don't grow tired.
Young river stones are pebbles painted like fruit. Yes, they can sing! Once, when I was also five years old, I placed them under my pillow; they made a commotion like a mountain of tots being smothered, or perhaps they took turns singing a round at the nucleus of my dream. They were its masters: tender-aged pebbles came to my sheets and played with me.
Some stones do not want to become tombstones or fountains; they shun a foreign touch and refuse the intrusive inscription in order to make their own gestures, unique language, rise someday.
Mute stones, their hearts are bestowed with a passion that could be given away. In order not to disturb the slumber of their vertiginous almond -- only for that reason, they remain still.
[from Sentence: a journal of prose poetics
(No. 2, 2004), translated by Maria Giachetti]
3rd April 2006
for_esme @ : Lorine Niedecker.
she now lay deaf to death
She could have grown a good rutabaga
in the burial ground
and how she'd have loved these woods
One of her pallbearers said I
like a dumfool followed a deer
wanted to see her jump a fence --
never'd seen a deer jump a fence
the way she runs
19th March 2006
for_esme @ : effort at speech between two people by muriel rukeyser.
Speak to me. Take my hand. What are you now?
I will tell you all. I will conceal nothing.
When I was three, a little child read a story about a rabbit
who died, in the story, and I crawled under a chair:
a pink rabbit: it was my birthday, and a candle
burnt a sore spot on my finger, and I was told to be happy.
Oh, grow to know me. I am not happy. I will be open:
Now I am thinking of white sails against a sky like music,
like glad horns blowing, and birds tilting, and an arm about me.
There was one I loved, who wanted to live, sailing.
Speak to me. Take my hand. What are you now?
When I was nine, I was fruitily sentimental,
fluid: and my widowed aunt played Chopin,
and I bent my head on the painted woodwork, and wept.
I want now to be close to you. I would
link the minutes of my days close, somehow, to your days.
I am not happy. I will be open.
I have liked lamps in evening corners, and quiet poems.
There has been fear in my life. Sometimes I speculate
On what a tragedy his life was, really.
Take my hand. Fist my mind in your hand. What are you now?
When I was fourteen, I had dreams of suicide,
and I stood at a steep window, at sunset, hoping toward death:
if the light had not melted clouds and plains to beauty,
if light had not transformed that day, I would have leapt.
I am unhappy. I am lonely. Speak to me.
I will be open. I think he never loved me:
he loved the bright beaches, the little lips of foam
that ride small waves, he loved the veer of gulls:
he said with a gay mouth: I love you. Grow to know me.
What are you now? If we could touch one another,
if these our separate entities could come to grips,
clenched like a chinese puzzle… yesterday
I stood in a crowded street that was live with people,
and no one spoke a word, and the morning shone.
Everyone silent, moving… Take my hand. Speak to me.
6th March 2006
ismaelson @ : Resurgam by Sherry Mangan
Grimness in silence, Thou, my God, salute,
hooded in purpose, motionless in growth,
broken like hostbread to Thy worship's oath,
intact in essence, one though convolute.
My edge was turned as though my steel were lead:
perceive the dusty mount that marks me; yet
the very self that sinned has no regret,
for I am most myself when I am dead.
Grant me my strength again with moving pain,
that after regrowth may mine edge be keen;
O, come Thou in Thy singleness to glean
my dust and find the missing vital grain.
(note: the god addressed is not Christ but Apollo)
[from No Apology for Poetrie,: and other poems written, 1922-1931
14th February 2006
ismaelson @ : 4 sonnets by Edna St. Vincent Millay
Love, though for this you riddle me with darts,
And drag me at your chariot till I die,--
Oh, heavy prince! Oh, panderer of hearts!--
Yet hear me tell how in their throats they lie
Who shout you mighty: thick about my hair,
Day in, day out, your ominous arrows purr,
Who still am free, unto no querulous care
A fool, and in no temple worshiper!
I, that have bared me to your quiver's fire,
Lifted my face into its puny rain,
Do wreathe you Impotent to Evoke Desire
As you are Powerless to Elicit Pain!
(Now will the god, for blasphemy so brave,
Punish me, surely, with the shaft I crave!)
Oh, think not I am faithful to a vow!
Faithless am I save to love's self alone.
Were you not lovely I would leave you now:
After the feet of beauty fly my own.
Were you not still my hunger's rarest food,
And water ever to my wildest thirst,
I would desert you--think not but I would!--
And seek another as I sought you first.
But you are mobile as the veering air,
And all your charms more changeful than the tide,
Wherefore to be inconsistent is no care:
I have but to continue at your side.
So wanton, light and false, my love, are you,
I am most faithless when I most am true.
I shall forget you presently, my dear,
So make the most of this, your little day,
Your little month, your little half a year,
Ere I forget, or die, or move away,
And we are done forever; by and by
I shall forget you, as I said, but now,
If you entreat me with your loveliest lie
I will protest you with my favourite vow.
I would indeed that love were longer-lived,
And oaths were not so brittle as they are,
But so it is, and nature has contrived
To struggle on without a break thus far,--
Whether or not we find what we are seeking
Is idle, biologically speaking.
Loving you less than life, a little less
Than bitter-sweet upon a broken wall
Or brush-wood smoke in autumn, I confess
I cannot swear I love you not at all.
For there is that about you in this light--
A yellow darkness, sinister of rain--
Which sturdily recalls my stubborn sight
To dwell on you, and dwell on you again.
And I am made aware of many a week
I shall consume, remembering in what way
Your brown hair grows about your brow and cheek,
And what divine absurdities you say:
Till all the world, and I, and surely you,
Will know I love you, whether or not I do.
[from Collected Sonnets of Edna St. Vincent Millay
30th January 2006
ismaelson @ : Winter by John (Brooks) Wheelwright
Rocks cleft and turned to dust revealcleft shells to be as stone; and cricket skullsin powdered light give your quick, analytic mandate:Un-think these things. Gun-roused at duska cock'll bugle "Kyrie." Get the geometry of event.When your lungs failed at warmy mother pulse of dividends revived.Other theorems of Truth; of Beauty, other corollary! As over water when a mill-sluice shuts film ice twitches between inverted tendril and frond, frond and tendril; your rushing brain lay still. Our bold-voluted immortality, fallen is only rock --though proud in ruin, piteous in pride-- Ned. Ned. Snow on a dome, blown by night wind.
[from The Collected Poems of John Wheelwright
; orginally published in Mirrors of Venus: A Novel in Sonnets
12th January 2006
ismaelson @ : I'd Give Up My Soul Itself by Solomon Ibn Gabirol
I'd give up my soul itself for one whose light is like the sun:He softly entreated me, saying: "Drink, and banish your grief and longing--"the wine poured from the beaker's spout a viper in the mouth of a griffon.And I answered him: "Could one contain the sun within a jar that's broken?"But my heart didn't yet know of its power to utterly crush its burden--which was lying safe and secure inside it, like the king on his bed in Bashan.( notesCollapse )
[from Selected Poems of Solomon Ibn Gabirol
, translated by Peter Cole]
4th January 2006
for_esme @ : Once Ever After by Harryette Mullen
There was this princess who wet the bed through many mat-
tresses, she was so attuned. She neither conversed with magical
beasts nor watched her mother turn into a stairwell or a stoop.
Her lips were. Her hair was. Her complexion was. Her beauty
or just her appearance. What she wore. She was born on a
chessboard, with parents and siblings, all royal. Was there a
witch? Was she enchanted, or drugged? When did she decide to
sleep? Dreaming a knight in armor, she thought it meant joust-
ing. His kind attack with streamers. A frog would croak. A
heart would cough after only one bite. Something was red.
There was wet and there was weather. She couldn't make it gold
without his name. Her night shifts in the textile mill. She forgot
she was a changeling peasant girl. Spinning, she got pricked.
That's where roses fell and all but one fairy wept. It remains
that she be buried alive, knowing that a kiss is smaller than a
1st January 2006
mehinda @ : Two Poems (Theognis and Praxilla respectively)
Best of All
Best of all is never to be born, never to see the blood-
orange sun swelter the hills and high meadows.
But once you're born then best of all to hurry on through
the gates of hell and, once inside, lie
down under a caprocked gash of moldering earth.
~TheognisAdonis in the Underworld
Of all the pleasures in the upper world,
what I miss most is sunlight,
after that the stars, a full moon, summer's
late season harvest of fruits
cucumber, apple, pomegranate, pear.
Translated by Sherod Santos
27th December 2005
for_esme @ : Housewife - Anne Sexton
Some women marry houses.
It's another kind of skin; it has a heart,
a mouth, a liver and bowel movements.
The walls are permanent and pink.
See how she sits on her knees all day,
faithfully washing herself down.
Men enter by force, drawn back like Jonah
into their fleshy mothers.
A woman is
That's the main thing.
12th December 2005
ismaelson @ : Self-Portrait, Masturbating by Steve Gehrke
--- after Egon Schiele
Here he is again, distracted, lonely,
pulling at the doll-strings of desire,
fingering his sheet music of moans,
whispers, his holy name, the whole choir
trying to sing the body from its cave,
to ignite the risen body into flames,
though the self, to flee its own decay,
must be beaten, must bloody the reins,
which is why he collapses on the spill-
cloth when he's done, his body half-exhumed
from the mirror, the painting like a meal
half-eaten on the canvas, sloppy, ungroomed,
his eyes deadened, pupils like swatted flies,
and the opened robe swanning from his sides.
by on Slate on 22 November MMV; click here
to hear Mr. Gehrke read his poem to you]
30th November 2005
atruestory @ :
Even now this landscape is assembling.
The hills darken. The oxen
Sleep in their blue yoke,
The fields having been
Picked clean, the sheaves
Bound evenly and piled at the roadside
Among cinquefoil, as the toothed moon rises:
This is the barrenness
Of harvest or pestilence
And the wife leaning out the window
With her hand extended, as in payment,
And the seeds
Distinct, gold, calling
Come here, little one
And the soul creeps out of the tree.
Incidentally, does anyone know where I can find a copy of "Hyacinth" (or even which book it's in)? I'm having a hellofa time finding it.
22nd November 2005
ismaelson @ : Mosaic of a Hare, Corinium by Dan Chiasson
The boats pulling in, the boats pulling out, the top-hat
commerce of the "infant century," crowds, crowds,
"the certainty of others," the bomb
that filled the air with horsehair and the ambulance after:
why wouldn't I hide in my little glass body? I have a clover sprig
made of glass to aspire to, with my glass appetite.
I raise certain questions about art and its relation to stasis,
yet I despise the formalists as naïve and ahistorical.
Here's my problem with America: this "would be" that obliterates
all other moods, playing over and over in people's heads,
the abstract optative that destiny works out.
I don't have the luxury to think in terms of destiny.
What nobody seems to get about me is, though you're made of glass
it doesn't mean you don't have appetites: I do. Or fears: I do.
The day the darkness took the whole basilica, I was afraid;
and equally afraid the day, centures later, they swtiched the lights on.
Let rabbits think in terms of destiny: Whitman, the great
American rabbit poet, the rabbits in the government,
the rabbits that light and the ones that snuff out the fuse,
and all their pretty rabbit children, waiting to be casserole.
[from October 17, 2005 issue of The New Yorker]
20th November 2005
rebirtha @ : Fly - W.S. Merwin
I have been cruel to a fat pigeon
Because he would not fly
All he wanted was to live like a friendly old man
He had let himself become a wreck filthy and confiding
Wild for his food beating the cat off the garbage
Ignoring his mate perpetually snotty at the beak
Smelling waddling having to be
Carried up the ladder at night content
Fly I said throwing him into the air
But he would drop and run back expecting to be fed
I said it again and again throwing him up
As he got worse
He let himself be picked up every time
Until I found him in the dovecote dead
Of the needless efforts
So that is what I am
Pondering his eye that could not
Conceive that I was a creature to run from
I who have always believed too much in words
19th November 2005
ismaelson @ : Affair by Kim Addonizio
God it's sexual, opening a beer when you swore you wouldn't drink tonight,
taking the first deep gulp, the foam backing up in the long amber neck
of the Pacifico bottle as you set it on the counter, the head spilling over
so you bend to fit your mouth against the cold lip
and drink, because what you are, aren't you, is a drinker—maybe not a lush,
not an alcoholic, not yet anyway, but don't you want
a glass of something most nights, don't you need the gesture
of reaching for it, raising it high and swallowing down and savoring
the sweetness, or the scalding, knowing you're going to give yourself to it
like a lover, whether or not he fills up the leaky balloon of your heart—
don't you believe in trying to fill it, no matter what the odds,
don't you believe it still might happen, aren't you that kind of woman?
[from Tell Me]