Something about the way this word is often used sets my teeth on edge–a whiff of self-satisfaction? Of hypocrisy? In any case, that made me doubly pleased to find a poem by Jon Davis with this title that I like without those reservations. It seems appropriate for today, especially as he is the director of the low residency MFA in Creative Writing at the Institute of American Arts:
Forget each slight, each head that turned
Toward something more intriguing—
Red flash of wing beyond the window,
The woman brightly chiming
About the suffering of the world. Forget
The way your best friend told the story
Of that heroic road trip, forgetting that you drove
From Tulsa to Poughkeepsie while he
Slumped dozing under headphones. Forget
The honors handed out, the lists of winners.
Forget the certificates, bright trophies you
Could have, should have, maybe won. Continue reading “Gratitude”
This excerpt is from Brenda Hillman’s most recent book, Extra Hidden Life Among the Days. I had a hard time with it at first, but took a workshop that helped me understand the poems are about struggling to come to terms with the ecological disasters of the current moment, trying to find a way to make poetry in the midst of political, social, and natural disaster. Here’s a brief section from the book:
Angrily Standing Outside in the Wind
—kept losing self control
but how could one lose the self
after reading so much literary theory?
The shorter “i” stood under the cork trees,
the taller “I” remained rather passive;
the brendas were angry at the greed, angry
that the trees would die, had lost interest
in the posturing of the privileged,
Continue reading “A few words from Brenda Hillman”
Last Thursday, Maurya Simon read some of her poems about punctuation at Marin Poetry Center. They were delightful. The next morning, I found this darker one from a poet I don’t know:
The comma is a heart murmur, tremor in hamstring. He is an almost; someone
calling in time about the man staggering out of American Bar into traffic—
mouths gasping into headlights.
He is headlights; two boy quickly push off each other. Commas dangling like
belt buckles from their ankled jeans as they run out to the brushes.
More than pause—comma as toddler asleep on crisp sheets, body fetaled in big snow
beneath I-40. Someone should call in time before comma becomes a period,
, his legs curled in against his body.
Another gem from Poetry Daily:
God Is Not Right, He Is Big
The news isn’t all bad. July and August
were the hottest months in human history,
but a family found the pet tortoise
that went missing in 1982. The low cloud
above me passes under the high clouds
like a souped-up Civic passing on the right.
I’ve been all over this island and still
have no names for most of the trees.
Continue reading “Monday Poem”
I found this wonderful little snippet I photographed from a menu in Chile two years ago:
I love the imagination of the person who wrote this description. I think Whims of the Sea would be a great poem title. Any takers?
This form, from the Japanese, was originally mostly used for travel journals–prose, then a haiku. But in English-language hands, it has become slipped into a looser form, a new way to write about whatever. Here’s one I particularly like:
On Teaching Poetry In A Men’s High Security Prison
I was searched at every edge. I wanted everyone, including me, to be innocent. One inmate squeezed my hand like a letter he’d been hoping for. In the workshop, he read his poem. I applauded. He hugged me. He smelt of stale soap. Leaning in, his stubble sandpapered my softer jaw. He tells me what he did.
He was drunk the night he blacked out, opened his eyes in the kitchen, his wife who wanted divorce, on the floor, dead. I see his wedding ring. I wish I knew her name so I could plant it here. Continue reading “A Haibun”
I’m excited to be reading with the amazing Amanda Moore tomorrow at 2 pm at Gearbox Gallery on West Grand. We’ve woven together a reading about birth, childhood, adolescence, marriage and death, based on a reading I heard at the Community of Writers. I think it’s really going to be fun.
Here’s a sample poem.
Jung on Dying
Is the psyche bound to the body?
Jung thinks not.
the psyche travels
unconstrained by matter.
As for death, the unconscious
Those who live as if
the rich cloth of time
were unrolling endlessly before them
are better off.
It’s not a question of belief.
We need salt, he says,
does it matter why?
Food tastes better with it.