Tuesday, July 15, 2014

a new(ish) poem

as this moment
this moment you hold

as this moment passes
you hold it bright & shimmering pulse

how to invest?
in eternity?

how to hold it tender’d cradle
breathly deeping


Wednesday, April 30, 2014

national poetry month, day thirty: edward van vliet

The sky is beautiful tonight.
Or not the sky, really. The stars?
Not that either.

Somewhere a father is
putting his children to bed,
kissing them on their foreheads;
somewhere a young girl is saying her prayers;
somewhere a baby is crying,
someone is having an argument about who to blame.
Somewhere a young couple
is passionately making love for the first time,
a couple with many years under their belts
is relaxing in the usual habits,
or balancing the budget,
or planning a vacation.
Somewhere music is playing,
and a young man is fingering the frets of his guitar,
a young woman is exploring the edges of her voice.

Maybe it’s the silence
(though I don’t really enjoy silence).
Maybe it’s that there is stillness,
and that there is no regret right now,
only memory.
I taste them again,
roll them around my mouth,
tonguing their surfaces,
smoothing out the ridges.

I, too, have been someone
acquainted with the night.
I used it as a veil,
cultivated secrets – hidden exchanges.

I have taken to my bed beautiful women,
and less beautiful women;
I have embraced beautiful boys
and used them according to my own desires.
Though it really wasn’t about desire.
Nor beauty. Nor loneliness
(though I know you were thinking it).

I spent many nights
dancing under lights, or not.
I was content to dance alone;
enjoying the sensation of my body
moving through space,
the presence of other bodies,
the sweat and voices –
how to marry impulse and gesture,
the call and response, calculated displays.

Some nights I sat in my living room or on my bed,
high, and wept.
Some nights I wandered aimlessly along the city streets.
Some nights I was held a prisoner of hope –
mine or others’
- grasping at dreams or rumours,
looking for purchase.
Sometimes I crawled, or leapt –
I stumbled more often than I would care to admit.

I learned this:
all things are under pressure.
Sometimes they hold firm.
Sometimes they crumble.

All you can do is wipe your hands
- hopefully they will come clean –
and just keep moving.

That is comforting,
if not beautiful.


April 2014

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

national poetry month, day twenty-nine: robert currie

For a Poet Facing the End

You live in a narrow bed and wait for death
while I lift and work with your limp left arm
and listen to your steady, rasping breath,
the ventilator easing our alarm.
Your right arm in turn, your legs, your feet
I life, rotate and rub--it's exercise
or passes for that in one who once was fleet
in mind and body, though now your thighs
are shrunken to a fraction of your mind,
which rails and shakes like any frantic child
who rages at his parents--dumb and blind--
and needs only half a chance to run wild,
but you, your voice silenced, a final drought,
you mourn for every poem you can't get out.

Currie, Robert. "For a Poet Facing the End" Poet to Poet. Roorda, Julie and Elana Wolff, eds. Toronto: Guernica Editions, Inc., 2012. 137.

Monday, April 28, 2014

national poetry month, day twenty-eight: w. s. merwin

A Calling

My father is telling me the story of Samuel
not for the first time and yet he is not quite repeating
nor rehearsing nor insisting he goes on telling me
in the empty green church smelling of carpet and late dust
where he calls to mind words of the prophets to mumble in a remote language
and the prophets are quoting the Lord who is someone they know
who has been talking to them my father tells what the Lord
said to them and Samuel listened and heard someone calling someone
and Samuel answered Here I am and my father is saying
that is the answer that should be given he is telling me
that someone is calling and that is the right answer
he is telling me a story he wants me to believe
telling me the right answer and the way in which it was spoken
in that story he wants to believe in which someone is calling

Merwin, W. S. "A Calling". The Body Electric: America's Best Poetry from The American Poetry Review. Berg, Stephen, David Bonanno and Arthur Vogelsang, Eds. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2000. 441.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

national poetry month, day twenty-seven: stanley kunitz

Touch Me

Summer is late, my heart.
Words plucked out of the air
some forty years ago
when I was wild with love
and torn almost in two
scatter like leaves this night
of whistling wind and rain.
It is my heart that's late,
it is my song that's flown.
Outdoors all afternoon
under a gunmetal sky
staking my garden down,
I kneeled to the crickets trilling
underfoot as if about
to burst from their crusty shells;
and like a child again
marveled to hear so clear
and brave a music pour
from such a small machine.
What makes the engine go?
Desire, desire, desire.
The longing for the dance
stirs in the buried life.
One season only,
                     and it's done.
So let the battered old willow
thrash against the windowpanes
and the house timbers creak.
Darling, do you remember
the man you married? Touch me,
remind me who I am.

Kunitz, Stanley "Touch Me" The Best of the Best American Poetry: 25th Anniversary Edition. Pinsky, Robert, ed. New York: Scribner Poetry, 2013. 134-5.