Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Could James Brown and Gerald Ford Have Known?

That they'd be strolling into the next days together?
Today's poem was no great find on my part but on the part of Poetry Daily.


My little lack-of-light, my swaddled soul,
December baby. Hush, for it is dark,
and will grow darker still. We must embark
directly. Bring an orange as the toll
for Charon: he will be our gondolier.
Upon the shore, the season pans for light,
and solstice fish, their eyes gone milky white,
come bearing riches for the dying year:
solstitial kingdom. It is yours, the mime
of branches and the drift of snow. With shaking
hands, Persephone, the winter's wife,
will tender you a gift. Born in a time
of darkness, you will learn the trick of making.
You shall make your consolation all your life.

Amanda Jernigan
Volume CLXXXVII, Number 3
December 2005

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Happy Channukah!

A new pretty clock with numbers that hang in the air.A banner of red, glittery, light sprinkled through a dark kitchen and you Bird, you cause some eerie glowing everywhere you go.
Night Four--the middle candle of the week and a deeply-cool surprise from a favorite person. (If this were a grade-school valentine it would read: I love "keeping time" with you, Valentine!)
Efharisto, Andra.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

January's Wild Light Come Early

If the wild light of this January day is true
I pledge me to be truthful unto you
whom I cannot ever stop remembering
J. Ashbery

Friday, December 15, 2006

A Keeping-Place

All this studying of poetry makes me crave a keeping-place for my favorites. This is what I do like about blogs--the keeping. Today's post is stolen from Teresa Ballard's blog and I mention that because she is my new find. Her poem in Best New Poets 2006--yum! (available now and containing also one of the most beautiful poems you'll ever read--not surprising in that it's written by Steph Rogers). If you buy this anthology and come to AWP with it, I can arrange your copy be signed by Ms. Rogers. I think Eduardo Corral is there, and Amanda Auchter, too? Just the rumor of those people should get your cursor heading over to Barnes & Noble.

Little Things

After she's gone to camp, in the early
evening I clear our girl's breakfast dishes
from the rosewood table, and find a small
crystallized pool of maple syrup, the
grains standing there, round, in the night, I
rub it with my fingertip
as if I could read it, this raised dot of
amber sugar, and this time
when I think of my father, I wonder why
I think of my father, of the beautiful blood-red
glass in his hand, or his black hair gleaming like a
broken-open coal. I think I learned to
love the little things about him
because of all the big things
I could not love, no one could, it would be wrong to.
So when I fix on this tiny image of resin
or sweep together with the heel of my hand a
pile of my son's sunburn peels like
insect wings, where I peeled his back the night before camp,
I am doing something I learned early to do, I am
paying attention to small beauties,
whatever I have -
as if it were our duty to
find things to love, to bind ourselves to this world.

- Sharon Olds

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

At the Annie-Fest

Mr. Mine

Notice how he has numbered the blue veins
in my breast. Moreover there are ten freckles.
Now he goes left. Now he goes right.
He is buiding a city, a city of flesh.
He's an industrialist. He has starved in cellars
and, ladies and gentlemen, he's been broken by iron,
by the blood, by the metal, by the triumphant
iron of his mother's death. But he begins again.
Now he constructs me. He is consumed by the city.
>From the glory of words he has built me up.
>From the wonder of concrete he has molded me.
He has given me six hundred street signs.
The time I was dancing he built a museum.
He built ten blocks when I moved on the bed.
He constructed an overpass when I left.
I gave him flowers and he built an airport.
For traffic lights he handed out red and green
lollipops. Yet in my heart I am go children slow.

Anne Sexton

Let me be ten

Angel of blizzards and blackouts, do you know raspberries,
those rubies that sat in the gree of my grandfather's garden?
You of the snow tires, you of the sugary wings, you freeze
me out. Let me crawl through the patch. Let me be ten.
Let me pick those sweet kisses, thief that I was,
as the sea on my left slapped its applause.

Only my grandfather was allowed there. Or the maid
who came with a scullery pan to pick for breakfast.
She of the rols that floated in the air, she of the inlaid
woodwork all greasy with lemon, she of the feather and dust,
not I. Nonetheless I came sneaking across the salt lawn
in bare feet and jumping-jack pajamas in the spongy dawn.

Oh Angel of the blizzard and blackout, Madam white face,
take me back to that red mouth, that July 21st place.

Anne Sexton

Sunday, December 10, 2006

A Little Fudging and Voila!

I have seen much stronger renderings of Chicky's great assignment. But since my fellow reindeer are not writing their promised poems, I feel free to improvise.
Calling the following carabou out to join me: Wanda, Steph, Kathrine, maybe Natasha? Other KSU kittycats? And you, To--you've got thirty seven sexy things to say soon. Say them this way?

Beach Balls for Termites
Let us shout to the sharp clouds
for an answer. Look to bruises
and kisses for clues. These roses
loud colors, beautiful hair,
a word from our sponsors and we’re
there in an old Ford pickup, wearing

out our welcome. In the rain,
we drive ourselves wild, in the rain,
we are copacetic, cool-red
a wavering flame as a lean-to.
We swing like a match to the lips:
smoke this already, or douse

whole cities and their choke-cherry
ways. Sometimes we glue ourselves
to televisions, thin belief,
the sweet glue we peeled back from skin
to make ghost-skin, a half-plastic palm:
lifeline, heartline a fortune snaked-out

Friday, December 08, 2006

Let me say this about that

Lesley Jenike writes lovely poems. I heart them major. And besides all of that, and her matter-of-fact live gorgeousness and great fashion sense, she is generous enough to watch out for my work and give me the heads-up that my poem (written in and of Cincinnati) appears on Verse Daily.
I dedicate today's reading to my mommy--Tall Stacks Collaborator and to Lesley J. because she is. A certain boy-wonder of verse is wound through every couplet, too. A certain wonder keeps the fireworks blooming every day.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Glorious Women Gather

Maira wears the ruffled part of December. Something peculiar this season travels
But Maira plays canasta on a floral sofa and marvels at the merry mints of days in their little tin canisters. She happens to be. She happens to be utterly alive. There is truth in every cemetery and it hangs in the trees with the hawks—big as a Labrador puppy—with eyes calmly hungry. There is truth in the burning-hot magenta, in Russian men in big, black coats and glorious women and jam—most of all jam.

Spiked & Strongly Gleaming


I am sorry not to have written you sooner.
We are peculiar forms, like someone's old papers rifled quickly through
But not read before the burning.
How to speak of the icy cave-like place I lately feel,
Its white reluctance dividing me from all things I desire and see.
I think it must often be the case
That one holds within oneself a cold guardedness, expectant, deeply quarried,
The way mistakes grow magnified inside the mind, spiked and strongly

How skilled, how dominant, this white unswaying place.
And I wonder how, bred from our churning, it constructs itself so strongly
Like the crush of light I sometimes at the noonhour hear.

LAURIE SHECK (from Pool's website, while you're there, the ever-great Bruce Smith is not to be missed.)

I Favorited You 433 Days Ago

For what it's worth.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

We Who Move

At This Moment Of Time
Delmore Schwartz

Some who are uncertain compel me. They fear
The Ace of Spades. They fear
Love offered suddenly, turning from the mantelpiece,
Sweet with decision. And they distrust
The fireworks by the lakeside, first the spuft,
Then the colored lights, rising.
Tentative, hesitant, doubtful, they consume
Greedily Caesar at the prow returning,
Locked in the stone of his act and office.
While the brass band brightly bursts over the water
They stand in the crowd lining the shore
Aware of the water beneath Him. They know it. Their eyes
Are haunted by water

Disturb me, compel me. It is not true
That “no man is happy,” but that is not
The sense which guides you. If we are
Unfinished (we are, unless hope is a bad dream),
You are exact. You tug my sleeve
Before I speak, with a shadow’s friendship,
And I remember that we who move
Are moved by clouds that darken midnight.

(I miss you terribly)

Saturday, December 02, 2006

There's nothing wrong with Ohio

Except the snow and the rain... (Bowling for Soup says)

Last night I read for my own Cincinnati peeps and it was a great reminder why I stayed here, the miraculous happenings of my book and these people who are so amazing and so kind, humble, and generous. I'm making like a tree, Dr. A. and I seem to be sapping. So anyway, my friends here--faculty and students--rocketh beyond. Thank you, all.