Read it now at Cagibi!
March 19, 2018
We are locked out of the playground
because this morning a man
so young he books like a boy
escaped from Denver Health and the boy
may or may not have murdered
another man yesterday so the boy
was wearing handcuffs and his legs
were bound in iron bars and
he was wearing an orange jumpsuit
so he should have been easy to find
yet no one could find him so
five blocks away my daughter’s school
is under lockout which means
no one can come inside
and though texts and phone calls
from the school assure us the children are safe
we worry and wait just outside the playground fence
and imagine the boy in the school with a gun
because at this very moment in another state
a boy is entering a school with a gun
and beginning to shoot and the children
are pushing file cabinets against doorways
and huddling in closets and though
we don’t know any of this yet I see her
on the swings, the angel, she is smiling at us
whispering something we can’t make out
and just before the bell rings making us all jump and
startling the angel away I hear
her silvery wings swishing in the breeze
I’m posting a series of poems and excerpts from poems and essay that I love. Today’s is from Virginia Woolf’s “A Room of One’s Own.” This except encourages me to keep writing “through obscurity.”
from Virginia Woolf’s “A Room of One’s Own”
… if we face the fact, for it is a fact, that there is no arm to cling to, but that we go alone and that our relation is to the world of reality and not only to the world of men and women, then the opportunity will come and the dead poet who was Shakespeare’s sister will put on the body which she has so often laid down. Drawing her life from the lives of the unknown who were her forerunners, as her brother did before her, she will be born. As for her coming without that preparation, without that effort on our part, without that determination that when she is born again she shall find it possible to live and write her poetry, that we cannot expect, for that would be impossible. But I maintain that she would come if we worked for her, and that so to work, even in poverty and obscurity, is worthwhile.
I’m posting a series of poems and excerpts from poems and essay that I love. But today’s is a painting! It’s John Wilde’s Happy, Crazy, American Animals and a Man and Lady at My Place. This is the feeling I am going for in my best poems.
John Wilde, Happy, Crazy, American Animals and a Man and Lady at My Place, 1961
I’m posting a series of poems and excerpts from poems and essay that I love. Today’s is Ruth Stone’s “Train Ride.” This is one of the few poems I have memorized. Its duality is outside of reality to me, in a magical and reassuring way. It’s what I want all my poems to be.
All things come to an end;
small calves in Arkansas,
the bend of the muddy river.
Do all things come to an end?
No, they go on forever.
They go on forever, the swamp,
the vine-choked cypress, the oaks
rattling last year’s leaves,
the thump of the rails, the kite,
the still white stilted heron.
All things come to an end.
The red clay bank, the spread hawk,
the bodies riding this train,
the stalled truck, pale sunlight, the talk;
the talk goes on forever,
the wide dry field of geese,
a man stopped near his porch
to watch. Release, release;
between cold death and a fever,
send what you will, I will listen.
All things come to an end.
No, they go on forever.
I’m posting a series of poems and excerpts from poems and essay that I love. Today’s is Yannis Ritsos’s “January 21.” Oh, to have written that last image.
You’re not searching.
How nice it is tonight.
Two birds fell asleep in your pocket.
I’m posting a series of poems and excerpts from poems and essay that I love. But today’s is a book recommendation: John Brehm’s anthology The Poetry of Mindfulness, Impermanence and Joy. This is the perfect last-minute gift for any reader on your list, or anyone who might enjoy some beautiful and accessible poems for read in 2018.
I’m posting a series of poems and excerpts from poems and essay that I love. Today’s is Russell Edson’s “With Sincerest Regrets.” This poem cracks me up. I love making poems funny.
WITH SINCEREST REGRETS
Like a white snail the toilet slides into the living room, demanding to be loved.
It is impossible, and we tender our sincerest regrets.
In the book of the heart there is no mention made of plumbing.
And though we have spent our intimacy many times with you, you belong to a rather unfortunate reference, which we would rather not embrace…
The toilet slides out of the living room like a white snail, flushing with grief…
I’m posting a series of poems and excerpts from poems and essay that I love. Today’s is Charles Wright’s “WHAT DO YOU WRITE ABOUT, WHERE DO YOUR IDEAS COME FROM?”
“Never again, never again” is often the feeling that spurs a poem in me.
WHAT DO YOU WRITE ABOUT, WHERE DO YOUR IDEAS COME FROM?
Landscape, of course, the idea of God and language
itself, that pure grace
which is invisible and sure and clear,
fall equinox two hours old,
pine cones dangling and doomed over peach tree and privet,
clouds bulbous and buzzard-traced.
The Big Empty is also a subject of some note,
dark dark and never again,
the missing word and there you have it,
heart and heart beat,
never again and never again,
backdrop of beack yard and earth and sky
jury-rigged carefully into place,
wind from the west and then some,
everything up and running hard,
everything under way,
never again never again.
Charles Wright, Appalachia