Pushcart Prize Nomination from Cagibi!

I am thrilled to share that Cagibi nominated “My American Childhood in Reverse” for a Pushcart Prize!

Read the announcement here. I am unbelievably honored that it was nominated alongside such other wonderful poems and authors.

And this is what a Pushcart Prize is. I am not sure when they announce the winners… but send me good luck for this (difficult, terrifying, healing) poem (a sestina!) that I wrote in 2015–and that was rejected at 40 other journals before Cagibi accepted it for their wonderful journal–and then nominated for a Pushcart.

The Angel of Death Comes to the Playground

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

from Virginia Woolf’s “A Room of One’s Own”

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.

Virgina Woolf

Ruth Stone’s “Train Ride”

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.

Train Ride

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.

                                    Ruth Stone

 

 

Yannis Ritsos’s “January 21”

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.

 

January 21

 

A cessation.

You’re not searching.

How nice it is tonight.

Two birds fell asleep in your pocket.

 

                                                      Yannis Ritsos

Russell Edson’s “With Sincerest Regrets”

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…

 

                                                Russell Edson