Tuesday, January 26, 2010

someone should write me a love poem, but i'm stuck doing it myself

someone should write me a love poem, but i'm stuck doing it myself
by Daphne Gottleib

1. when i was in high school, i had to memorize the
conjugation of the latin verb "to love."

2. i have no idea what happened to my mother's wedding
ring. last night at 12:17 am, i really needed to know.

3. "beautiful" and "amazing" just mean "beautiful" and
"amazing." nothing more.

4. i memorized the latin verb by singing the forms to the
tune of "the mexican hat dance":

amo
amas
amat

amamus
amatis
amant

5. someone called at 1:19 in the morning. the area code is
from somewhere in arizona. i don't think i know anyone
in arizona. there wasn't a message.

6. if someone lets you sleep over and has to go to work while
you're still asleep and they let you sleep in even though though
they don't really know you, it's nice to leave a thank you
note. or make their bed.

7. i haven't been beautiful in days and i need more sleep.
don't think about it too much. it doesn't mean a thing.

8. i have had my shirts altered so i can wear my heart on my
sleeve.

9. told me i'm beautiful and amazing and where are you,
who told me i'm beautiful and amazing, next time please
write it down, i will be beautiful all day after i make the
bed, amazing after i throw the latex away; how is it, the
everywhere of our hands and no trace of handwriting
anywhere

10. i still sing:

amo
amas
amat

amamus
amatis
amant

watch your tense and case

watch your tense and case
by daphne gottlieb

oh baby
i want to be your direct object.
you know, that is to say
i want to be on the other
side of all the verbs i know
you know how to use.

i've seen you conjugate:
i touch
you touched
you heard
she knows
who cares

i'm interested in
a few decent prepositions:
above, over, inside, atop,
below, around and
i'm sure there are more
right on the tip of
your tongue.

i am ready to spend
the present perfect
splitting your infinitive
there's an art to the way you
dangle your participle and

since we're being informal it's okay to
use a few contractions, like
wasn't (going to)
shouldn't (have)
and a conjunction:
but (did it anyway)

and i'm really really glad
you're not into dependent
clauses since all i'm really
interested in is your
bad, bad grammar
and your exclamation point.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Dithyramb of a Happy Woman

Dithyramb of a Happy Woman
by Anna Swir

Song of excess,
strength, mighty tenderness,
pliant ecstasy.
Magnificence
lovingly dancing.

I quiver as a body in rapture,
I quiver as a wing,
I am an explosion,
I overstep myself,
I am a fountain,
I have its resilience.
Excess,
a thousand excesses,
strength,
song of gushing strength.

There are gifts in me,
flowerings of abundance,
curls of light are sobbing,
a flame is foaming, its lofty ripeness
is ripening.
Oceans of glare,
rosy as the palate
of a big mouth in ecstasy.

I am astonished
up to my nostrils, I snort,
a snorting universe of astonishment
inundates me.
I am gulping excess, I am choking with fullness,
I am impossible as reality.

The Door is Open

The Door is Open
by Anna Swir

No, I don't want to tame you,
you'd lose your animal charm.
Your wiliness and nervousness
excite me,
they belong to your exotic breed.

You can't escape me
because the door is always open.
You can't betray me
because I don't demand fidelity.

Give me your hand,
we'll dance
through the laughing darkness.
With sacred bells
on our arms and legs,
the movement of the dance
as supple as ancient Arabic writing,
our hair singing
like a Greek chorus.

Elemental bliss
organised into a mystery play.
Only just domesticated,
like you.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Report on Human Beings

Report on Human Beings
by Michael Goldman

You know about desks and noses,
proteins, mortgages, orchestras,
nationalities, contraceptives;
you have our ruins and records,
but they won't tell you
what we were like.

We were distinguished
by our interest in scenery;
we could look at things for hours
without using or breaking them--
and there was a touch of desperation, not to be found
in any other animal,
in the looks of love we directed
at our children.

We were treacherous of course.
Like anything here--
winds, dogs, the sun--
we could turn against you unexpectedly,
we could let you down.
But what was remarkable about us
and which you will not believe
is that we alone,
with the exception of a few pets
who probably learned it from us,
when betrayed
were frequently surprised.

We were one of a million species
who continually cried out
or silently wept with pain.
I am proud that we alone resented
taking part in the chorus.

Yes, some of us
like to cause pain.
Yes, most of us
sometimes
liked to cause pain,
but I am proud that most of us
were ashamed
afterward.

Our love of poetry would have amused you;
we were so proud of language
we thought we invented it
(and thus failed to notice
the speech of the animals,
the birds' repeated warnings,
the whispered intelligence
of mutant cells).

We did invent boredom,
a fruitful state.
It hid the size of our desires.
We were spared many murders,
many religions
because we could say, "I am bored."
A kind of clarity
came when we said it
and we could go to Paris or the movies,
give useful parties, master languages,
rather than sink our teeth in our lover's throat
and shake till things felt right again.

Out of the same pulsing world
you know,
out of gases, whorls,
fronds, feelers, jellies,
we devised hard edges,
strings of infinite tension stretched
to guide us.
The mind's pure snowflake
was our map.
Lines, angles, outlines
not to be found in rocks or seas
or living matter
or in the holes of space,
how strange these shapes must look to you,
at odds with everything,
uncanny, broken from the flow,
I think they must be for you
what we called art.

What was most wonderful about us
was our kindness,
but of this it is impossible to speak.
Only someone who knows our cruelty,
who knows the fears we always lived with,
fear of inside and outside, smooth and rough,
soft and hard, wet and dry, touch and no touch,
only someone who understands the great palace we built
on the axis of time
out of our fear and cruelty and called history,
only those who have lived in the anger
of a great modern city,
who saw the traffic in the morning
and the police at night
can know how heartbreaking
our kindness was.

Let me put it this way.
One of us said, "I think
our life is not as good
as the mind warrants,"
another, "It is hard
to be alone and alive at the same time."
To understand these statements
you would have to be human.

Our destruction as a species
was accidental.
Characteristically
we blamed it on ourselves,
which neither the eagle
nor the dinosaur would do.

Look closely around you,
study our instruments,
scan the night sky.
We were alien.
Nothing in the universe
resembles us.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Strings

Strings
by Ruth Stone


We pop into life the way
Particles pop in and out
Of the continuum.
We are a seething mass
Of probability.
And probably I love you.
The evil of larva
And the evil of stars
Is a formula for the future.
Some bodies can
Thrust their arms into
a flame and be instantly
cured of this world,
while others sicken.
Why think, little brother
Like the moon, spit out like
A broken tooth.
"Oh," groans the world.
The outer planets,
The fizzing sun, here we come
With our luggage.
Look at the clever things
We have made out of
A few building blocks—
O, fabulous continuum.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Ivy Crown

The Ivy Crown
by William Carlos Williams

Romance has no part in it.
The business of love is
cruelty which,
by our wills,
we transform
to live together.
It has seasons,
for and against,
whatever the heart
fumbles in the dark
to assert
toward the end of May.
Just as the nature of briars
is to tear the flesh,
I have proceeded
through them.
Keep
the briars out,
they say.
You cannot live
and keep free of
briars.

-

At our age the imagination
across the sorry facts
lifts us
to make roses
stand before thorns
Sure
love is cruel
and selfish
and totally obtuse
at least, blinded by light,
young love is.
But we are older,
I to love
and you to be loved,
We have
no matter how,
by our wills survived
to keep
the jeweled prize
always
at our finger tips.
We will it so
and so it is
past all accident.

Asphodel, That Greeny Flower

Asphodel, That Greeny Flower
by William Carlos Williams

I cannot say
that I have gone to hell
for your love
but often
found myself there
in your pursuit.
I do not like it
and wanted to be
in heaven. Hear me out.
Do not turn away.
I have learned much in my life
from books
and out of them
about love.
Death
is not the end of it.


-


Silence can be complex too,
but you do not get far
with silence.

-

What power has love but forgiveness?
In other words
by its intervention
what has been done
can be undone.

-

Having your love
I was rich.
Thinking to have lost it
I am tortured
and cannot rest.

-

Don't think
that because I say this
in a poem
it can be treated lightly
or that the facts will not uphold it.
Are facts not flowers
and flowers facts
or poems flowers
or all works of the imagination
interchangeable?
Which proves
that love
rules them all, for then
You will be my queen
my queen of love
forever more.