A Poem A Day

Polyamory, with Knives

by Jeanann Verlee

Just because you fell in love with the river
doesn’t mean you must feed it your bones.

You can take new lovers. Wine, for instance.
And bread. Difficult shoes. Little blue pills.

The first boy’s knife. The bowie, the buck,
the chef’s. Switch, pocket, butcher, butter.

You can submerge in a hotel bath, drainage
ditch, Newton Creek, East River. The sea.

Eat the whole pan of lasagna. The entire box
of Thin Mints. You can go down in mimosas.

You can lose yourself in Clifton, or Sexton,
Walker, Hooks, Rich, Atwood. Or Hughes.

Even the boxer whose poems sewed you shut.
Whose hands pulled you from the red red tub.

The boy who became boxer who became
man who became poet who became husband.

Yes, you can love the river. The knife. The pills.
The wine. You can love a thousand lonelinesses.

You can love the man and each of his hands.
Love the brine and the meat and all the tiny ruins.

(Source: nailedmagazine.com)

Assistance

by Darrin Ciccotelli

You have the vague hope. Like a fritillary
it ekes along the perimeter of what
you can see. It is some consequence of youth,
this idea that you can be revived.
Until then, each day seems like that
apartment you’ve lived in—unfurnished,
wet with primer. Then the weekend is gone,
television having usurped it with
the dressage portion of the event. Increasingly
you rely on the idea that you were nearly
understood. The sky all fumes.
Inside, a refrigerated lily holds itself
still. The post-industrial town fits its
hours in envelopes. So you assuage yourself
with the person you never knew.
She sits in the mind like a
telephone. The feeling can’t help be
compounded. I read the article that said
we weren’t supposed to look each
other in the eyes. Without being asked,
the unceremonious plot resets itself. You are
in love. Everyone, at every corner,
suddenly like road flares.

(Source: bombmagazine.org)

Forget

by Czeslaw Milosz

Forget the suffering
You caused others.
Forget the suffering
Others caused you.
The waters run and run,
Springs sparkle and are done,
You walk the earth you are forgetting.

Sometimes you hear a distant refrain.
What does it mean, you ask, who is singing?
A childlike sun grows warm.
A grandson and a great-grandson are born.
You are led by the hand once again.

The names of the rivers remain with you.
How endless those rivers seem!
Your fields lie fallow,
The city towers are not as they were.
You stand at the threshold mute.

Small Boy

by Norman MacCaig

He picked up a pebble
and threw it into the sea.

And another, and another.
He couldn’t stop.

He wasn’t trying to fill the sea.
He wasn’t trying to empty the beach.

He was just throwing away,
nothing else but.

Like a kitten playing
he was practising for the future

when there’ll be so many things
he’ll want to throw away

if only his fingers will unclench
and let them go.

Transcendental Critique

by Melissa Broder

Always there is a schism
between skeleton
and never asking for a skeleton
tearing around the kitchen.
You enter with biscuits
and each contains a gemstone
that tastes like its color:
ruby is cherry,
pink tourmaline pussy.
The word for wish is want.
Knowledge gets us what?
Not enough biscuits.
Sick dogs sniff each other out.
I build an oven over your mouth
and set the door on fire.
Grunts are still possible.
Let’s corpse.

The Haunted Palace

by Edgar Allan Poe

In the greenest of our valleys,
By good angels tenanted,
Once a fair and stately palace -
Radiant palace - reared its head.
In the monarch Thought’s dominion -
It stood there !
Never seraph spread a pinion
Over fabric half so fair.

Banners yellow, glorious, golden,
On its roof did float and flow;
(This - all this - was in the olden
Time long ago)
And every gentle air that dallied,
In that sweet day,
Along the ramparts plumed and pallid,
A winged odor went away.

Wanderers in that happy valley
Through two luminous windows saw
Spirits moving musically
To a lute’s well-tunéd law,
Round about a throne, where sitting
Porphyrogene!
In state his glory well befitting,
The ruler of the realm was seen.

And all with pearl and ruby glowing
Was the fair palace door,
Through which came flowing, flowing, flowing,
And sparkling evermore,
A troop of Echoes whose sweet duty
Was but to sing,
In voices of surpassing beauty,
The wit and wisdom of their king.

But evil things, in robes of sorrow,
Assailed the monarch’s high estate ;
(Ah, let us mourn, for never morrow
Shall dawn upon him, desolate !)
And, round about his home, the glory
That blushed and bloomed
Is but a dim-remembered story
Of the old time entombed.

And travellers now within that valley,
Through the red-litten windows, see
Vast forms that move fantastically
To a discordant melody ;
While, like a rapid ghastly river,
Through the pale door,
A hideous throng rush out forever,
And laugh - but smile no more.

Desdichada

by Muriel Rukeyser

I.

For that you never acknowledged me, I acknowledge
the spring’s yellow detail, the every drop of rain,
the anonymous unacknowledged men and women.
The shine as it glitters in our child’s wild eyes,
one o’clock at night.       This river, this city,
the years of the shadow on the delicate skin
of my hand, moving in time.
Disinherited, annulled, finally disacknowledged
and all of my own asking.        I keep that wild dimension
of life and making and the spasm
upon my mouth as I say this word of acknowledge
to you forever.        Ewig.        Two o’clock at night.

II.

While this my day and my people are a country not yet born
it has become an earth I can
acknowledge.       I must.        I know what the
disacknowledgment does.        Then I do take you,
but far under consciousness, knowing
that under under flows a river wanting
the other :  to go open-handed in Asia,
to cleanse the tributaries and the air, to make for making,
to stop selling death and its trash, pour plastic down men’s throats,
to let this child find, to let men and women find,
knowing the seeds in us all.        They do say Find.
I cannot acknowledge it entire.        But I will.
A beginning, this moment, perhaps, and you.

III.

Death flowing down past me, past me, death
marvelous, filthy, gold,
in my spine in my sex upon my broken mouth
and the whole beautiful mouth of the child;
shedding power over me
death
if I acknowledge him.
Leading me
in my own body
at last in the dance.

The Star-Spangled Turban

by Amit Majmudar

Hot pink frosting
on my chocolate-
cupcake noggin,

switched-on lightbulb-
yellow, tulip-
bulb topheavy

orange, sky-blue,
bruise-blue, navy
thought cloud, darkening:

Any towel,
any shawl will
serve as well to

bind this open
wound atop me,
mark me off as

not quite level-
headed, tops on
any watchlist.

It’s Old Glory
that I choose this
time: I pleat her,

sweep her, set her
on my head as
reverently as

any U.S.
M.C. honor
guard triangle

on a coffin.

(Source: The Awl)

The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner

by Randall Jarrell

From my mother’s sleep I fell into the State,
And I hunched in its belly till my wet fur froze.
Six miles from earth, loosed from its dream of life,
I woke to black flak and the nightmare fighters.
When I died they washed me out of the turret with a hose.

Believe Me When I Say

by Luis J. Rodriguez

water is the skin of the earth
trains are arteries with corpuscles of people
a sigh is an ancestor praying
a woman’s body is suspended over the land
tears come from clouds in your head
writing a poem is like fathering a river
waiting is the art of desire
something about a city makes you want to kill
fetuses scribble on the walls of wombs