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POEM-A-DAY 2002
PAD
April is National Poetry Month and we always celebrated in our stores and online with our POEM A DAY program. Each and every customer in the store got a printed copy of the day's poem and every one on our email list had the poem emailed their way. We shared some of our favorite poems this way from 2000 to when we closed our doors for the last time. All poetry books were 10% OFF for the entire month as well.
Enjoy the poems.
 

— other poems from other years: 2000 | 2001 | 2003 | 2005 | 2006 | 2009

A special note before the POEM A DAY poems
The following poem is by a special person that we lost in April of 2002. Hanna Bauer had read her poetry several times in our bookstore over the years, and she stopped by the store often. It always brought a smile to our faces whenever we saw Hanna and Herbert coming through our doors. The name The Next Chapter was a suggested by the Bauers - "What could be apter than the Next Chapter." Enjoy this short poem by Hanna that was on
the program at her memorial service. She will be missed by so many.

RESURRECTION

I will return
when this benighted feast has run its course.
The bench where once we sat still holds two shadows
upright-face to face.
I will return when the musicians leave
so you and I may rest
and quietly recount
those exploits that were never told by us.


Hanna Bauer



April 1

Don't worry, spiders,
I keep house
casually.

~~~~~

I'm going out,
flies, so relax,
make love.

~~~~~

Even with insects--
some can sing,
some can't.

~~~~~

A huge frog and I,
staring at each other,
neither of us moves.

~~~~~

Insects on a bough,
floating downriver,
still singing.

~~~~~
   
The toad! It looks like
it could belch
a cloud.

~~~~~

The dragonfly
dressed in red,
off to the festival.

~~~~~

These sea slugs,
they just don't seem
Japanese.

~~~~~

One human being,
one fly,
in a large room.

~~~~~

Don't kill that fly
Look--it's wringing its hands,
wringing its feet.

~~~~~

     Kobayashi Issa
     Essential Haiku
     Ecco



April 2

THE POEM THAT TOOK THE PLACE OF A MOUNTAIN

There it was, word for word,
The poem that took the place of a mountain.

He breathed its oxygen,
Even when the book lay turned in the dust of
his table.

It reminded him how he had needed
A place to go to in his own direction,

How he had recomposed the pines,
Shifted the rocks and picked his way among
clouds,

For the outlook that would be right,
Where he would be complete in an unexplained
completion:

The exact rock where his inexactnesses
Would discover, at last, the view toward which
they had edged,

Where he could lie and, gazing down at the sea,
Recognize his unique and solitary home.
                                                                            
     Wallace Stevens
     The Palm at the End of the Mind
     Random House



April 3

TRAFFIC ALERT

The radio reporter didn't call it
an accident. She said, "Two vehicles
came together on the 405,"
as if they were randy whales
rushing oblivious toward each other
head-on across the shipping lanes,
slick gray bulk and barnacle trim,
to mate and breach then crash
into the deeply dented water,
impact skidding sheets of spray
high above the jolted waves where
propulsive droplets tinkle and gleam
like endless pellets of shattered glass.

     Jim Natal
     In the Bee Trees
     Archer Books

___________________

HEDGEHOG

He ambles along like a walking pin-cushion,
stops and curls up like a chestnut burr.
He's not worried because he's so little.
Nobody is going to slap him around.

     Chu Chen-Po translated by Kenneth Rexroth
     Beastiary edited by Stephen Mitchell
     Frog Ltd.



April 4

MONEY

Quarterly, is it, money reproaches me:
....'Why do you let me lie here wastefully?
I am all you never had of goods and sex.
....You could get them still by writing a few cheques.'

So I look at others, what they do with theirs:
....They certainly don't keep it upstairs.
By now they've a second house and car and wife:
....Clearly money has something to do with life

-In fact, they've a lot in common, if you enquire:
....You can't put off being young until you retire,
And however you bank your screw, the money you save
....Won't in the end buy you more than a shave.

I listen to money singing. It's like looking down
....From long french windows at a provincial town,
The slums, the canal, the churches ornate and mad
....In the evening sun. It is intensely sad.

     Philip Larkin
     Collected Poems
     Farrar, Straus & Giroux
_________________________________

THE MOWER

The mower stalled, twice; kneeling, I found
A hedgehog jammed up against the blades,
Killed. It had been in the long grass.

I had seen it before, and even fed it, once.
Now I had mauled its unobtrusive world
Unmendably. Burial was no help:

Next morning I got up and it did not.
The first day after a death, the new absence
Is always the same; we should be careful

Of each other, we should be kind
While there is still time.

Philip Larkin
Collected Poems
Farrar, Straus & Giroux



April 5

MY MOTHER'S HAIR

For a long time my mother's hair was all I knew.
It cascaded, a glowing firefall, as she leaned to lift me,
falling into my dizzy vision, plummeting
raveled spark, embered silk,
over the steep rim of my cribbed awareness.
Surrounding me upon her shoulder, it wound concentric,
coarse and coppery as a robin's nest woven
from the rowdy manes and tails of chestnut mares,
bay stallions.
It held me warm, expectant, my bobbing head as bald
and translucent as any blue egg.
It swept whispering and receding as she rocked me.
Lapped, washed and broke over me,
a tide of crimson, red wave swelling upon red wave.
Gripping as one drowning grasps corded seaweed,
I clung there, fingering the rich umbilical, not yet cut,
polishing it with my milk-heavy breath.
I created the whole world from that high place.
Twisting it thread by shimmering thread.
Spinning it filament to filament.
Playing it atom to gleaming atom.
the way I saw it there first,
nameless, in auburn.

Lynn L. Trombetta
The Tomcat
Fall/Winter '92



April 6

THE QUIET WORLD

In an effort to get people to look
into each other's eyes more,
and also to appease the mutes,
the government has decided
to allot each person exactly one hundred
and sixty-seven words, per day.
When the phone rings, I put it to my ear
without saying hello. In the restaurant
I point at chicken noodle soup.
I am adjusting well to the new way.
Late at night, I call my long distance lover,
proudly say I only used fifty-nine today.
I saved the rest for you.
When she doesn't respond,
I know she's used up all her words,
so I slowly whisper I love you
thirty-two and a third times.
After that, we just sit on the line
and listen to each other breathe.

     Jeffrey McDaniel
     The Forgiveness Parade
     Manic D Press




April 7

DETACHED VERSES

1

Soon
Soon you will pass from the darkened room
to another world. Freed from debts
and contracts.

2

One more
One more look
at the neighbor's garden
and his dog asleep
on the still warm tiles.

3

A headline
A headline still blaring
by the base of an overflowing garbage can.

4

A little
A little longer in the setting light of
the sun.

5

The stub of a moment of parting
from things we ignored when we could still
live erect on our feet.

6

Things we believed would never
fade have already been abandoned
by your memory.

7

If only you had been one of the philosophers!
Giving a flavor of meaning
to ruined buildings, to acts
of heroism, to our fate.

8

Was that leap
into the depths
any easier?

9

Soon
Soon we shall know
if we have learnt to accept that the stars
do not go out when we die.

     Abba Kovner, translated by Eddie Levenston
     The New Yorker magazine Jan. 21, 2002



April 8

I GO BACK TO THE HOUSE FOR A BOOK

I turn around on the gravel
and go back to the house for a book,
something to read at the doctor's office,
and while I am inside, running the finger
of inquisition along the shelf,
another me that did not bother
to go back to the house for a book
heads out on his own,
rolls down the driveway,
and swings left towards town,
a ghost in his ghost car,
another knot in the string of time,
a good three minutes ahead of me--
a spacing that will now continue
for the rest of my life.
Sometimes I think I see him
a few people in front of me on a line
or getting up from a table
to leave the restaurant just before I do,
slipping into his coat on the way out the door.
But there is no catching him.
no way to slow him down
and put us back in sync,
unless one day he decides to go back
to the house for something,
but I cannot imagine
for the life of me what that might be.
He is out there always before me,
blazing my trail, invisible scout,
hound that pulls me along,
shade I am doomed to follow,
my perfect double,
only bumped an inch into the future,
and not nearly as well-versed as I
in the love poems of Ovid--
I who went back to the house
that fateful winter morning and got that book.

     Billy Collins
     Picnic, Lightning
     University of Pittsburgh Press



April 9

CONSUMED

Why should you believe in magic,
pretend an interest in astrology
or the tarot? Truth is, you are
free, and what might happen to you
today, nobody knows. And your
personality may undergo a radical
transformation in the next half
hour. So it goes. You are consumed
by your faith in justice, your
hope for a better day, the rightness
of fate, the dreams, the lies
the taunts--nobody gets what he
wants. A dark star passes through
you on your way home from
the grocery: never again are you
the same--an experience which is
impossible to forget, impossible
to share. The longing to be pure
is over. You are the stranger
who gets stranger by the hour.

     James Tate
     Selected Poems
    
Wesleyan University Press



April 10

THE OLD MEN

Old men who have studied
every leg show
in the city
Old men cut from touch
by the perfumed music-
polished or fleeced skulls
that stand before
the theater
in silent attitudes
of attention,--
old men who have taken precedence
over young men
and even over dark-faced
husbands whose minds
are a street with arc-lights.
Solitary old men for whom
we find no excuses--
I bow my head in shame
for those who malign you.
Old men
the peaceful beer of impotence
be yours!

     William Carlos Williams
     The Collected Poems of William Carols Williams
     New Directions



April 11

LET EVENING COME

Let the light of late afternoon
shine through chinks in the barn, moving
up the bales as the sun moves down.
Let the cricket take up chafing
as a woman takes up her needles
and her yarn. Let evening come.
Let dew collect on the hoe abandoned
in long grass. Let the stars appear
and the moon disclose her silver horn.
Let the fox go back to its sandy den.
Let the wind die down. Let the shed
go black inside. Let evening come.
To the bottle in the ditch, to the scoop
in the oats, to air in the lung
let evening come.
Let it come, as it will, and don't
be afraid. God does not leave us
comfortless, so let evening come.

Jane Kenyon
Let Evening Come
Graywolf Press, 1990



April 12

PURITY

My favorite time to write is in late afternoon,
weekdays, particularly Wednesdays.
This is how I go about it:
I take a fresh pot of tea into my study and close the door.
Then I remove my clothes and leave them in a pile
as if I had melted to death and my legacy consisted of only
a white shirt, a pair of pants and a pot of cold tea.
Then I remove my flesh and hang it over a chair.
I slide off my bones like a silken garment.
I do this so that what I write will be pure,
completely rinsed of the carnal,
uncontaminated by the preoccupations of the body.
Finally I remove each of my organs and arrange them
on a small table near the window.
I do not want to hear their ancient rhythms
when I am trying to tap out my own drumbeat.
Now I sit down at the desk, ready to begin.
I am entirely pure: nothing but a skeleton at a typewriter.
I should mention that sometimes I leave my penis on.
I find it difficult to ignore temptation.
Then I am a skeleton with a penis at a typewriter.
In this condition I write extraordinary love poems,
most of them exploiting the connection between sex and death.
I am concentration itself: I exist in a universe
where there is nothing but sex, death, and typewriting.
After a spell of this I remove my penis too.
Then I am all skull and bones typing into the afternoon.
Just the absolute essential, no flounces.
Now I write only about death, most classical of themes
in language light as the air between my ribs.
Afterward, I reward myself by going for a drive at sunset.
I replace my organs and slip back into my flesh
and clothes. Then I back the car out of the garage
and speed through woods on winding country roads,
passing stone walls, farmhouses, and frozen ponds,
all perfectly arranged like words in a famous sonnet.

Billy Collins
Where Books Fall Open
David R. Godine



April 13

SWEEPING THE GARDEN

Slowly learning again to love
ourselves working. Paul Eluard
said the body
is that part of the soul
perceptible by the five senses. To love
the body to love its work
to love the hand that praises both to praise
the body and to love the soul
that dreams and wakes us back alive
against the slothful odds: fatigue
depression loneliness
the perishable still recognition--
what needs
be done. Sweep the garden, any size
said the roshi. Sweeping sweeping
alone as the garden grows
large or small. Any song
sung working the garden brings
up from the sand gravel soil through
straw bamboo wood and less
tangible elements Power
song for the hands Healing
song for the senses what can
and cannot be perceived
of the soul.

     Olga Broumas
     Rave Poems 1975-1999
     Copper Canyon Press



April 14

On the one-ton temple bell
a moon-moth, folded into sleep
sits still.
   --Taniguchi Buson (trans. by X.J. Kennedy)

JAPAN

Today I pass the time reading
a favorite haiku,
saying the few words over and over.
It feels like eating
the same small, perfect grape
again and again.
I walk through the house reciting it
and leave its letters falling
through the air of every room.
I stand by the big silence of the piano and say it.
I say it in front of a painting of the sea.
I tap out its rhythm on an empty shelf.
I listen to myself saying it,
then I say it without listening,
then I hear it without saying it.
And when the dog looks up at me,
I kneel down on the floor
and whisper it into each of his long white ears.
It's the one about the one-ton
temple bell
with the moth sleeping on its surface,
and every time I say it, I feel the excruciating
pressure of the moth
on the surface of the iron bell.
When I say it at the window,
the bell is the world
and I am the moth resting there.
When I say it into the mirror,
I am the heavy bell
and the moth is life with its papery wings.
And later when I say it to you in the dark,
you are the bell,
and I am the tongue of the bell, ringing you,
and the moth has flown
from it's line
and moves like a hinge in the air above our bed.

     Billy Collins
     Sailing Alone Around The Room
     Random House



April 15

LEAP YEAR

In the language of the spirit
one of the waist-high metal ashtrays is on fire!
Ah, in the lounge of the spirit.
I'm always on the verge of waking

up in it, as that roof is clearly
melting into the sky,
the sky in the shoestore,
as if hills were boats and the way out
were to paint everything turquoise
the night crowded by stars,
people drinking everything in sight,
a bus taking air from one city river
to another, charmed in the glow
of not knowing the ending.

     Charles North
     New And Selected Poems
     Sun and Moon Press
______________________________________________

POETRY IS A DESTRUCTIVE FORCE

That's what misery is,
To have nothing at heart.
It is to have or nothing.

It is a thing to have,
A lion, an ox in his breast,
To feel it breathing there.

Corazon, stout dog,
Young ox, bow-legged bear,
He tastes its blood, not spit.

He is like a man
In the body of a violent beast.
Its muscles are his own...

The lion sleeps in the sun.
Its nose is on its paws.
It can kill a man.


     Wallace Stevens
     Stevens: Poems
     Knopf




April 16

THE DEATH OF THE HAT

Once every man wore a hat.

In the ashen newsreels,
the avenue of cities
are broad rivers flowing with hats.

The ballparks swelled
with thousands of strawhats,
brims and bands,
rows of men smoking
and cheering in shirtsleeves.

Hats were the law.
They went without saying.
You noticed a man without a hat in a crowd.

You bought them from Adams or Dobbs
who branded your initials in gold
on the inside band.

Trolleys crisscrossed the city.
Steamships sailed in and out of the harbor.
Men with hats gathered on the docks.

There was a person to block your hat
and a hatcheck girl to mind it
while you had a drink
or ate a steak with peas and a baked potato.
In you office stood a hat rack.

The day war was declared
everyone in the street was wearing a hat.
And they were wearing hats
when a ship loaded with men sank in the icy sea.

My father wore one to work every day
and returned home
carrying the evening paper,
the winter chill radiating from his overcoat.

But today we go bareheaded
into the winter streets,
stand hatless on frozen platforms.

Today the mailboxes on the roadside
and the spruce trees behind the house
wear cold white hats of snow.

Mice scurry from the stone walls at night
in their thin fur hats
to eat the birdseed that has spilled.

And now my father, after a life of work,
wears a hat of earth,
and on top of that,
a lighter one of cloud and sky--a hat of wind.

     Billy Collins
     Picnic, Lightning
     University of Pittsburgh Press



April 17

WINTER SUNSET

Then I raised my head
and stared out over
the blue February waste
to the blue bank of the hill
with stars on it
in strings and festoons-
but above that:
one opaque
stone of a cloud
just on the hill
left and right
as far as I could see;
and above that
a red streak, then
icy blue sky!

It was a fearful thing
to come into a man's heart
at that time: that stone
over the little blinking stars
they'd set there.

     William Carlos Williams
     The Collected Poems of William Carlos Williams
     New Directions
_______________________________

LOVE SONG

What have I to say to you
When we shall meet?
Yet-
I lie here thinking of you.

The stain of love
Is upon the world.
Yellow, yellow, yellow,
It eats into the leaves,
Smears with saffron
The horned branches that lean
Heavily
Against a smooth purple sky.

There is no light-
Only a honey-thick stain
That drips from leaf to leaf
And limb to limb,
Spoiling the colors
Of the whole world.

I am alone.
The weight of love
Has buoyed me up
Till my head
Knocks against the sky.

See me!
My hair is dripping with nectar-
Starlings carry it
On their black wings.
See, at last
My arms and my hands
Are lying idle.

How can I tell
If I shall ever love you again
As I do now?

     William Carlos Williams
     The Collected Poems of William Carlos Williams
     New Directions



April 18

THE PLEASURES OF READING

On his deathbed my father is reading
The memoirs of Casanova.
I'm watching the night fall,
A few windows being lit across the street.
In one of them a young woman is reading
Close to the glass.
She hasn't looked up in a long while,
Even with the darkness coming.

While there's still a bit of light,
I want her to lift her head,
So I can see her face
Which I have already imagined,
But her book must be full of suspense.
And besides, it's so quiet,
Every time she turns a page,
I can hear my father turn one too,
As if they are reading the same book.

     Charles Simic
    
Where Books Fall Open
     David R. Godine
_______________________

POETRY'S VALUE

If you ask me abruptly
Why write poetry
Why not do
Something useful
Then I won't know
How to answer you
I am like a goldsmith hammering day and night
Just so I can extend pain
Into a gold ornament as thin as a cicada's wing
I don't know if working so hard
To transform sorrows into
Shimmering words and phrases
Is also
Beautifully worthwhile.

     Xi Murong
     Where Books Fall Open
     David R. Godine



April 19

CHANNEL

It had come up from the night depth of the lake to bend and chatter the rod as it lunged
under the boat, and now it flopped in the net until I had it in a slippery scrimmage on the aluminum floor:
suave as a satyr's haunch, but Appaloosaed with dots, treble-spined, and whiskered like Confucius.
And now, as I pliered open the jaws and took the hook it had taken, it made something like a bee-buzz.
From deep in its mouth that was white as a Ping-Pong ball, it made something like absolution;
and then it curled in the icebox, whacking the beers with its tail; and still, there it was.
I do not like to hurt a thing alive, even a catfish, so slow to perish not even Saint Thomas Aquinas
or W.C. Fields could raise the eloquence to free its killer of guilt. In Florida, catfish walk.
Nailed to an oak, skin peeled like wallpaper, catfish won't stop talking with twitches.
But what they say improves on guilt. You have to have waited many nights, with your face
blackening from the smoke of burning tires, and shined your light on a belled rod ringing
over stones and going fast into the river, to know that their lives mean as much as your life.
And what is your life? The bottom of a shallow place? Magnificences? You hold them carefully.
You listen, and they say your name in ancient Catfish.
                                                                                                                         
Rodney Jones
The Atlantic Magazine  
December 2001



April 20

INTEGRITY AND DRAMATIC LIFE

Tingling feelings are the best we have
though I'm obliterated at all moments
and reformed. Morning in the country.
Huh? You who love me are the best
we have, & havoc in the evening, stars
in New Jersey. I saw that three-tailed comet
ducks in a pond look better. A man
with a flag on his chest stood in torrents
of rain & wondered why he was chosen
to be a drunkard. The countless inex-
haustible manifestations of the best we
have. Rain in the airshaft was really fire
when I was a boy who grew into a boy.
At some point I unleashed a blur. Stability
beckoned. Someone could have called at
any time. Unhook me is all I ask. I don't
think about radiowaves, or the best
I mean, simply the best we have.

Anselm Berrigan
Integrity & Dramatic Life
Edge Books



April 21

DHARMA

The way the dog trots out the front door
every morning
without a hat or umbrella,
without any money
or the keys to her doghouse
never fails to fill the saucer of my heart
with milky admiration.

Who provides a finer example
of a life without encumbrance---
Thoreau in his curtainless hut
with a single plate, a single spoon?
Gandhi with his staff and his holy diapers?

Off she goes into the material world
with nothing but her brown coat
and her modest blue collar,
following only her wet nose,
the twin portals of her steady breathing,
followed only by the plume of her tail.

If only she did not shove the cat aside
every morning
and eat all his food
what a model of self-containment she would be,
what a paragon of earthly detachment.
If only she were not so eager
for a rub behind the ears,
so acrobatic in her welcomes,
if only I were not her god.

     Billy Collins
     Sailing Alone Around The Room
     Random House



April 22

DOG WEATHER

Earlier, everyone was in knee boots, collars up.
The paper boy's papers came apart
in the wind.

Now, nothing human moving.
Just a black squirrel fidgeting like Bogart
in The Caine Mutiny.

My breath chalks the window,
gives me away to myself.

I like the intelligibility of old songs.
I prefer yesterday.

Cars pass, the asphalt's on its back
smudged with skid. It's potholed
and cracked; it's no damn good.

Anyone out without the excuse of a dog
should be handcuffed
and searched for loneliness.

My hair is thinning.
I feel like tossing the wind a stick.

The promised snow has arrived,
heavy, wet.
I remember the blizzard of...
people I don't want to be
speak like that.

I close my eyes and one
of my many unborn sons
makes a snowball
and lofts it at an unborn friend.

They've sent me an AARP card.
I'm on their list.

I can be discounted now almost anywhere.

     Stephen Dunn
     Different Hours
     Norton



April 23

THE EARLY HOURS

The early hours of morning: you still aren't writing
(rather, you aren't even trying), you just read lazily.
Everything is idle, quiet, full, as if
it were a gift from the muse of sluggishness,

just as earlier, in childhood, on vacation, when a colored
map was slowly scrutinized before a trip, a map
promising so much, deep ponds in the forest
like glittering butterfly eyes, mountain meadows drowning in sharp grass;

or the moment before sleep, when no dreams have appeared,
but they whisper their approach from all parts of the world,
their march, their pilgrimage, their vigil at the sickbed
(grown sick of wakefulness) and the quickening among medieval figures

compressed in endless stasis over the cathedral:
the early hours of the morning, silence---
you still aren't writing,
you still understand so much.
Joy is close.

Adam Zagajewski, translated by Clare Cavanagh
The New Yorker
January 14, 2002



April 24

THE STORY OF SMALL CARS

Consider, she said, the statue
in the cloister seen on Tuesday: fluted pilasters
and conch shells. Oh, pretty, pretty. A shaved forehead,
tight belt, missing limb.
Oh, crippled. Yes, very crippled. But not very real.

Louise took the train
of her black velvet dress and leaned across the table.
She was telling the story of small cars.
The tale concerned a dog with a tiny blue fez,
a girl named Clara who caught the trail of a smoky cigar

and followed it into a catastrophe, a zoo
of undue proportion,
a small green car that ran up a line on a cheek
that had lain on a bedsheet too long.
It ended with the window that opened in, opening out

onto the end of looking. There, she said, the sky is
whatever one wishes. As she spoke,
the intangible drifted out beyond the vast
until it could no longer be seen but was still vaguely
perceived---
and nowhere in the sensuous world a cause.

     Mary Jo Bang
     Louise In Love
     Grove/Atlantic



April 25

DINER

The blue neon tubes sizzle
and pop in the rain like a fizzled Fourth of July
as we walk from the car
to the dinner right out of Hopper's "Nighthawks."
You are not wearing a red
dress or lipstick and I do not slouch over my cup,
grey fedora brim shadowing my eyes.
But there is a counterman in a white ocean liner
of a paper hat who trails
a wake of coffee steam and french fries.
And when we get up to leave,
only one round stool is still occupied-
by a guy in a plaid
wool mackinaw, who wonders out loud
how much a burger cost when
the diner opened in 1927. The counterman
says he doesn't know,
he wasn't there, wadding our napkins
and putting the ketchup away,
then folds his beefy forearms and leans against
his thoughts, looking up only when
the door rattles closed, panes of rain-flecked glass
aligned like spotted utensils in a tray.

     Jim Natal
     In the Bee Trees
     Archer Books

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A bee
staggers out
of the peony.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

First winter rain--
even the monkey
seems to want a raincoat.

     Basho translated by Robert Hass
     Beastiary edited by Stephen Mitchell
     Frog Ltd.



April 26

QUARANTINE

In the worst hour of the worst season
of the worst year of a whole people
a man set our from the workhouse with his wife.
He was walking---they were both walking---north.
She was sick with famine fever and could not keep up.
He lifted her and put her on his back.
He walked like that west and west and north.
Until at nightfall under the freezing stars they arrived.
In the morning they were both found dead.
Of cold. Of hunger. Of the toxins of a whole history.
But her feet were held against his breastbone.
The last heat of his flesh was his last gift to her.
Let no love poem ever come to this threshold.
There is no place here for the inexact
praise of the easy graces and sensuality of the body.
There is only time for this merciless inventory:
Their death together in the winter of 1847.
Also what they suffered. How they lived.
And what there is between a man and a woman.
And in which darkness it can best be proved.

     Eavan Boland
     The New Yorker
     June 4, 2001



April 27

SNAKE EYES

William Saroyan
married the same
woman
twice

which means
he must have
forgotten
something
about the
first
time around.

anyhow, he claimed
it ruined his
life.

but,
actually
there are
many things
which can
ruin
a man's
life

just
depending upon
which one
gets to him
first.

Charles Bukowski
Erotic Poems
Knopf



April 28

HOW TO CARE FOR A SMALL BIRD
   for Elizabeth Willis


Given the baby bird crisis, what if
each child were delivered a bird

having tumbled from it's nest

Two major problems evolve
One is feeding it

another preparing it for the wild

But before you build
a home of newsprint and yarn

try putting it back where it came
Remember its fear, think of its shock

to not be dead

beset in a hand
not yet full grown

moving through space
doing the best it can

     Peter Gizzi
     Artificial Heart
     Burning Deck



April 29

VAGUE MEMORY FROM CHILDHOOD

It was the end of the day---
Vast far clouds
In the zenith darkening
At the end of day.

The voices of my aunts
Sounded through an open window.
Bird-speech cantankerous in a high tree mingled
With the voices of my aunts.

I was playing alone,
Caught up in a sort of dream,
With sticks and twigs pretending,
Playing there alone

In the dust.
And a lamp came on indoors,
Printing a frail gold geometry
On the dust.

Shadows came engulfing
The great charmed sycamore.
It was the end of day.
Shadows came engulfing.


     Donald Justice
     New And Selected Poems
     Knopf



April 30

HAPPY DAYS

Early one Friday morning
In the small farming town
Of Winters, California

Where life is good and bad
Where most people
(even tourists off the highway)

Stop at the one flashing red light
Where I was wearing out a bad dream
With a slow walk and good coffee

I heard a man singing
On his way to the bank
(bank with a real lobby---

Marble floor,
Crushed velvet chains,
Where a quarter could roll forever...).

In the old days he might
Have been called the village idiot,
Or worse, his head large,

Teeth in twos and threes.
He sang in a key all his own
"Happy Days Are Here Again"

Over and over as he held
The door open for someone else.
I know he knew something

That the rest of us would laugh at,
Or younger, throw rocks at him for.
Yet for the better part of that morning

I found myself humming that melody
With faith in the man, but not the tune.
For such is the nature of belief.

      Walter Pavlich
     The Spirit Of Blue Ink
      Swan Scythe Press
____________________________

DESIGN OF DAYS

According to a short forehand passage in her diary it's Sunday morning.
The husband packs decoys, will leave for hunting in an hour,
be in the blind two days. She looks forward to learning
why she calms down, reduces power,
gets along on a less lethal current.
She'll watch intensely, discover the new design
of her days. What will go differently?
Thinks she cold sketch the white pine,
the unusual coastal snow muffling the waves.
For the present it is enough to read Buson,
his series of verses in the persona
of a woman traveling the same road as he.
"Fucking snow," the hunter says. It coats his road.
She gentles him, veiling for herself
how frightening it will be, in time,
for him to know, for her to see him recognize,
which man's voice she craves.

     Sandra McPherson
     A Visit to Civilization
     Wesleyan University Press

____________________________

SEASHELL

I tell it
jokes
in its ear

the sea
laughs
waves

     Francisco X. Alarcon
     Body in Flames
     Chronicle Books

_______________________

PUNCTUATION

my poems
don't use
periods
or commas
only tiny
pellets
of fly shit

     Francisco X. Alarcon
     Body in Flames
     Chronicle Books

_________________________

RESCUE

at the end
I found

myself
holding

the other end
of the rope

     Francisco X. Alarcon
     Snake Poems
     Chronicle Books
_____________________

EPITAPH

I always
preferred
the shade
of a tree
to the custody
of a cathedral

     Francisco X. Alarcon
     Body in Flames
     Chronicle Books
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