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POEM-A-Day 2006
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 | 2002 | 2003 | 2005 | 2009
Often, when bored, the sailors of the crew
Trap albatross, the great birds of the seas,
Mild travellers escorting in the blue
Ships gliding on the ocean’s mysteries.
And when the sailors have them on the planks,
Hurt and distraught, these kings of all outdoors
Piteously let trail along their flanks
Their great white wings, dragging like useless oars.
This voyager, how comical and weak!
Once handsome, how unseemly and inept!
One sailor pokes a pipe into his beak,
Another mocks the flier’s hobbled step.
The Poet is a kinsman in the clouds
Who scoffs at archers, loves a stormy day;
But on the ground, among the hooting crowds,
He cannot walk, his wings are in the way.                           

     Charles Baudelaire


Do you recall
those vending machines
in the subway
where for a dime
you could get a cup of soda?
It came in different
colors that (euphemistically)
we called “flavors.”
First a plastic cup would drop,
then a squirt of syrup, plus
a thin jet of seltzer till that cup
runnethed over.
But the cup didn’t always drop!
and you’d gape in dismay
as the prospect of delight
drained helplessly away.
Other times, there was seltzer
but no syrup; or syrup
but no seltzer.
They removed those machines
some fifteen years ago. “Many
ingenious lovely things are gone...”
Yeats once remarked,
but you know, until now
I never realized what he meant.
     David H. Rosenthal
The Journey

Two caught on film who hurtle
from the eighty-second floor,
choosing between a fireball
and to jump holding hands,
aren’t us. I wake beside you,
stretch, scratch, taste the air,
the incredible joy of coffee
and the morning light. Alive, we open eyelids
on our pitiful share of time,
we bubbles rising and bursting
in a boiling pot.

     X. J. Kennedy


I don’t know about you,
but I practice a disorganized religion.
I belong to an unholy disorder.
We call ourselves,
“Our Lady of Perpetual Astonishment.”
You may have seen us praying
for love
on sidewalks outside the better
eating establishments
in all kinds
of weather.
Blow us a kiss
upon arriving or departing,
and we will climax
It can be quite a scene,
especially if it is raining
cats and dogs. 

     Kurt Vonnegut

It was a tough night.
Owls & a nightmare hawk
tried breaking thru the bedroom window.
I heard their wings
slam against the glass,
the clack of their beaks.
-But what of it? She asks
out of sleep broken by my poking.
-What if the bedroom is filled with birds
real or imagined?
Go back to sleep.  

     David Meltzer


On Easter morning all over America
the peasants are frying potatoes in bacon grease.
We’re not supposed to have “peasants”
but there are tens of millions of them
frying potatoes on Easter morning,
cheap and delicious with catsup.
If Jesus were here this morning he might
be eating fried potatoes with my friend
who has a ‘51 Dodge and a ‘72 Pontiac.
When his kids ask why they don’t have
a new car he says, “these cars were new once
and now they are experienced.”
He can fix anything and when rich folks
call to get a toilet repaired he pauses
extra hours so that they can further
learn what we’re made of.
I told him that in Mexico the poor say
that when there’s lightning the rich
think that God is taking their picture.
He laughed. Like peasants everywhere in the history
of the world ours can’t figure out why
they’re getting poorer. Their sons join
the army to get work being shot at.
Your ideals are invisible clouds
so try not to suffocate the poor,
the peasants, with your sympathies.
They know that you’re staring at them.      

     Jim Harrison


It was a riverside meadow, lush, from before the hay harvest,
On an immaculate day in the sun of June.
I searched for it, found it, recognized it.
Grasses and flowers grew there familiar from my childhood.
With half-closed eyelids I absorbed luminescence.
And the scent garnered me, all knowing ceased.
Suddenly I felt I was disappearing and weeping with joy.

     Czeslaw Miloscz
Facing the River


When I visited as a boy, too young for chores,
a pair of maples flared before the farmhouse.
My grandfather made me a swing, dangling
rope from stout branches. I hurtled
between them high as I could, pumping
out half the day while my mind daydreamed
the joy of no school, no camp, no blocks
of other children fighting childhood’s wars.
With the old people I listened to radio news
of Japanese in Nanking, Madrid on fire,
Hitler’s brownshirts heiling. The hurricane
of 1938 ripped down the biggest maple.
Then I was twelve and could work in the fields.
When I moved back to the house in middle age,
I was no farmer. I was a writer and grandfather,
then widower. The solitary maple took the sky,
hurling its orange fire in the late-August air.
Sixty years after the swing, a lofty half-dead tree
drops branches on the grass. I call people
to tear out dead limbs for next year’s sake,
fearing the wind and ice storms of winter,
dreading broken trees, and bones, and cities.  

     Donald Hall

We are sorry to inform you
the item you ordered
is no longer being produced.
It has not gone out of style
nor have people lost interest in it.
In fact, it has become
one of our most desired products.
Its popularity is still growing.
Orders for it come in
at an ever increasing rate.
However, a top-level decision
has caused this product
to be discontinued forever.
Instead of the item you ordered
we are sending you something else.
It is not the same thing,
nor is it a reasonable facsimile.
It is what we have in stock,
the very best we can offer.
If you are not happy
with this substitution
let us know as soon as possible.
As you can imagine
we already have quite an accumulation
of letters such as the one
you may or may not write.
To be totally fair
we respond to these complaints
as they come in.
Yours will be filed accordingly,
answered in turn.   

     Naomi Lazard

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