* * * *

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

I Can't Swim

Heather Christle (2013)



I can't swim because I can't fit

into the water


I am

two million feet tall


but thank you for inviting me


I am standing in line

inside my giant shirt


If someone wanted to weaponize me

they would tell me to lie down on New York


and the city I destroyed

would hurt me back


I eat stars

it's a riot


I know

my big mouth

full of their light








Thursday, August 1, 2013

We All Want To See A Mammal

Elizabeth Bradfield (2013)

We all want to see a mammal,
Squirrels & snowshoe hares don't count.
Voles don't count. Something, preferably,
that could do us harm. There's a long list:
bear, moose, wolf, wolverine. Even porcupine
would do. The quills. The yellowed
teeth & long claws.

Beautiful here. Peaks & avens.

Meltwater running its braided course, but we want
to see a mammal. Our day our lives incomplete
without a mammal. The gaze of something
unafraid, that we're afraid of, meeting ours
before it runs off.

Linnaeus was called

indecent when he named them. Plenty
of other commonalities (hair, live young,
a proclivity to plot). But no. Mammal.
Maman. Breasted & nippled
& warm, warm, warm.



Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Hermit Crab

Stephen Burt (2013)

That shell is pretty, but that shell is too small for me.

Each home is a hideout; each home is a secret; each home
is a getaway under the same hot lamp, a means
to a lateral move at low velocity.

I live in a room in the room
of a boy I barely see.

Sometimes the boy & his talkative friends raise
too-warm hands & try to set me free

& I retreat into myself, hoping they place
me back in my terrarium, & they
do, with disappointed alacrity.

Scatter patterns in sand, adnates, cancellates, gaping
whelk husks, a toy tractor-trailer, cracked
and dinged, beside the spine of a plastic tree,

the helmet-shaped shelter of a shadow cast
by a not-quite-buried wedge of pottery . . .

if I have a body that's wholly my own
then it isn't mine. For a while I was
protected by what I pretended to be.



Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Dream of a Fire Engine

Kimiko Hahn (2012)

Without the sun filtered through closed eyelids,
without the siren along the service road,

without Grandpa's ginger-colored hair,
Mother's lipstick, Daughter's manicure,

firecrackers, a monkey's ass, a cherry, Rei's lost elephant,
without communist or past tense,

or a character seeing her own chopped-off feet dancing in fairy slippers,
or Mao's favorite novel about a chamber—

the scientist of sleep has claimed
that without warm blood a creature cannot dream.



Monday, July 15, 2013

Ode to a Man in Dress Clothes

Gretchen Marquette (2013)

When I see a man
in a dress shirt, I want
to walk up behind him,
place my hand
between his shoulders,
to rest it there
for a moment. I think
about his socks, how
he chose one pair
that morning and the rest
are still at home
in a drawer.
And his shoes—
god those shoes, they break me,
especially when they're polished, what
does he do to make them shine
like that, yes, all it takes
is a pair of shiny black shoes and such
a wave of tenderness
collapses over me that I see
his ties, at rest
on their little carousel, imagine
that he held them up
in the mirror
at the department store,
unsure.




Monday, July 1, 2013

Self-Help

Michael Ryan (2013)

What kind of delusion are you under?
The life he hid just knocked you flat.
You see lightning but not the thunder.

What God hath joined let no man put asunder.
Did God know you'd marry a rat?
What kind of delusion are you under?

His online persona simply stunned her
as it did you when you started to chat.
You see the lightning but not the thunder.

To the victors go the plunder:
you should crown them with a baseball bat.
What kind of delusion are you under?

The kind that causes blunder after blunder.
Is there any other kind than that?
You see the lightning but not the thunder,

and for one second the world's a wonder.
Just keep it thrilling under your hat.
What kind of delusion are you under?
You see the lightning but not the thunder.




Sunday, June 30, 2013

from Mankindness

Christina Davis (2013)

4

We kiss on lips, where the tenses attach.

We enter the conundrum
of another's becoming.

We look for someone who can raise us
up again to feet, or near to standing.

We tend in our terrors to forget (we
do not store them) felicities.

I try each day to stay near beings,
mornings when I am most
mild. And may I nothing harm,
in case it might be them.