Irony What brought mankind to Its knees wasn't a nuclear Bomb, or a movie villain Or even an army But something You can't see or Feel Or even fight Man's own creation Turned on him To destroy himself Tommorow we wake up Hoping the movie will be Over..Read more "Erren Geraud Kelly – Irony"
I hope it is, at least.
as it feels like the world is looking at the sky,
one foot hovering over the threshold of their bomb shelter.
and suddenly I’m caught between feeling
extremist for calling it a bomb, and
guilty because I know others are actually being bombed, and
suffocated by the idea that –
if I just repost one more graphic
if I can just memorize the right data
if I have “the hard conversations”
– maybe I can fix it.
maybe it can be, if we let it.
the sun is so bright this morning
(that’s not a metaphor, it literally made me squint)
and yes, it’s a sun that is piercing our ozone
and giving weight to the smog we create
but it’s shining.
and drawing the shades tight,
tugging on the top of our twitter feed like a toddler at a hem
trying to get what they want,
will not change that.
we have tried to change so much.
and we have.
as companies proclaim “BLM” across the street from the house of a man
who fights back with “all lives matter”
we can see change.
as grandparents and uncles and siblings and friends soften to new ideas of justice
and switch the sign in their yard
we can see change.
as metal straws clang in reusable bottles
and wedding cake is smushed by a man into his husband’s mouth
and The Daily is a suggested podcast
even for people who “don’t get political”
we can see change.
and finally, as the number of people voting this year soars past 2016’s record, yes
we can see change.
so let’s rest.
just for a day.
battering our own mental health as some sort of penance
won’t change the outcome.
and the outcome won’t necessarily
change the fight.
so let’s allow ourselves a moment
to just be.
be kind to ourselves, to our neighbors
to those who feel unsafe, to those who may have gotten too comfortable.
give yourself and others grace,
if just for today.
we’ve posted and protested
we’ve pleaded and prayed
we’ve scrolled (and scrolled and scrolled)
we’ve lost friends and learned facts,
each point of data chosen meticulously
to help others understand.
politics have become deeply personal
and our emotions are somehow partisan
so today, on this most political day
let’s protect those emotions.
keep them safe, snuggled up away from what’s been weighing on them for
weeks, months, years.
for one day
one good morning.
Find Quincy hereRead more "Quincy Staley – November 3"
Glass for the Looking And daybreak lifts from the Pacific Like tracing paper from a hairdryer Low setting. There is not any living object Of this world that turns to you, Your honeycomb tiles In your desert/dessert—depends what day it is—citadel. Marram grass like wind-bent strands Of floss coloured olive gesticulate to a High tide Reacquainted with a rusting fringe, Flames for eyelashes Medium burn. A dribbling of gulls across the skyline — Gunned down from sight at sundown. Kindling has evaded all eyes of this day Eyelashes have entered Begrimed brown, Toes made unlovely Like those on ends of foot-bound quondam souls. Panache of catwalk like hollow death. I saw it all Or did I? A seascape for threadbare eyes looking out The window Of neither A glass of truth nor self-reflection. Then what?Read more "Joel Schueler – Glass for the Looking"
My girlfriend told me her least favorite word is ‘the.’
I asked why. She didn’t know. Said words like ‘pool’
and ‘mouth’ and ‘night’ would kick the’s ass.
But it’s ‘the pool,’ ‘the mouth,’ ‘the night, I said.
Not necessarily, she said, it could be ‘our pool’
or ‘her mouth’ or ‘six nights.’ She went to work.
I sat there thinking about ‘the.’ I looked at ‘the lamp’
and ‘the couch’ and ‘the crack in the ceiling.’
So many the’s in the room. But all of them over-
shadowed by nouns. I looked at a shadow
in the corner. I thought of all of the evil of the world.
I Worked Eighty Hours This Week
I worked ninety hours once. On an ambulance.
I had a co-worker who fell asleep once,
driving the ambulance. You only do that once.
But he didn’t get fired though. By the way,
he told me he worked one hundred hours
that week. That’s what you do when you make
minimum wage. A lot of people don’t realize
you make minimum wage on ambulances.
Those ambulance companies rake in billions.
Five thousand dollars to take you from one city
to another city just two cities away. Five grand.
I remember one night when we were waiting
for a call. We were parked near some
telephone wires and a crow came and landed
on the wires and got electrocuted. We were
right there, staring, right at it, like we were just
waiting for it to happen. Strangest thing ever.
My partner called dispatch and reported it.
I remember him saying, just in case any kids
go near it. He hung up. I said, Kids can’t fly.
Then our radio went off. We had another call.
It was for a guy who sat on a pen. When we
got there, the pen was sticking out of him
like a little tail. He asked if he should yank
it out and we yelled no, that it was acting
like a cork. A cork? Yeah, a cork, I said.
On the Phone, My Mom Told Me I Should Write a Poem about Working with Coronavirus Patients
I said it’d be a boring poem.
She said, no, that’s not true at all.
I said that all I see is fog, that my mask
fogs up my glasses so I can’t see anything
all day long. I’m in the back of the ambulance
and we just drive them to where they need to go
and I can’t see nothing.
She said that I was exaggerating,
so I took a photo of myself
with my glasses fogged over
like the clouds at the top of mountains in places so high up you can see both heaven and hell at the same time.
My Dad was a Good Dad
He told me one time
about coming home
as a kid and finding his mother
on the kitchen floor.
He thought she was drunk
so he pulled her down the hall
to her bedroom and
tucked her in
and it wasn’t till the next day
that he realized
she was dead.
My Dad was a good Dad.
When I worked in the prison system
as part of the nursing station
one prisoner threw his piss
in my face.
He had saved it in a cup.
after I washed my face
in the prison bathroom
for like a half hour,
I looked up,
my hair all wet,
looking like I’d been crying
at the bottom of the ocean
and I smiled,
because I was alive.
My Dad was a good Dad.
That’s all I have to say.
I’m Old and I Don’t Make Much Money so I Am Forgotten But I Write to Tell You I Exist Too and the Casino Near My Old House Where I Grew Up Caught Fire
so I went and looked at the ashes
and it made me think of when I was at the guard gate
in the hills
where I’d just stand there
every night and
during the fires there
the ash was falling horizontal
like the world was tilted on its side.
FIND RON HERERead more "R A RIEKKI – 5 POEMS"
One of those things
I’d like to believe in but can’t
Because of the logical improbability
And the pile of unanswerable questions
About who and when and how and why.
But just suppose
(It’s ok to have a little fun)
That after 200 years of conscious sleep
Some benign authority
Brought you back, age 20
In perfect health, memories intact.
What would you do first?
Something with creamy garlic sauce—
Strawberries—chocolate ice cream.
And then make love
Again and again and again, with every sense
On overdrive, and doze off
Smelling her sweat and hearing her whispers.
You’d almost forgotten
How sensuous sleep can be.
Wake up. Repeat,
But with a change of menu:
Coffee, hot eggs with cheese melted over,
Cold white wine, bacon,
Peaches and whipped cream.
Continue this for forty years
Then turn your attention
To intellectual growth and refinement.
Sit with works of Plato, Milton,
Kant, Chaucer, and St. Augustine.
Twenty minutes should do it.
Then get back to the important stuff.
JULY 2020Read more "ANDREW HUBBARD – Priorities"
I used to rush home from work,
Especially if I knew my wife wasn’t going to be home yet
And if some asshole tried to cut me off
I’d gun it and curse him out,
Sometimes as we drove side by side.
I wasn’t going to take that shit,
I got cut off enough when I was home with my wife.
I would drive home and the best days were the days
When I had some time to myself before I had to pick her up.
Oh, the feeling of false freedom in those precious minutes!
Later, another good time was reading to my children before bed.
After they would finally fall asleep I would lie in bed with my son
And elongate the moments before I would have to get up
And get into bed with Her.
If I fell asleep in his bed or pretended to she would come and get me.
Finally I had had enough and I told her I wanted a divorce.
Her reaction was to unleash Hell all at once
Instead of little by little like she had been doing for fifteen years or so.
I lost everything and just about everyone I had
But now if I get cut off in traffic
I just stare in wonder at the taillights
Of whoever feels they need to get somewhere before I do
Thinking about a time that feels like decades ago
But was much less than that
When I decided a life of boiling pasta alone in an echoing kitchen
Was better than a living death in a house filled with anger
And that final day that
It was as if I was Yertle the Turtle
And I sneezed down there
At the bottom of the stack
And that bitch came tumbling down.Read more "JOHN TUSTIN – CUT OFF"
Sharing the Bathroom
I over-analyze everything
I know it’s true
(And you’ve told me enough times.)
But why on earth
Would I find it sexy
To watch you shave your armpits?
Knowing me you won’t be surprised
To find I made a list:
- Because everything you do is sexy
- Because you touch yourself
With such unconscious concentration
- Because you say you do it
To look pretty for me
- Because I love the smell of your hair
- Because it’s something nobody else
Sees you do
- Because it’s commonplace
And mysterious and intimate
All at the same time.
- And because the lines of your raised arm,
Your neck, and your wrist
Make me think of a Rodin sculpture.
Turn Down the Lights
Hey, it was more than kind of you
To come home with me
And you so much younger
And thinner and all.
And I’ll do my best
Not to disappoint you.
Honest to God, if I disappoint you
I don’t think I’ll ever
Go to a bar again.
But hey I’m going to be honest,
Only because there’s no alternative:
I look better dressed,
So I’m going to turn down the lights.
Those horrible white curvey smiles
On the skin behind my thighs,
They’re from the hip replacements.
The thick-soled shoes
Just bring me back
To the height I used to be.
I joke that my ears pop
When I take them off,
But it’s not that bad. Yet.
I’m not tearing my eyeballs,
I’m just taking off my contacts.
Hopefully you can’t see me
The same as I can’t see you.
Now excuse me, I’m going to the bathroom
To take some pills.
The flatulence ones work pretty well
And the little blue one
Had damn well better work.
What’s that look you’re giving me?
It better not be
The “I-made-a-mistake” look.
I have many fine qualities.
You said so yourself
Not two hours ago.
Now hang on,
I’ll be right back.
SEPTEMBER 2018Read more "ANDREW HUBBARD – 2 POEMS"
A soft wind blew across the moor,
And the heather danced in tune,
Some grouse flew up to test the air,
Then snuck back, into its sweet perfume.
A sparrow hawk circled low,
In anticipation of its prey,
Then attracted by some other thing;
It quickly flew away.
A beauty haunts this desolate place,
With its contours shaped by ice,
Where beasts can still roam wild and free –
A small touch of paradise.
Bracken on the moor-edge slopes,
Mixed flora in the glens,
All produce their radiant colours,
Without the help or seed of men.
The walkers-path is overgrown,
Not many came this year,
The changes in the weather,
Have brought many summer storms to Clare.
There are some patches now of topsoil,
I hadn’t noticed at first glance,
Just a small sign – like so many others –
That we are on our final chance.
Me & my brain are making sandwiches for the first time in years
& I remember
I like sourdough. I wonder
whose hands made the bread & if this cooking,
this creation, is a kind of holiness. My brain laughs.
We’re having a sleepover on a school night
& I wonder
whose mother authorized it
By the grace of God
I am with my brain
& by the grace of God,
this brain’s a scrappy one
Which is to say, she is still sprinting: I’m impressed-
she did a lot of math this month. I joke that
she looks like she’s here
to eff the party up.
Brain tells Body (my body’s here too)
The first rule
of any effective love practice
is to synthesize its thoughtwork
with its bodywork: “Classic
substance-presence query, honeybee,” she sighs
& I know
that sigh was for me
I tell them, “First rule
of the big city
is to mind ya own damn business.” My body sets up
a cot at the foot of my bed
Gingerly removes her stockings, that they won’t rip
& I know
mishandling must be a violence
in which the body keeps score. She, of all people,
must be keeping score- I could stand
to learn a thing or two from this inclination
of tenderness, alone
My mouth, every morning,
rooting ‘round any regional iteration of the daylight
To inhale a verbose evidence
& then exhale, like
my photosynthesis must be scheduled
to kick in any day now
As though this were the only thing
I knew how to do
Her Third Date After a Twenty-Five Year Marriage
She says, “Look. The rain’s harder now.”
I say, “Yes, but the theater’s close.”
She thumbs a path across
her melting glass.
Her daughter in third-year law.
Her granddaughter a swan.
When did I say I believed
in anyone’s tomorrow?
Her cupped hands; lines
connect, curve, cross,
predict nothing. She stares
into the passing moment.
“I never thought I’d be this person,”
she says, “never this alone.
I’m afraid sometimes, though
it’s nice not to be second guessed.”
My bedroom a chaos of shadows.
She’s unsure what comes next.
Then her legs clamp my hips,
and her mouth finds my neck.Read more "Douglas Collura – Her Third Date After a Twenty-Five Year Marriage"