Thursday, April 12, 2012

National Poetry Month, Part 2

On  Last Lines - Suzanne Buffam 

the last line should strike like a lover’s complaint.
you should never see it coming.
and you should never hear the end of it.


Good Night - J. Bradley

 i wanted to write “stay”
on your sides, surround
your bed with oceans
of salt. i hope he folds you
into a fox, loves you
like a splintered arrow,
brandishes the kill
of your lips. may the bouquet
of your hips wither.
may the wolves
forget your name.


what lot's wife would have said (if she wasn't a pillar of salt) Karen Finneyfrock

do you remember when we met
in gomorrah? when you were still beardless,
and i would oil my hair in the lamp light before seeing
you, when we were young, and blushed with youth
like bruised fruit. did we care then
what our neighbors did
in the dark?

when our first daughter was born
on the river jordan, when our second
cracked her pink head from my body
like a promise, did we worry
what our friends might be
doing with their tongues?

what new crevices they found
to lick love into or strange flesh
to push pleasure from, when we
called them sodomites then,
all we meant by it
was neighbor.

when the angels told us to run
from the city, i went with you,
but even the angels knew
that women always look back.
let me describe for you, lot,
what your city looked like burning
since you never turned around to see it.

sulfur ran its sticky fingers over the skin
of our countrymen. it smelled like burning hair
and rancid eggs. i watched as our friends pulled
chunks of brimstone from their faces. is any form
of loving this indecent?

cover your eyes tight,
husband, until you see stars, convince
yourself you are looking at heaven.

because any man weak enough to hide his eyes while his neighbors
are punished for the way they love deserves a vengeful god.

i would say these things to you now, lot,
but an ocean has dried itself on my tongue.
so instead i will stand here, while my body blows itself
grain by grain back over the land of canaan.
i will stand here
and i will watch you


Everything is Waiting for You - David Whyte

your great mistake is to act the drama
as if you were alone. as if life
were a progressive and cunning crime
with no witness to the tiny hidden
transgressions. to feel abandoned is to deny
the intimacy of your surroundings. surely,
even you, at times, have felt the grand array;
the swelling presence, and the chorus, crowding
out your solo voice. you must note
the way the soap dish enables you,
or the window latch grants you freedom.
alertness is the hidden discipline of familiarity.
the stairs are your mentor of things
to come, the doors have always been there
to frighten you and invite you,
and the tiny speaker in the phone
is your dream-ladder to divinity.

put down the weight of your aloneness and ease into
the conversation. the kettle is singing
even as it pours you a drink, the cooking pots
have left their arrogant aloofness and
seen the good in you at last. all the birds
and creatures of the world are unutterably
themselves. everything is waiting for you.


grief calls us to the things of this world - Sherman Alexie

           The morning air is all awash with angels
            —Richard Wilbur, “Love Calls Us to the Things of This World”

the eyes open to a blue telephone
in the bathroom of this five-star hotel.

i wonder whom i should call? a plumber,
proctologist, urologist, or priest?

who is blessed among us and most deserves
the first call? i choose my father because

he’s astounded by bathroom telephones.
i dial home. my mother answers. “hey, ma,”

i say, “can i talk to poppa?” she gasps,
and then i remember that my father

has been dead for nearly a year. “shit, mom,”
I say. “i forgot he’s dead. i’m sorry—

how did i forget?” “it’s okay,” she says.
“i made him a cup of instant coffee

this morning and left it on the table—
like i have for, what, twenty-seven years—

and i didn’t realize my mistake
until this afternoon.” my mother laughs

at the angels who wait for us to pause
during the most ordinary of days

and sing our praise to forgetfulness
before they slap our souls with their cold wings.

those angels burden and unbalance us.
those fucking angels ride us piggyback.

those angels, forever falling, snare us
and haul us, prey and praying, into dust.

The Uses of Sorrow -  Mary Oliver

Someone I loved once gave me
a box full of darkness. 

It took me years to understand
that this, too, was a gift.


Wine and Words said...

Oh lisa. It took me an hour to get through this post. I was considering, weighting (as we do!) copying, pasting, magnetizing into my poetry wall. So much spoke to me. My darkness. Your gift. As it should be sweet heart.

Anthony Duce said...

A very consuming lot to take in. I enjoyed all, but especially “Everything is Waiting for You”. I’m not sure why. But I liked it the most.
Thank you

Rosaria Williams said...

What gifts you leave at our doors! Mary Oliver's seemed to know just how to wrap it up for this morning. Thank you.

Marion said...

Excellent, heartfelt, beautiful poems, Phoenix. I love the first one because I love those last lines that take your breath away. You ROCK! Love you. xoxo

drollgirl said...

the mary oliver one is making me think! and i suppose that is the point of poetry, no?! :)

krista said...

that j. bradley poem just made me cuss out loud.
so good.
so cussing good.

Lori ann said...

i'm so pleased you included my favorite, mary o.

Deech said...

I really liked both parts...1 & 2. I re-read them both to soak the words in. Thanks for the post.

Oh and I wish to compliment your blog's new look. I really like it!

Eric W. Trant said...

Love the Lot's wife one. We watched Ten Commandments Easter weekend, the one with Brenner and Heston.

I watched the movie like I usually go to church, for entertainment.

I made note of how well it followed the book. I mentally checked off the hero's journey, bookmarked the finer plot points, and paid attention to how well the conflicts forged the only person who could act as The Chosen One.

As with so much religion, I tried not to think about it too hard about the religious points, see.

I'll do that with the salt-poem, too, and focus on its originality and wordflow.

Religion, for me, is a fragile and thin thing, like trying to catch your reflection in the water. The harder you try, the more you stir it up.

Plus I don't let others stick their tongue in my water. It's mine all mine.

- Eric

JJ said...

I am really enjoying this poetry month!

Ren- Lady Of The Arts said...

wow- I really like 'what lot's wife would have said (if she wasn't a pillar of salt)'

Snowbrush said...

I love the one about Lot's wife, who I always thought got a raw deal.

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