An Ordinary Crisis | Connie Wanek

Jun. 24th, 2017 09:35 pm
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“An Ordinary Crisis”
Connie Wanek

I don’t recall what final unfairness
made me pack to run away, whether it was
fall or spring. Either matched my haste.
Everything I needed fit into a pillowcase.

I had read about hobos, stuffed bandanas
on a stick, jackets lined with grass for warmth.
I knew what I was doing. My cousin
had taught me how to whistle.

I was crying, though; I remember that.
It’s so much harder to cry now
unless I see someone dear overwhelmed,
especially a man. I suffer a diminished

capacity to drag a dirty pillowcase
through a ditch. At the border, staring toward
the railroad tracks, into the immensity,
my mother found me and ordered me back

to the house. A little relieved, I obeyed.
I’ve always come home, or
wanted to. I’ve always been easy to convince,
given the least kindness.
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”Why We Don’t Have Children”
Anthony Frame

We wrap inside each other, all legs and arms
and lips, skin that burns at the touch, her hand
on my chest, my hand beneath the blankets.
She opens her eyes and we speak without tongues,
a tribute to the warmth of breath, and outside
the sirens wail again. They killed the boy only
a few hours from here. It took only two seconds.
Tonight, we wrap inside each other and remember
why we don’t have children. Her pink hands
carving sentences into my back, my freckled ears
against her chest, dancing with her heartbeat.
Last week, the cop who stopped me as I walked
to work, his hand ready at his hip, telling me
to take it easy. It’s winter and I’ve yet to lose
my tan but he’s always too far to see. He’s here
in the bedroom, him and the boy, as we try
to drown out the sirens with our bodies,
our eyes and hair loaded with snow. I could dare
a barrel into a staring match but it only takes
two seconds to kill a boy. Faster than the sound
of cicadas. We refuse the bruises of blood,
we want to honor the thrust of history, the trust
inside each splitting cell, so we wrap ourselves
within each other, away from the constant sirens.
We fumble our flesh, our mouths wide enough
to swallow the world. I trace myself along her belly,
grateful for its emptiness. Selfishness is a sin
we can live with. When we leave, we’ll leave
nothing behind. The love we make, we take with us.

Suicides | Faith Shearin

Jun. 22nd, 2017 09:36 pm
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“Suicides”
Faith Shearin

There was the one who walked into a river
with her pockets full of stones and the one
who started her car with the garage door closed,
determined to drive herself elsewhere.
The youngest went into the kitchen
and placed her head where she had
so often placed chickens or hams.
These were the women whose voices
I carried in my backpacks, whose books
moved with me from one city to another
and, one day, I realized I had outlived
all of them. I was sad that they could
not describe the other world,
that they offered no map to old age.
Was it dangerous to write? I began
to walk more carefully beside rivers,
to eat cold food, to let someone else
back the car out of the driveway.
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“For My Daughter in Reply to a Question”
David Ignatow

We’re not going to die.
We’ll find a way.
We’ll breathe deeply
and eat carefully.
We’ll think always on life.
There’ll be no fading for you or for me.
We’ll be the first
and we’ll not laugh at ourselves ever
and your children will be my grandchildren.
Nothing will have changed
except by addition.
There’ll never be another as you
and never another as I.
No one ever will confuse you
nor confuse me with another.
We will not be forgotten and passed over
and buried under the births and deaths to come.

Blue Vase | Cynthia Zarin

Jun. 20th, 2017 09:32 pm
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“Blue Vase”
Cynthia Zarin

Because you like to sleep with curtains drawn,
       at dawn I rose and pulled the velvet tight.

You stirred, then set your hand back on my hip,
      the bed a ship in sleep’s doubled plunging

wave on wave, until as though a lighthouse
     beam had crossed the room: the vase between

the windows suddenly ablaze, a spirit,
       seized, inside its amethyst blue gaze.  

What’s that? you said. A slip of light, untamed,
      had turned the vase into a crystal ball,

whose blue eye looked back at us, amazed, two
      sleepers startled in each other’s arms,

   
while day lapped at night’s extinguished edge,
           adrift between the past and future tense,

 
       a blue moon for an instant caught in its chipped
                sapphire—love enduring, give or take.

The Movies | Richard Donnelly

Jun. 19th, 2017 09:37 pm
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“The Movies”
Richard Donnelly

I can’t make love to you
the way you want me to
I can’t be George Clooney
or Bradley Cooper
that would be impossible
and not because I can’t do
what they might do
it would be impossible because
I can’t look like them
I can’t drop the lights
stand thirty feet tall before
a rapt audience and say
I know why you love me
and it’s me

Brewerytown | Iain Haley Pollock

Jun. 18th, 2017 09:37 pm
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“Brewerytown”
Iain Haley Pollock

This morning, the lovers—
who last night were slurring and stumbling
and when I looked out, each gripping
the other’s taut throat in a clench of callous
and nail—sit on their front steps. The woman
smokes an idle cigarette. The man lounges
two steps down from her and leans his head
into her lap. Beer cans and husks of blue crab
from their cookout scuttle by in languid breeze.
The woman flicks the stub of her cigarette
into the street and kisses her man on his forehead.
In the kitchen behind me, Naomi
turns on the coffee grinder. I look back at her
but don’t bother to complain about the racket
this time. I’m more interested in the lovers.
Or, I was—they’re boring me now.
I liked them better when the radio was pumping
from their open window, and they were clawing out,
under the streetlight, the terms of their love.

Ramadan | Khaled Mattawa

Jun. 17th, 2017 09:32 pm
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“Ramadan"
Khaled Mattawa

My mother forgets to feed her animals
because it’s only fair.
She rushes to them when
she hears hoarse roosters crowing
and billy goats butting
over a last straw.

This month the moon becomes a princess.
The stars fan her,
Jupiter pours cups of wine,
Mars sings melancholy mawals.
Bearded men holding prayer beads
and yellow booklets stare at her
and point aching fingers at her waist.

In our house we break a fast 
with dates from Huun 
and glasses of buttermilk. 
Then on to bowls of lamb soup 
flavored with mint, trays 
of stuffed grape leaves, 
spiced fava beans drenched 
in olive oil and lemon juice. 
And that is only the beginning.

The spirits of Johnny Walker and gin 
hide in the trunks of white Peugeots. 
In the nightclubs of my city, waiters 
serve only non-alcoholic beer 
and belly dancers cover themselves.

Father of sixteen children, our neighbor
visits bringing two kilos of baklava.
He washes them down with a dozen
demitasses of sweet sage tea.
Before dawn he runs to one
of his two wives, both named Salma,
and loves her hurriedly,
his hands barely touching a breast.
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″It’s Been A Week”
Maria Mazziotti Gillan

… of looking upward, inward, below the surface and back in time.”
—New York Times, D3, May 5, 2013

This year has been a year like that for me, you, already three
years dead and crossed over to that other place where I cannot
touch you, and I left behind looking upward to that place
where I imagined heaven is and where I hope you can feel me
missing you. NASA announces its plans to bring a piece of Mars
back to earth. I’d like to imagine I could bring back some
memento of you, though my friend tells me I have
to let you go. I read about a 23-million-year-old insect
of a previously unknown species found in Europe,
so perfectly preserved in amber that each tiny digit
of the 1.8-inch-long animal is clearly visible,
all its soft tissue intact. Sitting in my recliner now,
in our family room in the evenings, my legs elevated,
my eyes fixed firmly on the TV screen, where I watch
British mysteries, I suddenly have an image
of myself preserved in amber, tears on my cheeks,
the TV remote still solidly positioned in my hand.
What would the scientists of the future make of me?
This chubby woman alone in her silent house, half asleep
in a chair that holds her like a huge brown hand.
They would stare and stare, but how could they know
all the grief and longing that pulsed
below the surface of her skin
and in the chambers of her heart?

Ramadan | Kazim Ali

Jun. 15th, 2017 10:35 pm
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“Ramadan”
Kazim Ali

You wanted to be so hungry, you would break into branches,
and have to choose between the starving month’s

nineteenth, twenty-first, and twenty-third evenings.
The liturgy begins to echo itself and why does it matter?

If the ground-water is too scarce one can stretch nets
into the air and harvest the fog.

Hunger opens you to illiteracy,
thirst makes clear the starving pattern,

the thick night is so quiet, the spinning spider pauses,
the angel stops whispering for a moment—

The secret night could already be over,
you will have to listen very carefully—

You are never going to know which night’s mouth is sacredly reciting
and which night’s recitation is secretly mere wind—
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“Why There Are No More Miracles”
Hal Sirowitz

God would perform miracles in the old days,
Father said, but nowadays if he set a bush
on fire, like he did for Moses, the fire department
would rush to put it out. The newspapers
would send our photographers. There’d be
an investigation. A reward would be given
to help find the arsonist. Some innocent person
would get blamed. God has enough people
believing in him. Why does He need
all that commotion for the sake of a few more?

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be_themoon: I want a better world. By me. (Default)
I can learn to stand alone

October 2013

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