Tag Archives: contemporary poem

Poem for the Giraffe Marius

upon his execution by bolt gun at the Copenhagen Zoo

Because, they said, genetics. Et
cetera. Said
inbreeding. Because
when the steel bolt retracts, the giraffe’s
skull crumpling
in on itself like a cup, blood
from the heart circulates ‘still
in the edible flesh. He felt,

                                we are told, nothing. Not
the bolt’s cold lobotomy. Not
Not his slack body hauled
to the stage. The Danes
—babies in the arms of their mothers, in one
photograph a dad with his son—have come
hungry to the zoo’s cruel—
they call it—lesson. The lions

                            beside the stage circle.

read more

-Christopher Kempf

How We Got Here Against the Constant Wheat

Hours repeat their work.
They bleach the evil blooms,
dust the field in tinder.
If there is a wind
tithing through the corn again,
they make it spirit,
measuring the seasonal reenactment
of how we got here
against the constant wheat.
Like distant trains,
the stars help us move closer
to what tiny faith
lurks within our breathing.
Migration’s old tambourines
wave beneath the singing.
Sitting on the porch,
I’ll believe anything:
that we are better than we are;
that we might find better ways
to want to be.

read more

“The Field” by Christopher DeWeese, Atlas Review

Poetry: Sunset Park

The Chinese truck driver
throws the rope
like a lasso, with a practiced flick,

over the load:
where it hovers an instant,
then arcs like a willow

into the waiting,
gloved hand
of his brother.

What does it matter
that, sitting in traffic,
I glanced out the window

and found them that way?
So lean and sleek-muscled
in their sweat-stiffened t-shirts:

offloading the pallets
just so they can load up
again in the morning,

and so on,
and so forth
forever like that—

like Sisyphus
I might tell them
if I spoke Mandarin,

or had a Marlboro to offer,
or thought for a minute
they’d believe it

when I say that I know
how it feels
to break your own

back for a living.

read more

Patrick Phillips

Answering Machine

“Pat hi, it’s me, pick up. I thought you were
there, guess not. Where are you? Where could
you be, my dearest? See you tonight then,
8 o’clock at our normal place, bye my love.”
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing on my
wife’s business answering machine. I came
home early from work to mow the grass. Who
was this man’s voice on my wife’s answering
machine? I played it again, “it’s me … see you
tonight … our normal place … bye my love.”
My heart, like a racing steam engine, truly
nearly pounded right out of my chest. Where
was she going tonight and to meet whom? How
could I find out? I couldn’t ask her, she’d have a
lie ready. Somehow I needed to follow her, but
then again maybe not. Do I really want to know
the details of the ruin of my life? I’ll kill this guy,
is all I can think, I will. I’ll have to kill this guy
for taking my wife from me. The courts will
understand. Adultery is truly a disgusting,
cowardly crime. I could never hurt her of
course, but him, well I’ll simply have to kill him,
soon as I find out who he is. Then I woke up
shaking and spent the whole day wondering if I
am a good husband, even bought her flowers on
my way home. (And checked her answering
machine when she wasn’t looking.)

-Michael Estabrook, Rattle

%d bloggers like this: