It cuts through suddenly, expertly, this want to talk to you — like the way you used to open pomegranates. Nothing was wasted, not time, not an extra ruby-seed on the inside. You always said that one does not cut a fruit — you ask them to open, gently, and they would let you in. They knew you would be fair while splitting them. I try to talk to you, cutting through time. It does not open. It says, learn from your mother.
Ashes in the tinder
of morning. Red breast
of robin on the lawn.
is the slow knock
of heavy bones
heaviness is all we own.
Alicia Hoffman, Rust + Moth
“My father steps into a field of lost
sensation, sunflowers, a yellow star”
I had the pleasure of interviewing Beth Copeland about her gorgeous poem “Falling Lessons: Erasure One.” The poem is about the loss of her father to Alzheimer’s, and was transformed into the above video for Motionpoems by Ahn Vu (it was also featured on PBS Newshour!)
Read my interview here
In our snow globe of good-byes we leave
cities burning, arguments still on fire.
We do not touch but force ourselves
into pockets and gloves.
Winter stumbles on: questions
Glass bridge of exits, cracked runway lights
flared blue and gold.
We travel through forlorn gates
the size of breadbaskets
do not stop for sweets or tea.
Susan Rich, Sweet Lit
You were in the world and. More
slowly now I am
so fasted now so. Long
it’s been without
you, if you ever read this
you were what. I was dreaming of
this welt, to know
it before. It comes like love
I loved your
read more at Linebreak
Tell me it was for the hunger
& nothing less. For hunger is to give
the body what it knows
it cannot keep. That this amber light
whittled down by another war
is all that pins my hand
to your chest.
between my arms —
You, pushing your body
into the river
only to be left
with yourself —
I’ll tell you how we’re wrong enough to be forgiven. How one night, after
mother, then taking a chainsaw to the kitchen table, my father went to kneel
in the bathroom until we heard his muffled cries through the walls.
And so I learned that a man, in climax, was the closest thing
Say surrender. Say alabaster. Switchblade.
Honeysuckle. Goldenrod. Say autumn.
Say autumn despite the green
in your eyes. Beauty despite
daylight. Say you’d kill for it. Unbreakable dawn
mounting in your throat.
My thrashing beneath you
like a sparrow stunned
by Ocean Vuong, read the rest at Poetry Magazine
Tonight, while weighing wild winged hope with fears
Of loss, again the girl’s voice crying gay
And sweet – O playmate of lost pagan years! –
Comes ringing in the glory of the May.
O singing beauty! Singing though there nears
The moment of all finding and all loss:
Together in our laughter and our tears,
Wind-driven to the centre where ways cross.
Rose garden in blue night, where souls embraced
In holy silence, timeless ecstasy:
Truth grew between us, final beauty laced
The stars, and awed we knew eternity.
A secret sharing passed from eye to eye:
In death the singing beauty does not die.
Make sure you click through for the ending because especially in this poem..it’s the most important part.
in memoriam Cecil Young
I am addicted to words, constantly ferret them away
in anticipation. You cannot accuse me of not being prepared.
I am ready for anything. I can create an image faster than
just about anyone. And so, the crows blurring the tree line;
the sky’s light dimming and shifting; the Pacific cold and
impatient as ever: this is just the way I feel. Nothing more.
I could gussy up those crows, transform them
into something more formal, more Latinate, could use
the exact genus Corvus, but I won’t. Not today.
Like any addict, I, too, have limits. And I have written
too many elegies already. The Living have become
jealous of the amount I have written for the Dead.
So, leave the crows perched along the tree line
watching over us. Leave them be. The setting sun?
Leave it be. For God’s sake, what could be easier
in a poem about death than a setting sun? Leave it be.
I don’t know what to do with my wife’s grief,
How she clutches my shirt,
Weeps the way Eve wept for Abel,
Sorrow wild, thick as locusts.
She says grief sits in her stomach,
Fills her up like Thanksgiving dinner.
I imagine carving grief, serving it
With stuffing, black and full of onion.
I’m trying to understand
How despair works, how being alone
Is like burying her mother again.
I’m not alone, she says.
When you leave, grief crawls
Into bed with me. I can’t say no.
I can’t close my eyes, turn my back.
At night, in the dark, I lie
Next to my wife, put my arm across
Her sleeping body, feel her chest
Rise and fall, slow as a funeral.
If I press my ear to her breast,
I will hear the sound Eve made
When God introduced her to death.
-Martin Achatz, Mayapple Press
This poem by Patrick Rosal absolutely knocked my socks off.
The second time I learned
I could take the pain
my six-year-old niece
—with five cavities
humming in her teeth—
led me by the finger
to the foyer and told her dad
to turn up the Pretenders
—Tattooed Love Boys—
so she could shimmy with me
to the same jam
eleven times in a row
in her princess pajamas.
When she’s old enough,
I’ll tell her how
I bargained once with God
because all I knew of grief
was to lean deep
into the gas pedal
to speed down a side road
not a quarter-mile long
after scouring my gut
and fogging my retinas
with half a bottle of cheap scotch.
To those dumb enough
to take the odds against
time, the infinite always says
Read more at Four Way Review