Tag Archives: modern poetry

Poetry: “Boketto” by Susan Rich

Jasmine flower

Outside my window it’s never the same—
some mornings jasmine slaps the house, some mornings sorrow.

There is a word I overheard today, meaning lost
not on a career path or across a floating bridge:

Boketto—to stare out windows without purpose.
Don’t laugh; it’s been too long since we leaned

into the morning: bird friendly coffee and blueberry toast.

read more at Poem a Day

Friend Susan Rich had a poem selected by the Academy of American Poets, so of course I had to feature it. Plus, I swoon over any poem that mentions jasmine.

Poem: “More Than You Gave” by Philip Levine

Graphic art illustration girl looking over city at sunrise
RT

We have the town we call home wakening for dawn

which isn’t yet here but is promised, we have
our tired neighbors rising in ones and twos, we have

the sky slowly separating itself from the houses
to become the sky while the stars blink a last time

and vanish to make way for us to enter the great stage
of an ordinary Tuesday in ordinary time. We have

our curses, our gripes, our lies all on the stale breath
of 6:37 a.m. in the city no one dreams

read more at The New Yorker

 

Poem: “5PM in Bloomington” by Alex Dang

Headlights illustration graphic art

RT

And we’re driving again. We live out of these

suitcases and I’m feeling like that glamour

shines through the car fatigue that we wear

tight on our skin. I’m still convinced I’m

dreaming. We’ve been through a dozen states

and not one of them has been regret. Wasn’t

I destined to a textbook shaped coffin today?

There was a test, right? But now, now

these days are cup runneth over

read more at Love the Queen!

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

LANA DEL REY INTERVENES WHEN SHE NOTICES I’VE STOPPED WRITING ABOUT MY EX

It’s good that he’s gone,
but don’t let him be too gone.
He’s got to be candle blown out
in the other room gone.
Or exhaust pipe
huffing down the block gone.
Not closure-gone. Not someone-else’s-
baby-gone. Not cut your hair gone.
He can’t ever be too far
away to hurt you, honey.
You can pedal away but make sure it’s a polaroid
of him clicking in your bicycle wheel down the boulevard.
Put a suitcase in a trunk and every state in between you
if you want, but when you turn on the radio,
search for his song.
Don’t get me wrong, you can love.
Megan Falley

Poetry: ‘All the Right Tools’ and ‘Late Aubade’ by James Richardson

These poems by James Richardson left me weak with wonder and the intense love that only words weaved in the way that perfectly resonates with my particular soul can cause. LOVE.

All the Right Tools

It is aggravating to have to stop writing to fix things. We hope these tools
will get you back to the important work faster.
—Inscription in a toolbox, a gift from my parents, 1973

That good slow tool the sun,
with a trumpeter’s strict breath,
swells hemispheres of fruits
to scarlet or dusk or amber
imperceptibly,
not breaking one.

That good slow tool the moon
pulls the quiet
wide-eyed face of the ocean
to its face,
not a drop through its long fingers
slipping down.

That good slow tool that turns
trees and lives to wreckage
brilliant and strange,
that train so smooth and slow
we hardly know we’re on
is Time, but is there one

slower still
that would reverse
these words and call
your breaths and all
your strayed thoughts home
to be you, standing again?
Late Aubade

after Hardy

So what do you think, Life, it seemed pretty good to me,
though quiet, I guess, and unspectacular.
It’s been so long, I don’t know any more how these things go.
I don’t know what it means that we’ve had this time together.

I get that the coffee, the sunlight on glassware, the Sunday paper
and our studious lightness, not hearing the phone, are iconic
of living regretless in the Now. A Cool that’s beyond me:
I’m having some trouble acting suitably poised and ironic.

read more

Poetry: ‘The Call’ by C Dale Young

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.

read more

Poetry: Wardship

This poem about being a foster kid by Vilaska Nguyen at Blue Fifth Review knocked my socks off.

Twelve hundred a month isn’t worth more than the top ramen on the pantry’s bottom shelf. The Progresso is off limits. So is the Diet Coke. She dares me to even lay eyes on the Cool Ranch because that’ll be the end of me. I can drink all the water I want out of the tap. The fridge is off limits, especially the juice inside. I can get ice from the freezer but only two to three cubes per cup with the tap water. That’s all I need to know about the kitchen. Television watching is okay so long as either she or Mr. Kenneth turned it on. They also have to be sitting in the living room. Other than that, it’s off limits. There’s only one bathroom in the house which means I have to wait my turn, whatever that means. I have to empty the trash when I get home from school. That’s the bag under the kitchen sink and the one in the bathroom. I’m not allowed in their bedroom where the other trash is. My bed is in the extra room with the computer which is also off limits. If Mr. Kenneth needs to relax sometimes with computer games, I have to leave the room and wait in the living room. But if no one’s there, the television is off limits. The phone is off limits too.

Read more

 

Wish I Had a River

I miss you the way I miss mooring docks and bright blue boats

and the fine frizzled fray of a slip knot; or a wooden bowl
worn smooth by the daily spoon and cloth,
all the ways we did and didn’t cotton.

It’s on the frozen Thames I sometimes dream you,
skating your way around apple carts, hand-presses,
coal-heaped sleds. Once I saw your beautiful bald head
as you handed your cap to an old woman, limping, fast, after her dog.

That day we flew over the Potomac, you said, here,
take this; and it wasn’t a matter of life or death
but the clamor of their conversation as I pulled
back or pushed forward on the yoke

like the honeysuckle branch you brought close to our faces
that night we climbed two fences to be alone. You said, here,
smell this; and when you let go,
I heard the sound loss makes—the way a thing going away slices

the air. Maybe it wasn’t a dog the old woman was chasing
but a fissure edged with ice;
and though she spent her whole life not knowing you,
she made, within her bony fist, your woolen cap her last soft thing.

-Annette Oxindine, Waccamaw

Ten Years After My Mom Dies I Dance

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
You lose.

Read more at Four Way Review

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