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11 December 2012 @ 12:25 am
Rain  
Woke up this morning with
a terrific urge to lie in bed all day
and read. Fought against it for a minute.

Then looked out the window at the rain.
And gave over. Put myself entirely
in the keep of this rainy morning.

Would I live my life over again?
Make the same unforgiveable mistakes?
Yes, given half a chance. Yes.

-Raymond Carver, Rain
 
 
15 January 2012 @ 12:42 am
I do not love you except because I love you;
I go from loving to not loving you,
From waiting to not waiting for you
My heart moves from cold to fire.

I love you only because it's you the one I love;
I hate you deeply, and hating you
Bend to you, and the measure of my changing love for you
Is that I do not see you but love you blindly.

Maybe January light will consume
My heart with its cruel
Ray, stealing my key to true calm.

In this part of the story I am the one who
Dies, the only one, and I will die of love because I love you,
Because I love you, Love, in fire and blood.

Pablo Neruda, I Do Not Love You Except Because I Love You
 
 
13 January 2012 @ 05:40 pm
Torn  
There was the knife and the broken syringe
then the needle in my hand, the Tru-Cut
followed by the night-blue suture.
The wall behind registration listed a man
with his face open. Through the glass doors,
I saw the sky going blue to black as it had
24 hours earlier when I last stood there gazing off
into space, into the nothingness of that town.
Bat to the head. Knife to the face. They tore
down the boy in an alleyway, the broken syringe
skittering across the sidewalk. No concussion.
But the face torn open, the blood congealed
and crusted along his cheek. Stitch up the faggot
in bed 6 is all the ER doctor had said.
Queasy from the lack of sleep, I steadied
my hands as best as I could after cleaning up
the dried blood. There was the needle
and the night-blue suture trailing behind it.
There was the flesh torn and the skin open.
I sat there and threw stitch after stitch
trying to put him back together again.
When the tears ran down his face,
I prayed it was a result of my work
and not the work of the men in the alley.
Even though I knew there were others to be seen,
I sat there and slowly threw each stitch.
There were always others to be seen. There was
always the bat and the knife. I said nothing,
and the tears kept welling in his eyes.
And even though I was told to be “quick and dirty,”
told to spend less than 20 minutes, I sat there
for over an hour closing the wound so that each edge
met its opposing match. I wanted him
to be beautiful again. Stitch up the faggot in bed 6.
Each suture thrown reminded me I would never be safe
in that town. There would always be the bat
and the knife, always a fool willing to tear me open
to see the dirty faggot inside. And when they
came in drunk or high with their own wounds,
when they bragged about their scuffles with the knife
and that other world of men, I sat there and sutured.
I sat there like an old woman and sewed them up.
Stitch after stitch, the slender exactness of my fingers
attempted perfection. I sat there and sewed them up.

-C. Dale Young, Torn
 
 
12 January 2012 @ 09:10 am
It was a little like when your sister played her Christian rock
and you'd drown it out with some Led Zeppelin, both of you
studiously turning upward notch after notch, until someone
yelled, just turn it off. Or perhaps it was most like the car
that pulls alongside at a stoplight, bass hunkered down, shaking fast.
And you'd respond, of course—a song you love enough to open up,
display the fierce teeth of noise. The two of you, continents of sound
that never merge, but simply break apart, eventually,
into separate neighborhoods. It wasn't even all that beguiling,
how they sang—just sweet enough to stir the ear toward home,
to recall the long trips east, to the shore, to the house
with its rough wooden doors. The rolling windows and the night
pitched just a little higher than the voice, your mother eating ice
from a cup, singing Leonard Cohen.

-Hannah Craig, They Then Ate the Sailors
 
 
10 January 2012 @ 05:53 pm
1.
I waved a gun last night
In a city like some ancient Los Angeles.
It was dusk. There were two girls
I wanted to make apologize,
But the gun was uselessly heavy.
They looked sideways at each other
And tried to flatter me. I was angry.
I wanted to cry. I wanted to bury the pistol,
But I would've had to walk miles.
I would've had to learn to run.

2.
I have finally become that girl
In the photo you keep among your things,
Steadying myself at the prow of a small boat.
It is always summer here, and I am
Always staring into the lens of your camera,
Which has not yet been stolen. Always
With this same expression. Meaning
I see your eye behind the camera's eye.
Meaning that in the time it takes
For the tiny guillotine
To open and fall shut, I will have decided
I am just about ready to love you.

3.
Sun cuts sharp angles
Across the airshaft adjacent.

They kiss. They kiss again.
Faint clouds pass, disband.
Someone left a mirror
At the foot of the fire escape.

They look down. They kiss.

She will never be free
Because she is afraid. He

Will never be free
Because he has always

Been free.

4.
Was kind of a rebel then.
Took two cars. Took
Bad advice. Watched people's
Asses. Sniffed their heads.

Just left, so it looked
Like those half sad cookouts,
Meats never meant to be
Flayed, meant nothing.

Made promises. Kept going.
Prayed for signs. Stooped
For coins. Needed them.
Had two definitions of family.

Had two families. Snooped.
Forgot easily. Well, didn't
Forget, but knew when it was safe
To remember. Woke some nights

Against a wet pillow, other nights
With the lights on, whispering
The truest things
Into the receiver.

5.
A small dog scuttles past, like a wig
Drawn by an invisible cord. It is spring.
The pirates out selling fakes are finally
Able to draw a crowd. College girls,
Inspired by the possibility of sex,
Show bare skin in good faith. They crouch
Over heaps of bright purses, smiling,
Willing to pay. Their arms
Swing forward as they walk away, balancing
That new weight on naked shoulders.
The pirates smile, too, watching
Pair after pair of thighs carved in shadow
As girl after girl glides into the sun.

6.
You are pure appetite. I am pure
Appetite. You are a phantom
In that far-off city where daylight
Climbs cathedral walls, stone by stolen stone.
I am invisible here, like I like it.
The language you taught me rolls
From your mouth into mine
The way kids will pass smoke
Between them. You feed it to me
Until my heart grows fat. I feed you
Tiny black eggs. I feed you
My very own soft truth. We believe.
We stay up talking all kinds of shit.

-Tracy K. Smith, Self Portrait as the Letter Y
 
 
 
08 January 2012 @ 08:33 pm
She wants to own the moment
when knowing slides away and she enters sleep,
like someone riding a raft
in a following sea.

She tries holding onto
the small smooth animal of her breath.
She strokes it like a cat
and like a cat

it pads into the dark
without her. She wants to name the time.
She tries "Loss".
It doesn't fit.

"Loss" is grey and salty,
but not the word she means. She tries "Hunt".
But it's not the hunt but before,
the moment the cat steps

away. "Consolation" then.
But she can't get the syllables from her mouth
before she's gone. She wants
to be the seachange polisher,

who with her cloth will make
the owned moment shine. She has not reckoned
with the slip of words against
her craft, how it will swamp first,

so small against the building waves of stars.

-Lola Haskins, Night Song
 
 
02 January 2012 @ 02:39 am
I wake in the dark and remember
it is the morning when I must start
by myself on the journey
I like listening to the black hour
before dawn and you are
still asleep beside me while
around us the trees full of night lean
hushed in their dream that bears
us up asleep and awake then I hear
drops falling one by one into
the sightless leaves and I
do not know when they began but
all at once there is no sound but rain
and the stream below us roaring
away into the rushing darkness

-W.S. Merwin, Rain Travel
 
 
01 January 2012 @ 06:45 pm
The brightest stars are the first to explode. Also hearts. It is important to pay attention to love’s
high voltage signs. The mockingbird is really ashamed of its own feeble song lost beneath all
those he has to imitate. It’s true, the Carolina Wren caught in the bedroom yesterday died
because he stepped on a glue trap and tore his wings off. Maybe we have both fallen through
the soul’s thin ice already. Even Ethiopia is splitting off from Africa to become its own continent.
Last year it moved 10 feet. This will take a million years. There’s always this nostalgia for the
days when Time was so unreal it touched us only like the pale shadow of a hawk. Parmenedes
transported himself above the beaten path of the stars to find the real that was beyond time.
The words you left are still smoldering like the cigarette left in my ashtray as if it were a dying
star. The thin thread of its smoke is caught on the ceiling. When love is threatened, the heart
crackles with anger like kindling. It’s lucky we are not like hippos who fling dung at each
other with their ridiculously tiny tails. Okay, that’s more than ten things I know. Let’s try twenty five,
no, let’s not push it, twenty. How many times have we hurt each other not knowing?
Destiny wears her clothes inside out. Each desire is a memory of the future. The past is a fake
cloud we’ve pasted to a paper sky. That is why our dreams are the most real thing we possess. My
logic here is made of your smells, your thighs, your kiss, your words. I collect stars but have no
place to put them. You take my breath away only to give back a purer one. The way you dance
creates a new constellation. Off the Thai coast they have discovered a new undersea world
with sharks that walk on their fins. In Indonesia, a kangaroo that lives in a tree. Why is the
shadow I cast always yours? Okay, let’s say I list 33 things, a solid symbolic number. It’s good
to have a plan so we don’t lose ourselves, but then who has taken the ladder out of the hole I’ve
dug for myself? How can I revive the things I’ve killed inside you? The real is a sunset over a
shanty by the river. The keys that lock the door also open it. When we shut out each other,
nothing seems real except the empty caves of our hearts, yet how arrogant to think our
problems finally matter when thousands of children are bayoneted in the Congo this year. How
incredible to think of those soldiers never having loved. Nothing ever ends. Will this? Byron
never knew where his epic, Don Juan, would end and died in the middle of it. The good thing
about being dead is that you don’t have to go through all that dying again. You just toast it. See,
the real is what the imagination decants. You can be anywhere with the turn of a few words.
Some say the feeling of out-of-the-body travel is due to certain short circuits in parts of the
brain. That doesn’t matter because I’m still drifting towards you. Inside you are cumulous
clouds I could float on all night. The difference is always between what we say we love and
what we love. Tonight, for instance, I could drink from the bowl of your belly. It doesn’t matter if
our feelings shift like sands beneath the river, there’s still the river. Maybe the real is the way
your palms fit against my face, or the way you hold my life inside you until it is nothing at all, the
way this plant droops, this flower called Heart’s Bursting Flower, with its beads of red hanging
from their delicate threads any breeze might break, any word might shatter, any hurt might crush.

- Richard Jackson, Ten Things I Know
 
 
31 December 2011 @ 08:44 pm
I'm a sucker for a gothic ending:
for example, this opal brooch of sky,
like milk tinged with blood

behind a leaden fret of branches,
the year going down, distant as nursery glow,
natal and passionate.

Returning to my car in the dusk,
along an alley of tall boxwoods
hiding private yards, with houses

at the far ends of them, each extinguished
by a certain compromise and sadness,
my tongue stung with champagne

from a party I've just fled,
coat heavy on my shoulders,
reminder that all ways are one, at the last—

my throat stops suddenly with longing.
Not for what I still don't know,
but for what I have known, with you inside me:

blue on blue, and that fierce, white star.
Dark arteries. Splendor of hope's risk,
still running there.

-Lisa Russ Spaar, New Year's Eve
 
 
30 December 2011 @ 10:44 pm
I

Midwinter spring is its own season
Sempiternal though sodden towards sundown,
Suspended in time, between pole and tropic.
When the short day is brightest, with frost and fire,
The brief sun flames the ice, on pond and ditches,
In windless cold that is the heart's heat,
Reflecting in a watery mirror
A glare that is blindness in the early afternoon.
And glow more intense than blaze of branch, or brazier,
Stirs the dumb spirit: no wind, but pentecostal fire
In the dark time of the year. Between melting and freezing
The soul's sap quivers. There is no earth smell
Or smell of living thing. This is the spring time
But not in time's covenant. Now the hedgerow
Is blanched for an hour with transitory blossom
Of snow, a bloom more sudden
Than that of summer, neither budding nor fading,
Not in the scheme of generation.
Where is the summer, the unimaginable
Zero summer?

if you came this wayCollapse )

-T.S. Eliot, Little Gidding, No. 4 of "Four Quartets"