ekaterinn: (Default)
God Says Yes To Me

by Kaylin Haught

I asked God if it was okay to be melodramatic
and she said yes
I asked her if it was okay to be short
and she said it sure is
I asked her if I could wear nail polish
or not wear nail polish
and she said honey
she calls me that sometimes
she said you can do just exactly
what you want to
Thanks God I said
And is it even okay if I don't paragraph
my letters
Sweetcakes God said
who knows where she picked that up
what I'm telling you is
Yes Yes Yes
ekaterinn: (Default)
First Cell

by Ruth Padal

Born in a deep-sea vent, synthesised
by lightning in a reducing atmosphere
or carried here by meteorite, we're all
from somewhere else. Algae, first
self-replicating molecule on Earth,

pulls carbon from organic substrate,
performs the world's first magic,
photosynthesis of air to oxygen,
and creates copies of herself, uncountable
as starlings flocking or the pure gold bricks

Sheba sent to Solomon by mule.
Cell in the air, on the rocks. Song
hoping to be heard in a heart cut open.
Little Blue-Green, dreaming of pattern
and form. Tiny horseman of apocalypse.
ekaterinn: (Default)
Dreamwood

By Adrienne Rich

In the old, scratched, cheap wood of the typing stand
there is a landscape, veined, which only a child can see
or the child’s older self, a poet,
a woman dreaming when she should be typing
the last report of the day. If this were a map,
she thinks, a map laid down to memorize
because she might be walking it, it shows
ridge upon ridge fading into hazed desert
here and there a sign of aquifers
and one possible watering-hole. If this were a map
it would be the map of the last age of her life,
not a map of choices but a map of variations
on the one great choice. It would be the map by which
she could see the end of touristic choices,
of distances blued and purpled by romance,
by which she would recognize that poetry
isn’t revolution but a way of knowing
why it must come. If this cheap, mass-produced
wooden stand from the Brooklyn Union Gas Co.,
mass-produced yet durable, being here now,
is what it is yet a dream-map
so obdurate, so plain,
she thinks, the material and the dream can join
and that is the poem and that is the late report.
ekaterinn: (Default)
Sometimes things don't go, after all,
from bad to worse. Some years, muscadel
faces down frost; green thrives; the crops don't fail,
sometimes a man aims high, and all goes well.

A people sometimes will step back from war;
elect an honest man; decide they care
enough, that they can't leave some stranger poor.
Some men become what they were born for.

Sometimes our best efforts do not go
amiss; sometimes we do as we meant to.
The sun will sometimes melt a field of sorrow
that seemed hard frozen: may it happen for you.
ekaterinn: (close by poptartmuse)
Tonight's poem:

Love Is Not All
by Edna St. Vincent Millay

Love is not all: It is not meat nor drink
Nor slumber nor a roof against the rain,
Nor yet a floating spar to men that sink
and rise and sink and rise and sink again.
Love cannot fill the thickened lung with breath
Nor clean the blood, nor set the fractured bone;
Yet many a man is making friends with death
even as I speak, for lack of love alone.
It well may be that in a difficult hour,
pinned down by need and moaning for release
or nagged by want past resolution's power,
I might be driven to sell your love for peace,
Or trade the memory of this night for food.
It may well be. I do not think I would.
ekaterinn: (the seasons of my discontent (selphish))
Tonight's poem:

Civilization


by Carl Phillips

There's an art
   to everything. How
the rain means
   April and an ongoingness like
   that of song until at last

it ends. A centuries-old
   set of silver handbells that
once an altar boy swung,
   processing...You're the same
   wilderness you've always

been, slashing through briars,

   the bracken
of your invasive
   self
. So he said,
   in a dream. But

the rest of it—all the rest—
   was waking: more often
than not, to the next
   extravagance. Two blackamoor
   statues, each mirroring

the other, each hoisting
   forever upward his burden of
hand-painted, carved-by-hand
   peacock feathers. Don't
   you know it, don't you know

I love you
, he said. He was
   shaking. He said:
I love you. There's an art

   to everything. What I've
   done with this life,

what I'd meant not to do,
 or would have meant, maybe, had I
understood, though I have
 no regrets. Not the broken but
 still-flowering dogwood. Not

the honey locust, either. Not even
   the ghost walnut with its
non-branches whose
   every shadow is memory,
   memory...As he said to me

once, That's all garbage
   down the river, now
. Turning,
but as the utterly lost—
   because addicted—do:
   resigned all over again. It

only looked, it—
   It must only look
like leaving. There's an art

   to everything. Even
   turning away. How

eventually even hunger
   can become a space
to live in. How they made
   out of shamelessness something
   beautiful, for as long as they could.

ekaterinn: (close by poptartmuse)
One of my absolute favourites:

Reality Organization
by Albert Goldbarth

1.

4:30 a.m. with the woe adding up
in notches on your gut-wall,
guilts, indignities, whatever, there's no sleep,
you're bright, you "keep up", you know what's what, but
this isn't the time when you want to know everything's nothing

but some few subatomic elements skeetering
through emptiness, what seem the solid edges of things
are haziness of particle give-and-take and "really"
must look like continual maelstrom, and people you love
are whole new sets of cells each 7 years - no,

that's all fine to know but now you simply want
to walk with some dignity to the shed, and
press your forehead to the russian olive there, its trunk
unyielding, a thing not you but able to texture you,
a hardness to hold to, a firm true specific event.


2.

Zen and the Art of Computer Management Systems.
Holistic Bioengineering: A Home Cassette Series.
Alternate Consciousness and Corporation Profile - A Symposium
.
By now it's no secret: scientific method,
the Newtonian/Cartesian paradigm, isn't hauling ass

and soul in happy tandem very well. And so
(as one book says) "to use an obvious example," war
we calibrate down to the leastmost ladybug's waist-sized
chainmail link and up to megaton trajectory, we
artfully assemble, Trojan H and H-bomb, but

what makes us make war, what demanding psyche-ghosts
howl down the spiral staircase
of our genes - "we are no closer to this
understanding now than, say, in Hellenistic times." They
had Lysistrata. We have biofeedback and we have Lysistrata.


3.

We have biofeedback. We know there are levels
where light’s too large to land, so "being" anything isn’t
being visible or countable - levels where dream is
logic, levels where you could fall lost in the space
between your own hand and its shadow. Maybe a God,

even a God of terrible vengeance, is less frightening
than floating through physics. The God says:
Here are boundaries; this and this are real, this not.
The God says: Things actually do add up. We love
to add. The name of Allah was 26,000

times stitched into a 16th century Turkish warship's pennant.
There are an estimated 4 million mummified ibises
in an Egyptian labyrinth offered unto Thoth.
We love to tally. The rosary's abacus beads.
The first worked stones were scored.


4.

It was nearly dawn when I found you. By then
you were calm. The tree had punished you or healed you
or simply been a symbol of something reliably
beyond the tormenting refinements of human confusion.
Your skin was moire from the bark - your sadness,

leached out by that contact. I led you back
into the house. Or you could have been leading me - that's
not the point. I knew we can't approach the universe
as if its secrets were quantifiable, not any more. And even
so, I know we all deserve the reassurance

of weight and number, perimeter, durability. Some
days both of those opposing knowings pull, and early
sun in a slant through the basketball net
mandalas the shed - my eyes can spin in there,
electronwise, wholegalaxyclusterwise, and not be wiser.
ekaterinn: (the seasons of my discontent (selphish))
The Resemblance Between Your Life and a Dog
by Robert Bly

I never intended to have this life, believe me -
It just happened. You know how dogs turn up
At a farm, and they wag but can't explain.

It's good if you can accept your life - you'll notice
Your face has become deranged trying to adjust
To it. Your face thought your life would look

Like your bedroom mirror when you were ten.
That was a clear river touched by mountain wind.
Even your parents can't believe how much you've changed.

Sparrows in winter, if you've ever held one, all feathers,
Burst out of your hand with a fiery glee.
You see them later in hedges. Teachers praise you,

But you can't quite get back to the winter sparrow.
Your life is a dog. He's been hungry for miles.
Doesn't particularly like you, but gives up, and comes in.
ekaterinn: (Default)
Read Me
by Ophelia Dimalanta

whenever my voice flings arrows
your way at a fiery pace,
read, discover there is that
something in me that dies to go gentle.
for when i viciously tangle
with you trying to throw
you off course, inside, i am raring
to cover you, take you, become
all of me fire and fluid.
when i try to lord it over, empowered,
it is because inside i am already
slave groveling ready to heed your bidding,
crawling waves lapping you up
sea shore hillocks sky
all the way up, all drool and drivel.
and when i insolently seek out
pulpits to mount my gospel truths,
i am really one humped question mark
thrashing about for your steadying light.
and when i try to light you up whole,
there is really a part of your flame
i would want extinguished
to die rekindled in me alone,
and when i am wind taking roots
in your solid ground, i am roots as well
ready to take flight upon your wings.
when i prance around proud in times square.
i am child carousing in the greener
fringes of the heart's final roosting.

read this idiolect,
read well, decode, detect,
and love me when i seem to hate.
ekaterinn: (the seasons of my discontent (selphish))
One Art
by Elizabeth Bishop

The art of losing isn't hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother's watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn't a disaster.


--Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan't have lied. It's evident
the art of losing's not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.
ekaterinn: (Default)
Apologies if I owe you an email or comment - every time I've got online the last few days, I've been exhausted and not up to much. Will try to catch up tomorrow.

Objects Contain the Possibility of All Situations
H.L. Hix

I may kill. You should know this about me.
A razor in the night, without warning.
Objects contain the possibility
Of all situations. States of being
Embrace all imaginable events.
Any one life, or pair of lives, harbors
Every death. The succession of presents
Comprehends all foreseeable futures.
I have it in me to be a galaxy
Or one leaf on the frond of a fern.
I may become light in a sanctuary
Kindled by a rose window, or a cairn
Older than the woods it renders holy.
I may become water or earth. I may burn.
ekaterinn: amanda from highlander peering over sunglasses, 'whatever.' at the bottom (as if!)
Tonight, since I'm somewhat tipsy, here's another poem by Dennis Lee:

William Lyon McKenzie King

William Lyon McKenzie King
Sat in the middle and played with string
He loved his mother like anything
William Lyon McKenzie King


If you a) know who William Lyon McKenzie King was, b) know what the other two lines of the poem refer to, and c) think that's a perfect piece of history to encapsulate in a children's rhyme, then, congratulations, you're a Canadian!
ekaterinn: (the seasons of my discontent (selphish))
I never liked the end of The Tempest - I always that it was a waste and terribly sad to see Prospero to break his staff and return to the mainland. This poem suggests a remedy:


Prospero Goes Home
by Jack Gilbert

It was not difficult to persuade the captain
to sail a little off course and leave him
at the island. With his boxes in the sand
and the ship getting small, he was home.
Foolishly, he was disappointed that Ariel
was not amazingly there to meet him.
A part had secretly dreamed it would be a woman.
But that lasted briefly and then he was happy.
How dear the bare place looked. How good it felt
getting the supplies up to the house.
ekaterinn: (Default)
Tonight's poem is a silly favourite from when I was a kid, lo all those eons ago:


Alligator Pie
by Dennis Lee

Alligator pie, alligator pie,
If I don't get some I think I'm gonna die.
Give away the green grass, give away the sky,
But don't give away my alligator pie.


Alligator stew, alligator stew,
If I don't get some I don't know what I'll do.
Give away my furry hat, give away my shoe,
But don't give away my alligator stew.


Alligator soup, alligator soup,
If I don't get some I think I'm gonna droop.
Give away my hockey stick, give away my hoop,
But don't give away my alligator soup.
ekaterinn: (close by poptartmuse)
On ending a long-distance relationship (not that that's happened to me or anything), tonight's poem is:

Love in the Dark Country
by Kapka Kassabova

Tomorrow for twenty-four hours
I’ll be in the same country as you.

The sky will be constantly shifting,
the morning will be green, a single morning
for my single bed. And in the night

as the dark country goes to sleep
a church bell will measure
the jet-lag of my heart.

I’ll open my suitcase and unfold my life
like a blanket. In the dark country I will lie
all night and wonder how this came to be:

the one light left in the world
is your window, somewhere in the land

of thin rain and expensive trains.
And instead of maps, I have an onward ticket.
ekaterinn: amanda from highlander peering over sunglasses, 'whatever.' at the bottom (as if!)
Positives for today: I bought the habitat and some of the other things I will need for the class gecko! Tomorrow, I will get the actual lizard! Also, RE went very well, and I got to talk to a few people at church I have been missing, so that was tres yay!

Negatives: State politics, and how they seem determined to ruin the (very good, if high-poverty) school district I work for. Need I say more? Also, plus, it's end of the year, which is always hectic.

So since tomorrow I will go to battle with testing, kids who don't like their routines changed, and my own angry thoughts, have this poem:

What She Was Wearing
by Denver Butson

this is my suicide dress
she told him
I only wear it on days
when I'm afraid
I might kill myself
if I don't wear it

you've been wearing it
every day since we met
he said

and these are my arson gloves

so you don't set fire to something?
he asked

exactly

and this is my terrorism lipstick
my assault and battery eyeliner
my armed robbery boots

I'd like to undress you he said
but would that make me an accomplice?

and today she said I'm wearing
my infidelity underwear
so don't get any ideas

and she put on her nervous breakdown hat
and walked out the door
ekaterinn: (Default)
I didn't post a poem yesterday because I came straight home from a long day at work and fell promptly asleep. So here's two for today, to make up the difference:

The Second Coming (Slouching Towards Bethlehem)
by W.B. Yeats

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in the sands of the desert.

A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

AND

Dancing Toward Bethlehem
by Billy Collins

If there is only enough time in the final
minutes of the twentieth century for one last dance
I would like to be dancing it slowly with you,

say, in the ballroom of the seaside hotel.
My palm would press into the small of your back
as the past hundred years collapsed into a pile
of mirrors or buttons or frivolous shoes,

just as the floor of the nineteenth century gave way
and disappeared in a red cloud of brick dust.
There will be no time to order another drink
or worry about what was never said,

not with the orchestra sliding into the sea
and all our attention devoted to humming
whatever it was they were playing.
ekaterinn: amanda from highlander peering over sunglasses, 'whatever.' at the bottom (as if!)
Tonight's poem is a well-known one, but it's an old favourite of mine, having meant a lot to me in high school:

(260)
by Emily Dickinson

I'm Nobody! Who are you?
Are you – Nobody – too?
Then there's a pair of us!
Don't tell! they'd advertise – you know!

How dreary – to be – Somebody!
How public – like a Frog –
To tell one's name – the livelong June –
To an admiring Bog!
ekaterinn: (Default)
Today was the first day back after spring break. It was a pretty good day (besides the part where I learned that I will be proctoring for state testing for four days), but I'm pretty exhausted, so here's a lullaby for all of us:

The Sciences Sing a Lullaby
by Albert Goldbarth

Physics says: go to sleep. Of course
you're tired. Every atom in you
has been dancing the shimmy in silver shoes
nonstop from mitosis to now.
Quit tapping your feet. They'll dance
inside themselves without you. Go to sleep.

Geology says: it will be all right. Slow inch
by inch America is giving itself
to the ocean. Go to sleep. Let darkness
lap at your sides. Give darkness an inch.
You aren't alone. All of the continents used to be
one body. You aren't alone. Go to sleep.

Astronomy says: the sun will rise tomorrow,
Zoology says: on rainbow-fish and lithe gazelle,
Psychology says: but first it has to be night, so
Biology says: the body-clocks are stopped all over town
and
History says: here are the blankets, layer on layer, down and down.
ekaterinn: (Default)
I hope you had a good Easter if you celebrate it today, and happy Sunday if not! Here is a tiny poem by Ena Hawken:

Bunnies

Every little bunny
Has a habit that is funny.

It doesn't matter where he goes
He always wrinkles up his nose.

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