Poem, Lynda Hull

FayeWhitePhotos @ Etsy

So I was curious about this poet, Lynda Hull, because she’s a favorite of one of my favorites–Virginia Chase Sutton.  So I went to The Poetry Foundation and found the poem “Tide of Voices“:

TIDE OF VOICES

At the hour the streetlights come on, buildings

turn abstract.  The Hudson, for a moment, formal.

We drink bourbon on the terrace and you speak

FayeWhitePhotos @ Etsy

FayeWhitePhotos @ Etsy

in the evening voice, weighted deep in the throat.

They plan to harvest oysters, you tell me,

from the harbor by Jersey City, how the waters

will be clean again in twenty years.  I imagine nets

burdened with rough shells, the meat dun and sexual.

Below, the river and the high rock

where boys each year jump from bravado

or desperation.  The day flares, turns into itself.

And innocently, sideways, the way we always fall

into grace or knowledge, we watched the police

drag the river for a suicide, the third this year.

the terrible hook, the boy’s frail whiteness.

His face was blank and new as your face

in the morning before the day has worked

its pattern of lines and tensions.  A hook

like an iron question and this coming

out of the waters, a flawed pearl–

a memory that wasn’t ours to claim.

Perhaps, in a bedroom by lamplight,

a woman waits for this boy.  She may riffle drawers

gathering photographs, string, keys to abandoned rooms.

Even now she may be leaving,

closing the door for some silence.  I need

to move next to you.  Water sluiced

from the boy’s hair.  I need to watch you

light your cigarette, the flickering

of your face in matchlight, as if underwater,

drifting away.  I take your cigarette

and drag from it, touch your hand.

Remember that winter of your long fever,

the winter we understood how fragile

any being together was.  The wall sweated

behind the headboard and yo9u said you felt

the rim where dreams crouch

and every room of the past.  It must begin in luxury–

do you think–a break and fall into the glamour

attending each kind of surrender.  Water must flood

the mind, as in certain diseases, the walls

between the cells of memory dissolve, blur

into a single stream of voices and faces.

I don’t know any more about this river or if

it can be cleaned of its tenders and broken histories–

a tide of voices.  And this is how the dead

rise to us, transformed: wet and singing,

the tide of voices pearling in our hands.

—-Lynda Hull

Poem by Vikas K. Menon

BreeMadden

Vikas K. Menon

BreeMadden

 

 

 

UNSHRIVEN

they say you must abolish your self

others burn their lack with bourbon,

fall into the easy incandescence

of the night.  thy juggle their intoxication

and selves, a furious circus.

they scare off what they seek.

but you–you are here for me.

among my many selves

I keep you close to me– [Read more...]

Exquisite Poem by Amy Gerstler

TOURING THE DOLL HOSPITAL

by Amy Gerstler

Why so many senseless injuries? This one’s glass teeth
knocked out. Eyes missing, or stuck open or closed.
Limbs torn away. Sawdust dribbles onto the floor
like an hourglass running out. Fingerless hands, noses
chipped or bitten off. Many are bald or burnt. Some,
we learn, are victims of torture or amateur surgery.
Do dolls invite abuse, with their dent-able heads,
those tight little painted-on or stitched-in grins?
Hurt me, big botched being, they whine in a dialect
only puritans and the frequently punished can hear.
It’s what I was born for. I know my tiny white pantaloons [Read more...]

Poets Nick Flynn and Matthew Dickman

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It’s been awhile since I shared some of my favorite poems, so here goes.  These are poems by the incredibly talented Nick Flynn from his book Some Ether (also the author of Another Bullshit Night in Suck City which was turned into the movie “Being Flynn”) and Matthew Dickman from his All-American Poem book of poetry.  Amazing shit, read on.

31P1EPJ8GDL._SY300_Nick Flynn (Some Ether)

 

 

 

 

FATHER OUTSIDE

 

A black river flows down the center

of each page

 

& on either side the banks

are wrapped in snow.  My father is ink falling

 

in tiny blossoms, a bottle

wrapped in a paperbag.  I want to believe

that if I get the story right

 

we will rise, newly formed,

 

that I will stand over him again

as he sleeps outside under the church halogen

only this time I will know [Read more...]

An Amazing Poem by Heather Sawaya

So I had the very fortunate luck of coming across a poem“Pull Me Down” by blogger and poet Heather Sawaya over at Heather Sawaya Poetry.  It made me cry. A lot.  And it’s so insightful as to what it’s like for a caregiver/lover/best friend/helper of someone with so much suffering.   She’s an advocate for survivors.  Here’s what she says about “Pull Me Down”:

“The poem, Pull Me Down, means a great deal to me.  It speaks of both my purpose for writing, and also the inspiration for my next book.  I am most moved by people who have gone through the worst life has to offer, yet, find the strength to keep moving toward something better.”

I’ve just started speaking with her on her facebook page and never have I met a more compassionate person.  Visit her page, you’ll see what I mean.  She has given me permission to share Pull Me Down with all of you.  Enjoy.

(all rights to this poem solely belong to Heather Sawaya)

(I apologize if her formatting doesn’t publish correctly)

PULL ME DOWN

Pull me down

to that place

you don’t allow words.

I have never been [Read more...]

“And I Said to My Soul, Be Loud” Christian Wiman

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Christian Wiman, from Every Riven Thing

And I Said to My Soul, Be Loud

Madden me back to an afternoon
I carry in me
not like a wound
but like a will against a wound

Give me again enough man
to be the child
choosing my own annihilations

To make of this severed limb
a wand to conjure
a weapon to shatter
dark matter of the dirt daubers’ nests
galaxies of glass

Whacking glints
bash-dancing on the cellar’s fire
I am the sound the sun would make
if the sun could make a sound

and the gasp of not
stabbed from the compost’s lumpen living death
is me

O my life my war in a jar
I shake you and shake you
and may the best ant win

For I am come a whirlwind of wasted things
and I will ride this tantrum back to God

until my fixed self, my flourescent self
my grief-nibbling, unbewildered, wall-to-wall self
withers in me like a salted slug

From “Mutable Earth” Louise Gluck

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f”…So you couldn’t protect yourself?

The absolute
erodes; the boundary, the wall
around the self erodes.
If I was waiting I had been
invaded by time.

But do you think you’re free?

I think I recognize the patterns of my nature.

Bud do you think you’re free?

I had nothing
and I was still changed.
Like a costume, my numbness
was taken away.  Then
hunger was added.”

–Louise Gluck, from Vita Nova

Excerpts from Carl Adamshick’s “The Emptiness”


“…the forked branch of my existence
was lit like a crackof lightning.
My breath, my tongue, the broken font

of my voice had wanted to praise.
And when I didn’t speak

I became a secret, a testimony
against my own body. I lived
and lived

with the fact that I watched others
struggle and pray.

I watched them lie on the shore
with their heads adrift in a shine if stars

and wanted their hunger
to finally consume their sad,
hurting bodies.

I watched, hoping
when the tide came and lifted them away

I could live without shame.
The emptiness. The tongue bound

to the betrayal held in the mouth,
to the apology held

in the mouth, to the brutal remains
held in the socket of the mouth.

And still, under it all,
I feel an orchid, the cold river flow

around my feet. I see the stars
as the shimmering bones

Of migratory birds
and swallow the humiliating taste

of beauty. I am the dirt,
the worm-dirge, the lament and procession

winding through a garden burning
with flowers.

I am not the body that dies naked,
swollen and torn,

infested with beetles.
I am not the body that lacks

the funeral and its offering of plums.
I am not the body,

the empty midnight station.
I am not the bombed-out factory…

…I am the severed hands of a war

and feel it escape into me like a tired lover

I am comfort into the dark hours,
where my body, swathed with heat

and sorrow, listens to air
pass through the gate of its teeth.

…When light around the field is spilt moon
and memory is a nest

of mud and grass hidden in the bright
summer branches,

when emptiness is an open door,
the well-black pupil of an iris.

I am lost in the living, in the acceptance
of rain filling a bucket,

in the belief
that the chemical burn was a washing

for the exodus
and the smoke rising through
the chimneys

into the pale-blue morning was
a love song.
There are days when I wake

and find my face is a hole
and I have nowhere to hang my
mask.”

Quotes

image

“I have to block out thoughts of you so I don’t lose my head/ they crawl in like a cockroach leaving babies in my bed/dropping little reels of tape to remind me that I’m alone/playing movies in my head that make a porno feel like home/there’s a burning in my pride, a nervous bleeding in my brain/an ounce of peace is all I want for you/will you never call again…” –Blue October “Hate Me”

When we let ourselves feel fear, the discontent, the difficulties we have always avoided, our heart softens…allow ourselves to be touched by the pain of life…The knowledge that we can do this and survive helps us to awaken the greatness of our heart. With greatness of heart, we can sustain a presence in the midst of life’s suffering…We can open to the world–its ten thousands joys and ten thousand sorrows. ***With wise understanding we ALLOW OURSELVES TO CONTAIN ALL THINGS, BOTH DARK AND LIGHT, AND WE COME TO SENSE OF PEACE…THE PEACE WE FIND IN THE HEART THAT HAS REJECTED NOTHING, THAT TOUCHES ALL THINGS WITH COMPASSION.

–from A PATH WITH HEART

“In any event, as regards the correlation between mind and body, we may note…that the poet will naturally tend to write about that which most deeply engrosses him–and nothing more deeply engrosses a man than his burdens, including those of a physical nature, such as disease. We win by capitalizing on our debts, by turning our liabilities into assets, by using our burdens as a basis of insight.” –Kenneth Burke

The Lonesome Dream by Lisel Mueller

I wanted to share this awesome poem by Lisel Mueller I found in her Pulitzer Prize winning book I bought called Alive Together: New and Selected Poems.  Here goes

THE LONESOME DREAM

In the America of the dream

the first rise of the moon

swings free of the ocean,

and she reigns in her shining flesh

over a good, great valley

of plumed, untrampled grasses

and beasts with solemn eyes,

of lovers infallibly pitched

in their ascendant phase.

 

In this America, death

is virginal also, roaming

the good, great valley

in his huge boots, his shadow

steady and lean, his pistol

silver, his greeting clear

and courteous as a stranger’s

who looks for another, a mind

to share his peaceable evenings.

 

Dreaming, we are another

race than the one which wakes

in the cold sweat of fear,

fires wild shots at death,

builds slippery towers of glass

to head him off, waylays him

with alcohol traps, rides him down

in canyons of sex, and hides

in teetering ghost towns.

 

Dreaming, we are the mad

who swear by the blood of trees

and speak with the tongues of streams

through props of steel and sawdust,

a colony of souls

ravaged by visions, bound

to some wild, secret cove

not yet possessed, a place

still innocent in us.

 

—Lisel Mueller

Jorie Graham’s “Prayer” (part of it)

motion that forces change—
this is freedom. This is the force of faith. Nobody gets
what they want. Never again are you the same. The longing
is to be pure. What you get is to be changed. More and more by
each glistening minute, through which infinity threads itself,
also oblivion, of course, the aftershocks of something
at sea. Here, hands full of sand, letting it sift through
in the wind, I look in and say take this, this is
what I have saved, take this, hurry. And if I listen
now? Listen, I was not saying anything. It was only
something I did. I could not choose words. I am free to go.
I cannot of course come back. Not to this. Never.
It is a ghost posed on my lips. Here: never.