Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Tuesday Poem: "Letter to Noah’s Wife" by Maya C. Popa

You are never mentioned on Ararat
or elsewhere, but I know a woman’s hand
in salvation when I see it. Lately,
I’m torn between despair and ignorance.
I’m not a vegetarian, shop plastic,
use an air conditioner. Is this what happens
before it all goes fluvial? Do the selfish
grow self-conscious by the withering
begonias? Lately, I worry every black dress
will have to be worn to a funeral.
New York a bouillon, eroded filigree.
Anything but illness, I beg the plagues,
but shiny crows or nuclear rain.
Not a drop in London May through June.
I bask in the wilt by golden hour light.
Lately, only lately, it is late. Tucking
our families into the safeties of the past.
My children, will they exist by the time
it’s irreversible? Will they live
astonished at the thought of ice
not pulled from the mouth of a machine?
Which parent will be the one to break
the myth; the Arctic wasn’t Sisyphus’s
snowy hill. Noah’s wife, I am wringing
my hands not knowing how to know
and move forward. Was it you
who gathered flowers once the earth
had dried? How did you explain the light
to all the animals?

by Maya C. Popa

Photo Credit: Sam Nester

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Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Tuesday Poem: "The Applicant" by Sylvia Plath

First, are you our sort of a person?
Do you wear

A glass eye, false teeth or a crutch,

A brace or a hook,

Rubber breasts or a rubber crotch,

Stitches to show something's missing? No, no? Then

How can we give you a thing?

Stop crying.

Open your hand.

Empty? Empty. Here is a hand

To fill it and willing

To bring teacups and roll away headaches

And do whatever you tell it.

Will you marry it?

It is guaranteed

To thumb shut your eyes at the end

And dissolve of sorrow.

We make new stock from the salt.

I notice you are stark naked.

How about this suit——

Black and stiff, but not a bad fit.

Will you marry it?

It is waterproof, shatterproof, proof

Against fire and bombs through the roof.

Believe me, they'll bury you in it.

Now your head, excuse me, is empty.

I have the ticket for that.

Come here, sweetie, out of the closet.

Well, what do you think of that?

Naked as paper to start

But in twenty-five years she'll be silver,

In fifty, gold.

A living doll, everywhere you look.

It can sew, it can cook,

It can talk, talk, talk.

It works, there is nothing wrong with it.

You have a hole, it's a poultice.

You have an eye, it's an image.

My boy, it's your last resort.

Will you marry it, marry it, marry it.

by Sylvia Plath

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Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Tuesday Poem: "On the Sale By Auction of Keats’ Love Letters" by Oscar Wilde

These are the letters which Endymion wrote
     To one he loved in secret, and apart.
     And now the brawlers of the auction mart
Bargain and bid for each poor blotted note,
Ay! for each separate pulse of passion quote
     The merchant’s price. I think they love not art
     Who break the crystal of a poet’s heart
That small and sickly eyes may glare and gloat.

Is it not said that many years ago,
     In a far Eastern town, some soldiers ran
     With torches through the midnight, and began
To wrangel for mean raiment, and to throw
     Dice for the garments of a wretched man,
Not knowing the God’s wonder, or His woe?

by Oscar Wilde

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Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Tuesday Poem: "Fights" by Chelsey Minnis

Point of information: What do you know about anything?
I’ll give you extra time to figure it out.

No, I’m not going to cry.

I’m going to smash the geraniums.

Do you mind, darling?

I like it when you shake your fist at a painted portrait.

May I ask why you’re so terrible?

I love you but you want to go to blazes.

Have you ever even tasted my tears?

The empty champagne glasses were waiting beautifully.

Don’t look at me with that sparkle.

I don’t like it.

Everyone shouldn’t ruin everything.

I never win an argument, but there are other things in life.

Does anybody ever get that look out of their eyes?

I’ve had the right attitude once or twice.

I nearly went out of my mind.

What are you? A perfect rat?

I adore rats. Rats are sweet.

Now, let’s have some yelling.

Darling, this is a cylindrical satin sofa cushion.

I’m going to beat you with it.

Now, a lot of people don’t know what I’m talking about.

That’s what’s so wonderful.

I’m afraid I’m going to have to accept that free ticket out of town.

Bulletin: You’re no good.

I don’t care who catches it.

It’s a swell night for a cry.

That’s KO with me.

Let’s have ringside seats.

Bulletin: You’re still no good.

I think you’re the most no-good person I’ve ever known.

And that concludes tonight’s sermon.

I know what you’re thinking.

Maybe we’d get somewhere.

by Chelsey Minnis

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Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Tuesday Poem: "Leaves" by Derek Mahon

The prisoners of infinite choice
Have built their house

In a field below the wood

And are at peace.

It is autumn, and dead leaves

On their way to the river

Scratch like birds at the windows

Or tick on the road.

Somewhere there is an afterlife

Of dead leaves,

A stadium filled with an infinite

Rustling and sighing.

Somewhere in the heaven

Of lost futures

The lives we might have lived

Have found their own fulfilment.

by Derek Mahon

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Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Tuesday Poem: "Black Moon" by Matthew Sweeney

For white he used toothpaste, 
for red, blood – but only his own 

that he hijacked just enough of each day. 

For green he crushed basil in a little 

olive oil. His yellow was egg yolk, 

his black, coal dust dampened with water. 

He tried several routes to blue 

before stopping at the intersection 

of bilberry juice and pounded bluebells. 

His brown was his own, too, applied 

last thing in the day before the first 

Laphraoig, and the stone jug of ale. 

He used no other colours, but his tone 

was praised by Prince Haisal, no less, 

which got him a rake of commissions 

and a residency-offer in Kuwait 

which he turned down. At home 

the Royal Family was less generous 

so he painted them all, in a series 

that came to be called his brown period, 

though this was strictly incorrect. 

He never exhibited with other painters, 

never drank with them, spoke of them – 

never even spat at their work. 

A cave in the Orkneys was his last dwelling 

and he rode a horse to his studio. 

There were no people in these paintings, 

which were found piled up on one another 

inside the cave, with no sign of him, 

and on top was a depiction of a black moon.

by Matthew Sweeney

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Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Tuesday Poem: "Callers" by Christine Evans

It is always a shock when they take off their caps, 
Those neighbouring farmers who call at our house.
They have to, of course, to have something to roll 
Or to press or twist in their blunt, nervous hands; 
But it makes them instantly vulnerable 
With their soft bald spots or thinning forelocks. 
They seem at once smaller, and much more vivid: 
Leaping out of type to personality. 

The smell of their beasts comes in with them, 
Faint as the breath of growing things in summer, 
Rich, as the days draw in, with cake and hay and dung. 
They are ill at ease in the house: 
One feels they would like to stamp and snort, 
Looking sideways, but have been trained out of it – 
As with leaving mucky boots beside the door. 

Only small, swarthy men with the friendly smell on them; 
Yet walls press close and the room seems cluttered. 
I am glad to go and make obligatory tea 
As their voices sway, slow with the seasons, 
And, ponderously, come to the point.

by Christine Evans

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