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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Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Tuesday Poem: "Getting Older" by Elaine Feinstein


The first surprise: I like it. 
Whatever happens now, some things 
that used to terrify have not: 

I didn't die young, for instance. Or lose 
my only love. My three children 
never had to run away from anyone. 

Don't tell me this gratitude is complacent. 
We all approach the edge of the same blackness 
which for me is silent. 

Knowing as much sharpens 
my delight in January freesia, 
hot coffee, winter sunlight. So we say 

as we lie close on some gentle occasion: 
every day won from such 
darkness is a celebration.

by Elaine Feinstein


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Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Tuesday Poem: "Circle" by Pádraig Ó Tuama


It’s funny how things come in
circles.

You, sitting on a step,

smoking a cigarette,

watching leaves fall off a

slowly stripping tree.

Me, hanging photos on a wall,

including one of you

receiving, like a priestess,

your lover’s confession.

Me telling stories of

your conversations.

You, weeping

when your dad asked you

how you were.

Me writing poems about life

while I was slowly plunging into

death.

You breathing in those

same lines,

sitting on a step,

smoking a cigarette.

by Pádraig Ó Tuama


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Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Tuesday Poem: "air and light and time and space" by Charles Bukowski


'- you know, I've either had a family, a job, something
has always been in the

way

but now

I've sold my house, I've found this

place, a large studio, you should see the space and

the light.

for the first time in my life I'm going to have a place and

the time to

create.'

no baby, if you're going to create

you're going to create whether you work

16 hours a day in a coal mine

or

you're going to create in a small room with 3 children

while you're on

welfare,

you're going to create with part of your mind and your body blown

away,

you're going to create blind

crippled

demented,

you're going to create with a cat crawling up your

back while

the whole city trembles in earthquakes, bombardment,

flood and fire.

baby, air and light and time and space

have nothing to do with it

and don't create anything

except maybe a longer life to find

new excuses

for. 

by Charles Bukowski 


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Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Tuesday Poem: "Women Whose Lives are Food, Men Whose Lives are Money" by Joyce Carol Oates


Mid-morning Monday she is staring
peaceful as the rain in that shallow back yard

she wears flannel bedroom slippers

she is sipping coffee

she is thinking—

                            —gazing at the weedy bumpy yard

at the faces beginning to take shape

in the wavy mud

in the linoleum

where floorboards assert themselves


Women whose lives are food

breaking eggs with care

scraping garbage from the plates

unpacking groceries hand over hand


Wednesday evening: he takes the cans out front

tough plastic with detachable lids

Thursday morning: the garbage truck whining at 7

Friday the shopping mall open till 9

bags of groceries unpacked

hand over certain hand


Men whose lives are money

time-and-a-half Saturdays

the lunchbag folded with care and brought back home

unfolded Monday morning


Women whose lives are food

because they are not punch-carded

because they are unclocked

sighing glad to be alone

staring into the yard, mid-morning

mid-week

by mid-afternoon everything is forgotten


There are long evenings

panel discussions on abortions, fashions, meaningful work

there are love scenes where people mouth passions

sprightly, handsome, silly, manic

in close-ups revealed ageless

the women whose lives are food

the men whose lives are money

fidget as these strangers embrace and weep and mis-

            understand and forgive and die and weep and embrace

and the viewers stare and fidget and sigh and

begin yawning around 10:30

never made it past midnight, even on Saturdays,

watching their braven selves perform


Where are the promised revelations?

Why have they been shown so many times?

Long-limbed children a thousand miles to the west

hitch-hiking in spring, burnt bronze in summer

thumbs nagging

eyes pleading

Give us a ride, huh? Give us a ride?


and when they return nothing is changed

the linoleum looks older

the Hawaiian Chicken is new

the girls wash their hair more often

the boys skip over the puddles

in the GM parking lot

no one eyes them with envy


their mothers stoop

the oven doors settle with a thump

the dishes are rinsed and stacked and

by mid-morning the house is quiet

it is raining out back

or not raining

the relief of emptiness rains

simple, terrible, routine

at peace

by Joyce Carol Oates


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Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Tuesday Poem: "The Week Before She Died" by Elise Paschen


I dream us young, again,
mother and daughter back

on 69th Street inside

our old brownstone—across

from the church, patch of lawn— 


a house neglected, wrecked,

as if the family

had been forced at gunpoint

to move away. In corners

dirt stacked like miniscule


anthills; along the edges

of room—crumpled clothes, bodiless;

littered across the floor

dry-cleaning bags, vestiges

of what they once protected.


A Turkish scarf, embroidered

with sequins, glitter, beads,

tantalizes. My mother

holds it close, says, “You should 

wear it.” The doorbell rings.


At the top of the stairs

he waits for us to answer.

My mother’s ballet partner, 

Russian, stows something covert

behind his almond eyes. With three


regal strides he commands

our gaze, pronounces the red

brocade robe his, lofts high 

the scarf, the sash he flung

in Giselle, circling the empty 


living room. With mischief he bows

low before my mother. Her love

for him, a mountain. The doorbell 

chimes. A blond, blue-eyed dancer,

in epaulets, arrives.


She straightens shoulders, turns,

walks away. Rudy asks 

Erik, “Did you ever tell her 

about us?” No response. The secrets 

men keep, my mother knows. 

by Elise Paschen


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Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Tuesday Poem: "Aunt Helen" by T.S. Eliot


Miss Helen Slingsby was my maiden aunt,
And lived in a small house near a fashionable square

Cared for by servants to the number of four.

Now when she died there was silence in heaven

And silence at her end of the street.

The shutters were drawn and the undertaker wiped his feet —

He was aware that this sort of thing had occurred before.

The dogs were handsomely provided for,

But shortly afterwards the parrot died too.

The Dresden clock continued ticking on the mantelpiece,

And the footman sat upon the dining-table

Holding the second housemaid on his knees —

Who had always been so careful while her mistress lived.

by T.S. Eliot


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