“Seascape” — Elizabeth Bishop

“Seascape”

by

Elizabeth Bishop


This celestial seascape, with white herons got up as angels,
flying high as they want and as far as they want sidewise
in tiers and tiers of immaculate reflections;
the whole region, from the highest heron
down to the weightless mangrove island
with bright green leaves edged neatly with bird-droppings
like illumination in silver,
and down to the suggestively Gothic arches of the mangrove roots
and the beautiful pea-green back-pasture
where occasionally a fish jumps, like a wildflower
in an ornamental spray of spray;
this cartoon by Raphael for a tapestry for a Pope:
it does look like heaven.
But a skeletal lighthouse standing there
in black and white clerical dress,
who lives on his nerves, thinks he knows better.
He thinks that hell rages below his iron feet,
that that is why the shallow water is so warm,
and he knows that heaven is not like this.
Heaven is not like flying or swimming,
but has something to do with blackness and a strong glare
and when it gets dark he will remember something
strongly worded to say on the subject.

Annual reply (Emily Dickinson)

“The Egg Boiler” — Gwendolyn Brooks

“The Egg Boiler”

by

Gwendolyn Brooks


Being you, you cut your poetry from wood.
The boiling of an egg is heavy art.
You come upon it as an artist should,
With rich-eyed passion, and with straining heart.
We fools, we cut our poems out of air.
Night color, wind soprano, and such stuff.
And sometimes weightlessness is much to bear.
You mock it, though, you name it Not Enough.
The egg, spooned gently to the avid pan,
And left the strick three minute, or the four,
Is your Enough and art for any man.
We fools give courteous ear—-then cut some more,
Shaping a gorgeous Nothingness from cloud.
You watch us, eat your egg, and laugh aloud.

“Tell it to the forest fire, tell it to the moon” (Dream Song 44) | John Berryman

“The Blackstone Rangers” — Gwendolyn Brooks

“The Blackstone Rangers”
by
Gwendolyn Brooks

I
AS SEEN BY DISCIPLINES
There they are.
Thirty at the corner.
Black, raw, ready.
Sores in the city
that do not want to heal.
II
THE LEADERS
Jeff. Gene. Geronimo. And Bop.
They cancel, cure and curry.
Hardly the dupes of the downtown thing
the cold bonbon,
the rhinestone thing. And hardly
in a hurry.
Hardly Belafonte, King,
Black Jesus, Stokely, Malcolm X or Rap.
Bungled trophies.
Their country is a Nation on no map.
Jeff, Gene, Geronimo and Bop
in the passionate noon,
in bewitching night
are the detailed men, the copious men.
They curry, cure,
they cancel, cancelled images whose Concerts
are not divine, vivacious; the different tins
are intense last entries; pagan argument;
translations of the night.
The Blackstone bitter bureaus
(bureaucracy is footloose) edit, fuse
unfashionable damnations and descent;
and exulting, monstrous hand on monstrous hand,
construct, strangely, a monstrous pearl or grace.
III
GANG GIRLS
A Rangerette
Gang Girls are sweet exotics.
Mary Ann
uses the nutrients of her orient,
but sometimes sighs for Cities of blue and jewel
beyond her Ranger rim of Cottage Grove.
(Bowery Boys, Disciples, Whip-Birds will
dissolve no margins, stop no savory sanctities.)
Mary is
a rose in a whiskey glass.
Mary’s
Februaries shudder and are gone. Aprils
fret frankly, lilac hurries on.
Summer is a hard irregular ridge.
October looks away.
And that’s the Year!
                     Save for her bugle-love.
Save for the bleat of not-obese devotion.
Save for Somebody Terribly Dying, under
the philanthropy of robins. Save for her Ranger
bringing
an amount of rainbow in a string-drawn bag.
“Where did you get the diamond?” Do not ask:
but swallow, straight, the spirals of his flask
and assist him at your zipper; pet his lips
and help him clutch you.
Love’s another departure.
Will there be any arrivals, confirmations?
Will there be gleaning?
Mary, the Shakedancer’s child
from the rooming-flat, pants carefully, peers at
her laboring lover ….
                     Mary! Mary Ann!
Settle for sandwiches! settle for stocking caps!
for sudden blood, aborted carnival,
the props and niceties of non-loneliness—
the rhymes of Leaning.

“Nomad Exquisite” — Wallace Stevens

“Nomad Exquisite”

by

Wallace Stevens


As the immense dew of Florida
Brings forth
The big-finned palm
And green vine angering for life,
As the immense dew of Florida
Brings forth hymn and hymn
From the beholder,
Beholding all these green sides
And gold sides of green sides,
And blessed mornings,
Meet for the eye of the young alligator,
And lightning colors
So, in me, come flinging
Forms, flames, and the flakes of flames.

“To an Intra-Mural Rat” — Marianne Moore

“my dreams, my works, must wait till after hell” — Gwendolyn Brooks

“my dreams, my works, must wait till after hell”
by
Gwendolyn Brooks

I hold my honey and I store my bread
In little jars and cabinets of my will.
I label clearly, and each latch and lid
I bid, Be firm till I return from hell.
I am very hungry. I am incomplete.
And none can tell when I may dine again.
No man can give me any word but Wait,
The puny light. I keep eyes pointed in;
Hoping that, when the devil days of my hurt
Drag out to their last dregs and I resume
On such legs as are left me, in such heart
As I can manage, remember to go home,
My taste will not have turned insensitive
To honey and bread old purity could love.

RIP Lawrence Ferlinghetti

RIP Lawrence Ferlinghetti, 1919-2021

Little loving (Langston Hughes)

advice

“Snail” — Langston Hughes

“Letter to the Local Police” — June Jordan

by

June Jordan

Dear Sirs:
I have been enjoying the law and order of our
community throughout the past three months since
my wife and I, our two cats, and miscellaneous
photographs of the six grandchildren belonging to
our previous neighbors (with whom we were very
close) arrived in Saratoga Springs which is clearly
prospering under your custody
Indeed, until yesterday afternoon and despite my
vigilant casting about, I have been unable to discover
a single instance of reasons for public-spirited concern,
much less complaint
You may easily appreciate, then, how it is that
I write to your office, at this date, with utmost
regret for the lamentable circumstances that force
my hand
Speaking directly to the issue of the moment:
I have encountered a regular profusion of certain
unidentified roses, growing to no discernible purpose,
and according to no perceptible control, approximately
one quarter mile west of the Northway, on the southern
side
To be specific, there are practically thousands of
the aforementioned abiding in perpetual near riot
of wild behavior, indiscriminate coloring, and only
the Good Lord Himself can say what diverse soliciting
of promiscuous cross-fertilization
As I say, these roses, no matter what the apparent
background, training, tropistic tendencies, age,
or color, do not demonstrate the least inclination
toward categorization, specified allegiance, resolute
preference, consideration of the needs of others, or
any other minimal traits of decency
May I point out that I did not assiduously seek out
this colony, as it were, and that these certain
unidentified roses remain open to viewing even by
children, with or without suitable supervision
(My wife asks me to append a note as regards the
seasonal but nevertheless seriously licentious
phenomenon of honeysuckle under the moon that one may
apprehend at the corner of Nelson and Main
However, I have recommended that she undertake direct
correspondence with you, as regards this: yet
another civic disturbance in our midst)
I am confident that you will devise and pursue
appropriate legal response to the roses in question
If I may aid your efforts in this respect, please
do not hesitate to call me into consultation
Respectfully yours,

“my dream about time” — Lucille Clifton

“my dream about time”
by
Lucille Clifton

a woman unlike myself is running
down the long hall of a lifeless house
with too many windows which open on
a world she has no language for,
running and running until she reaches
at last the one and only door
which she pulls open to find each wall
is faced with clocks and as she watches
all of the clocks strike
                                             NO

“Whaler” — W.S. Merwin

“Living” — C.D. Wright

“Living”

by

C.D. Wright


If this is Wednesday, write Lazartigues, return library books, pick up passport form, cancel the paper.

If this is Wednesday, mail B her flyers and K her shirts. Last thing I asked as I walked K to her car, “You sure you have everything?” “Oh yes,” she smiled, as she squalled off. Whole wardrobe in front closet.

Go to Morrison’s for paint samples, that’s where housepainter has account (near Pier One), swing by Gano St. for another bunch of hydroponic lettuce. Stop at cleaners if there’s parking.

Pap smear at 4. After last month with B’s ear infections, can’t bear sitting in damn doctor’s office. Never a magazine or picture on the wall worth looking at. Pack a book.

Ever since B born, nothing comes clear. My mind like a mirror that’s been in a fire. Does this happen to the others.

If this is Wednesday, meet Moss at the house at noon. Pick B up first, call sitter about Friday evening. If she prefers, can bring B to her (hope she keeps the apartment warmer this year).

Need coat hooks and picture hangers for office. Should take car in for air filter, oil change. F said one of back tires low. Don’t forget car payment, late last two months in a row.

If this is Wednesday, there’s a demo on the green at 11. Took B to his first down at Quonset Point in August. Blue skies. Boston collective provided good grub for all. Long column of denims and flannel shirts. Smell of patchouli made me so wistful, wanted to buy a woodstove, prop my feet up, share a J and a pot of Constant Comment with a friend. Maybe some zucchini bread.

Meet with honors students from 1 to 4. At the community college I tried to incite them to poetry. Convince them this line of work, beat the bejesus out of a gig as gizzard splitter at the processing plant or cleaning up after a leak at the germ warfare center. Be all you can be, wrap rubber band around your trigger finger until it drops off.

Swim at 10:00 before picking up B, before demo on the green, and before meeting moss, if it isn’t too crowded. Only three old women talking about their daughters-in-law last Wednesday at 10:00.

Phone hardware to see if radon test arrived.

Keep an eye out for a new yellow blanket. Left B’s on the plane, though he seems over it already. Left most recent issue of Z in the seat. That will make a few businessmen boil. I liked the man who sat next to me, he was sweet to B. Hated flying, said he never let all of his weight down.

Need to get books in the mail today. Make time pass in line at the P.O. imagining man in front of me butt naked. Fellow in the good-preacher-blue-suit, probably has a cold, hard bottom.

Call N for green tomato recipe. Have to get used to the Yankee growing season. If this is Wednesday, N goes in hospital today. Find out how long after marrow transplant before can visit.

Mother said she read in paper that Pete was granted a divorce. His third. My highschool boyfriend. Meanest thing I could have done, I did to him, returning a long-saved-for engagement ring in a Band-Aid box, while he was stationed in Da Nang.

Meant to tell F this morning about dream of eating grasshoppers, fried but happy. Our love a difficult instrument we are learning to play. Practice, practice.

No matter where I call home anymore, feel like a boat under the trees. Living is strange.

This week only; bargain on laid paper at East Side Copy Shop.

Woman picking her nose at the stoplight. Shouldn’t look, only privacy we have anymore in the car. Isn’t that the woman from the colloquium last fall, who told me she was a stand-up environmentalist. What a wonderful trade, I said, because the evidence of planetary wrongdoing is overwhelming. Because because because of the horrible things we do.

If this is Wednesday, meet F at Health Department at 10:45 for AIDS test.

If this is Wednesday, it’s trash night.

“Blown Away” — Tom Clark

“Villanelle for Charles Olson” — Tom Disch

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