“One day is there of the series / Termed Thanksgiving day” — Emily Dickinson


“Goblin Market” — Christina Rossetti

“Goblin Market”


Christina Rossetti

Morning and evening
Maids heard the goblins cry:
“Come buy our orchard fruits,
Come buy, come buy:
Apples and quinces,
Lemons and oranges,
Plump unpeck’d cherries,
Melons and raspberries,
Bloom-down-cheek’d peaches,
Swart-headed mulberries,
Wild free-born cranberries,
Crab-apples, dewberries,
Pine-apples, blackberries,
Apricots, strawberries;—
All ripe together
In summer weather,—
Morns that pass by,
Fair eves that fly;
Come buy, come buy:
Our grapes fresh from the vine,
Pomegranates full and fine,
Dates and sharp bullaces,
Rare pears and greengages,
Damsons and bilberries,
Taste them and try:
Currants and gooseberries,
Bright-fire-like barberries,
Figs to fill your mouth,
Citrons from the South,
Sweet to tongue and sound to eye;
Come buy, come buy.”

Evening by evening
Among the brookside rushes,
Laura bow’d her head to hear,
Lizzie veil’d her blushes:
Crouching close together
In the cooling weather,
With clasping arms and cautioning lips,
With tingling cheeks and finger tips.
“Lie close,” Laura said,
Pricking up her golden head:
“We must not look at goblin men,
We must not buy their fruits:
Who knows upon what soil they fed
Their hungry thirsty roots?”
“Come buy,” call the goblins
Hobbling down the glen. Continue reading ““Goblin Market” — Christina Rossetti”

Hell talkt my brain awake (“Dream Song #30,” John Berryman)


I’d Harass God | Emily Dickinson

“The Wall” — Anne Sexton

“The Wall”


Anne Sexton

Nature is full of teeth
that come in one by one, then
decay, fall out.
In nature nothing is stable,
all is change, bears, dogs, peas, the willow,
all disappear. Only to be reborn.
Rocks crumble, make new forms,
oceans move the continents,
mountains rise up and down like ghosts
yet all is natural, all is change.

As I write this sentence
about one hundred and four generations
since Christ, nothing has changed
except knowledge, the test tubes.
Man still falls into the dirt
and is covered.
As I write this sentence one thousand are going
and one thousand are coming.
It is like the well that never dries up.
It is like the sea which is the kitchen of God.

We are all earthworms,
digging our wrinkles.
We live beneath the ground
and if Christ should come in the form of a plow
and dig a furrow and push us up into the day
we earthworms would be blinded by the sudden light
and writhe in our distress.
As I write this sentence I too writhe.

For all you who are going,
and there are many who are climbing their pain,
many who will bepainted out with a black ink
suddenly and before it is time,
for these many I say,
awkwardly, clumsily,
take off your life like trousers,
your shoes, your underwear,
then take off your flesh,
unpick the lock of your bones.
In other words
take off the wall
that separates you from God.

“The Pharaohs Sacrifice Themselves before Her” — Tom Clark

“On the Playing Fields” — Tom Clark

“The Suspect” — Tom Clark

“The Hot Dog Factory (1937) — Grace Cavalieri

“The Hot Dog Factory (1937)”


Grace Cavalieri

Of course now children take it for granted but once
we watched boxes on a conveyor belt, sliding by,
magically filled and closed, packed and wrapped.
We couldn’t get enough of it, running alongside the machine.
In kindergarten Miss Haynes walked our class down
Stuyvesant Avenue, then up Prospect Street
to the hot dog factory. Only the girls got to go
as the boys were too wild.
We stood in line, wiggling with excitement as the man
talked about how they made hot dogs, then he handed us
one, and Jan dropped hers, so I broke mine in half.
This was the happiest day of our lives,
children whose mothers didn’t drive, and had nowhere
to go but school and home, to be taken to that street
to watch the glittering steel and shining rubber belts moving,
moving meats, readymade. I wish I could talk with Jan,
recalling the miracle and thrill of the hot dog factory,
when she was alive, before it all stopped—
bright lights, glistening motors, spinning wheels.

“Grateful Dead Tapes” — Ed Skoog

“Grateful Dead Tapes”


Ed Skoog

Even though we’ve already been dead,
when I find two trays of Grateful Dead tapes
in a Missoula secondhand store,
I too feel bound in the stasis of cassette,
plastic cases scarred and cracked
like old scuba goggles. Some retain
the delicate peg that lets the door swing open;
some have broken, maybe from a fall
when someone slid too fast the van door open
in a hot parking lot. Could be no tragedy
made the tapes secondhand greater
than a lost interest. Used to listen to them,
the owner might say, the way you adjust
to walking past a grave. I love him, or her,
who has curated these happenings, although
the Dead’s not really my bag. I follow
other melodies and injured visions, draw
my cider from another press, a cooler lava.
I saw them once, summer of ’95 at RFK,
with my friend Jax. It was terrible,
a lot of twentieth-century business came due
at once. Bob Dylan opened unintelligible
and sleepy as if reaching from the frost
to make known “in life I was Bob Dylan.”
The Dead would play five more stands:
Auburn Hills, Pittsburgh, Noblesville,
Maryland Heights, Chicago, then done,
those last shows, autobiographies of indulgence.
Lightning struck by a branch. We left early.
Tapers caught every note of the show.
You can hear it forever at archive.org.
In my greatest period of disorientation,
the Dead, like death, seemed best avoided.
Yet I was the sort who might admit
a simplifying affection like the Dead.
I remember, coming down in a cornfield
near a creek at dawn, talking it out with Jason
whether those trees were weird, or that
weirdness took the form of trees,
and every woman I pursued
had a pet cat that made me sneeze.
They either liked the Dead or Neil
Diamond. Yet I would persevere,
like one with a disorder, hanging
in the doorway to their petite kitchens
while they ground coffee, or searched
the crisper for a roommate’s hidden beer.
I longed to become more elaborate,
my approaches too simple and still are,
ask anyone about pleasure’s light opera
and the children’s music of the first kiss,
the hair metal of the second. And now
I play the Dead around the house.
It’s children’s music. We play operettas,
Pinafore, Penzance, for the same reasons,
because they are kind and almost meaningless.
I make few claims. What lasts is awkward
chance, like this thrift-store wrench
anthologized on pegboard, or smudges
on a yellow phone. I’m not buying
the tapes today. The price isn’t marked
and the clerk’s busy. I keep what marriage
and child need, a few books and held-back objects,
metal or paper, letters from old loves,
because letters are antique, and for
the limestone antiquity of those affections.

“Imagining Defeat” — David Berman

From Actual Air (Open City, 1999)

“Looking Out the Window Poem” — Denis Johnson

“Looking Out the Window Poem”


Denis Johnson

The sounds of traffic
die over the back lawn
to occur again in the low

The voices, risen, of
the neighborhood cannot
maintain that pitch
and fail briefly, start
up again.

Similarly my breathing rises
and falls while I look out
the window of apartment
number three in this slum,
hoping for rage, or sorrow.

They don’t come to me
anymore. How can I lament
anything? It is all
so proper, so much
as it should be, now

the nearing cumulus
clouds, ominous,
shift, they are like the
curtains, billowy,
veering at the apex
of their intrusion on the room.
If I am alive now,
it is only

to be in all this
making all possible.
I am glad to be
finally a part
of such machinery. I was
after all not so fond
of living, and there comes
into me, when I see
how little I liked
being a man, a great joy.

Look out our astounding
clear windows before evening.
It is almost as if
the world were blue
with some lubricant,
it shines so.

“Room” — Frank O’Hara

“The Surgeon General’s Report on Waiting” — David Berman

“The Surgeon General’s Report on Waiting”


David Berman

The situation in my country is this. Our poor love our rich, and our wives adore our wife-beaters.

It’s sad, yes, but let’s not talk about it. Even the subject of sadness will make us sad.

Here’s something else we do. In my country, when we’re waiting for someone who is very late, we stand at the meeting spot and smoke cigarette after cigarette. Then, when we die, we blame everybody who kept us waiting.


Gertrude Stein’s “Cake” via DALL-E mini

“Cake” by Gertrude Stein is from Food, part of Tender Buttons.

DALL-E mini is by Boris Dayma and colleagues.



Gertrude Stein

Cake cast in went to be and needles wine needles are such.

This is today. A can experiment is that which makes a town, makes a town dirty, it is little please. We came back. Two bore, bore what, a mussed ash, ash when there is tin. This meant cake. It was a sign.

Another time there was extra a hat pin sought long and this dark made a display. The result was yellow. A caution, not a caution to be.

It is no use to cause a foolish number. A blanket stretch a cloud, a shame, all that bakery can tease, all that is beginning and yesterday yesterday we had it met. It means some change. No some day.

A little leaf upon a scene an ocean any where there, a bland and likely in the stream a recollection green land. Why white.

“June Wind” — Wendell Berry

“June Again” — Judy Longley