Monday, April 30, 2012

The Residue of Art

By Nat Kuhn                    For Art Nahill

What I remember from Art is
not the management of congestive
heart failure or triple antibiotic
coverage or even
his own poetry
though I do remember
being impressed
The maxim I retained was: if you do
want someone to remember your own
poetry, do not read a poem
by Stephen Dunn
alongside it

But the real lesson
that was lurking, coming to
words only twenty years later
writing this poem is:
if you want to give someone
something that endures
for twenty years,
do.

Nat Kuhn is a psychiatrist and psychotherapist in the Boston area.  Before that he was a mathematician, so he has some familiarity with the unexpected.  But when a poem comes to him, it's unexpected even to him.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

My Friends Baked Cake and We Ordered Lox and Whitefish from the Deli

By Merle Feld

I stood there shoulder to shoulder with the men
when they hacked a piece off your little thing -
could I really sit in the room next door
and let my fantasies run wild when I heard you cry?

And yet, at the crucial moment, I wasn't watching.
I was staring off into space at some invisible focal point.
The same one I'd stared at through hours of labor?
Maybe.
Maybe the same one Sarah stared at
when Abraham took her baby up to the mountain.

I'm not angry, but you know,
you're a little weird, you male Jewish God.
 What do you need with all those foreskins, anyway?

Friday, April 27, 2012

The Pond at Dusk

By Jane Kenyon

A fly wounds the water but the wound
soon heals. Swallows tilt and twitter
overhead, dropping now and then toward
the outward-radiating evidence of food.

The green haze on the trees changes
into leaves, and what looks like smoke
floating over the neighbor's barn
is only apple blossoms.

 But sometimes what looks like disaster
is disaster: the day comes at last,
and the men struggle with the casket
just clearing the pews.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Love, we're going home now

By Pablo Neruda

Love, we're going home now,
Where the vines clamber over the trellis:
Even before you, the summer will arrive,
On its honeysuckle feet, in your bedroom.

Our nomadic kisses wandered over all the world:
Armenia, dollop of disinterred honey:
Ceylon, green dove: and the YangTse with its old
Old patience, dividing the day from the night.

And now, dearest, we return, across the crackling sea
Like two blind birds to their wall,
To their nest in a distant spring:

Because love cannot always fly without resting,
Our lives return to the wall, to the rocks of the sea:
Our kisses head back home where they belong.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

My Thoughts

By Matilda Altheimer

Though I am a naught, a rain old,
My thoughts are free, my thoughts are bold.
Within my heart and my soul, I ween
that I am the equal of any queen
For is not my scepter the fluent pen
The twenty-six letters my vassal men,
Who readily will obey my command
Whenever I guide them with ruling hand?
I join them and send them into the field
And if no success in battle they yield.
I try it again, I am not vexed,
And hopeful I send them into the next.
I cannot abstain forever to try
To rule my subjects until I die;
If naught but a failure my life has been,
Then pen in my hand felt like a queen.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Personals

By C. D. Wright

Some nights I sleep with my dress on. My teeth
are small and even. I don't get headaches.
Since 1971 or before, I have hunted a bench
where I could eat my pimento cheese in peace.
If this were Tennessee and across that river, Arkansas,
I'd meet you in West Memphis tonight. We could
have a big time. Danger, shoulder soft.
Do not lie or lean on me. I'm still trying to find a job
for which a simple machine isn't better suited.
I've seen people die of money. Look at Admiral Benbow. I wish
like certain fishes, we came equipped with light organs.
Which reminds me of a little known fact:
if we were going the speed of light, this dome
would be shrinking while we were gaining weight.
Isn't the road crooked and steep.
In this humidity, I make repairs by night. I'm not one
among millions who saw Monroe's face
in the moon. I go blank looking at that face.
If I could afford it I'd live in hotels. I won awards
in spelling and the Australian crawl. Long long ago.
Grandmother married a man named Ivan. The men called him
Eve. Stranger, to tell the truth, in dog years I am up there.

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Bus through Jonesboro, Arkansas

By Matthew Henriksen

Inanimate intimacy in the plural
Couples under their dark covers

The distance between one body and another
An echo chamber against every stone

The distance between lovers in a rock-lashing wave
The solitude of two together under the waters of night

Or the flattened space between two people on a bus 
Talking above the low beams of a few lost trucks

 Seeking their destruction or their portion elsewhere
A road imagined as a slick for words in a discrete stream

 Flawless enamel the tongue slides along
Or skates off into a future illumined within a highway sign

At the lip of revelation comes denouement or slow torturous sleep
Because traveling does not follow music

Only music brings the body down from the sky
The solid body in its partial form

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Little Rock

By Nicolás Guillén

A "blues" cries his song tearful
In the thin morning rain
The North White shakes his whip
It strikes the whole world.
Boys rifles educational gap between poor
At his school in fear.
When you get to your classes,
Will have classes with W. Bush, Blair and Lula
And there is every book every boy Blood Ink, pencil fire and hunger...
Much advertising, little knowledge, no truth
That neo-liberalism and communism is good kills...
That Jesus Christ is on the side of capital, against people, against the poor...
God is a capitalist and the devil is a communist
That the IMF is the redemption and nationalism doom of the world
What the Americans lead civilization to the world...
So is the North, his whip is constantly...
The chances are equal for all!
The slum and the son of a millionaire have an equal chance
If the squatter prefer trafficking, theft or unemployment,
For he has the whip, the law, prison.
That the son of the rich "naturally" expresses its vocation differently:
The father of this is meant to be a doctor that the child
The father of that is meant for the child to be entrepreneur
And lead them to meet these vocations absolutely natural, of course,
"The chances are equal for all..."
"The chances are equal for all"
But the poor boy is not even
At the door of the school's rich
Without being searched, looked with disdain or distrust or fear
Or would you prefer to stay at home...
 Or maybe (you never know)
Leave to strike the oppressor even unto martyrdom.
Or perhaps venture into the streets.
Or maybe die the bullet in the "war on terror"...
Or maybe whistling while passing a beautiful mulatta
Or maybe lower my eyes, yes,
Bending the body, yes,
Screw up, yes,
At the free world, yes, sir North...
And now, ladies and gentlemen,
Now boys, old, hairy and naked,
Now Indians pashtus, mulattos, blacks, Asians,
Consider that would be
A globe north
A worldwide blood and whip
A world of white school for whites,
 A whole world and all Little Rock,
A Yankee world, all "WASP"
The dream of Hitler led to the ultimate
Nazism more cruel, bloody, dirty and washed out
But "nice" without opposition.
Imagine for a moment.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Only Listen

By Toni Amato

It has something to do with that old thin line between love and hate and it has something to do with wanting to smash the same thing you want to hold wide fingered and careful and it has something to do with faith, I think, although it is only on certain giddy evenings full of risk takers and soul-bearers that I would ever admit that. It has something to do with crying in the dark until someone touches you and then it has to do with letting yourself be touched and here I go, writing about being in love again, but stay with me on this one, hang in there a little bit longer, because the words spilling out of hearts, through lips and rustling pages just did that thing, that thing where the big immense opens up and here I am back to faith.

The knot that binds tight around our human souls is silence. The knot is shame and doubt and tongues tied down and what releases is courage, and a room full of voices daring each other, coaxing each other, murmuring and shouting and laughing at each other and what it feels like is thank you Jesus and what it feels like is coming home.

In the beginning, there was the word. Author of my being. And here are words, and like I said, the knot is all about not saying, not speaking; it's about not hearing the words we need.

And yeah, I'm writing about love again. I know I am, and you'll just have to forgive me, but I forget, sometimes, the way words can rip me wide open. But I never forget the way I can and do fall in love nearly every time a woman makes me cry and I have shed tears again. I have shed tears as folks bled ink onto paper, into my heart, and this is what I have faith in, this is what I believe in, what I crave like the junkie I am and yes, it's true, it's a jones, a deep and bone shaking one, but the knot unravels here, every time, every blessed damn time.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Baby

By Kate Northrop

The shadows of the couple
      enter the dark field, cross
silent as a seam

having left at the center
a white box, white
as a box

for a birthday cake. Inside,
the baby.
Abandoned there

in the tall grass,
in the night wind,

he wants for everything: food, warmth,
      a little
baby hope.

      But the world
swirls around the box. The world

like a forest goes on

and paths go on through it
      each road leading nowhere, leading away

from the baby. Still
in the center of the field,
his breath

rises quietly. Grasses shiver.
Overhead, through trees

a sound approaches, like wings,
or this time, scissors.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Butterfly

By Pavel Friedmann

He was the last. Truly the last.
Such yellowness was bitter and blinding
Like the sun’s tear shattered on stone.
That was his true colour.
And how easily he climbed, and how high,
Certainly, climbing, he wanted
To kiss the last of my world.

I have been here seven weeks,
‘Ghettoized’
Who loved me have found me,
Daisies call to me,
And the branches also of the white chestnut in the yard.
But I haven’t seen a butterfly here.
That last one was the last one.
There are no butterflies, here, in the ghetto.


Pavel Friedmann, a young Jewish man from the Theresienstadt Ghetto wrote this poem during his time there. He was later deported to Auschwitz and died on 29 September 1944.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Sciences Sing a Lullabye

By Albert Goldbarth

Physics says
: go to sleep. Of course
you're tired. Every atom in you
has been dancing the shimmy in silver shoes
nonstop from mitosis to now.
Quit tapping your feet. They'll dance
inside themselves without you. Go to sleep.

Geology says: it will be all right. Slow inch
by inch America is giving itself
to the ocean. Go to sleep. Let darkness
lap at your sides. Give darkness an inch.
You aren't alone. All of the continents used to be
one body. You aren't alone. Go to sleep.

Astronomy says: the sun will rise tomorrow,
Zoology says: on rainbow-fish and lithe gazelle,
Psychology says: but first it has to be night, so
Biology says: the body-clocks are stopped all over town
and
History says: here are the blankets, layer on layer, down and down.

Monday, April 16, 2012

The Bat

The Bat
By Cody Robinson

A dry, malformed figure
lying face down
unmoving
upon the sidewalk,
the heat of a summer day
relentless, overpowering, unforgiving

I wonder what brought him here
this delicate winged creature
from his cool, dark home
to the center of this prison yard
where his energy was drained,
and the weight of the sun
a burning, golden disc
pressing down upon his back,
forcing him to nestle against the concrete
close his eyes
and die.

I wonder too
if he would have flown over this place
had he been aware of its capabilities
to leech, to defile, and to devour
everything containing
even the smallest bit
of good.

First published in Between the Bars, June 13, 2011.


Cody Robinson is 27 years old and has been writing for the past twelve years. He is currently serving the last thirty days of a five-year prison sentence. Originally written in a poetry workshop in January of 2010, he had the great fortune to publish this poem online through a non-profit organization called Between The Bars, which gives a much needed voice to inmates. His blog site is http://betweenthebars.org/blogs/239/, but any BTB blog you visit will help an inmate's recovery.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Banking Lessons, 1970

By Kevin Bowen

Your hero's welcome was cleaning
floors at the local bank
for minimum wage.
A little joke to start the day,
leaning on a pole, a train
rambling through a runnel,
a blue janitor's uniform from Sears
replacing olive green.
You were reading Stendhal,
stuck in your back pocket like a confession.
Each day, seven A.M., you begin your tour
sweeping tape across the computer room,
everyone watching, you could tell.
Knock first before checking
the washrooms for paper stock
empty trash pails for executives.
If the knew the murder in your head...
Lunch was a cafeteria filled
with girls on six inch heels
and men in blue suits.
You arched as you passed through the line.
Back by the loading docks
you smoked your wrath up,
watched armored trucks bring
the day's deposits from the branches .
How far could you get, you wondered,
Wednesdays mopping the main vault,
stacks of bills rising in piles on the walls.
How far?

Friday, April 13, 2012

How to Meditate

By Jack Kerouac

-lights out-
fall, hands a-clasped, into instantaneous
ecstasy like a shot of heroin or morphine,
the gland inside of my brain discharging
the good glad fluid (Holy Fluid) as
i hap-down and hold all my body parts
down to a deadstop trance-Healing
all my sicknesses-erasing all-not
even the shred of a 'I-hope-you' or a
Loony Balloon left in it, but the mind
blank, serene, thoughtless. When a thought
comes a-springing from afar with its held-
forth figure of image, you spoof it out,
you spuff it off, you fake it, and
it fades, and thought never comes-and
with joy you realize for the first time
'thinking's just like not thinking-
So I don't have to think
any
more'

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Gabriel, Age Two, Opens the Door for Elijah

By Sanford Pinsker

My grandson gazes at the seder plate from his position
far down the table, waves his little hands in my direction,
and says, on cue and as he had practiced, "Ma zot?"
Hebrew for "What is all this?" Next year he might know
the Four Questions but for now, Ma zot is sufficient,
and we set about answering him.
True, we took a few liberties with the seder's order,
Gabriel opened the door for Elijah before the meal
In case he got cranky and his mother had to put him down.
For the record, Elijah didn't come this year,
Nor did he drink from the glass near Gabriel's plate.
But I swear I felt the prophet's presence
in the angelic face of my grandson. Both are harbingers
of that better world all of us so desperately need.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Upside Down, a Passover poem

By Chava Tombosky

Quiet the volume and listen to the noise
Underneath the veins of the city that's alive
art cries through the mouths of starving folk
songs cry through the vocals pleading hope

Time is running, running, running
and the trains are coming, coming, coming

And we wait for a new day to come
and we wait for a new tune to hum
and we play our eyes across the train
drifting, drifting,
failing to notice we must be all the same

But time is running, running, running
and the trains are coming, coming, coming

Doors revolve like a universal sphere
tolls are paid and our pockets empty bear
our backs are turned to the hungry that wait
yet they keep on singing
under the subway pleading,
our heels grinding to the cement floor
never entertaining there could be more

And time is running, running fast
and the clocks keep ticking ticking past

Artists, Bankers, Wall street brokers,
geeks, thinkers, homeless, floaters
every color, all God's creatures breathe in the same raw air
weaving side by side
eating ride by ride
dozing half alive
intimate, organic, primal connection
all ignoring the world's intention

And we keep riding, riding, riding fast
as the clocks keep ticking, ticking past

Through the night and half past dawn
at last a lone voice encroaches on
upside down he sees the world
riding past him like a tornado twirls
the masses fail to stop and search who
as the vocalist tries to force time to stand still
even the riders cannot change his will
he chants like he has all the time to pass
looking searching feeling fast
an amphitropous exposé
he begs the world to see like he

and the folks cease staring ahead like sheep
and soon their minds begin to peek
the riders stop one by one
as time finally halts mid-air
the lone voice sings a familiar dare
of hope and loss and resonating despair
and he promises the riders through his voice of emotion
that it can get better if we utter commotion
and the dollars roll out one by one
clapping, tears, and joys are sung
the moment is paused it transforms disarray
as a virtue emerges to light that day

Although the clocks tic tic tock
and the hustle and bustle does not seem to stop
we can carve a moment out of clay
like a work of art, a Van Gogh, or Monet.
We can listen to
the pulse of our hearts and the routine beats
that pass one by one or we can pause at our feet.
We can view the beauty we share
and realize there is much more to bear
than the economic treadmill of exhaustion we climb
or the disappointment or diminished pay check tossed
trade material deprived for sublime instead of loss.

We can take the time to transform our space,
lend a penny, or a smile or a tune against the race.
We can change our world and stop the time
we can enlighten ourselves and dare to climb
upside down like the man standing on his head
seeing the colors the music instead
and before we even realize we will be higher and higher,
a holy space will encompass something new will transpire
hold our hands together and create abundance all around
break free from the shackles
and listen
to
the
sound.

Previously published in The Huffington Post, 4/5/12

Monday, April 9, 2012

Bury Me in a Free Land

By Frances Ellen Watkins Harper

Make me a grave where'er you will,
In a lowly plain, or a lofty hill;
Make it among earth's humblest graves,
But not in a land where men are slaves.

I could not rest if around my grave
I heard the steps of a trembling slave;
His shadow above my silent tomb
Would make it a place of fearful gloom.

I could not rest if I heard the tread
Of a coffle gang to the shambles led,
And the mother's shriek of wild despair
Rise like a curse on the trembling air.

I could not sleep if I saw the lash
Drinking her blood at each fearful gash,
And I saw her babes torn from her breast,
Like trembling doves from their parent nest.

I'd shudder and start if I heard the bay
Of bloodhounds seizing their human prey,
And I heard the captive plead in vain
As they bound afresh his galling chain.

If I saw young girls from their mother's arms
Bartered and sold for their youthful charms,
My eye would flash with a mournful flame,
My death-paled cheek grow red with shame.

I would sleep, dear friends, where bloated might
Can rob no man of his dearest right;
My rest shall be calm in any grave
Where none can call his brother a slave.

I ask no monument, proud and high,
To arrest the gaze of the passers-by;
All that my yearning spirit craves,
Is bury me not in a land of slaves.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Matzah

By Marge Piercy

Flat you are as a door mat
and as homely.
No crust, no glaze, you lack
a cosmetic glow.
You break with a snap.
You are dry as a twig
split from an oak
in midwinter.
You are bumpy as a mud basin
in a drought.
Square as a slab of pavement,
you have no inside
to hide raisins or seeds.
You are pale as the full moon
pocked with craters.

What we see is what we get
honest, plain, dry
shining with nostalgia
as if baked with light
instead of heat.
The bread of flight and haste
In the mouth you
promise, home.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Zipporah's Knife

That first night on the way to Egypt,
when we stopped to camp, his God suddenly
became murderous. Moses cowered not not knowing
what to do or what he had done.
In a trance, I picked up a flint
and cut the foreskin
of Gershom, our first born,
then placed the bloody bit
at his father's feet.
Later, when it seemed I was
waking from a dream, I tried
to make light of all that strangeness.
Laughing, I recalled my own wedding
night blood, and told Moses he was surely
my bridegroom of blood now.
I still do not know
what prompted me to do what I did.
But I knew I had done my part
and I returned to Midian exhausted.

Word of the divine events in Egypt reached us
and my father took us to Moses in the desert.
Now I was a stranger in an alien land
until Miriam told me
I was the fourth of the magic circle -
that his mother, and Pharoah' daughter, and
Miriam herself had all saved him
and I was welcomed and more welcome
among the women.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

All She Wrote

By Harryette Mullen

Forgive me, I’m no good at this. I can’t write back. I never read your letter.
I can’t say I got your note. I haven’t had the strength to open the envelope.
The mail stacks up by the door. Your hand’s illegible. Your postcards were
defaced. Wash your wet hair? Any document you meant to send has yet to
reach me. The untied parcel service never delivered. I regret to say I’m
unable to reply to your unexpressed desires. I didn’t get the book you sent.
By the way, my computer was stolen. Now I’m unable to process words. I
suffer from aphasia. I’ve just returned from Kenya and Korea. Didn’t you
get a card from me yet? What can I tell you? I forgot what I was going to
say. I still can’t find a pen that works and then I broke my pencil. You know
how scarce paper is these days. I admit I haven’t been recycling. I never
have time to read the Times. I’m out of shopping bags to put the old news
in. I didn’t get to the market. I meant to clip the coupons. I haven’t read
the mail yet. I can’t get out the door to work, so I called in sick. I went to
bed with writer’s cramp. If I couldn’t get back to writing, I thought I’d catch
up on my reading. Then Oprah came on with a fabulous author plugging
her best selling book.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Mapquest Directions to the Object in This Poem

By Adam Stone

I. Windsor, CT to Sandwich, MA

My father's love was electricity
Pulsing through my mother's body

I was the patch of smoke drifting between them


II. Sandwich, MA to Gill, MA

The impressionist
Tired of channeling the voices in his head
Seeks his own


III. Gill, MA to St Augustine, FL

The sun has not been moved since birth
It will not be moved again until it destroys itself

If I want to feel the warmth of love on my face
It is up to me to close the gap between us

I am stuck in orbit


IV. St Augustine, FL to Centerville, MA

Home is where you long for but strive to get away from
Comfort is your parents' wingspan
Distance is an imagined gap between you and your friends


V. Centerville, MA to North Quincy, MA

I came home sunburnt in winter
Buried myself in snowbanks
Melted everything I touched

Love was not a fall for me
It was a stretch
Someone always out of reach

My friends thrust me into acting
They always liked me best when I wasn't myself


VI. North Quincy, MA to Burlington, VT

I am a barnacle man

Geology has taught me that even continents drift

My rock slid out from under me
Sent me crashing into the waves


VII. Burlington, VT to Dorchester, MA

The vegans would have me starve

I sustained myself on rice and popcorn
My clothes grew so baggy that you couldn't see me in them
I would wander the house disguised as a pile of laundry
Losing myself in the labrynth of marijuana fog that served as the only constant in my roommates' house


VIII. Greyhound Busses & People's Couches

Oh homeless heathen diva with the road beneath your nails
You've got quarters on your eyelids/you've got hound dogs on your trail
You've been lied to in strange bedrooms/confessed your sins on bathroom stalls
You've got your dreams laid out before you but they've got you by the balls

Oh road humping poet with your dreams between your thighs
You've got mama on your breath boy/you've got phonebooths in your eyes
You've got digits in your fingers crying out to touch the tones
In a symphony of comfort on the nearest telephone

Oh cellphone slinging starlet embedded on the road
You've got wish plaque in your pocket from the karma that you're owed
Streetlights struggle to embrace you/grass blades bend beneath your feet
Yet you yearn to travel homeward like a cop who's lost the beat

You've got rhythm in your footsteps/you've got stagger in your stride
There's a divot in your heart now that's at least a mile wide
So you imprint your heart's desires in the holy name of lust
On the nearest passing stranger who has eyes that you can trust

Oh eyes smiling stranger with trust caught between your lashes
You've got smartbombs in your language that could burn a man to ashes
You sing benediction sonnets/you snort lines of cheap romance
You can hold a man's attention like a cobra holds a trance


IX.Dorchester, MA to Mission Hill, MA

The taste of asphalt coils the wire tongue
I dream of my comfortable mattress
But return home to changed locks and friends' couches

I am such a creature of habit
I should not be surprised how easy it is to forge my signature

I dial familiar numbers
Follow familiar streets
End at the beginning


X. Mission Hill, MA to Mesa, AZ

1. Start out hypnotized by BEAUTY ( 13 years)
2. Merge into COMPLACENCY ( 4 years )
5. Grow nostalgic for all the friends you LEFT behind (1.5 years)
3. RIGHT wrongs that were never done to you (0.5 years)
4. Stay ANGRY at your PARENTS until you KNOW BETTER ( 2 years )
5. Merge into BITTER DRUNKEN STUPOR ( 2 years )
6. Follow STRANGERS into DISAPPOINTMENT ( 1 year )
7. Stay LOST in OWN THOUGHTS until ANTISOCIAL ( 2 years )
8. Look for SOME PLACE NEW that feels RIGHT (?????????)

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

"The Soul Selects Her Own Society" ---Emily Dickinson

By Sherman Alexie

On iTunes, I read the "Nothing Selected" icon
as "Nothing Sacred" and I immediately disagree.

"But music is sacred," I say aloud, arguing
with my damn computer. Then I realize my error

And laugh thinking that entire religions
have been created because of misprints, mis-

Takes, and misappropriated blame. Take Jesus,
for instance. He never said, "It's better to give

Than to receive." Paul said that Jesus said it.
But a reasonable judge would throw out Paul's testimony

As hearsay, which is cousin to heresy. And I
imagine that plenty of folks would consider me heretical

For questioning the veracity of Paul, but
really, don't you think that Paul, in a moment

Of self-doubt, when he thought that he was
losing authority, might have misattributed a quote to Jesus?

If the Son of God was my running buddy,
I'd possibly begin every anecdote, psalm, and dirty joke

With "And then Jesus told me..."
adds that extra juice, you know?

In my poems, I have given quotes
to my wife for dramatic purposes, and her response

Is always, "I never said that," followed by laughter
Or a sigh, depending on her mood. People believe

What I say; people listen to me. My wife loves me,
but she doesn't believe me. The only commandment

I have to deliver is: Writers should not
marry their believers. But that's all tangential. What I want

To say is this: The world was not sacred in
its creation. And it's only sacred in parts. Take, for instance,

A song like PJ Harvey's "To Bring You My Love,"
a blues dirge, which is playing now on my iPod.

It's a gorgeous song, filled with love and lust.
I think it is sacred. But I have to think that

Because I selected it. And if it isn't sacred--
if you download it and think it's only a rock song--

Then I am guilty of bad taste and worse theology
And will become yet another unreliable narrator.

Does the world need one more unreliable narrator?
Well, Jesus told me that faith and doubt are twins.

Do you understand that paradox?
Can you live with it? Can you believe in a messiah who preaches in oxymorons?

Monday, April 2, 2012

the power of your love

By Linda M. Crate

vignettes of maple leaves
cling to your eyes in green;

your hair is burnt sienna not
quite auburn but a shade past —

your skin is ivory like snow,
your lips crimson as cardinals;

your perfume of mint I find
intoxicating as I breathe you

in shallow breaths of fog, a
silver enigmatic love that is

washing all over me in arms
softer than bouquets of rose

kisses that you plant all over
me; blooms of goose bumps

emerge not because of heat
or lack thereof but because

of the intensity of your love
more dulcet than angry waves.


Linda Crate is a twenty five year old Pennsylvanian native with a degree in English-Literature. Her poetry has been published in various magazines the latest of which include: Dead Snakes, The Camel Saloon, and Carnage Conservatory.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

A Mother's Morning Prayer

By Hava Pincas-Cohen

At this time as I stand cooking oatmeal,
Remove all sorts of alien thoughts from me
And when I touch the baby's back and and take his temperature
May all sorts of problems disappear,
May they not confuse my thoughts.
And give me the strength to scrub my face
So that each one of my children
Can see his face in mine
As in a mirror washed for a festival.

And the darkness sunk within
My face - cover it with light
So that I don't lose my patience, and I won't be hoarse
From coarse, insistent screaming,
May I not experience weakness
Before the unknowable
And may it never end, even for a moment,
The touch of flesh upon flesh, my children's and mine.

Give me so much of Your love
That I can stand at the door and hand it out
With the simplicity of someone slicing bread
And smearing butter every morning
Renew the sweet offering of boiling milk bubbling over
and the smell of coffee hovering above
The thanksgiving sacrifice and the daily sacrifice
That I never learned how to give.

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