Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Destruction Bay, Yukon

By Cinthia Ritchie

Fog fills the water,
it’s hard to see the mountains,
we’ve been camped here for days,
like my own skin, ordinary, warm,
the surprise of no surprises,
<>we swim through nights without
darkness, wake to

mouths, meanings,
bear prints around the tent,
we hang our food from tree branches,
drink dirty water,
sit on the shore until we lose
our capacity for words,
the waves,
the long cool stretches,
and wild.

Cinthia Ritchie writes and runs mountains in Anchorage, Alaska. Find her work at Evening Street Review, Sport Literate, Best American Sports Writing 2013, Cactus Heart Press, Water-Stone Review, damfino, Mary, The Boiler Journal, damselfly press, Foliate Oak Literary Magazine and others. Her first novel, "Dolls Behaving Badly," released from Grand Central Publishing/Hachette Book Group.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

After the Dragonflies

By W.S. Merwin

 Dragonflies were as common as sunlight
hovering in their own days
backward forward and sideways
as though they were memory
now there are grown-ups hurrying
who never saw one
and do not know what they
are not seeing
the veins in a dragonfly’s wings
were made of light
the veins in the leaves knew them
and the flowing rivers
the dragonflies came out of the color of water
knowing their own way
when we appeared in their eyes
we were strangers
they took their light with them when they went
there will be no one to remember us

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Trying to talk with a man

By Adrienne Rich

Out in this desert we are testing bombs,

that's why we came here.

Sometimes I feel an underground river
forcing its way between deformed cliffs
an acute angle of understanding
moving itself like a locus of the sun
into this condemned scenery.

What we’ve had to give up to get here –
whole LP collections, films we starred in
playing in the neighborhoods, bakery windows
full of dry, chocolate-filled Jewish cookies,
the language of love-letters, of suicide notes,
afternoons on the riverbank
pretending to be children

Coming out to this desert
we meant to change the face of
driving among dull green succulents
walking at noon in the ghost town
surrounded by a silence

that sounds like the silence of the place
except that it came with us
and is familiar
and everything we were saying until now
was an effort to blot it out –
coming out here we are up against it

Out here I feel more helpless
with you than without you
You mention the danger
and list the equipment
we talk of people caring for each other
in emergencies - laceration, thirst -
but you look at me like an emergency

Your dry heat feels like power
your eyes are stars of a different magnitude
they reflect lights that spell out: EXIT
when you get up and pace the floor

talking of the danger
as if it were not ourselves
as if we were testing anything else.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Like You

By Roque Dalton

Like you I
love love, life, the sweet smell
of things, the sky-blue
landscape of January days.

And my blood boils up
and I laugh through eyes
that have known the buds of tears.

I believe the world is beautiful
and that poetry, like bread, is for everyone.

And that my veins don't end in me
but in the unanimous blood
of those who struggle for life,
little things,
landscape and bread,
the poetry of everyone.

Translated by Jack Hirschman

Como tu

Yo, como tu,
amo el amor, la vida, el dulce encanto
de las cosas, el paisaje
celeste de los dias de enero.

Tambien mi sangre bulle
y rio por los ojos
que han conocido el brote de las lagrimas.

Creo que el mundo es bello,
que la poesia es como el pan, de todos.

Y que mis venas no terminan en mi
sino en la sangre unanime
de lose que luchan por la vida,
el amor,
las cosas,
el paisaje y el pan,
las poesia de todos.

Monday, October 17, 2016

I Explain A Few Things

By Pablo Neruda

You will ask: But where are the lilacs?
And the metaphysics covered with poppies?
And the rain that often struck
his words, filling them
with holes and birds?

I am going to tell you what’s happening to me.

I lived in a barrio
of Madrid, with bells,
with clocks, with trees.

From there you could see
the parched face of Castile
like an ocean of leather.
My house was called
the house of flowers, because from everywhere
geraniums burst: it was
a beautiful house,
with dogs and children.
Raul, do you remember?
Do you remember, Rafael?
Federico, do you remember
under the ground,
do you remember my house with balconies
where the June light drowned the flowers in your mouth?
Brother, brother!
was loud voices, salt of goods,
crowds of pulsating bread,
marketplaces in my barrio of Arguelles with its statue
like a pale inkwell set down among the hake:
oil flowed into spoons,
a deep throbbing
of feet and hands filled the streets,
meters, liters, the hard
edges of life,
heaps of fish,
geometry of roofs under a cold sun in which
the weathervane grew tired,
delirious fine ivory of potatoes,
tomatoes, more tomatoes, all the way to the sea.

And one morning all was burning
and one morning bonfires
sprang out of the earth
devouring humans,
and from then on fire,
gunpowder from then on,
and from then on blood.

Bandidos with planes and Moors,
bandidos with rings and duchesses,
bandidos with black friars signing the cross
coming down from the sky to kill children,
and in the streets the blood of the children
ran simply, like children’s blood.

Jackals the jackal would despise,
stones the dry thistle would bite on and spit out,
vipers the vipers would abominate.

Facing you I have seen the blood
of Spain rise up
to drown you in a single wave
of pride and knives.

look at my dead house,
look at Spain broken:
from every house burning metal comes out
instead of flowers,
but from every crater of Spain
comes Spain
from every dead child comes a rifle with eyes,
from every crime bullets are born
that will one day will find out in you
the site of the heart.

You will ask: why doesn’t his poetry
Speak to us of dreams, of leaves
of the great volcanoes of his native land?

Come and see the blood in the streets,
come and see
the blood in the streets,
come and see the blood
in the streets!

Translated by Galway Kinnell

* Line breaks are not how they originally appear

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Man in the Long Black Coat

By Bob Dylan

Crickets are chirpin' the water is high
There's a soft cotton dress on the line hangin' dry
Window wide open African trees
Bent over backwards from a hurricane breeze
Not a word of goodbye not even a note
She gone with the man in the long black coat.

Somebody seen him hangin' around
As the old dance hall on the outskirts of town
He looked into her eyes when she stopped him to ask
If he wanted to dance he had a face like a mask
Somebody said from the Bible he'd quote
There was dust on the man in the long black coat.

Preacher was talking there's a sermon he gave
He said every man's conscience is vile and depraved
You cannot depend on it to be your guide
When it's you who must keep it satisfied
It ain't easy to swallow it sticks in the throat
She gave her heart to the man in the long black coat.

There are no mistakes in life some people say
It is true sometimes you can see it that way
But people don't live or die people just float
She went with the man in the long black coat.

There's smoke on the water it's been there since June
Tree trunks uprooted beneath the high crescent moon
Feel the pulse and vibration and the rumbling force
Somebody is out there beating on a dead horse
She never said nothing there was nothing she wrote
She gone with the man in the long black coat.

Monday, October 10, 2016


By Georgeann Eskievich Rettberg

Hell, steelworkers built this country.
I work like a jackass in there.
I deserve the money.
They take half in taxes,
but shit, this ia  a great country.
Can't complain even with strikes     layoffs.
I got a house    a car    a kid in college.

But the shit that goes on in the place.
The noise blows your head off.
And hot     try sitting in a tree
in the middle of a forest fire.
Dying doesn't scare me.
Christ, I've seen hell.
It has smokestacks and a blast furnace.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

The Head of the Year

By Marge Piercy

The moon is dark tonight, a new
moon for a new year. It is
hollow and hungers to be full.
It is the black zero of beginning.

Now you must void yourself
of injuries, insults, incursions.
Go with empty hands to those
you have hurt and make amends.

It is not too late. It is early
and about to grow. Now
is the time to do what you
know you must and have feared
to begin. Your face is dark
too as you turn inward to face
yourself, the hidden twin of
all you must grow to be.

Forgive the dead year. Forgive
yourself. What will be wants
to push through your fingers.
The light you seek hides
in your belly. The light you
crave longs to stream from
your eyes. You are the moon
that will wax in new goodness.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Birthday of the World: A Psalm for Rosh Hashanah

By Marcia Falk

Today is the birthday of the world.
But the world knows nothing
of this invention.

The world just keeps moving about itself,
buzzing and humming, exulting and keening,
birthing and being born,

while the mind keeps on its own way—
form-craving, metaphor-making,
over and over, giving birth and being born.