Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Ode to the Unbroken World, Which is Coming

By Thomas Lux

It must be coming, mustn't it?
Churches and saloons are filled with decent humans.
A mother wants to feed her daughter,
 fathers to buy their children things that break.
 People laugh, all over the world, people laugh. 
We were born to laugh, and we know how to be sad;
 we dislike injustice and cancer,
 and are not unaware of our terrible errors.
 A man wants to love his wife. His wife
wants him to carry something.
 We're capable of empathy, and intense moments of joy.
 Sure, some of us are venal, but not most.
There's always a punchbowl, somewhere, in which floats a…
 Life's a bullet, that fast, and the sweeter for it.
 It's the same everywhere:
Slovenia, India,
Pakistan, Suriname—people like to pray,
 or they don't,
 or they like to fill a blue plastic pool
 in the back yard with a hose and watch their children splash. 
Or sit in cafes, or at table with family.
 And if a long train of cattle cars passes along West Ridge
 it's only the cattle from East Ridge going to the abattoir.
 The unbroken world is coming,
 (it must be coming!), I heard a choir,
 there were clouds, there was dust,
 I heard it in the streets, I heard it announced by loudhailers
 mounted on trucks.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

The Lamb

By Linda Gregg

It was a picture I had after the war.
A bombed English church. I was too young
to know the word English or war,
but I knew the picture.
The ruined city still seemed noble.
The cathedral with its roof blown off
was not less godly. The church was the same
plus rain and sky. Birds flew in and out
of the holes God’s fist made in the walls.
All our desire for love or children
is treated like rags by the enemy.
I knew so much and sang anyway.
Like a bird who will sing until
it is brought down. When they take
away the trees, the child picks up a stick
and says, this is a tree, this the house
and the family. As we might. Through a door
of what had been a house, into the field
of rubble, walks a single lamb, tilting
its head, curious, unafraid, hungry.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019


By W. S. Merwin

My friend says I was not a good son
you understand
I say yes I understand

he says I did not go
to see my parents very often you know
and I say yes I know

even when I was living in the same city he says
maybe I would go there once
a month or maybe even less
I say oh yes

he says the last time I went to see my father
I say the last time I saw my father

he says the last time I saw my father
he was asking me about my life
how I was making out and he
went into the next room
to get something to give me

oh I say
feeling again the cold
of my father’s hand the last time
he says and my father turned
in the doorway and saw me
look at my wristwatch and he
said you know I would like you to stay
and talk with me

oh yes I say

but if you are busy he said
I don’t want you to feel that you
have to
just because I’m here

I say nothing

he says my father
said maybe
you have important work you are doing
or maybe you should be seeing
somebody I don’t want to keep you

I look out the window
my friend is older than I am
he says and I told my father it was so
and I got up and left him then
you know

though there was nowhere I had to go
and nothing I had to do

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

won't you celebrate with me

By Lucille Clifton

won't you celebrate with me
what i have shaped into
a kind of life? i had no model.
born in babylon
both nonwhite and woman
what did i see to be except myself?
i made it up
here on this bridge between
starshine and clay,
my one hand holding tight
my other hand; come celebrate
with me that everyday
something has tried to kill me
and has failed.

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Imprint on Bench of a Bus Stop

By Hardarshan Singh Valia

The snow flake
falling on a bench
of a bus stop
refused to cover the space
that was left empty
by a female fast-food worker
whose complaint
of workplace sexual harassment
fell on deaf ears.
The snow flake
attached to
a lonely tear
meandered around
the empty space
and dissolved quietly
into an undulating image
crying for a shape.

This poem was written on January 15, 2019, in response to a TV documentary by Gretchen Carlson entitled ‘Breaking the Silence’. 

Friday, March 1, 2019

OK to Say

By Laurinda Lind

It’s the opposite of what John
Lennon said he saw through

the installation spyglass in
the leading version of how

he got his second wife and is
what the so-called president

said one week between planes
when asked if he would fire

the special counsel working out
whether he’s sold the country off

overseas, it’s what most of them
said to Spacey or wanted to say

to Weinstein or couldn’t say
to Cosby or meant to say

to Moore or were terrified
wouldn’t work once they tried

it on Trump. One consonant
only and one vowel coming

out the mouth by way of the nose:
No. And what it means is no.

Laurinda Lind lives in northern New York where not long ago, wind blew trees down flat and unroofed a school. Her work has appeared in Blueline, Comstock Review, Constellations, Paterson Literary Review, and Radius; also anthologies Visiting Bob: Poems Inspired by the Life and Work of Bob Dylan (New Rivers Press) and AFTERMATH: Explorations of Loss and Grief (Radix Media). In 2018, she won first place in both the Keats-Shelley Prize for adult poetry and the New York State Fair poetry competition.