Sunday, April 28, 2019

Advice to a Young Poet

By Kendel Hippolyte
"What is poetry which does not save nations or people?” – Czselaw Milosz

Ask the question.
Not once but forty-nine times.
And, perhaps at the fiftieth,
you will make an answer.
Or perhaps not. Then
ask it again. This time
till seventy times seven. Ask
as you open the door
of every book of poems that you enter.
Ask it of every poem,
regardless of how beautiful,
that whispers: “Lie with me.”
Do not spare your newborn.
If the first cry, first line
is not a wailing for an answer,
abandon it. As for the stillborn,
turn the next blank white sheet over,
shroud it. Ask the clamouring procession
of all the poems of the ages –
each measured, white-haired epic,
every flouncing free verse debutante –
to state their names, where they have come from
and what their business is with you.
You live in the caesura of our times,
the sound of nations, persons, breaking around you.
If poetry can only save itself,
then who will hear it after it has fled
from the nations and the people that it could not save
even a remnant of for a remembering?

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

The Palace

It’s hard to remember who I’m talking to
     and why. The palace burns, the palace
is fire
     and my throne is comfy and

Remember: the old king invited his subjects into his home
to feast on stores of apple tarts and sweet lamb. To feast on sweet lamb of
     stories. He believed
they loved him, that his goodness
had earned him their goodness.

Their goodness dragged him into the street
and tore off

his arms, plucked
     his goodness out, plucked his fingers out
               like feathers.

There are no good kings.
Only beautiful palaces.

Who here could claim to be merely guilty?
     The mere.
     My life
growing monstrous
with ease.

To be an American my father left his siblings
he’d never see them again. My father
               wanted to be Mick Jagger. My father
     went full ghost,
ended up working on duck farms for thirty years, once a sleep
     a couch,
     he coughed up a feather.

     America could be a metaphor, but it isn’t.
     Asleep on the couch, he coughed up a white duck feather.

There are no doors in America.
Only king-sized holes.

Monday, April 22, 2019


By Bracha Meschaninov

House cleaned
more or less
kitchen surfaces covered
more or less
food ready
more or less
an experience of redemption
more or less

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Love Poem

By Timothy Liu

The Lindt Easter bunny

you said was "solid" 

chocolate turned out

to be hollow—its head
caved in when I peeled
back the gold foil

which was probably
better left wrapped,
every language having

its own version of “beer
goggles.” Sometimes
I like your mouth best

when there’s nothing in it,
just two rows of teeth
surrounding a tongue
stunned into silence.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Instructions from the Flight Crew to a Poet of African Descent Living in a State of Emergency

By Kate Rushin

Secure your own oxygen.
Breathe normally,
Then teach the children.
Be not deceived.
Be not of two minds.
We are inadequate
Gasping, fighting for air.
Treasure your song.
Walk to the river
Give thanks at the grotto
Memorize poplar trees
Imitate barn swallows
Be still. Let the deer
Look into your eyes.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Things That Have Lost Their Power

By Sei Shonagon

A woman who has taken off her false locks to comb the short hair that remains. A large tree that has been blown down in a gale and lies on its side with its roots in the air. The retreating figure of a sumo wrestler who has been defeated in a match. A man of no importance reprimanding an attendant. A woman, who is angry with her husband about some trifling matter, leaves home and goes somewhere to hide. She is certain that he will rush about looking for her; but he does nothing of the kind and shows the most infuriating indifference. Since she cannot stay away forever, she swallows her pride and returns.

Translated by Ivan Morris

Monday, April 1, 2019

Early Evening Visit

By Roxanne Cardona

I admired his penmanship, the red snap
on tie. His shirt, the very white of it,
the beating heart of his elocution.

Joe folded creases of himself
into his seat, curled his "j" s like a nacre
shell, his sharp pencils poked holes into

lined paper. The broken light of him wrapped
into his Batman backpack. I gold starred all
his efforts in my second-grade classroom.

All five feet nine of him stands above
my desk, in the end light of today. Ten years
between second grade and this moment.

His hair curls in wet rings. Joe’s eyes falling
heavy into their lids, the very glint of them,
unnatural as me in this empty school.

Held in the surprise of him.
He's helloing me. And, You look so good-ing me.
His steps neat and clean walk themselves out.

The five o'clock air turns around my car,
its dark. Drive me home pretty teacher?
But it's not the ride he wants. And it's No,

no, no, as we slow dance around the car.  
A yank and a click get me in. Joe pulls,
pulls the passenger side door. I twist my key,

rip open the engine. He beats his fists, steeled,
sharp into the locked door. My wheels
race to put distance and time between us.

Roxanne Cardona was born in New York City, of Puerto Rican descent. She has had poems published in Animal: A Beast of a Literary Magazine and West View. She studied with Philip Schultz in his Master Class, Writers Studio, NYC for over ten years and currently, Jennifer Franklin, HVWC, NY. She has a BA and MS from Hunter College, MS from the College of New Rochelle. She was an elementary school teacher and principal in the South Bronx. Roxanne resides in Teaneck, NJ with her husband.