Friday, February 21, 2020

Caged Bird

By Maya Angelou

A free bird leaps
on the back of the wind
and floats downstream
till the current ends
and dips his wing
in the orange sun rays
and dares to claim the sky.

But a bird that stalks
down his narrow cage
can seldom see through
his bars of rage
his wings are clipped and
his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings
with a fearful trill
of things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom.

The free bird thinks of another breeze
and the trade winds soft through the sighing trees
and the fat worms waiting on a dawn bright lawn
and he names the sky his own

But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams
his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings
with a fearful trill
of things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom.

Friday, February 7, 2020

Football for Dummies

By Marge Piercy

Among my husbands and lovers
I had never before lived
with a sports fan. Hockey
he does not follow, but base-
ball, basketball, football, all
in their seasons consume him.
I had to share something,

baseball is too slow.  Basket-
ball goes on months
and months, interminably,
a herd of skinny giants
running back and forth myst-
erious as a flock of swallows
wheeling together at twilight.

But football: Ir's only sixteen
Sundays and maybe playoffs.
That seemed reasonable.  I
bought a book. Now every
Sunday in season I stare
avidly while huge millionaires
collide like rival rhinoceros.

When we watch the Super
Bowl with groups of men
and I explained a nickel
back they gaze at me
with esoteric lust. I
look only at the screen.
Football, it is mine. 

Thursday, February 6, 2020

The Poetry Richard Milhous Nixon

Compiled by Jack S. Margolis


The position is
To withhold
And to cover up
This is
Totally true.
You could say
This is
Totally untrue.


We are all
In it
We take
A few shots
It will be over.
Don’t worry.
I wouldn’t
Want to be
On the other side
Right now.


In the end
We are going
To be bled
To death.
And in the end,
It is all going
To come out anyway.
Then you get the worst
Of both worlds.

The chapbook was originally published in 1974 from direct exercpts from the Watergate tapes.  It was partially republished by the Paris Review in 2015.  

Monday, February 3, 2020

Ode To The Things I'll Get To Tomorrow

By Kwame Alexander

Here's to my treadmill,
incomplete without the sound of slapping feet.

Eating healthy, getting abs
But chips and chocolate up for grabs

Oh, banana pudding from the deli
How did you get inside my belly?

I was a vegetarian
All the way to 10 AM

My goals quickly turned to apathy
At least I eat happily

People acting all highfalutin
'Cause they said they've sworn off gluten

Why do my resolutions fail?
Why can't I just eat that kale?

What makes me want to poke my fork
Into that plate of spiced pulled pork.

Why do I shun vegan potpourri,
After I resolve to go fat free.

I think I shall, come next new year,
Vow no more pizza, no more beer.

Then perhaps I might instead,
Choose green tea and pita bread.

To the pounds I vow each year to lose,
Each time a few more from which to choose.

To stop feeding my Krispy Kreme addiction.
To watch less news. Read more fiction.

To the running shoes gathering dust by the back door.
To the unfinished dissertation I habitually ignore.

To all the papers I did not grade,
To all the beds I never made. 

Though I promised to timely fold,
Laundry in the dryer lays there cold.

I resolve to not procrastinate.
I'll start tomorrow. Is that too late?

Junk mail towers, a teetering stack.
The will to sort it I clearly lack.

New resume, that's what I want!
Alas, can't find the perfect font.

O! Sweet tenor ukulele, last year's Holiday treasure
You filled my heart with Sunshine songs, in spite of ill wind weather

A year gone by, on wistful sigh, no lessons and no learning
A lifetime worth of unsung Soul, such longing and such yearning

Every year I vow to change the world before I die.
Every year the world changes and I didn't even try

Every year, since giving birth I vow, "no longer will I curse."
But dammit, I'm a parent!

From all the speeding I do that is not legal,
To the sister-in-law I still love to needle

I resolved to be ever so nice and kind
On January 2nd I changed my mind.

Promised myself I would write this couplet.
Sorry to say, it just isn't done yet.

Sure, my 2020 goals are going just fine —
I'd get'em all done....if I could just find the time.

The long walks I promised to my dog.
The men at bars I would not snog.

Long morning runs in lifting fog.
Calorie counting in this food log.

Candidates for office I should uplift
With walks and calls and poll place shifts

Grocery shopping with more thrift
The long lost friends, your misplaced gifts

Bills, please pay yourself on time!
To all of you I send these rhymes.

Worry not, I have a notion:
I can fix this with a potion

Gather the coals, the cauldron set
Add in three fresh drops of sweat

A chicken egg not yet hatched
Prescription pills finally fetched

Sprig of flowers not yet bloomed
More home cooking fills the room

And lastly here, the secret seed
That dead goldfish I didn't feed

I free you from your frozen disposition
The uncleaned refrigerator in my kitchen

And one day soon I'll drink this stout
After I take my sweet dog out.

A "community poem" first published by NPR.

Saturday, February 1, 2020


 By Marjorie Maddox

of rites of passage,
even celebration unlocking—
behind the already unlocked doors—
such triggers of rage, l’chaim switch-
knifed into Mourner’s Kaddish
accompanied by guns. What
traditions unearthed by this
embattled world? What
ancient rites revived
for the newly dead?

Marjorie Maddox is the winner of America Magazine’s 2019 Foley Poetry Prize and Professor of English and Creative Writing at Lock Haven University, Marjorie Maddox has published 11 collections of poetry—including Transubstantiation (Yellowglen Prize);  None of the Above (Illumination Book Award Medalist); and Perpendicular As I (Sandstone Book Award). She is also the author of the short story collection What She Was Saying, four children’s books, and she is an editor of Common Wealth: Contemporary Poets on Pennsylvania  and Presence.  Her website is