Tuesday, January 31, 2012

"The Weight" - Linda Gregg

Two horses were put together in the same paddock.
Night and day. In the night and in the day
wet from heat and the chill of the wind
on it. Muzzle to water, snorting, head swinging
and the taste of bay in the shadowed air.
The dignity of being. They slept that way,
knowing each other always.
Withers quivering for a moment,
fetlock and the proud rise at the base of the tail,
width of back. The volume of them, and each other's weight.
Fences were nothing compared to that.
People were nothing. They slept standing,
their throats curved against the other's rump.
They breathed against each other,
whinnied and stomped.
There are things they did that I do not know.
The privacy of them had a river in it.
Had our universe in it. And the way
its border looks back at us with its light.
This was finally their freedom.
The freedom an oak tree knows.
That is built at night by stars.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

"Going to Heaven" - Emily Dickinson

Going to heaven!
I don't know when,
Pray do not ask me how,--
Indeed, I'm too astonished
To think of answering you!
Going to heaven!--
How dim it sounds!
And yet it will be done
As sure as flocks go home at night
Unto the shepherd's arm!

Perhaps you're going too!
Who knows?
If you should get there first,
Save just a little place for me
Close to the two I lost!
The smallest "robe" will fit me,
And just a bit of "crown";
For you know we do not mind our dress
When we are going home.

I'm glad I don't believe it,
For it would stop my breath,
And I'd like to look a little more
At such a curious earth!
I am glad they did believe it
Whom I have never found
Since the mighty autumn afternoon
I left them in the ground

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

"the click of miracle" - Charles Bukowski

at the quarterhorse meet
at Hollywood Park

around 5 p.m.

if you are sitting at
ground level

in the

the track appears

above you


in the strange

the silks

the color

fresh paint


the faces of


it's a


a perfect



such small



such small








Excerpt from "Darkness" - Lord Byron

I had a dream, which was not all a dream:
The bright sun was extinguished, and the stars
Did wander darkling in the eternal space,
Rayless and pathless, and the icy Earth
Swung blind and blackening in the moonless air!
Morn came, and went, and came - and brought no day.
And men forgot their passions in the dread
Of this their desolation; and all hearts
Were chilled into a selfish prayer for light.
And they did live by watchfires - and the thrones,
The palaces of crownéd kings, the huts,
The habitations of all things which dwell,
Were burnt for beacons. Cities were consumed,
And men were gathered round their blazing homes
To look once more into each other's face.
Happy were those which dwelt within the eye
Of the volcanos, and their mountain-torch!
A fearful hope was all the World contained -
Forests were set on fire, but hour by hour
They fell and faded, and the crackling trunks
Extinguished with a crash, and all was black.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

"A Dream Within a Dream" - Edgar Allan Poe

Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow—
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.

I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand—
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep—while I weep!
O God! Can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! Can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

"New Year's" - Dana Gioia

Let other mornings honor the miraculous.
Eternity has festivals enough.
This is the feast of our mortality,
The most mundane and human holiday.

On other days we misinterpret time,
Pretending that we live the present moment.
But can this blur, this smudgy in-between,
This tiny fissure where the future drips

Into the past, this flyspeck we call now
Be our true habitat? The present is
The leaky palm of water that we skim
From the swift, silent river slipping by.

The new year always brings us what we want
Simply by bringing us along—to see
A calendar with every day uncrossed,
A field of snow without a single footprint.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Hawking on language

"For millions of years, mankind lived just like the animals. Then something happened which unleashed the power of our imagination. We learned to talk and we learned to listen." - Stephen Hawking

"Whereabouts" - Marcus Jackson

—to Nicole

Finished early at the library,
I strolled Canal Street to fill
empty hours
before we'd meet home for dinner.

Late-winter light sneered,
reluctant to leave
the streets, bargain tables
with t-shirts or imposter purses,
jewelry coves
where gold necklaces refracted
from squares of scarlet felt.

All down Mulberry, arched
garlands of festival bulbs
shined champagne.

From Italian restaurant stoops,
waiters with handsome accents
lured tourists by describing
entrées like landscapes.

At Ferrara's desert café,
the wait bent
halfway up the clogged block.
I whittled inside, browsed
glass cabinets of cookies,
yellow-shelled cannolis,
cakes displayed
on paper placemats
that looked like lace.

I arrived 40 minutes late.
You balanced, hand
against bedroom door-jamb,
pulling off your office heels.

Once you noticed the bakery box
under my arm, your face calmed—
my earlier whereabouts
evidenced in sweetness
we would fork from the same plate.