Monday, August 29, 2011

Andrew Hudgins

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From Poetry, July/August 2005.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Mary Oliver

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From West Wind.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Friday, August 26, 2011

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Mbembe Milton Smith

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From New Letters Fall 1983.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Friday, August 19, 2011

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Monday, August 15, 2011

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Maya Angelou

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Saturday, August 13, 2011

Friday, August 12, 2011

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Erica Jong

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From Becoming Light.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Friday, August 5, 2011

Stephen Dobyns

Short Rides

What is the division between good intention
and best behavior? Or rather, let's say it's
a fence, a ditch, some sort of barrier since
many times we stand on one side looking over
at the creature we should be but aren't. And this,
it seems, is where we are often most human,
lost in the country between Want To and Can't.

A man is hitchhiking. The devil picks him up.
Where to? says the devil, who is in disguise
and looks like an old lady in a blue straw hat
who just happens to be driving a Ferrari.
My father is sick, I must see him, says
the man who's never been in a Ferrari before.
This one is red and very fast. The man has to
hang onto his baseball cap. The world flies by.
Apparently by accident, they zoom past
the father's house. The man doesn't speak.
After a few more blocks, the devil makes
a U-turn and drives him back. That was
a real treat, says the man. Inside, he finds
that two weeks have gone by. His father
is dead and buried. Everyone is disappointed.
Even the police have been out looking. What
can I say, says the man, I guess I let you down.
The phone rings. It's his wife who tells him,
Come home right away. The man hitchhikes home.
The devil picks him up in his bright red Ferrari.
By now the man is suspicious but yet when they
whiz by his house he doesn't make a peep.
He leans back and feels the sun on his brow.
When the devil gets him home two more weeks
have disappeared. His wife has moved out lock,
stock and barrel; the house is empty except
for the telephone, which begins to ring. Now
it's his mother who's sick. I'll be right over,
says the man. The Ferrari is waiting at the curb.
The man doesn't hesitate. He leaps inside.
He leans back. Once more the wind is in his hair.
He wallows in soft leather as in a warm bath.
But this time he knows the score, knows the driver
isn't a little old lady, knows they will zoom
past his mother's house, that he won't protest.
He knows his mother will die, that he'll miss
the funeral. He searches his soul for just
a whisper of guilt but if it's there, it's been
drowned out by the purr of the big motor.
Am I really so weak? the man asks himself.
And he peers across that metaphorical ditch
to the sort of person he would like to be,
but he can't make the jump, bridge the gap.
Why can't I fight off temptation? he asks.
He sees his future is as clear as a map
with all the bad times circled in red.
He knows that as crisis is piled on crisis
he will find the Ferrari waiting at the curb
and that no matter how hard he tries to resist
he will succumb at last to the wish to feel
the wind riffle his hair, the touch of leather,
to be lulled by the gentle vibration of the motor
as life slips by in a succession of short rides.

From Velocities.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Lisel Mueller

The Concert

In memory of Dimitri Mitropoulos

The harpist believes there is music
in the skeletons of fish

The French horn player believes
in enormous golden snails

The piano believes in nothing
and grins from ear to ear

Strings are scratching their bellies
openly, enjoying it

Flutes and oboes complain
in dialects of the same tongue

Drumsticks rattle a calfskin
from the sleep of another life

because the supernatural crow
on the podium flaps his wings
and death is no excuse

From Alive Together.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Monday, August 1, 2011