January 13, 2010

and you smile at my laugh
as it rocks you awake


Stephen Shore, Washington DC, 1973

Bark/Bite
-- by Carly Sachs

I am trying to teach myself loss.

I say gone. I fly on airplanes,

but the body says here, stay.

I am a bad dog, the bitch

gnashing her teeth.

The game is fetch:

I will put it in my mouth,

what I like,

is from behind—

I’m already saying good-bye.


One Night
-- by Jeremy Voigt

The car crossed two lanes of traffic
and a grass median before plowing
head-on into me, killing my wife,
unborn child, and myself. Before
I died I touched the shoulder
of a policeman, felt the sure strength
of his muscles, heard the only word
he spoke, "Jesus," and I smiled
because I stopped believing in him
long ago. He mistook my smile
for something positive and not listless
irony, and I tried to correct him,
but my throat stopped. Red lights.
Blue lights. Star's gases. I walked home.
My wife wandered off into a river
to give birth. I began calling my friends:
"We are all dead," I said into the phone.
I let them cry or exalt in turn, taking
note. I didn't know it would be this
simple. I slipped into a midnight robe,
poked holes in a black sheet, tore
into a loaf of bread. Wandered off
yeast-heavy neither rising nor falling.


Students
-- by Frank O’Hara

You are someone
who’s crazy about a
violinist in the New York Philharmonic.

Week after week, how
much more meaningful
the music is with that
nostril flaring over the bow, that

slipper-black head
bending.

Don’t cry,
it isn’t me you love
when I pull out a handkerchief
and wipe the sweat away.

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