September 1, 2010

all the bush league batters
are left to die on the diamond



Mary Ellen Mark, Central Park NYC, 1967

The Poet's Occasional Alternative
-- by Grace Paley

I was going to write a poem
I made a pie instead it took
about the same amount of time
of course the pie was a final
draft a poem would have had some
distance to go days and weeks and
much crumpled paper
the pie already had a talking
tumbling audience among small
trucks and a fire engine on
the kitchen floor
everybody will like this pie
it will have apples and cranberries
dried apricots in it many friends
will say why in the world did you
make only one

this does not happen with poems
because of unreportable
sadness I decided to
settle this morning for a re-
sponsive eatership I do not
want to wait a week a year a
generation for the right
consumer to come along


The Disappointments of Photography
-- by Sarah Hannah

I was five years old, in a red and white patchwork.
Poised and grimacing with Olympian effort,
I flung a Slinky at the camera. Unblinking,
My father released the shutter,
One-hundredth of a second
Of light on a toy spring --
A pile of white line arching from my hand.
The silver rings had gone,
Long fallen. I hunt them now, on all fours,
Through every upright line on the lawn.
The past is a space between grasses, a channel in the loam.
Once I was luminous, I was clicked and shaking,
My skin a dry plate of open pores,
My dress brighter than Ektachrome.


Home at 3am After DJing the Late Shift
-- by Christine Potter

All the lights are on. The kitchen's empty
as someone who's lost her train of thought
but is still speaking. I've been speaking for hours
on the radio, spinning music, which
is somewhat like work in a kitchen: hang
the station identification on the top of each hour
like a clean pot that fits neatly
in the rack overhead. On the drive home,

every traffic light was green and I was so tired
I almost forgot what that meant, how lucky it was,
all those wordless permissions to pass. I almost forgot
I was no longer speaking, but rolling through
what was left of the night. If someone were awake,
I thought, he might hear me, the smooth rush
of my tires one long exhalation.

Much of what we hear we don't mean to.
Like tonight, before I came in, dozens of bats
whirled through the cedars near our door.
A few, round-bellied, dove past lit windows,
but I heard many wings and an impossible density
of chirping as they followed their echoes
to the open, black sky. And looked up at the late stars,
unable to count all the songs.

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