Recording of “Letter from Kansas” at Words and Feathers

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I’m participating in the Open Mic at Words and Feathers. My contribution is “Letter from Kansas,” which appeared here last month. Kudos to Crow for hosting this virtual reading!

Celan, 1970

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Celan, 1970

From frame to door,
the obvious defers, denying

entry as if
an eye could reclaim

or separate

the fallen tear
and the river’s skin,

or return
those words to

thought, water to
stone, intent

to cold
reason,
now to before.

He stepped into release.

 

* * *

“Celan, 1970” first appeared in October 2015. One of the most influential (and difficult) European poets of the 20th century, Paul Celan survived the horror of World War II but never escaped its shadow. A brief biography may be found here.

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Nine Ways of Shaping the Moon

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Nine Ways of Shaping the Moon

                                         for Lissa

1
Tilt your head and laugh
until the night bends
and I see only you.

2
Weave the wind into a song.
Rub its fabric over your skin.
For whom does it speak?

3
Remove all stars and streetlights.
Remove thought, remove voice.
Remove me. But do not remove yourself.

4
Tear the clouds into threads
and place them in layered circles.
Then breathe slowly into my ear.

5
Drink deeply. Raise your eyes to the brightness
above the cedars. Observe their motion
through the empty glass. Repeat.

6
Talk music to me. Talk conspiracies
and food and dogs and rain. Do this
under the wild night sky.

7
Harvest red pollen from the trees.
Cast it about the room
and look through the haze.

8
From the bed, gaze into the mirror.
The reflection you see is the darkness
absorbing your glow.

9
Fold the light around us, and listen.
You are the moon in whose waters
I would gladly drown.

First posted in October 2014, and again on Valentine’s Day in 2016, “Nine Ways of Shaping the Moon” also appears in my chapbook, If Your Matter Could Reform.

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Recording of “What the Body Gives, Gravity Takes”

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A recording of “What the Body Gives, Gravity Takes.”

Thank you, Finnegan Daley, for the request.


You can read the poem here.

Snow Country

Fuji

Snow Country

desolate the reach
of space a
curved line of

white empty as
the loneliness one
feels the tone

is different on
a day like
this she says

unaware that her
words fall like
snow in the

mountains soft quiet
in the roar
no one hears

* * *

Another piece from the eighties…this first appeared here in November 2015.

FACES 2

What the Body Gives, Gravity Takes (Cento)

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What the Body Gives, Gravity Takes (Cento) 

As if what we wanted
were not the thing
that falls,

as what was given
to answer ourselves with – air

moving, a stone
on a stone,
something balanced momentarily.

Or wheels turning,
spinning, spinning.

The waters would suffer
at being waves,
but nothing of their dream
takes place,

nothing that is complete
breathes. But the world
is peopled with objects.

You grow smaller,
smaller, and always
heavier.

You can think of nothing else.

 

Credits:

Jane Hirshfield, Gustaf Sobin, George Oppen, Joy Harjo, Alberto de Lacerda, Jacques Dupin, Francis Ponge, Denise Levertov, Jacques Roubaud.

* * *

“What the Body Gives, Gravity Takes” appeared in Issue Four of Long Exposure, in October 2016.
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Poems of Protest, Resistance, and Empowerment

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Poems of Protest, Resistance, and Empowerment

Check out this poem sampler the editors of the Poetry Foundation have provided. Some of the usual suspects are there, of course, but look further to find Danez Smith’s “Tonight in Oakland,” Ilya Kaminsky’s “We Lived Happily During the War,” Heather McHugh’s “What He Thought,” and much more.

More poetry! More resistance!