mizrobot: (tree)
I saw Sabrina Orah Mark read last week. She was the bright spot of the night, very strange and strangely compelling. I previously posted her work here. Walter B. and Beatrice are reoccuring characters in many of her prose poems.

Beatrice Takes a Lover
Sabrina Orah Mark

"I am taking a lover," Beatrice announced, flipping through the phone book procreatively. "And where exactly," asked Walter B. fussing with his fur collar, "will you be taking this lover?" "To the debacle, Walter B." Walter B. was miffed. "You are being, Beatrice, neither relevant nor sensible." Beatrice felt warned. She felt like she should cook for Walter B. some soup tonight in fairly graphic detail. "Why," asked Walter B., brushing the fur off his neck, "to the debacle?" Beatrice thought for a moment. She considered the beauty of Walter B.'s ruin. "Because I want," said Beatrice, "some astonishment." "What in god's name," asked Walter B., "is wanting some astonishment?" Beatrice began to worry she had read the wrong book. She went into the yard, which she often did when she felt unsure. Walter B. followed. "Astonishment, Walter B.," continued Beatrice staring at the ground, "is when you take a lover to the debacle." "I see," said Walter B. He began to reconsider his position. He knew somewhere deep in Beatrice's heart that this was not terrific. He knew that this was very, very far from terrific. He wanted very much to unbutton her blouse. He wanted to touch her thighs in a way neither Beatrice nor Walter B. would later remember. "And furthermore, Walter B.," Beatrice continued, "I have been feeling, lately, like a scene of simplicity." "But why not take a lover," asked Walter B., "to a field or to a bridge or to mother's. Why," he moaned, "to the debacle?" "Because of god," said Beatrice. Walter B. could hardly believe his ears. He could hardly believe this wonderful turn of events. Beatrice would take a lover to the debacle because of god! "You have made me, sweet Beatrice, very, very happy. Happier, in fact, than I have ever been in my entire life. So happy, in fact, that I would like to twirl." "So twirl," said Beatrice, feeling, at last, very pleased with herself. And so Walter B. twirled. He twirled, and he twirled, and he twirled. He twirled until there was no twirling left in the whole wide world.
mizrobot: (Default)
Safe Sex
by Donald Hall

If he and she do not know each other, and feel confident

they will not meet again; if he avoids affectionate words;

if she has grown insensible skin under skin; if they desire

only the tribute of another’s cry; if they employ each other

as revenge on old lovers or families of entitlement and steel—

then there will be no betrayals, no letters returned unread,

no frenzy, no hurled words of permanent humiliation,

no trembling days, no vomit at midnight, no repeated

apparition of a body floating face-down at the pond’s edge
mizrobot: (Default)
by Robert Frost
Read more... )
mizrobot: (Default)
Those Winter Sundays
by Robert Hayden

Sundays too my father got up early

and put his clothes on in the blueblack cold,

then with cracked hands that ached

from labor in the weekday weather made

banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him.

I'd wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking.

When the rooms were warm, he'd call,

and slowly I would rise and dress,

fearing the chronic angers of that house,

Speaking indifferently to him,

who had driven out the cold

and polished my good shoes as well.

What did I know, what did I know

of love's austere and lonely offices?
mizrobot: (rain)
In November
Lisel Mueller

Outside the house the wind is howling
and the trees are creaking horribly.
This is an old story
with its old beginning,
as I lay me down to sleep.
But when I wake up, sunlight
has taken over the room.
You have already made the coffee
and the radio brings us music
from a confident age. In the paper
bad news is set in distant places.
Whatever was bound to happen
in my story did not happen.
But I know there are rules that cannot be broken.
Perhaps a name was changed.
A small mistake. Perhaps
a woman I do not know
is facing the day with the heavy heart
that, by all rights, should have been mine.
mizrobot: (tree)
A Journal of the Plague Year
by Ben Lerner

We would walk with it into the open
Look down and read the shadows
Of the clouds passing over it

The birds sang dial tones
The infected birds
Gray sentences uncurled

As we smoked our manuscripts
The cattle went mad
Their blue lips smiling

At a sign in the distance
We slaughtered the distance
It was not given us

The magic of numbers
We who slept in swaying
Towers underground
mizrobot: (Default)

By Anne Carson

Nights of a marriage are like an Egypt in a woods.

Dark around its edges mirror at the heart.

War has gone quiet.

It moves, a reflection: no.

Cheap theatre smell, rooms

settle and hiss. What is he doing. Sleep,

its hours pleat together and close

like a fan, what does she know.

Waters move slightly or do they.

Paths glide to them, to who? Glide off.


out of the marriage, into the marriage.


vanishes too, murmuring, stain

is a puzzle you do not want

the answer to.

Every war


mizrobot: (cooking)
Bird Plays to a Cow
By Eric McHenry

A Swedish musician remembers a drive through farm country in a car full of musicians, one of whom told Bird that cows love music. Bird asked the driver to pull over ...” – Gary Giddins, Celebrating Bird: The Triumph of Charlie Parker

Fifty years from now
a writer, writing about me
playing to this cow,
will call the cow “he.”
There’s her udder, plain
as an udder, and yet . . .
something about what people want
a cow, or an audience, to be.

Some painters haze the foreground
and render something in the middle-distance
unnaturally sharp, to remind the idiot looker
that this is a painting, not a pasture.

The writer will probably do
something self-referential, too,
and will almost certainly call the cow “bewildered.”

“Bewildered.” As though
I strode out here expecting her to nod
in time or stand on two hooves and applaud.
As though cows stand around waiting for something,
and not just anything, to come along.
Come on. What I do might confuse
you, but this cow was wildered when I got here.

To this cow there is only the plain fact –
hot fence, sharp fence, shit,
puddle, tuft of grass, golden horn
in the hands of the brown man
who wasn’t here this morning and is here now,

and notes, too –
after so much noise,
the plain fact of song.
My friend,
the bewildered one who’s still in the car,
told me that cows dig music.
I choose to believe that. That’s what I’m doing here.
She chews. That’s what she’s doing here.
mizrobot: (dinosaur)
Here is a prose poem by Sabrina Orah Mark. Prose poetry: what says you? I am not sure about it. Why isn't it just a really short story? Anyway. I like this, whatever it is. (I had to do small font to get the line breaks and justification to work out right.)

The Saddest Gown in the World
by Sabrina Orah Mark

“I do not give anymore,” said Walter B., “a fig about you.” “Are you sure?” asked Beatrice. “Absolutely,” said Walter B. “Not a fig?” asked Beatrice. “Not a fig,” said Walter B. “Promise?” asked Beatrice. “Promise,” said Walter B. “When do you suppose,” asked Beatrice, “you will give about me a fig again?” Walter B. looked up at the sky. “Probably not for many years,” said Walter B. “Oh,” said Beatrice. “Should I wait?” “Of course,” said Walter B., “you should wait.” “I’d be very happy,” said Beatrice, “if you joined me while I waited.” Walter B. squeezed her hand. “One day,” said Walter B., “I will make for you a sewing of all the figs I never gave about you.” And one day Walter B. would. He would sew all the figs together. It would not be easy, but he would do it. If he could promise Beatrice anything he could promise her this. He would make for Beatrice a perfect sewing of all the figs he never gave about her. She could wear it, thought Walter B., like a gown. And everyone would applaud.
mizrobot: (rain)
The Shampoo
Elizabeth Bishop

The still explosions on the rocks,
the lichens, grow
by spreading, gray, concentric shocks.
They have arranged
to meet the rings around the moon, although
within our memories they have not changed.

And since the heavens will attend
as long on us,
you've been, dear friend,
precipitate and pragmatical;
and look what happens. For Time is
nothing if not amenable.

The shooting stars in your black hair
in bright formation
are flocking where,
so straight, so soon?
-- Come, let me wash it in this big tin basin,
battered and shiny like the moon.
mizrobot: (tree)
On the Road Home
by Wallace Stevens

It was when I said,
"There is no such thing as the truth,"
That the grapes seemed fatter.
The fox ran out of his hole.

You. . . You said,
"There are many truths,
But they are not parts of a truth."
Then the tree, at night, began to change,

Smoking through green and smoking blue.
We were two figures in a wood.
We said we stood alone.

It was when I said,
"Words are not forms of a single word.
In the sum of the parts, there are only the parts.
The world must be measured by eye";

It was when you said,
"The idols have seen lots of poverty,
Snakes and gold and lice,
But not the truth";

It was at that time, that the silence was largest
And longest, the night was roundest,
The fragments of the autumn warmest,
Closest and strongest.
mizrobot: (tree)
D.H. Lawrence

Are you willing to be sponged out, erased, cancelled,
made nothing?
Are you willing to be made nothing?
dipped into oblivion?

If not, you will never really change.

The phoenix renews her youth
only when she is burnt, burnt alive, burnt down
to hot and flocculent ash.
Then the small stirring of a new small bub in the nest
with strands of down like floating ash
shows that she is renewing her youth like the eagle,
immortal bird.
mizrobot: (cooking)
The Shadow Voice
By Margaret Atwood

My shadow said to me:
what is the matter

Isn't the moon warm
enough for you
why do you need
the blanket of another body

Whose kiss is moss

Around the picnic tables
The bright pink hands held sandwiches
crumbled by distance. Flies crawl
over the sweet instant

You know what is in these blankets

The trees outside are bending with
children shooting guns. Leave
them alone. They are playing
games of their own.

I give water, I give clean crusts

Aren't there enough words
flowing in your veins
to keep you going.
mizrobot: (Chunky Rice)
People are always asking me, "what the hell does the Poet Laureate do, anyway?" ALWAYS. Well, here is some info. They are "the nation's official lightning rod for the poetic impulse of Americans."
mizrobot: (tree)
Donald Hall was named the new Poet Laureate last week. Yay! Finally, a PL I actually like.

by Donald Hall

Pale gold of the walls, gold

of the centers of daisies, yellow roses

pressing from a clear bowl. All day

we lay on the bed, my hand

stroking the deep

gold of your thighs and your back.

We slept and woke

entering the golden room together,

lay down in it breathing

quickly, then

slowly again,

caressing and dozing, your hand sleepily

touching my hair now.

We made in those days

tiny identical rooms inside our bodies

which the men who uncover our graves

will find in a thousand years,

shining and whole.
mizrobot: (Calvin and Hobbes)
The going. The letters. The staying.
by Joshua Beckman

The going. The letters. The staying.
The life of the little boy. The staying
and the life of the little boy. The
letter. The mushrooms. Dear Mom,
I’m writing to say how good it felt
when we took the mushrooms. Our skin.
The boy getting on the bus and the
street lamp. It’s getting cooler. The life
of the little boy. The life of the little boy.
The going. The letters. It’s getting cooler.
It’s a little bit better. We took the
mushrooms and got on the crowded bus.
I’m writing to say how everyone seemed.
mizrobot: (Chunky Rice)
One of the Monkeys
by Nicholas Johnson

I'm one of the monkeys they've got typing
in a room full of monkeys. It's a play
Shakespeare wrote back in the old days
they want us to write again. So we're writing
a play we never read. They keep inviting
strangers to watch us and the strangers say:
"They wrote 'to be or nutti to be'!" They stay
too long if we write something exciting
but the bananas flow like wine. We know
it's a crazy, morbid, ranting play, a stew
full of murder, love, but with a noble feel.
Shocked, I see hack monkeys come and monkeys go.
One keeper killed my father. What should I do?
I'm watching him. My teeth are as sharp as steel.
mizrobot: (pink bird)
I am behind on the Poetry Monday. Today's poem is in honor of the super cute print I bought from Tiny Showcase yesterday. This used to be my favorite poem when I was a kid.

The Owl and the Pussycat )

Pussies, bongs...who said poetry was boring.
mizrobot: (Calvin and Hobbes)
Dream Song 29
John Berryman

There sat down, once, a thing on Henry's heart

só heavy, if he had a hundred years
& more, & weeping, sleepless, in all them time
Henry could not make good.
Starts again always in Henry's ears
the little cough somewhere, an odour, a chime.

And there is another thing he has in mind
like a grave Sienese face a thousand years
would fail to blur the still profiled reproach of. Ghastly,
with open eyes, he attends, blind.
All the bells say: too late. This is not for tears;

But never did Henry, as he thought he did,
end anyone and hacks her body up
and hide the pieces, where they may be found.
He knows: he went over everyone, & nobody's missing.
Often he reckons, in the dawn, them up.
Nobody is ever missing.

mizrobot: (tree)
Here's another one by Jane Kenyon.

by Jane Kenyon

The dog has cleaned his bowl
and his reward is a biscuit,
which I put in his mouth
like a priest offering the host.

I can't bear that trusting face!
He asks for bread, expects
bread, and I in my power
might have given him a stone.
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