Thursday, August 9, 2012

Chips, a poem by Jenny Walker.

Post 666 - Here's a winner from the Foyle's Young Poets of the Year Award, 2011.
 Chips by Jenny Walker
It is our night, so we buy chips
and grin guiltily over the greasy wrapper
at each other, crumpling yesterday's paper in our
sticky, unharnessed hands.
We are fools for love and salt
and we see that it is good.
Our feet scatter stars in the inky black,
with the click-clack clatter that's classed
so coolly cosmopolitan these days.
They have lit up all the lights for us,
for our arms and lips and eyes wide open
to drink it all in. But,
bending at the waist at the pavement's gutter,
clutching each other on the dark street corner -
Sudden vertiginous precision
finds the old woman with the cataract vision,
cramming the memories into her mouth in
salty handfuls and smacking her lips. 
Jenny is 17 and from Cumbria, and is just starting at Edinburgh University studying English Literature. She has always been interested in writing but only became serious about writing poetry in the last few years. Jenny enjoys playing the piano, cloud watching, reading, and talking at length about all these things. She was a runner up in the Anne Pierson Award in 2010.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

The Ghost Of Marilyn Monroe, a poem by Bill Meissner.

Post 665 - Remembering today is the 50th anniversary of the death of Marilyn Monroe, here's a new poem by Bill Meissner which first appeared in the Atlanta Review.
Bill is the author of seven books, most recently, his first novel, SPIRITS IN THE GRASS, [U of Notre Dame Press], the story of a small town ballplayer who discovers the remains of a Native American burial ground on a baseball field.


Have you seen me in the
mirror? I loved the breeze from the subway grate that lifted my skirt
to my waist, loved the cool billowing
as that white pleated skirt rose and rose
like a mushroom cloud and I half-tried to push it down
while a million men’s eyes—a little embarrassed but still looking—

stared at me.
I wanted men to memorize every inch
of my skin so they’d remember me,
so that I’d always come alive inside their minds,
balanced on a grate and laughing seductively,
train after subway train making the sidewalk shudder beneath

my white heels.
I always yearned for their eyes to follow me like camera lenses
everywhere I went. I wanted to collect their eyes,
keep them in fishbowls in my bedroom like so many glass marbles.
Look at me, I always said, look at me look at me look at me.
I still try to say it, on the stairways of the Roosevelt Hotel, but
my lips can’t

find any words.
I feel translucent now, like the wings of a moth with all the dust worn off.
I’m nothing more than a swirl of those lace curtains
when the window’s closed.
These halls are too dim, the burgundy carpeting too thick.
I hate the way the bellboys walk by me, speaking in muffled tones.
Sometimes I appear in the old mirror in the lobby: a maid, cleaning the glass in slow circles, notices a sad blonde in the reflection. Turning,
she sees no one is
there. Late at night in the hallways,

I want to whisper in the ears of men
who stroll nonchalantly past me, I want to scream at them.
I want my pleated white dress to billow upward
like a blooming flower, some A-bomb cloud they can’t ignore.
But they never seem to hear me.
To them, I’m just a sudden odd draft in this hallway,
a faint, smoky scent of exotic perfume.
For a moment, they might wonder where it came from, and then
turn to look back into their girlfriends’
flawed faces.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Everything is Waiting for You, a poem by David Whyte.

Everything is Waiting for You.

Your great mistake is to act the drama
as if you were alone. As if life
were a progressive and cunning crime
with no witness to the tiny hidden
transgressions. To feel abandoned is to deny
the intimacy of your surroundings. Surely,
even you, at times, have felt the grand array;
the swelling presence, and the chorus, crowding
out your solo voice You must note
the way the soap dish enables you,
or the window latch grants you freedom.
Alertness is the hidden discipline of familiarity.
The stairs are your mentor of things
to come, the doors have always been there
to frighten you and invite you,
and the tiny speaker in the phone
is your dream-ladder to divinity.
Put down the weight of your aloneness and ease into
the conversation. The kettle is singing
even as it pours you a drink, the cooking pots
have left their arrogant aloofness and
seen the good in you at last. All the birds
and creatures of the world are unutterably
themselves. Everything is waiting for you.
  -- David Whyte
      from Everything is Waiting for You 
     ©2003 Many Rivers Press

Monday, May 14, 2012

The Freedom of the Moon, a poem by Robert Frost.

Post 663 - The Freedom of the Moon by Robert Frost. I've tried the new moon tilted in the air Above a hazy tree-and-farmhouse cluster As you might try a jewel in your hair. I've tried it fine with little breadth of luster, Alone, or in one ornament combining With one first-water star almost shining. I put it shining anywhere I please. By walking slowly on some evening later, I've pulled it from a crate of crooked trees, And brought it over glossy water, greater, And dropped it in, and seen the image wallow, The color run, all sorts of wonder follow.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Maiden Name, a poem by Philip Larkin.

Post 662 - Maiden name, a poem by Philip Larkin.

Marrying left your maiden name disused.
Its five light sounds no longer mean your face,
Your voice, and all your variants of grace;
For since you were so thankfully confused
By law with someone else, you cannot be
Semantically the same as that young beauty:
It was of her that these two words were used.

Now it's a phrase applicable to no one,
Lying just where you left it,scattered through
Old lists, old programmes, a school prize or two
Packets of letters tied with tartan ribbon -
Then is it scentless, weightless, strengthless, wholly
Untruthful? Try whispering it slowly.
No, it means you. Or, since you're past and gone,

It means what we feel now about you then:
How beautiful you were, and near, and young,
So vivid, you might still be there among
Those first few days, unfingermarked again.
So your old name shelters our faithfulness,
Instead of losing shape and meaning less
With your depreciating luggage laden.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Aunt Jennifer's Tigers, a poem by Adrienne Rich.

Post 661 - Adrienne Cecile Rich (May 16, 1929 – March 27, 2012) was an American poet, essayist and feminist. She was considered one of the most widely read and influential poets of the second half of the 20th century, and was credited with bringing the oppression of women and lesbians to the forefront of poetic discourse. In 1971, she was the recipient of the Shelley Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America and was awarded the National Book Award for Poetry in 1974. She also was awarded the Ruth Paul Lilly Poetry Prize in 1986, the Elmer Holmes Bobst Award in Arts and Letters from NYU, and the National Poetry Association Award for Distinguished Service to the Art of Poetry in 1989. In 1997, Rich declined the National Medal of Arts in protesting against the House of Representatives’ vote to end the National Endowment for the Arts as well as other policies of the Clinton Administration regarding the arts generally and literature in particular. In 2002, she was appointed a chancellor of the newly augmented board of the Academy of American Poets. She was the winner of the 2003 Yale Bollingen Prize for American Poetry.

Aunt Jennifer's Tigers by Adrienne Rich.

Aunt Jennifer’s tigers prance across a screen,
Bright topaz denizens of a world of green.
They do not fear the men beneath the tree;
They pace in sleek chivalric certainty.

Aunt Jennifer’s fingers fluttering through her wool

Find even the ivory needle hard to pull.
The massive weight of Uncle’s wedding band

Sits heavily upon Aunt Jennifer’s hand.

When Aunt is dead, her terrified hands will lie

Still ringed with ordeals she was mastered by.
The tigers in the panel that she made

Will go on prancing, proud and unafraid.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Woman Waving to Trees, a poem by Dorothea Tanning.

Dorothea Tanning was an American painter, printmaker, sculptor and writer. She also designed sets and costumes for ballet and theatre. She died earlier this year at 101 having just published her second anthology of poems, Coming To That.

Woman Waving to Trees, a poem by Dorothea Tanning.

Not that anyone would
notice it at first.
I have taken to marveling
at the trees in our park.
One thing I can tell you:
they are beautiful
and they know it.
They are also tired,
hundreds of years
stuck in one spot—
beautiful paralytics.
When I am under them,
they feel my gaze,
watch me wave my foolish
hand, and envy the joy
of being a moving target.

Loungers on the benches
begin to notice.
One to another,
"Well, you see all kinds..."
Most of them sit looking
down at nothing as if there
was truly nothing else to
look at until there is
that woman waving up
to the branching boughs
of these old trees. Raise your
heads, pals, look high,
you may see more than
you ever thought possible,
up where something might
be waving back, to tell her
she has seen the marvelous.