Selected Poets and Poems
Please see our Poets tab for home pages of poets, where available.
And when in his wanderings he lost his pen,
lost the battles, polemics, books he’d planned,
mislaid the triumphs and troubles with women,
drained all ambition of hand or brain or gland,
when he stood naked at the gates of Eden,
when nothing was left but a handful of sand,
he finally allowed all words to disband.
And when he allowed all thoughts to disband
and relished the course of every grain of sand,
when he was naked and lived in Eden,
cured of ambition of hand or brain or gland,
released from troubles and triumphs with women,
reprieved from battles, polemics, books he’d planned,
somewhere in his wanderings he lost his pen.
Finally, it is hunger
That feeds us,
Desire that makes us
Ambulatory, heals us.
Bread, wine, another body
Beneath my hands–
Things have never sustained me.
Desire: the more intense,
The less relevant the world.
Nostalgia makes compost of history
Revision to unroll ecstatic,
Flickering a silent image,
So large, livening the wall
Like no belabored tapestry,
Space carved black and white.
I listen to the rasp
Of my breathing.
For me, absence roars
Continuous as a waterfall;
Every sense nourished
By disorders of disappearance
Between sleep and will, we row the stubborn water,
turn the wheel, cling to the spokes when we must.
Time is little more than the coin that falls
through a beggar’s hand. Pieces of lives are
lost between dreams, on pages that forgot to
turn. Memory has no dream of its own, but
we cradle it like a violin, close to the throat,
close to the bone. The anxious dead dream of
earth and dirt. They come to us in the dark–close,
hungry–their hands wrung like breaths from their
bodies. They have something to tell us. The light,
uneven, does not weep or speak their names.
What matters is the quiet beak of a lark in the seed,
the dead tree’s shadow that stretches upstream.
Even a nameless stream is a frightening thing by Betty Lies
Everyone knows what happens
in a wood: you lose yourself
the same trees with their slide of moss
and knowing moss grows
only on the north won’t help
because you haven’t any notion
what direction out lies anyway
and nothing has a name–
the bear, the wolf, the tree
this stream you’ve crossed before–
you touch some greenish stuff
crawling up one side of
those tall rough things
that raise their arms to sky,
and wonder what you’re doing here
but can’t imagine
what here means.
There was the time her mother broke her
father’s big toe, dropped a magnum of Mumm
as they waltzed in their robes the night before
the girl was to wed, so relieved were they
she’d found “at last” a “practicing Catholic”
to bed. What a handful that one had been.
“Too proud…so vain,” her mother often said.
Her father gimped up the aisle on crutches,
wincing, as the next of his “twelve crosses
to bear” fought back tears. She’d rehearsed
that day in her head for years, but this wasn’t
a bit like her dreams, where everyone wept,
awed finally to find her in the robes of a Queen,
with her mother drawing back–bowing low…
lower…LOWER!–falling mute as she passed.