blackbirds

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Nearing Dawn
Jorie Graham

Sunbreak. The sky opens its magazine. If you look hard
it is a process of falling
and squinting—& you are in-
terrupted again and again by change, & crouchings out there
where you are told each second you
are only visiting, & the secret
whitening adds up to no
meaning, no, not for you, wherever the loosening muscle of the night
startles-open the hundreds of
thousands of voice-boxes, into which
your listening moves like an aging dancer still trying to glide—there is time for
everything, everything, is there is not—
though the balance is
difficult, is coming un-
done, & something strays farther from love than we ever imagined, from the long and
orderly sentence which was a life to us, the dry
leaves on
the fields
through which the new shoots glow
now also glowing, wet curled tips pointing in any
direction—
as if the idea of a right one were a terrible forgetting—as one feels upon
waking—when the dream is cutting loose, is going
back in the other
direction, deep inside, behind, no, just back—&
one is left looking out—& it is
breaking open further—what are you to do—how let it fully in—the wideness of it
is staggering—you have to have more arms eyes a
thing deeper than laughter furrows more
capacious than hate forgiveness remembrance forgetfulness history silence
precision miracle—more
furrows are needed the field
cannot be crossed this way the
wide shine coming towards you standing in
the open window now, a dam breaking, reeking rich with the end of
winter, fantastic weight of loam coming into the
soul, the door behind you
shut, the
great sands behind there, pharaohs, the millennia of carefully prepared and buried
bodies, the ceremony and the weeping for them, all
back there, lamentations, libations, earth full of bodies everywhere, our bodies,
some still full of incense, & the sweet burnt
offerings, & the still-rising festival out-cryings—& we will
inherit
from it all
nothing—& our ships will still go,
after the ritual killing to make the wind listen,
out to sea as if they were going to a new place,
forgetting they must come home yet again ashamed
no matter where they have been—& always the new brides setting forth—
& always these ancient veils of their falling from the sky
all over us,
& my arms rising from my sides now as if in dictation, & them opening out from me,
& me now smelling the ravens the blackbirds the small heat of the rot in this largest
cage—bars of light crisping its boundaries—
& look
there is no cover, you cannot reach
it, ever, nor the scent of last night’s rain, nor the chainsaw raised to take the first of the
far trees
down, nor the creek’s tongued surface, nor the minnow
turned by the bottom of the current—here
is an arm outstretched, then here
is rightful day and the arm is still there, outstretched, at the edge of a world—tyrants
imagined by the bearer of the arm, winds listened for,
corpses easily placed anywhere the
mind wishes—inbox, outbox—machines
that do not tire in the
distance—barbed wire taking daysheen on—marking the end of the field—the barbs like a
lineup drinking itself
crazy—the wire
where it is turned round the post standing in for
mental distress—the posts as they start down the next field sorting his from
mine, his from the
other’s—until you know, following,
following, all the way to the edge and then turning again, then again, to the
far fields, to the
height of the light—you know
you have no destiny, no, you have a wild unstoppable
rumor for a soul, you
look all the way to the end of
your gaze, why did you marry, why did you stop to listen,
where are your fingerprints, the mud out there hurrying to
the white wood gate, its ruts, the ants in it, your
imagination of your naked foot placed
there, the thought that in that there
is all you have & that you have
no rightful way
to live—

“weary of licking my heart”

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Parting
Audre Lorde

Belligerent and beautiful as a trapped ibis
your lean hands are a sacrifice
spoken three times
before dawn
there is blood in the morning egg
that makes me turn and weep
I see you
weaving pain into garlands
the shape of a noose
while I grow
weary
of licking my heart
for moisture
cactus tongued.

hard dry pain

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New
Aila Meriluoto

A love: merely a sea
surging through the limbs, a sea of blood
with skin-hairs swaying like water-plants;
under the abundance a hard dry pain, submerged:
today under our boat –
a noon shadow?
a deep-down black palm supporting us:
ebony, plated with waves,
beautiful, from here, already.

Photo by Alex on Unsplash

rejoicing in voice

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The Singers
Eavan Boland

The women who were singers in the West
lived on an unforgiving coast.
I want to ask was there ever one
moment when all of it relented–
when rain and ocean and their own
sense of home were revealed to them
as one and the same?
After which
every day was still shaped by weather,
but every night their mouths filled with
Atlantic storms and clouded-over stars
and exhausted birds?
And only when the danger
was plain in the music could you know
their true measure of rejoicing in

finding a voice where they found a vision.

confusing berries

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For those confused about berries

The Blackberries
Francis Ponge

On the typographic bushes of the poem down a road leading neither out of things nor to the mind, certain fruits are composed of an agglomeration of spheres plumped with a drop of ink.

*
Black, rose and khaki together on the bunch, they are more like the sight of a rogue family at its different ages than a strong temptation to picking.
In view of the disproportion of seeds to pulp birds don’t think much of them, so little remains once from beak to anus they’ve been traversed.

*
But the poet in the course of his professional promenade takes the seed to task: ‘So,’ he tells himself, ‘the patient efforts of a fragile flower on a rebarbative tangle of brambles are by and large successful. Without much else to recommend them – ripe, indeed they are ripe – done, like my poem.’

Original

Les Mûres

Aux buissons typographiques constitués par le poème sur une route qui ne mène hors des choses ni à l’esprit, certains fruits sont formés d’une agglomération de sphères qu’une goutte d’encre remplit.

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Noirs, roses et kakis ensemble sur la grappe, ils offrent plutôt le spectacle d’une famille rogue à ses âges divers, qu’une tentation très vive à la cueillette.
Vue la disproportion des pépins à la pulpe les oiseaux les apprécient peu, si peu de chose au fond leur reste quand du bec à l’anus ils en sont traversés.

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Mais le poète au cours de sa promenade professionnelle, en prend de la graine à raison : ‘Ainsi donc, se dit-il, réussissent en grand nombre les efforts patients d’une fleur très fragile quoique par un rébarbatif enchevêtrement de ronces défendue. Sans beaucoup d’autres qualités, – mûres, parfaitement elles sont mûres – comme aussi ce poème est fait.’

Photo by Don Lu on Unsplash

“i fucking love a pulley”

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The Pulley
George Herbert
When God at first made man,
Having a glass of blessings standing by,
“Let us,” said he, “pour on him all we can.
Let the world’s riches, which dispersèd lie,
Contract into a span.”

So strength first made a way;
Then beauty flowed, then wisdom, honour, pleasure.
When almost all was out, God made a stay,
Perceiving that, alone of all his treasure,
Rest in the bottom lay.

“For if I should,” said he,
“Bestow this jewel also on my creature,
He would adore my gifts instead of me,
And rest in Nature, not the God of Nature;
So both should losers be.

“Yet let him keep the rest,
But keep them with repining restlessness;
Let him be rich and weary, that at least,
If goodness lead him not, yet weariness
May toss him to my breast.”