self and dream self


Self and Dream Self

Les Murray

Routines of decaying time
fade, and your waking life
gets laborious as science.
You huddle in, becoming
the deathless younger self
who will survive your dreams
and vanish in surviving.
Dream brings on its story
at the pace of drift
in twilight, sunless color,
its settings are believed,
a library of wood shingles,
plain mythic furniture
vivid drone of talk,
yet few loves return:
trysts seem unkeepable.
Urgencies from your time
join with the browner suits
walking those arcades with you
but then you are apart,
aghast, beside the numberless
defiling down steep fence
into an imminence —
as in the ancient burrow
you, with an ever-changing cast,
survive deciding episodes
till you are dismissed
and a restart of tense
summons your waking size
out through shreds of story.
Photo by Gigi on Unsplash

heart beat


Heart Beat
Frank Bidart

ear early tuned to hear beneath the call to end
eating flesh, sentient suffering beings (creatures

bred now for slaughter will
then never be bred)   less   life   less   life   tuned to hear

still the vow solemn and implacable I made as a kid

walking a sidewalk in Bakersfield

never to have a child, condemn a creature
to this hell     as the prisoner

chorus in wonder is released into the sun, ear early tuned to hear
beneath the melody the ground-bass   less   life   less   life

Photo by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash

song of social despair


Song of Social Despair
Marvin Bell

Ethics without faith, excuse me,
is the butter and not the bread.
You can’t nourish them all, the dead
pile up at the hospital doors.
And even they are not so numerous
as the mothers come in maternity.
The Provider knows his faults—
love of architecture and repair—
but will not fall into them for long:
he can’t afford the adolescent luxury,
the fellowship of the future
looks greedily toward his family.
The black keys fit black cylinders
in the locks in holes in the night.
He had a skeleton key once,
a rubber arm and complete confidence.
Now, as head of the family, he is
inevitably on the wrong side looking out.

what i’ve learned about trauma


What I’ve Learned About Trauma
Brenna Twohy

It isn’t as easy as being
Something That Happened to You
a package you opened once.

You will wake up in a new ZIP code
have to wander your way home,
carry a few of the things you love to this new place
you live in now.

& so you buy throw pillows.
You put up twinkle lights & have a big celebration,

point at the open windows
& tell everyone who has ever seen you crying –


                 look how I have not caged myself.

                 look what I have made out of two paint buckets

                 and the blessing of my still-here body.

but, of course,
trauma leans into the bar cart.

Spills a drink on the new rug.
Breaks off the door handle on his way out.

Trauma sends you letters
without warning
for the rest of your life,
usually disguised as something else –

a medical bill, maybe,
or a box of photo albums packaged up by your father,

just so you remember
trauma knows exactly where you live—

who did you think built the house?

Photo by Cindy Tang on Unsplash

this black rich country


This Black Rich Country
A.R. Ammons

Dispossess me of belief:
between life and me obtrude
no symbolic forms:

grant me no mission: let my
mystical talents be beasts
in dark trees: thin the wire

I limp in space, melt it
with quick heat, let me walk
or fall alone: fail

me in all comforts:
hide renown behind the tomb:
withdraw beyond all reach of faith:

leave me this black rich country,
uncertainty, labor, fear: do not
steal the rewards of my mortality.

Photo by Filip Zrnzević on Unsplash

there is a light that never goes out


There Is a Light that Never Goes Out

Kevin Young

Don’t dream it’s over you don’t
know what’s it’s like it’s like that
& that’s the way it be near me be near
close to you crazy for you got the look
what you done done a do run run
run away run away she was lying
in the grass & she was it something
I said I know what boys like a prayer
a virgin girls just wanna boys
don’t cry don’t don’t you
want me don’t fall on me O
what a feelin’ more than keep
feeling fascination hush hush
voices carry too shy too shy close
to me & you don’t you
forget about hold me now don’t try
to live your life in one day it’s my
life nobody walks in LA woman
every breath you take you take
my breath away there’s always
something in the water
does not compute no new
tale to tell me if you still care
computer love went to her house
to bust a move & had to leave
real early tell me tell me
how to be you & me when I’m alone
in my room sometimes I stare at where
are you calling from call me
tell me fall on me let me be your time
will reveal won’t give me time I’ll
stop the world shut your mouth
on mine I can’t I can’t I can’t
stand losing cause this
is thriller thriller night fine
young pretty young thing is ooh
I like it sends chills up you gots
to chill party up you got to let
me know nobody loves you I am
only human & need you back
in love again bring on
the dancing let’s dance let’s
stay together & dance this mess
around dance dance dance
see how we are family I got
all I need to get by your side
to side back & forth word up for
the down stroke me everybody
wants you let’s go crazy let’s pretend
we’re married let’s wait awhile
again spin me right round baby
I’m a star under the milky way

Photo by Yong Chuan Tan on Unsplash

the bridge


The Bridge
Circe Maia

In a trivial gesture, in a greeting,
in the simple glance, directed
in flight toward other eyes,
a golden, a fragile bridge is constructed.
This alone is enough.

Although it is only for a moment, it exists, exists.
This alone is enough.


El puente

En un gesto trivial, en un saludo,
en la simple mirada, dirigida
en vuelo, hacia otros ojos,
un áureo, un frágil puente se construye.
Baste esto sólo.

Aunque sea un instante, existe, existe.
Baste esto sólo.

Photo by Tim Bogdanov on Unsplash

ut pictura poesis


Ut Pictura Poesis
Khadijah Queen
How do I fancy a good atonement        Homebound body
so slow to bounce back from overuse, meaning, darling,

A cuff of immensity threads me —                  centrifugal
I could fragment thus a rifle shard in a blood flick, dew
perched upon arrival

Where travel is a future &
not such arts
as ordinary inheritance azure mass — explicit menace
in a wing lull     I try not to take
My mother, grandmother for granted
& not       their elegant fierceness in flight–                How do

I resurrect the excised archive of my relatives
How to use the word
love, mean it          my animal glow–sacred rot
This luxury of time to even ask: Who were they

Photo by Geert Pieters on Unsplash