calling a spade a spade


Novica Tadić
To live without any news
in the boonies
like any wretched, luckless person.

Go to town and buy a spade
as if intending to turn over a garden.

Instead, find your humble place
in the village graveyard,
swing high and dig yourself a grave.

Set it up, decorate it, write on it.

Find your humble place
in a world gone mad.

Photo (c) 2008 greg used under Creative Commons license.

“no pity for these oddities”


The Lost Lie
Anne Sexton
There is rust in my mouth,
the stain of an old kiss.
And my eyes are turning purple,
my mouth is glue
and my hands are two stones
and the heart,
is still there,
that place where love dwelt
but it is nailed into place.
Still I feel no pity for these oddities,
in fact the feeling is one of hatred.
For it is only the child in me bursting out
and I keep plotting how to kill her.

Once there was a woman,
full as a theater of moon
and love begot love
and the child, when she peeked out,
did not hate herself back then.
Funny, funny, love what you do.
But today I roam a dead house,
a frozen kitchen, a bedroom
like a gas chamber.
The bed itself is an operating table
where my dreams slice me to pieces.

Oh love,
the terror,
the fright wig,
that your dear curly head
was, was, was, was.



Billy Collins
One bright morning in a restaurant in Chicago
as I waited for my eggs and toast,
I opened the Tribune only to discover
that I was the same age as Cheerios.

Indeed, I was a few months older than Cheerios
for today, the newspaper announced,
was the seventieth birthday of Cheerios
whereas mine had occurred earlier in the year.

Already I could hear them whispering
behind my stooped and threadbare back,
Why that dude’s older than Cheerios
the way they used to say

Why that’s as old as the hills,
only the hills are much older than Cheerios
or any American breakfast cereal,
and more noble and enduring are the hills,

I surmised as a bar of sunlight illuminated my orange juice.

never had, never been


Personae Poem
Nikki Giovanni
I am always lonely
for things I’ve never had
and people I’ve never been

But I’m not really
because you once said
and I did
even though I don’t like