memory demands so much

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Memory Demands So Much
Denise Levertov

Memory demands so much,
it wants every fiber
told and retold.
It gives and gives
but for a price, making you
risk drudgery, lapse
into document, treacheries
of glaring noon and a slow march.
Leaf never before
seen or envisioned, flying spider
of rose-red autumn, playing
a lone current of undecided wind,
lift me with you, take me
off this ground of memory that clings
to my feet like thick clay,
exacting gratitude for gifts and gifts.
Take me flying before
you vanish, leaf, before
I have time to remember you,
intent instead on being
in the midst of that flight,
of those unforeseeable words.

 

 

brocade

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Brocade
Jane Hirshfield

All day wondering
if I’ve become useless.

All day the osprey
white and black,
carrying
big dry sticks without leaves.

Late, I say to my pride,

You think you’re the feathered part
of this don’t you?

Photo by Karo Kujanpaa on Unsplash

the last time

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The Last Time
Donika Kelly

I hardly remember the last time
we touched each other with tenderness:

the evening’s fall, the light dim, the rug new,
our life rambling ahead of us as the valley runs

to the foothills. Surely I called your name,
pulled you close; surely you trembled, our bodies

tangled and damp; yet what lingers in my mind,
what rings so clear is the hot mouth of shame opening

in my gut, awakened by the more I’d wanted: to taste
and at the same time be tasted, to be ridden, to take

inside me whatever you would give. Shame,
in both the wanting and the wanting’s return,

swallowing whatever longing I wanted to voice.
I could hardly know that mouth’s alarm,

gilding the night, was a warning–had assumed
the maze farther south, its center quiet.

Photo by Matthew Kosloski on Unsplash

on hurt

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On Hurt
Nikita Gill

Deciding how hurt
someone is allowed to be
with your behaviour
towards them
is the emotional
equivalent of

1.
drowning someone
and deciding
how loud
they are allowed
to scream.

2.
setting someone on fire
and deciding
how much of a mess
their ashes are allowed
to make.

3.
stabbing someone
and deciding
how much
they are allowed
to bleed.

You do not get to
destroy someone
and decide how ruined
they are allowed
to feel.

Photo by Mishal Ibrahim on Unsplash

 

bookshelves

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The Bookshelves
Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin

These are our cliffs, where we hang and grope and slide.
Why should there be a path upwards among such casual
stacks? Somebody shelved them size by size
but still they signal throbbing on shadow types.
Their lightning blazes like a faraway headlight
bound firmly elsewhere. Most times
it’s the finger tucked in the big dictionary that leads
onward (as if under submerged voussoirs, along
damp paving to the ancient reservoir) to tell us
that the jumping flashes on the rockface were the codes
for a name that we could never have otherwise known.

 

Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

about photography

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About Photography
Andrei Codrescu

I hate photographs,
those square paper Judases of the world,
the fakers of love’s image of all things.
They show you parents where the frogs of doom
are standing under the heavenly flour,
they picture grassy slopes
where the bugs of accident whirr twisted
in the flaws of the world.
It is weird,
this violence of particulars
against the unity of being

Image by S Donaghy

your headache

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Your Headache
Laura Kasischke

I am trying to imagine it
Your head is in your hands
The nurse is pouring pills onto a plate
November again
Too late

Your headache
It is a bird
Wounded, in leaves

Its sweet bird’s nest is full of pain in a distant place

November
There are daisies
In the ruined garden, still blooming strangely

And in a manic yellow hat, the old lady

And the old man, dead in his bed

And their daughter, the saint:

Her dark, religious hair gets tangled in the branches
She is screaming, grabbing

While the nurses play Mozart in another room
While the bats fly over the roof

Snatch the black notes from the blackness
Laughing

You cry
I am going to die

I can see them through this window

Their little black capes

The touching ugliness of their little faces

Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

how the past comes back

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How the Past Comes Back
Natasha Trethewey

Like shadow across a stone,
gradually–
the name it darkens;

as one enters the world
through language–
like a child learning to speak
then naming
everything; as flower,

the neglected hydrangea
endlessly blossoming–
year after year
each bloom a blue refrain; as

the syllables of birdcall
coalescing in the trees,
repeating
a single word:
forgets;

as the dead bird’s bright signature–
days after you buried it–
a single red feather
on the window glass

in the middle of your reflection.

Photo by Taylor Smith on Unsplash