War is no longer declared,
only continued. The monstrous
has become everyday. The hero
stays away from battle. The weak
have gone to the front.
The uniform of the day is patience,
its medal the pitiful star of hope above the heart.
The medal is awarded
when nothing more happens,
when the artillery falls silent,
when the enemy has grown invisible
and the shadow of eternal armament
covers the sky.
It is awarded
for desertion of the flag,
for bravery in the face of friends,
for the betrayal of unworthy secrets
and the disregard
of every command.
Der Krieg wird nicht mehr erklärt,
sondern fortgesetzt. Das Unerhörte
ist alltäglich geworden. Der Held
bleibt den Kämpfen fern. Der Schwache
ist in die Feuerzonen gerückt.
Die Uniform des Tages ist die Geduld,
die Auszeichnung der armselige Stern
der Hoffnung über dem Herzen.
Er wird verliehen,
wenn nichts mehr geschieht,
wenn das Trommelfeuer verstummt,
wenn der Feind unsichtbar geworden ist
und der Schatten ewiger Rüstung
den Himmel bedeckt.
Er wird verliehen
für die Flucht von den Fahnen,
für die Tapferkeit vor dem Freund,
für den Verrat unwürdiger Geheimnisse
und die Nichtachtung
–Catherine BarnettNo woman wants to be low-hanging fruit,my glamorous girlfriend says, but I’m indiscriminateand love all fruit, I’m tempted to list each kindright here, in and out of season,because even just saying the names gives me pleasure,as does saying your name.I’m not alone with my passion — my whole family,we’re a little off in this regard,we can spend hours talking about cantaloupeor arguing over how many flats to buywhen it’s Peach-O-Rama at the Metropolitan.Once I even drove half a day to get to Pence Orchardswhere I met and took photos of Bert Pence,who sold me three boxes of peaches at wholesale prices.He was so good to me, as was the late-summer freestoneI picked as I walked back through the orchardin the August heat to the entrance gates,which were nothing like the Gates of Hell.On the contrary, I was in heaven there in Yakima.I can still smell that single peach, which was profuselylow-hanging, it was the definition of low-hanging,it fell into my hands, as you did —or perhaps as I did into yours —but that was months ago.When I walked past the stands yesterday,on what should have been the first day of spring,all produce had been covered with heavy blanketsto keep it warm, to mitigate harm.Today the temperature dropped so lowsomeone thought to remove the fruit entirely and stash it away.With this strange weather we’re having, will I see you again?I can’t help myself.
I admit you haven’t heard from me
in a while. In me there’s a little liar.
And a little thief. And a little whore.
Forgive me—while writing these words
I was lost in a trance . . . the sky wild
blue, fruit trees jeweled with ice . . . if not
for what I’d promised, I wouldn’t be here
at all. You were with me when I found that
box in the basement—opening it was like
entering a room & having (at last!) someone else
breathe for me. No one, as you know,
sets out to lose their mind. This poem began
as a secret—not from you, I didn’t know you
then. Now, it wears its shame like a halo.
Please, take it, rip it up, put it in your glass.
We can watch it dissolve.
How much it must bear on its back,
a great ball of blue shadow,
yet somehow it shines, keeps up
an appearance. For hours tonight,
I walked beneath it, learning.
I want to be better at carrying sorrow.
If my face is a mask, formed over
the shadows that fill me,
may I smile on the world like the moon.
–Naomi Shihab NyeWhen people have a lotthey want moreWhen people have nothingthey will happily share it*Some people saynever getting your waybuilds characterBy now our character must bedeep and wide as a continentAfrica, Australiagiant cascade of starsspilling over our huge night*Where did the power go?Did it enjoy its break?Is power exhausted?What is real power?Who really has power?Did the generator break?Do we imagine silencemore powerful becauseit might contain everything?Quiet always livesinside noise.But does it get much done?*Silence waitsfor truth to break it*Calendars can weep tooThey want us to have better days*Welcome to every minuteFeel lucky you’re still in it*No bird builds a wall*Sky pursejinglingchange*Won’t give upour hopesfor anything!*Not your faultYou didn’t make the world*How dare this go on and on?cried the person who believed in prayingGod willing God willing God willingThere were others who prayedto ruins & stumps*Open palmshold more*Refuse to givemistakestoo much power*Annoying person?Person who told me to stay homeand do what other girls do?If you disappearedI still might miss you*Babies want to help usThey laughfor no reason*Pay close attention toa drop of wateron the kitchen table*You cannot say one word about religionand exclude Ahmad
They are useless, there is nothing
to be done with them, no reason, only
the finding: letting myself down holding
to ironwood and the dry bristle of roots
into the creekbed, into clear water shelved
below the outcroppings, where crawdads spurt
through silt; clawing them out of clay, scrubbing
away the sand, setting them in a shaft of light
to dry. Sweat clings in the cliff’s downdraft.
I take each one up like a safecracker listening
for the lapse within, the moment crystal turns
on crystal. It is all waiting there in darkness.
I want to know only that things gather themselves
with great patience, that they do this forever.
I want to carry you
and for you to carry me
the way voices are said to carry over water.
Just this morning on the shore,
I could hear two people talking quietly in a row
boat on the far side of the lake.
They were talking about fishing,
then one changed the subject,
and, I swear, they began talking about you.