the dance

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The Dance
William Carlos Williams

When the snow falls the flakes spin upon the long axis
that concerns them most intimately
two and two to make a dance
the mind dances with itself,
taking you by the hand,
your lover follows
there are always two,
yourself and the other,
the point of your shoe setting the pace,
if you break away and run
the dance is over
Breathlessly you will take
another partner
better or worse who will keep
at your side, at your stops
whirls and glides until he too
leaves off
on his way down as if
there were another direction
gayer, more carefree
spinning face to face but always down
with each other secure
only in each other’s arms
But only the dance is sure!
make it your own.
Who can tell
what is to come of it?
in the woods of your
own nature whatever
twig interposes, and bare twigs
have an actuality of their own
this flurry of the storm
that holds us,
plays with us and discards us
dancing, dancing as may be credible.

 

Photo by Georgia de Lotz on Unsplash

bells

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Bells
Bruce Bond

Wind with barely a world in its path makes no sound.
And then the banner lifts and flutters. The one hand claps.

Bronze comes invisibly to life, and the startled temple
mourns the missing hand. Who here is not a child of bells.

They blow to song the abstracts of men through the open
garret. Who is it now, I wonder. And the bells turn back

to stone. Today I watched a movie of the killing. I thought,
perhaps, it would make me wise, responsive, or, in excited

horror, prone to see suspicion blown into a monster. I
am just one hand after all. A man is there. I do know this.

Bones of light, flesh of shadow, and as the gun goes off,
the wind of the known trajectory blows an abstract of men

through the open lesion. Who here is not a child.
Fire moves through broken windows and the figures in

a riot, and the names get taken down or lost. Night burns.
Embers graze the eye, but the movie does not change.

Characters are cast, in bronze this time, committed, bound
to mistakes they made or suffered or deepened by neglect.

Those who walk the tear gas go unseen. Some are pulled
aside, questioned, searched, and never found. Others

hang in the heart of the bayou like bells, and no one hears.
Some walk the pathless walk of bronze in the tower.

Forward and back, the stride of the breath and the broom
and the hasp of the flag beaten into wind and cinders.

However singular the bullet and path of light, the door
in the body swings both ways. In. And farther in.

The banner claps the air, and somewhere men prepare
the body for the viewing. Flowers release their ghost.

Overhead you hear the silence on which music lies.
It is template-hard, cold, steady as the embalmer’s table.

Say the widow is the one hand, her open bed the other.
The bronze that strikes her from her nightmare is the bell.

I have felt my own music overfill the vessel of the killer.
Whatever the misconception, it is looking for another:

a word to strike, a mirror, a wall. And now the movie
has come down offline. The children are sequestered.

The gun-metal river goes cold. Wind with barely a world
in its path fills and empties the needles of the valley.

Where there is a breath, there is an obstacle in its path.
America touches no one in particular and so a little of all.

It cracks as men in grief and office do. Every bell there
is two bells, one silent, the other made of words that so miss

the world, they ask, look. They break us open, and then,
in tired voices, break, so full of promise, they cannot find us.

Photo by Melchior Damu on Unsplash 

what remained of me

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What Remained of Me
Robert M. Drake

I am convinced
that all of us live
without knowing
who we are,
and it is only
in the end
of something we love
where we seem to find
a little more of ourselves.

You were the hidden
secret
to all the things
I will never know.

You were
what remained of me,
and it is all funny,
too funny
how you are not here,
but I can feel myself
getting closer to you

more than ever,

more than before.

Photo by Kristina Flour on Unsplash

getting on

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Getting On

The husk may crack
The chalksticks creak
The brain confused
The pulse is weak

But Time is your own, at least
And that beast, Passion
No longer screams to be fed.

Photo by Diomari Madulara on Unsplash

happy ending

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Happy Ending
Fleur Adcock

After they had not made love
she pulled the sheet up over her eyes
until he was buttoning his shirt:
not shyness for their bodies – those
they had willingly displayed – but a frail
endeavour to apologise.

Later, though, drawn together by
a distaste for such ‘untidy ends’
they agreed to meet again; whereupon

they giggled, reminisced, held hands
as though what they had made was love –
and not that happier outcome, friends.

 

Photo by Masaaki Komori on Unsplash

aubade as fuel

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Aubade as Fuel

Traci Brimhall

Your lip an abstraction of iris always arousing
the question of the bed. Which goodbye lasts?
Only yesterday my hands rich with dirt. I told you
Milkweed is my new salvation addiction. You know
I always need to save something, to control it.
I can make a pollen island, make your collarbone
a spiritual landscape, the air around us orange
and alive. The shape you left in the sheets
a Rorschach I read as a rattlesnake’s skeleton
in the silverware drawer, no, a fire in a cabin,
no, a cabin on fire, the absence it will make.
But look at me now, my heat signature a whole
bouquet of howling, straddling scarves of smoke.

love song

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Love Song
A.R. Ammons

Like the hills under dusk you
fall away from the light:
you deepen: the green
light darkens
and you are nearly lost:
only so much light as
stars keep
manifests your face:
the total night in
myself raves
for the light along your lips.

the old land

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The Old Land

In the old land,
People perished not from hunger
But from gorging on lust and liver.

Birds flew backward, thoughts swarmed
Against foreheads. Grass vined up stakes,
Sprouted out of the eyes of the impaled.

In the old land,
The mountains were seasonally flattened,
Carved and rolled up like woven prayer mats.

The sky was shallow and piebald in the fall,
Striped and shiny when it rained or snowed,
So splendorous we’d go blind, lose our minds.

In the old land,
Homes were made of honeycomb and straw,
Cars ran on blood, melted pennies, bones.

Streets zigzagged like startled antelopes.
Life and death were simple and whole,
No need for explanation, let alone hope.

In the old land,
Love was meant for strangers and their dogs,
Yowling, licking wounds, sore lymph nodes.

We were living our long lives at home,
Until we sank and resurfaced in this void,
Different skins, goggled eyes, nowhere to go.

Just to be as we were, we had to destroy
All the wrong distant lands, the many
Scared elsewheres, banging at our doors.

Photo by Matt Flores on Unsplash

i catch sight of the now

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I Catch the Sight of the Now

Jorie Graham

unforgettable though then hardly noticed green

tiled ledge
just up to my right in the glistening shower stall, slightly above my open
eyes, square window in it, & slender citrine
lip onto which I place, gently, this first handful of hair—always I see it—the window-
pane up there letting anything in and out that
wishes to pass
thru—so freely—drops from the steam of the shower
on it, the slipping of forever & for-
ever all down the
pane, where, beyond the still-wet clump, all seems to shine and
murmur it’s just day, just this day, another day, filled with the only
of this minute, this split minute, in which if I
reach now I can feel
the years, the fissure in them,
these fractions here inside the
instant—oh mine—how mine—moving now so
differently, as if entering a room with frozen fingers and they say
no you cannot warm them here
at the fire,
there is no fire, there is no
room, actually there is nothing, though you can
start carving the nothing, you can test your strength
against the nothing, the subject is
loss, the dark is inside your
open mouth not knowing what else there is again to
say, a kind of howling without
sorrow, no amazement, no
wisdom, just the roomlessness of this your suddenly
suddenly everything, suddenly there is no more of what there
was, suddenly you do not die of fear you just fear, suddenly
there is no such thing as right or wrong yr hand is
a claw full of hair there is no
purification anywhere as the shower keeps streaming looking for
hollows, more hollows, this thread of the only
water cycle dragged down
into here to
run all over you, to rake yr
skinny neck & down inside of you where you
look up, open yr
mouth—to scream to sing to say the one
right word—as now the next
soft handful
comes, it is such a surprise, as you raise up yr
hand, high, full, to the ledge, to pile it on there—& what
will you do
now, shooting your gaze into those filaments, your years of having & not
knowing, still wet, in clumps, through which the daylight now is pouring itself,
though it is not pouring anything at all or into
anything at all because it’s just the planet
turning again and again into and out of the
dark which is not itself actually dark
at all.