Not a dive’s precision arc.
Instead a lemming run and plunge,
oblivious to depth,
water’s in the pool.
Cynics shake their heads.
“Only a fool…” they say.
“Yes, yes!” I answer,
and drop my towel.
in color but colorless,
post-apocalyptic, the world stretches out
with ash and charred hulks of trees.
I am alone. Beside me the world has cracked
like an egg, jagged and stretching over the horizon,
only a foot wide, but an abyss.
There is a whisper of steam coming from it,
and a whisper of something churning below.
That is the only sound except for a bird calling, maybe
for a mate. I need to get to the other side,
but I am terrified. I can step across easily —
only a foot wide — but I remember a time I tried to jump
a puddle in a long straight skirt. My leg would go no farther
than the skirt’s width, and I landed in the water in new shoes.
What if I can’t reach across? The dream won’t leave.
I think of it whenever my mind is alone.
There’s a spider in the bathtub.
I saw him last night, and he’s still there
this morning, though I gave him fair warning
when I brushed my teeth before bed.
I need to take a shower.
But there’s a SPIDER.
In the BATHTUB.
My Dr. Schweitzer is arguing with my Eek.
He’s small –
smaller than a shirt button –
and round and 8 legs look like 3 too many.
But he’s in the BATHTUB.
Where I SHOWER.
I turn on the water, and he wiggles
a couple of legs but the spray doesn’t hit him,
so I don’t get a pass from Karma.
Then my Eek takes over,
and I get a piece of toilet paper,
and he wiggles 2 legs again but doesn’t run
so my Eek doesn’t get to plead self-defense.
I try to make it painless –
a squish and done – but then I wonder
if he was just trying to say hello,
and the shower’s kind of lonely
without him in there waving at me.
“A weed is a flower growing in the wrong place.”
George Washington Carver
they invade the bluegrass suburbs
where blades form a passive sameness
if tended as intended. They strut
across the green of everyday —
strumpets in tattered leafy skirts,
stiletto roots — bestowing downy favors
on the summer breeze.
Another beautiful poem from Rajani Radhakrishnan. Her lyricism and imagery are outstanding.
And the monk sat, like a cloud, at peace, the way you can
unfurl at a safe distance from people, speaking softly, the
way spring rain writes on leaves, about life and illusion and
the journey of souls that leaves us behind, the way a snake
trades one skin for another. I wanted to ask if I could shed
this skin you touched, memories etched on it like scars that
would never heal. I wanted to ask if I could be washed and
anointed in a sunshine unguent, the way a bride is bathed
before her wedding, healing turmeric running down her
face and neck, the way the old sky is made to masquerade
as a new one each morning. But I am just the moulted life
of a writhing soul, holding on for a flutter, the way a name
is carried in the fist of the wind, for a…
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One of my favorite poets on one of my favorite sites. This poem is outstanding.
You left behind.
one half a jelly donut,
stale as last Wednesday;
some clothing, moth-eaten,
mildewed; two shoes,
one black, one brown,
with newsprint for the soles.
You left behind a paper sack
of winter warmth, and poetry
by Whitman, Poe and Crane,
well-fingered and browned in age.
You walked into the river
and left behind four dollars
and eighteen cents, which I
have spent on coffee
and a banana nut muffin,
that crumbled in its freshness.
Your poetry; penned
in your perfect prep school hand,
was stuffed inside two newish socks
atop the brown and laceless shoe.
It is unnervingly good,
but I can use the socks.
I crumpled your words in their freshness,
and set them to sail upon the river,
page by remarkable page.
by Steve Deutsch, first published in Weatherings.
Editor’s Note: The title in this poem serves up multiple meanings to…
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I am thrilled to have my poem “A Gospel of Birds” featured with the work of Rajani Radhakrishnan and Carrie Van Horn at Poets United today. Thanks Sherry Marr and all of the folks who commented on our work.
The irony of race and entitlement dining together from Robert Okaji.
While Reading Billy Collins at Bandera’s Best Restaurant, Words Come to Me
And having no other paper at hand,
I scrawl on a dollar bill, “I want to speak
the language of smoke.” My invisible friend
interrupts. That is a white man’s dilemma.
At least you have a dollar and a pen.
“But I’m only half-white,” I reply, “with half
the privilege.” Then you must bear double
the burden,he says. This version of math
twists my intestines into a Gordian knot,
as does the concept of half equals twice,
or in terms I might better comprehend,
one beer equals four when divided by color
or accent and multiplied by projection.
The unsmiling waitress delivers my rib-eye
as I’m dressing the salad, and the check appears
just after the first bites of medium-rare beef
hit my palate, certainly before I can answer the
never-voiced question “would you like…
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Wonderful advice from Robert Okaji. The link to the rest of Robert’s poem doesn’t seem to work at the end of the reblogged poem. So for a direct link to his site to read this wonderful poem, click here.
How to Write a Poem
Learn to curse in three languages. When midday
yawns stack high and your eyelids flutter, fire up
the chain saw; there’s always something to dismember.
Make it new. Fear no bridges. Accelerate through
curves, and look twice before leaping over fires,
much less into them. Read bones, read leaves, read
the dust on shelves and commit to memory a thousand
discarded lines. Next, torch them. Take more than you
need, buy books, scratch notes in the dirt and watch
them scatter down nameless alleys at the evening’s first
gusts. Gather words and courtesies. Guard them carefully.
Play with others, observe birds, insects and neighbors,
but covet your minutes alone and handle with bare hands
only those snakes you know. Mourn the kindling you create
and toast each new moon as if it might be the last one
to tug your personal tides. When driving, sing…
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