“Theater” by William Greenway. Via Lori. “Like the neighborhood kind / you went to as a kid, full / of yellow light and red / velvet curtains and everybody / there, friends, bullies throwing / popcorn, somebody with red hair.”
“Weather Systems” by Barbara Crooker. Via Lori. “Sugar maples, little fires in the trees, every blazing gradation / of orange to red, and this makes me think of you….”
“Ars Poetica #100: I Believe” by Elizabeth Alexander. “…digging in the clam flats / for the shell that snaps, / emptying the proverbial pocketbook.”
“Gilly’s Bowl & Grille” by Corey Van Landingham. “As for the beer, I bring my own. I haven’t touched / another human / in twenty-three days, not even someone’s palm / passing my change.”
Even when produced with the most meticulous scholarship, our dictionaries ought to remind us that words exceed our best efforts at definition and classification, and that careful reading often ends not in perfect certainty but humility.
“Cuba, 1962” by Ai because the Poetry Foundation put it in their “Poem of the Day” RSS feed and I’ve never found a poem in that feed more surprising.
“Dividend of the Social Opt-Out” by Jennifer Moxley, via Lindsay, because it has been a busy year and a too-busy fall and I would welcome not doing things.
How nice not to hope that something will happen,
but to lie on the couch with a book, hoping that
nothing will. To hear the wood creak and to think.
It is lovely to stay without wanting to leave.
“Prayer” by Yehoshua November because it finds different but equally beautiful (and powerful) means to the same end as Jennifer Moxley’s social opt-out.
“My Father Sings Like a Crow” by C. L. O’Dell because few poems capture our ideas of our fathers so well — and my good friend Jonny just became a dad.
A whole life lives in each fist of my father
the way a burning city lives in a firefly’s gut. It’s there,
a faint light cradling a chicken egg, clutching an axe,
raising a newborn’s almost see-through body.
“The God Who Loves You,” by Carl Dennis. The poem is about God until you discover the poem is about our perception of God amid our thoughts and worries. Or so I think.
It must be troubling for the god who loves you
To ponder how much happier you’d be today
Had you been able to glimpse your many futures.
“Chicago,” by Carl Sandburg. So brutal, so alive. “Hog Butcher for the World,” begins Sandburg’s address to the city, his muse. “Come and show me another city with lifted head singing so proud to be alive and coarse and strong and cunning.”
“For the Chipmunk in My Yard,” by Robert Gibb. A squirrel who guessed wrong nearly landed on Lori’s head from a great height the other day, and I’ve enjoyed paying more attention to tree creatures since then. Gibb outdoes me.