Tag Archives: poetry

Tranquilized

Poem of the Day: Advertisement

BY WISŁAWA SZYMBORSKA
I’m a tranquilizer.
I’m effective at home.
I work in the office.
I can take exams
on the witness stand.
I mend broken cups with care.
All you have to do is take me,
let me melt beneath your tongue,
just gulp me
with a glass of water.
I know how to handle misfortune,
how to take bad news.
I can minimize injustice,
lighten up God’s absence,
or pick the widow’s veil that suits your face.
What are you waiting for—
have faith in my chemical compassion.
You’re still a young man/woman.
It’s not too late to learn how to unwind.
Who said
you have to take it on the chin?
Let me have your abyss.
I’ll cushion it with sleep.
You’ll thank me for giving you
four paws to fall on.
Sell me your soul.
There are no other takers.
There is no other devil anymore.
Wislawa Szymborska, “Advertisement” from Poems New and Selected. Copyright © 1998 by Wislawa Szymborska.  Reprinted by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Source: Poems New and Collected(Harcourt Inc., 1998)

WISŁAWA SZYMBORSKA

Biography
More poems by this author

Retrieved and reposted by Poetry Foundation website.

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The White Orchid

A poem by Lightning Heart

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The White Orchid

Remember when you offered it to me,

It was after Shiva touched my shoulders and

Sent seizures through blood, skin, and bone

You came with a lion’s mouth and nose, stringy haired,

Downed in frayed gossamer.

I would not accept it at first out of

Fear for what it meant

 

Dew lived on its petals, even in the desert

Its yellow mouth, frozen in a seductive smile

They say never to accept an orchid

If it is in bloom,

Something about shocking its system,

Stagnating its growth

 

Then again, I’ve never been a rule-follower

Now that it is here, I stare at it,

Obsessively,

Especially that face–

like butterfly wings suspended on a corkboard

 

only the pin does not kill it,

for there is no pin

Not this time.

The clay pot is too small

It has to break someday

when tubers burst through

. . .or better yet. . .

When they devour the pot with new life

 

–a poem by Lightning Heart


Powwow at the end

salmon2

The Powwow at the End of the World

BY SHERMAN ALEXIE
I am told by many of you that I must forgive and so I shall
after an Indian woman puts her shoulder to the Grand Coulee Dam
and topples it. I am told by many of you that I must forgive
and so I shall after the floodwaters burst each successive dam
downriver from the Grand Coulee. I am told by many of you
that I must forgive and so I shall after the floodwaters find
their way to the mouth of the Columbia River as it enters the Pacific
and causes all of it to rise. I am told by many of you that I must forgive
and so I shall after the first drop of floodwater is swallowed by that salmon
waiting in the Pacific. I am told by many of you that I must forgive and so I shall
after that salmon swims upstream, through the mouth of the Columbia
and then past the flooded cities, broken dams and abandoned reactors
of Hanford. I am told by many of you that I must forgive and so I shall
after that salmon swims through the mouth of the Spokane River
as it meets the Columbia, then upstream, until it arrives
in the shallows of a secret bay on the reservation where I wait alone.
I am told by many of you that I must forgive and so I shall after
that salmon leaps into the night air above the water, throws
a lightning bolt at the brush near my feet, and starts the fire
which will lead all of the lost Indians home. I am told
by many of you that I must forgive and so I shall
after we Indians have gathered around the fire with that salmon
who has three stories it must tell before sunrise: one story will teach us
how to pray; another story will make us laugh for hours;
the third story will give us reason to dance. I am told by many
of you that I must forgive and so I shall when I am dancing
with my tribe during the powwow at the end of the world.

Poem: You, Therefore

You, Therefore

BY REGINALD SHEPHERD
You are like me, you will die too, but not today:
you, incommensurate, therefore the hours shine:
if I say to you “To you I say,” you have not been
set to music, or broadcast live on the ghost
radio, may never be an oil painting or
Old Master’s charcoal sketch: you are
a concordance of person, number, voice,
and place, strawberries spread through your name
as if it were budding shrubs, how you remind me
of some spring, the waters as cool and clear
(late rain clings to your leaves, shaken by light wind),
which is where you occur in grassy moonlight:
and you are a lily, an aster, white trillium
or viburnum, by all rights mine, white star
in the meadow sky, the snow still arriving
from its earthwards journeys, here where there is
no snow (I dreamed the snow was you,
when there was snow), you are my right,
have come to be my night (your body takes on
the dimensions of sleep, the shape of sleep
becomes you): and you fall from the sky
with several flowers, words spill from your mouth
in waves, your lips taste like the sea, salt-sweet (trees
and seas have flown away, I call it
loving you): home is nowhere, therefore you,
a kind of dwell and welcome, song after all,
and free of any eden we can name
Reprinted from Fata Morgana by Reginald Shepherd, published by the University of Pittsburgh Press. Copyright © 2007 by Reginald Shepherd.

Poem: Endless Ages

Endless Ages

Through endless ages, the mind has never changed

It has not lived or died, come or gone, gained or lost.

It isn’t pure or tainted, good or bad, past or future. true or false, male or female. It isn’t reserved for monks or lay people, elders to youths, masters or idiots, the enlightened or unenlightened.

It isn’t bound by cause and effect and doesn’t struggle for liberation. Like space, it has no form.

You can’t own it and you can’t lose it. Mountains. rivers or walls can’t impede it. But this mind is ineffable and difficult to experience. It is not the mind of the senses. So many are looking for thismind, yet it already animates their bodies.

It is theirs, yet they don’t realize it.

 

– Bodhidharma

From: The Wisdom of the Zen Masters


Keeping the Distance

cholla-fingers

Keeping the Distance

Those green yellow jumpers

are outside me now, no longer

trapped behind closed eyes.

Always loved the nighttime

music best.

***

It’s all cobwebs, honeycombs,

ribs of wood.

The coyotes are awake now,

caroling at crocodile mountains

and an elbow moon.

***

Where did all the bumblebees

come from? You don’t know.

If I stand too close

your cholla fingers bite.

***

Addicted to motion,

some imago called progress;

White butterflies circled desert blooms,

and you smelled of sky and sand.

I always stood too close.

                      —a poem by KMM


Drumbeats for scorpions

drum

Drumbeats

White dog yawns and

The air smells suddenly of canned beef.

When will the scorpion come?

At night, when the people stop their cars,

and sleep is better than talk.

Only then will the desert floor crackle

With insect legs

and drumbeats are hearts

instead of machines.

–a poem by KMM


A peach, A peach

Perhaps we could also say, “Regard the human brain. . .”

peach-seed-with-peach

A peach, A peach

Regard the peach seed.

A tiny brain-shaped shell that,

while at the core of the fruit’s existence,

tells you nothing about the

experience of sweetness from a peach.

— by KMM


Squat, a morning poem

az-sunrise

SQUAT

I squat behind a side-street generator,

Pre-sunrise

A shit to disrupt the morning run.

What is this?

Headlights, white skinned vegan cyclists,

Street-sweepers.

Somewhere in this city

A man spends his last

Dollar on a lottery ticket.

Only a few will stop

To see the purple sky.

Shitting,

Gambling,

Starving,

The sky has no bias.

by KMM


Regard the Daddy Longlegs

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Regard the granddaddy long legs:

One of the most poisonous arachnids.

Although deadly, cursed impotent

By a barely-there mouth.

                  –KMM