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July 4th, 2011

03:52 pm - The Harlot's House - Oscar Wilde
We caught the tread of dancing feet,
We loitered down the moonlit street,
And stopped beneath the Harlot's house.

Inside, above the din and fray,
We heard the loud musician play
The 'Treues Liebes Herz', of Strauss.

Like strange mechanical grotesques,
Making fantastic arabesques,
The shadows raced across the blind.

We watched the ghostly dancers spin
To sound of horn and violin,
Like black leaves wheeling in the wind.

Like wire-pulled automatons,
Slim silhouetted skeletons
Went sidling through the slow quadrille,

Then took each other by the hand,
And danced a stately saraband;
Their laughter echoed thin and shrill.

Sometimes a clock-work puppet pressed
A phantom lover to her breast,
Sometimes they seemed to try to sing.

Sometimes a horrible Marionette
Came out, and smoked its cigarette
Upon the steps like a live thing.

Then turning to my love I said,
'The dead are dancing with the dead,
The dust is whirling with the dust.'

But she, she heard the violin,
And left my side, and entered in;
Love passed into the house of Lust.

Then suddenly the tune went false,
The dancers wearied of the waltz,
The shadows ceased to wheel and whirl,

And down the long and silent street,
The dawn with silver-sandalled feet,
Crept like a frightened girl.


I don't actually think this is brilliant but I'm so easy for whores, sorry :x

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03:47 pm - Autumn Movement - Carl Sandburg
I cried over beautiful things knowing no beautiful thing lasts.

The field of cornflower yellow is a scarf at the neck of the copper
sunburned woman, the mother of the year, the taker of seeds.

The northwest wind comes and the yellow is torn full of holes,
new beautiful things come in the first spit of snow on the northwest wind,
and the old things go, not one lasts.

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03:42 pm - Father - Brittany Perham
Where the river quiets, back turned
to the sun's eyeing, father,
father, take back your baskets of bread.
I have left your long-laid table.
Pour out the milk, father, clear the platters
of dusky fish, the potatoes
and husked corn, the halved
peaches held in two-handed goblets.
Bury the chicken bones where the dogs won’t dig
and leave the gristle to the squirrels.

Father, I have kept my swallows small.
They pull and tender against me
where the throat is warm.
I no longer see it is you
standing on the train’s platform.

One day, I will no longer remember
the story of my father at the door:
that all day he waited there looking
at the sun, that his eyes died
this way: looking too long
at the sun and the empty street,
at the sun going down and the blue
windows turning their lights out
to the sidewalk in perfect squares,
as if the soles of his feet would print
the threshold in ash, as if I would
come to sweep the doorstep.

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June 1st, 2011

07:14 am - Why Poetry Cannot Be Skimmed - Jessica Jopp
In response to a student who told me he just “skims” the poetry right before class

The barn was in the Netherlands,
in a field where fierce night wind
caught the straw as if to fuse
the winter stars to their coldness.
A farmer, woken by the sound, knowing
his animals would be agitated,
walked to the barn and by lantern
brushed the tails of his horses.
In calming them he gathered
many long, gleaming strands
of their nut-brown hair. Given over
to what he heard in the swishing of their tails—
the lash, the taut string of grief, turned slow,
persistence turned to rhythmic movement—
he hoped that if he listened long enough
the layered sound would become a salve.
He rolled the strands together, laid out
along the windowsills of the barn.

Then, once dry enough in spring,
he rolled them in paraffin wax
to preserve the sound
and left them to absorb
all the varied rays of sun, the spills
of rain, and then snow flying fast
across the latched windows and the slats,
the rhythm of other breathing,
animals plodding by the barn walls.
The wax melted as the years progressed
and other horses resided in the stalls,
and their tail strands were added
to the aging threads. From that encased sound
deepening over years, a rope,
pulled strong and taut, would resonate.

Then another generation worked the land
and waxed the horse-tail cord again,
and in turn when it caught
that century’s light, was spun
into amber. Woven into the cells of hair:
the tones of canal and field,
pasture, furrows of plough,
leaf and shadow, straw and stone,
the human calling, the animal uttering.
And when melted again, incrementally
strands from other horses living there
were added until there were enough
layers of sound, set with the nourishment
of grass and salt, to be given away
and the space the hair had occupied
would be returned to emptiness.

The horse-hair cord was brought
by a farmer to a luthier’s shop
along a canal, and it was a perfect fit,
she said, for a violin bow
she had carved a few months earlier,
waiting, and for the bow-less violin
someone had just given her. She knew
rosin carrying a current through
pastures, filled thirst, and the grief
of night wind and scavenged apples
made the gathered pieces a whole.

And now they are together in your hands
this moment to make
unrehearsed, immediate,
after all those animals’ years,
when you bring the instrument to your chin,
when you raise the hair-strung bow,
again their elemental sounding,
and then their measured note, their first.

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May 26th, 2011

12:28 pm - The House of Splendour - Ezra Pound
'Tis Evanoe's,
A house not made with hands,
But out somewhere beyond the worldly ways
Her gold is spread, above, around, inwoven;
Strange ways and walls are fashioned out of it.

And I have seen my Lady in the sun,
Her hair was spread about, a sheaf of wings,
And red the sunlight was, behind it all.

And I have seen her there within her house,
With six great sapphires hung along the wall,
Low, panel-shaped, a-level with her knees,
All her robe was woven of pale gold.

There are there many rooms and all of gold,
Of woven walls deep patterned, of email,
Of beaten work; and through the claret stone,
Set to some weaving, comes the aureate light.

Here am I come perforce my love of her,
Behold mine adoration
Maketh me clear, and there are powers in this
Which, played on by the virtues of her soul,
Break down the four-square walls of standing time.

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May 17th, 2011

07:44 am - Poem in which I sort of break down - Clay Matthews
Another spring rain about which I have nothing
new to say, only yes and thank you and sadness,
I get in the car to drive around and let the dust
of another week wash away, and play The Temptations
“I Wish It Would Rain”—both because of the temptation
and the rain, the what might have been, what I perhaps
wanted to be, what couldn’t be. We never stop losing.
But it is green and wet and the world has opened up
and while the world is doing this I am going inside
myself, driving down old blocks I haven’t been through
in years or perhaps have never been through—I don’t
remember any more, I don’t remember so many things
Dear God, it’s me, Clay, am I going senile at such a young age.
And Dear God, it’s me, Clay again, what are we supposed to be
doing what is sexual what spiritual why women and men
why why and why not something else. So I listen to the song
and I listen again and drive, looking at each house, slowly,
wondering who lives there, what they fight about, what
they make love about, which small movements, which
glances, which propositions accepted properly in the early
afternoon of a rainy day. The houses turn to smaller versions
of themselves, and then wooden versions of their brick selves,
and I as the big bad wolf go backwards into the poorer part
of town, but I don’t want to blow them in and I may or may not
want Little Red Riding Hood, sashaying her way over
the sidewalk between home and the hollers of a thousand
of us men who lack either self-confidence or self-control
or a proper definition of the self as properly defined by postmodern
theory and/or theology. So I pass through the houses
and on and into a graveyard, graveyards being places I usually
stay away from I am slightly superstitious and have no definite
knowledge or faith one way or another on ghosts, but I go,
and I look, and it is green and gray and the many flowers
have closed or are closing themselves at this very minute,
while on a chain-link fence near the edge I read a sign that says:
Flower thieves will be prosecuted. Then we will all be prosecuted!
And none of us should be, neither (and all of us, too). I have no
good reason, today, to be happy or sad, so I am both at once
for which I have many reasons. Sunshine, blue skies, please
go away. The wet, wet world and west, young man. Small breaks
in the clouds and small rays shining down but no rainbows
because at this point a rainbow would just be too much.
Only pieces of light and the promise of more light
on the other side and the grey clouds so full of themselves
they could be any of us they could be me, the sound of rain
but no thunder, the sound of music but no voices, the sound
of the right person in the wrong place, the wrong moment
in the right life, and I know to you it might sound strange,
but I’ve nothing else to rely on (Dear God it’s me, Clay).
And I wonder sometimes if steering wheels are just there
to mock us. And I feel terrible about the whole argument between
free will and destiny. All that I want is everything I want.
Music and rain and slight variations between the two.


You don't even know how much I love this. It's like there was a place here just waiting for it to show up.

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May 14th, 2011

07:20 pm - It Was So Dark Inside The Wolf - Frank X. Gaspar
All day with nothing on my mind, the soft old couch,
the heating pad, a book of Tennessee Williams’s letters,
tea, camembert, beer, soup, dozing, speaking in tongues
off in my drowsing mind, invoking this or that god, thinking
of raising my fortunes, thinking of all of this swimming forward
without me someday, this bag of small wishes, the greatest
sorrows indelible and indistinct in the afternoon’s haze:
I cannot remember who said that our salvation must come
from a turn within our own nature and that there are no turns
and there is no nature. Oh, it was so dark inside the wolf said
the little girl with the basket after the hunters had killed
that beast who had eaten her, after they had cut him open to
let her out, although you don’t hear that version so often anymore.
Surely this is significant. Who hasn’t lodged in the belly
of something, who hasn’t been devoured? Do you remember?
Maybe it is something for you like an old tune that haunts you,
that makes you so suddenly sad when you see a place where
the carpet is coming up or where the screen door is sagging
on a desperate hinge. Unbearable, this material music dissipating
the neighborhood around you into nothing. How does one rise
from this torpor and say, I don’t know what to do anymore?
Outside the trees have sneaked above the line of the neighbor’s
wall. How did I not notice? They make a tiny forest along
our city driveway. They are as dark and deep as it gets here.
I am still trying to rise up from the loveliness of dying objects
into the loveliness of whatever it is they point to. I’m trying
to get at just how things are, to adjust to that, but then I start
shaking. Isn’t that how it is with you? It was so dark inside,
but that’s not the whole story. They are leaving something out.
I can feel it in the sleepless night when I run my hands over
the openings in doorways. I can feel it when my own heart
delivers all my secrets to my enemies. I can feel it when
the poem doesn’t turn, but heads for the bottom with a hook
in its mouth or when the sky runs to the color of tin and
the sparrows disguise themselves as leaves in the hedge waiting
for their moment. Isn’t that how it is with you?

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07:18 pm - The Quest - Sharon Olds
The day my girl is lost for an hour,
the day I think she is gone forever and then I find her,
I sit with her a while and then I
go to the corner store for orange juice for her
lips, tongue, palate, throat,
stomach, blood, every gold cell of her body.
I joke around with the guy behind the counter, I
walk out into the winter air and
weep. I know he would never hurt her,
would never take her body in his hands to
crack it or crush it, would keep her safe and
bring her home to me. Yet there are
those who would. I pass the huge
cockeyed buildings, massive as prisons,
charged, loaded, cocked with people,
some who would love to take my girl, to un-
do her, fine strand by fine
strand. These are buildings full of rope,
ironing boards, sash, wire,
iron cords wove in black-and-blue spirals like
umbilici, apartments supplied with
razor blades and lye. This is my
quest, to know where it is, the evil in the
human heart. As I walk home I
look in face after face for it, I
see the dark beauty, the rage, the
grown-up children of the city she walks as a
child, a raw target. I cannot
see a soul who would do it. I clutch the
jar of juice like a cold heart,
remembering the time my parents tied me to a chair and
would not feed me and I looked up
into their beautiful faces, my stomach a
bright mace, my wrists like birds the
shrike has hung up by the throat from barbed wire, I
gazed as deep as I could into their eyes
and all I saw was goodness, I could not get past it.
I rush home with the blood of oranges
pressed to my breast, I cannot get it to her fast enough.


There are bits of this I don't quite hold on to but I couldn't bear to just leave it where I found it.

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07:13 pm - Clouds Gathering - Charles Simic
It seemed the kind of life we wanted.
Wild strawberries and cream in the morning.
Sunlight in every room.
The two of us walking by the sea naked.

Some evenings, however, we found ourselves
Unsure of what comes next.
Like tragic actors in a theater on fire,
With birds circling over our heads,
The dark pines strangely still,
Each rock we stepped on bloodied by the sunset.

We were back on our terrace sipping wine.
Why always this hint of an unhappy ending?
Clouds of almost human appearance
Gathering on the horizon, but the rest lovely
With the air so mild and the sea untroubled.

The night suddenly upon us, a starless night.
You lighting a candle, carrying it naked
Into our bedroom and blowing it out quickly.
The dark pines and grasses strangely still.

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05:32 pm - Beautiful Funeral - Monica Ferrell
Tonight, you are thinking of heroin,
Of the boy who pulled you to his lips
In a blue room and whispered heroin
So close you could feel it on your face like a cloudburst.

He makes you think of furs and Russia,
Midnight sun and Petersburg canals, a sullen gun
Where one bullet’s lodged like something in the craw
Of a drowned boy fished from beneath docks.

His limbs were white with blue veins
Spidered beneath the light shell of his skin
Open to the littlest bark, the tiniest trireme,
His veins were vulnerable as a bruise-black mare

Just as the barn begins to spark. And once
In the night that held its candle closer to see
His needled flesh heaved beneath the sink
Of a city bathroom, aching to vomit up its ore…

You would have dusted off those peacock rings
Below his eyes with your sandpaper tongue,
Lapped his form in camphor-drenched gauze
Then washed him in waves of organ music.
You would have pressed down that black key
By his spine’s base to hear the deepest of tones
A body can moan. Ah, invalid.
We would have made a beautiful funeral.

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