translated from the Arabic by Ameen Rihani

So, too, the creeds of Man: the one prevails
Until the other comes; and this one fails
      When that one triumphs; ay, the lonesome world
Will always want the latest fairy-tales.

The Luzumiyat of Abu’l-Ala (James T. White & Co., 1920) by Abū al-‘Alā’ al-Ma‘arrī. Translated from the Arabic by Ameen Rihani. Copyright © 1920 by Ameen Rihani. This poem is in the public domain.

But what do they know of endlessness? In Los Angeles
it is as though someone has copy-pasted the same 
morning over and over and over and over and over

three-hundred-and-sixty-five fucking mornings 
in a row. I wake to the same sun and stucco and slate
blue sky. If sunlight is the best disinfectant

why do seasonal birds migrated for winter choose 
my patch of sidewalk to die on? There’s no dignity
in the corpse left lying to collect sand and Snickers

wrappers in its feathers. Where I’m from, storm 
clouds and cold span entire seasons. Our sun is
an incandescent bulb that does nothing to keep us 

warm. We smother its glow when we want to
feel our shadows, elastic. Here, I get tired 
just looking at the agave outside my window. 

How it holds its shape. How it’s never allowed
to wilt. Some days I draw the bathroom blinds
and stand beneath my shower, pretending rain,

but even I can’t resist wandering outside, again,
passing, again, the turnstiles of my life, its sharp
and spiteful gardens, my face craned up for a light

that promises and promises and promises.

Copyright © 2023 by Perry Janes. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on May 25, 2023, by the Academy of American Poets. 

Sometimes when you start to ramble
or rather when you feel you are starting to ramble
you will say Well, now I’m rambling
though I don’t think you ever are.
And if you ever are I don’t really care.
And not just because I and everyone really 
at times falls into our own unspooling
—which really I think is a beautiful softness
of being human, trying to show someone else
the color of all our threads, wanting another to know 
everything in us we are trying to show them—
but in the specific, 
in the specific of you
here in this car that you are driving
and in which I am sitting beside you
with regards to you 
and your specific mouth
parting to give way
to the specific sweetness that is
the water of your voice 
tumbling forth—like I said 
I don’t ever really mind
how much more 
you might keep speaking
as it simply means 
I get to hear you 
speak for longer. 
What was a stream 
now a river.

Copyright © 2023 by Anis Mojgani. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on May 18, 2023, by the Academy of American Poets.