I’m sick of my face. Can I take it off,
mask of pantyhose worn by a thief?
Can I trade up, for museum beauty
or airbrushed celebrity perfection?
Those faces don’t crinkle or age:
they shine bright as headlights of
an SUV careening down the Autobahn
en route to mecca or the Lower Rhine.
My face resounds, reduplicates, divides.
If an equation, it’s the string of symbols
devised by Einstein to describe a theory
of General Relativity: the left-hand side
pictorializes the geometry of spacetime,
the right-hand side, all mass and energy.
Information is not knowledge, he wrote:
knowledge’s only source is experience.
My face is tired of experience, sapped
by being gaslit out of my true feelings:
rage, reverence, adoration, antipathy.
My ancestors, mostly potato farmers
from hardy Eastern European stock,
speak out of my face like prophets
in search of an incarnate messiah,
my face a burning bush or wheel.
You view my administrative face:
its abandonment during the throes
of passion is also a mystery to me.
Sad, slumping face, consternated
face overwrought by cognition,
face upturned with dumb hope:
I trace your origins, relentlessly.
When my ex-husband called me
a black hole, he was, in a sense,
correct: my face a gravity field
so strong even light cannot beam.
Supernova explosion, neutron star,
lead me to a beyond, deep within:
eros of the unthought, undreamed.

Copyright © 2024 by Virginia Konchan. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on April 17, 2024, by the Academy of American Poets. 

                The world is a beautiful place 
                                                           to be born into 
if you don’t mind happiness 
                                             not always being 
                                                                        so very much fun 
       if you don’t mind a touch of hell
                                                       now and then
                just when everything is fine
                                                             because even in heaven
                                they don’t sing 
                                                        all the time

             The world is a beautiful place
                                                           to be born into
       if you don’t mind some people dying
                                                                  all the time
                        or maybe only starving
                                                           some of the time
                 which isn’t half so bad
                                                      if it isn’t you

      Oh the world is a beautiful place
                                                          to be born into
               if you don’t much mind
                                                   a few dead minds
                    in the higher places
                                                    or a bomb or two
                            now and then
                                                  in your upturned faces
         or such other improprieties
                                                    as our Name Brand society
                                  is prey to
                                              with its men of distinction
             and its men of extinction
                                                   and its priests
                         and other patrolmen
                                                         and its various segregations
         and congressional investigations
                                                             and other constipations
                        that our fool flesh
                                                     is heir to

Yes the world is the best place of all
                                                           for a lot of such things as
         making the fun scene
                                                and making the love scene
and making the sad scene
                                         and singing low songs of having 
and walking around 
                                looking at everything
                                                                  and smelling flowers
and goosing statues
                              and even thinking 
                                                         and kissing people and
     making babies and wearing pants
                                                         and waving hats and
                                                and going swimming in rivers
                              on picnics
                                       in the middle of the summer
and just generally
                            ‘living it up’

   but then right in the middle of it
                                                    comes the smiling


From A Coney Island of the Mind, copyright ©1955 by Lawrence Ferlinghetti. Reprinted by permission of New Directions Publishing Corp.

You are enough

Divinity flows in your fingertips
        with light so radiant
        every beat of your heart
a victory march
made of whole universes
        stitched by the hands of creation
        with flawless design
a prophecy You fulfill perfectly with every breath


The sun wouldn’t shine the same without it
Creation is only waiting for You
                to smile back at it

Do you see it yet?

You are enough
        For the birds to sing about
        For the seeds to sprout about
        For the stars to shoot about

        Do you see it yet?

        Gardens in your speech
Fields of wildflowers in your prayers
        Lighthouses in your eyes
    No one else can see it for you

You have always been enough
You will always be enough

Your simple act of being is enough

            Do you see it yet?

Copyright © 2022 by Andru Defeye. Sacramento Poetry Center Anthology (2022). Used with permission of the poet.