We have a single sky.
have a single slash
|a single sleep||rose|
|a single slip||rotunda|
|a single smoke||rough|
gotta let the passageway silhouette,
benediction of my kneel creaks in ________ labyrinths;
trying to ________ pregnant, backgrounds with or without; married, single. pressing
hard, bloom drains from my hand. patch. sunlight dims
in the late aftertaste. sunshade dimming in the late age. 66°
Your pearl self slows power, circles
Copyright © 2012 by Shira Dentz. Used with permission of the author.
My friends without shields walk on the target It is late the windows are breaking My friends without shoes leave What they love Grief moves among them as a fire among Its bells My friends without clocks turn On the dial they turn They part My friends with names like gloves set out Bare handed as they have lived And nobody knows them It is they that lay the wreaths at the milestones it is their Cups that are found at the wells And are then chained up My friends without feet sit by the wall Nodding to the lame orchestra Brotherhood it says on the decorations My friend without eyes sits in the rain smiling With a nest of salt in his hand My friends without fathers or houses hear Doors opening in the darkness Whose halls announce Behold the smoke has come home My friends and I have in common The present a wax bell in a wax belfry This message telling of Metals this Hunger for the sake of hunger this owl in the heart And these hands one For asking one for applause My friends with nothing leave it behind In a box My friends without keys go out from the jails it is night They take the same road they miss Each other they invent the same banner in the dark They ask their way only of sentries too proud to breathe At dawn the stars on their flag will vanish The water will turn up their footprints and the day will rise Like a monument to my Friends the forgotten
From The Moving Target, by W. S. Merwin, published by Atheneum. Copyright © 1963 by W. S. Merwin. Used with permission.
Didn’t you like the way the ants help the peony globes open by eating the glue off? Weren’t you cheered to see the ironworkers sitting on an I-beam dangling from a cable, in a row, like starlings, eating lunch, maybe baloney on white with fluorescent mustard? Wasn’t it a revelation to waggle from the estuary all the way up the river, the kill, the pirle, the run, the rent, the beck, the sike barely trickling, to the shock of a spring? Didn’t you almost shiver, hearing book lice clicking their sexual dissonance inside an old Webster’s New International, perhaps having just eaten out of it izle, xyster, and thalassacon? What did you imagine lies in wait anyway at the end of a world whose sub-substance is glaim, gleet, birdlime, slime, mucus, muck? Forget about becoming emaciated. Think of the wren and how little flesh is needed to make a song. Didn’t it seem somehow familiar when the nymph split open and the mayfly struggled free and flew and perched and then its own back broke open and the imago, the true adult, somersaulted out and took flight, seeking the swarm, mouth-parts vestigial, alimentary canal come to a stop, a day or hour left to find the desired one? Or when Casanova took up the platter of linguine in squid’s ink and slid the stuff out the window, telling his startled companion, “The perfected lover does not eat.” As a child, didn’t you find it calming to imagine pinworms as some kind of tiny batons giving cadence to the squeezes and releases around the downward march of debris? Didn’t you glimpse in the monarchs what seemed your own inner blazonry flapping and gliding, in desire, in the middle air? Weren’t you reassured to think these flimsy hinged beings, and then their offspring, and then their offspring’s offspring, could navigate, working in shifts, all the way to Mexico, to the exact plot, perhaps the very tree, by tracing the flair of the bodies of ancestors who fell in this same migration a year ago? Doesn’t it outdo the pleasures of the brilliant concert to wake in the night and find ourselves holding hands in our sleep?
“Why Regret?” from Strong Is Your Hold. Copyright © 2006 by Tom Galway Kinnell. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Company.
That is no country for old men. The young
In one another's arms, birds in the trees
—Those dying generations—at their song,
The salmon-falls, the mackerel-crowded seas,
Fish, flesh, or fowl, commend all summer long
Whatever is begotten, born, and dies.
Caught in that sensual music all neglect
Monuments of unageing intellect.
An aged man is but a paltry thing,
A tattered coat upon a stick, unless
Soul clap its hands and sing, and louder sing
For every tatter in its mortal dress,
Nor is there singing school but studying
Monuments of its own magnificence;
And therefore I have sailed the seas and come
To the holy city of Byzantium.
O sages standing in God's holy fire
As in the gold mosaic of a wall,
Come from the holy fire, perne in a gyre,
And be the singing-masters of my soul.
Consume my heart away; sick with desire
And fastened to a dying animal
It knows not what it is; and gather me
Into the artifice of eternity.
Once out of nature I shall never take
My bodily form from any natural thing,
But such a form as Grecian goldsmiths make
Of hammered gold and gold enamelling
To keep a drowsy Emperor awake;
Or set upon a golden bough to sing
To lords and ladies of Byzantium
Of what is past, or passing, or to come.
This poem is in the public domain.
When I saw you ahead I ran two blocks shouting your name then realizing it wasn’t you but some alarmed pretender, I went on running, shouting now into the sky, continuing your fame and luster. Since I've been incinerated, I've oft returned to this thought, that all things loved are pursued and never caught, even as you slept beside me you were flying off. At least what's never had can’t be lost, the sieve of self stuck with just some larger chunks, jawbone, wedding ring, a single repeated dream, a lullaby in every elegy, descriptions of the sea written in the desert, your broken umbrella, me claiming I could fix it.
From Primitive Mentor by Dean Young. Copyright © 2008 by Dean Young. Published by University of Pittsburgh Press. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.