Poetry Near You

Find poetry readings, workshops, festivals, conferences, literary organizations, and poetry-friendly bookstores, and learn more about poets laureate, in your area.

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See a list of all state poets laureate.

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The Kiss

She pressed her lips to mind.
—a typo

How many years I must have yearned
for someone’s lips against mind.
Pheromones, newly born, were floating
between us. There was hardly any air.

She kissed me again, reaching that place
that sends messages to toes and fingertips,
then all the way to something like home.
Some music was playing on its own.

Nothing like a woman who knows
to kiss the right thing at the right time,
then kisses the things she’s missed.
How had I ever settled for less?

I was thinking this is intelligence,
this is the wisest tongue
since the Oracle got into a Greek’s ear,
speaking sense. It’s the Good,

defining itself. I was out of my mind.
She was in. We married as soon as we could.

Gentle Collisions

extract longing.
                                                      fold its edges
in gold paper
                                                      to rest on a scale.


the catapult of one
                                                      plate plummets
the other swings
                                                      bobs and waits
for a leaf of one’s
                                                      want to waft down.


such gentle collisions
                                                      crush more than steel
crack more than bones             upon slight contact.

A Coney Island of the Mind, 13

Not like Dante

                     discovering a commedia

                                                       upon the slopes of heaven

I would paint a different kind

                                           of Paradiso

in which the people would be naked

                                            as they always are

                                                                   in scenes like that

                                          because it is supposed to be

                                                                a painting of their souls

but there would be no anxious angels telling them

                      how heaven is

                                          the perfect picture of

                                                                       a monarchy

                    and there would be no fires burning

                                        in the hellish holes below

                            in which I might have stepped

                    nor any altars in the sky except

                                                               fountains of imagination