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Comma of God I am nothing compared to the Medicaid sneer I am nothing compared to the owner of the door I am nothing compared to the elevator of Heidegger I am nothing compared to the spokes of Vincent’s Belgian sunflower I am nothing compared to Rodin’s least mistress I am nothing compared to the frames of Hamlet I am nothing compared to a critic or chauffeur I am nothing compared to my old fire engine I am nothing compared to the breasts I see I am nothing compared to a tree in any season I am nothing compared to... Continue reading
Posted Dec 19, 2010 at The Best American Poetry
Primary It’s as if I were lying down in the colonnade, in the Lincoln Memorial, in the forest where every tree is so, in the field where the dragon’s teeth were, where we sowed the wind, Mr. President. And I was asleep, the fluids seeping out of the corners of my mouth and my eyes, my guts, my unsuspecting guts like an IED just lying there, in the road between the columns, through the impeccable forest of the National Mall, sentinel floodlights, dead angels, the whole thing. And you were outside roaming around, like Heathcliff, roaming across the moors and... Continue reading
Posted Dec 12, 2010 at The Best American Poetry
Information The boat is the story the ocean tells. The village listens intently and sings for fish. The road carries the carts in only one direction. Where it ends the railroad seems propelled by lights. Information The edge of night is propped up against the farm. The chickens are filled with a secret storm. Only the valiant lady is allowed to rest. Soon she will begin a search for tomorrow. Her guiding light is a man filled with wheat. Information The beards get on the train and remove their hats. Or they don’t remove their hats but instead open their... Continue reading
Posted Dec 7, 2010 at The Best American Poetry
Will of God A balloon reaching for the altitude at which explosions occur. An aerial photographof a field taken by brush fire. The pollen, a spore from Texas, which genetically alters corn in Mexico. Potatoes planted in steps on the sunny side of a cold mountain. A person inside a drum, in a room beneath the bass report of footsteps, the talking of God. The thunder, the lightning, the face lit for a second and gone. The face followed by another face, the faces in acrowd, they bleed, they weep. The history of faces, their relationship to boots, to razor... Continue reading
Posted Nov 28, 2010 at The Best American Poetry
In the Field The bungalow is empty now. The clock swings in silence. (I see Grandpa taking me to the urine bucket on a mossy floor, where bamboo curtains moldered.) The bigger room of the first uncle is filled with webs; over there, the second uncle’s smells dusty; the third room (used to be a pig sty) was built for the third uncle, now a monk in the mountains. Outside the door, dogs hear the squeak. You ride me on the bike, like those mornings when we had shadows—don’t be sad the rice paddies are full of weeds. In the... Continue reading
Posted Nov 21, 2010 at The Best American Poetry
Hawk Sometimes I awake with a headline stuck in my head: Doctor in Bangor Treating Elvis for Migraines; Pharmacist Completes History of Drive-InMovie Theater—and I write it all down in my little red notebook. But there are other nights when blood rocks my heart, and people I’ve injured or thedead appear, hovering above the ceiling fan. The city is asleep, the city is awake, the city is napping. Does it matter? I think, climbing insomnia’s creaky stairs to an attic that doesn’t exist, trying to remember what is good, what is right.Yesterday, my student fell from a tree and died.... Continue reading
Posted Nov 14, 2010 at The Best American Poetry
Gaston Leroux Frankenstein was the creator, but the name in time came to refer to the creation. Were someone to identify a human being as God, the inevitable response would be ridicule, if not concern for psychological wholeness. Dracula, befitting a vampire’s sinister and Christ-stripped immortality, has surpassed the intentions of his demiurge. The implacable descendent of Attila the Hun removed his elderly, mustached figure from the crypt of Bram Stoker’s epistolary novel to be transmuted into a morphine-destined actor’s signature role, clean-shaven and tuxedoed, to be transmuted again and again, diminished ever further. The Phantom of the Opera is... Continue reading
Posted Nov 7, 2010 at The Best American Poetry
Coracobrachialis A deep muscle of the armpit, its action is adduction--put the arm against the body. It can permit love letters to be folded near the chest and stuffed into envelopes, but it cannot raise them to the mailbox (elevation is the action of larger counterparts). Cramped little muscle near the heart. ______ I offer this short prose poem by Douglass Guy this week because I love very short poems, especially when they do a great deal in very little time and space. This prose poem appeared in Sentence 7. Continue reading
Posted Nov 1, 2010 at The Best American Poetry
Arf Dogs give commands to me in one syllable, the same one again and again. I speak back in polysyllabics above my one great bark. It's like my dreams falling all night in technicolor splendor. I can't remember what. When I open my eyes and look back I'm just grateful I fit my body through this space as big as a bark. And the conversations I have with myself each day... They're like those silver balls on poles across which gags of burnt electricity arc. And I'm laid out below, inert, until my head smokes and I stagger off with... Continue reading
Posted Oct 24, 2010 at The Best American Poetry
A Traveling Monk Observes I have noticed in my travels that people do not put Kleenex out for guests. They do not even put out trash cans to put the Kleenex in that they do not put out. I have noticed in my travels that people do not put towels in their restrooms for their guests to wipe their hands on after they wash their hands. I have spent much time meditating on why this is so while I have waited for my hands to dry, usually in a dog paddling or bicycle tire pumping manner. I confess I sometimes... Continue reading
Posted Oct 17, 2010 at The Best American Poetry
Navel 1. Button sewn to our skin, the thread bitten off by the eternal seamstress, the darner of celestial socks. Sewn to our chests that way, you would think it holds body and soul together, the only button on the flesh coat. But it’s more like the flower that never bloomed nine months after it was planted—the tight, waxy petals a scar from a wound we had nothing to do with and know nothing about. 2. Every now and then I imagine the dead lined up for as far as I can see outside a telephone booth in a railroad... Continue reading
Posted Oct 10, 2010 at The Best American Poetry
The First Laugh The first laugh was God creating the universe. That guffaw is still exploding in all directions, hollowing out and filling the farthest reaches of space. What could have been so funny? The idea of light and sound after all that darkness and silence? After the eons of brooding and grumbling? It must have been something bigger than we can imagine, something that elicited more than a cackle, a chortle, a chuckle or giggle, a snicker or titter. Something say as big as a billion chandeliers of stars, millions of spinning galaxies with super nova popping like flashbulbs... Continue reading
Posted Oct 3, 2010 at The Best American Poetry
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Oct 2, 2010