Sunday, October 30, 2011

3 cents a meal

Friday, October 28, 2011

Sometimes, I Am Startled Out of Myself,

like this morning, when the wild geese came squawking,
flapping their rusty hinges, and something about their trek
across the sky made me think about my life, the places
of brokenness, the places of sorrow, the places where grief
has strung me out to dry. And then the geese come calling,
the leader falling back when tired, another taking her place.
Hope is borne on wings. Look at the trees. They turn to gold
for a brief while, then lose it all each November.
Through the cold months, they stand, take the worst
weather has to offer. And still, they put out shy green leaves
come April, come May. The geese glide over the cornfields,
land on the pond with its sedges and reeds.
You do not have to be wise. Even a goose knows how to find
shelter, where the corn still lies in the stubble and dried stalks.
All we do is pass through here, the best way we can.
They stitch up the sky, and it is whole again.

- Barbara Crooker

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Our Lives Pass Away

Summer sunlight
glitters on the water.

Sweet colors of fall
drift down and land
on my new woodpile.

Winter is full of snow
and cold, but inside
the woodstove glows.

Then spring again
Our lives pass away.

- David Budbill

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Changing Genres

I was satisfied with haiku until I met you,
jar of octopus, cuckoo's cry, 5-7-5,
but now I want a Russian novel,
a 50-page description of you sleeping,
another 75 of what you think staring out
a window. I don't care about the plot
although I suppose there will have to be one,
the usual separation of the lovers, turbulent
seas, danger of decommission in spite
of constant war, time in gulps and glitches
passing, squibs of threnody, a fallen nest,
speckled eggs somehow uncrushed, the sled
outracing the wolves on the steppes, the huge
glittering ball where all that matters
is a kiss at the end of a dark hall.
At dawn the officers ride back to the garrison,
one without a glove, the entire last chapter
about a necklace that couldn't be worn
inherited by a great-niece
along with the love letters bound in silk.

- Dean Young

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Retirement Home Melee at the Salad Bar

They say it began with an elderly man
foraging through the icebergs and romaines.

They say another who prefers his salad
without a stranger's fingerprints

and Stop. From there, they say, curses
hissed through dentures. From there, fists.

They say it was a fracas, knocked bifocals
and clattering canes, the wooden screech

of chair legs, some to break up the scuffle
and some to shuffle off on a bad knee,

or pinned hip, or pace-makered heart.
One is bitten, they say. Another wears

a cut across his forehead, blood flowing
down the canals of his wrinkles.

Next day's the same old same old,
as they say. Back to the quiet swing

of living without velocity or fire.
Shuffleboard and Pinochle, the dull

click of knitting needles, their final
gray years going limp. Or so they say.

- David Hernandez

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Value of Words

Stephen Kelman, whose book Pigeon English is shortlisted for the Booker Prize this year, writes about his mother.

" . . . it was my mother who taught me the value of words: how the most prosaic, such as "family" and "duty" and "work", take the most living up to . . ."

I hope he wins it.

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