Coiled and Swallowed (2010) and Driving Downtown to the Show (2012) - two books of poems by Sara Crawford - are both available on the store page
Here's where I post poems I like (and very rarely poems I've written). I try to post one every week but sometimes I fail!
by Walt Whitman
If I should need to name, O Western World, your
powerfulest scene and show,
'Twould not be you, Niagara--nor you, ye limitless
prairies--nor your huge rifts of canyons, Colorado,
Nor you, Yosemite--nor Yellowstone, with all its
spasmic geyser-loops ascending to the skies,
appearing and disappearing,
Nor Oregon's white cones--nor Huron's belt of mighty
lakes--nor Mississippi's stream:
--This seething hemisphere's humanity, as now,
I'd name--the still small voice vibrating--America's
(The heart of it not in the chosen--the act itself the
main, the quadriennial choosing,)
The stretch of North and South arous'd--sea-board
and inland--Texas to Maine--the Prairie States--
Vermont, Virginia, California,
The final ballot-shower from East to West--the
paradox and conflict,
The countless snow-flakes falling--(a swordless
Yet more than all Rome's wars of old, or modern
Napoleon's:) the peaceful choice of all,
Or good or ill humanity--welcoming the darker
odds, the dross:
--Foams and ferments the wine? it serves to
purify--while the heart pants, life glows:
These stormy gusts and winds waft precious ships,
Swell'd Washington's, Jefferson's, Lincoln's sails.
Ooops, I missed a couple of weeks.
I'm going to do something I rarely do and post another one of mine. I just wrote this a couple of weeks ago when I was in Seattle.
5:00 in Pike Place Market
A woman stacks colorful glass
pipes she made on a table
next to the tie dye t-shirts
being sold by a man with
a grey beard and a blue
bandana. A middle-aged Asian
lady sells fresh peaches across
the street from a barefoot
man with crooked teeth who sings
“Octopus’s Garden” and plays his
acoustic as I pass by. The
natives lie in the grass
in front of the Sound, soaking in
as much Vitamin D as possible
on this sunny September afternoon
in Seattle. I look at the Ferris wheel
and wonder how I would feel at the top.
Snow White's Acne
by Denise Duhamel
At first she was sure it was just a bit of dried strawberry juice,
or a fleck of her mother's red nail polish that had flaked off
when she'd patted her daughter to sleep the night before.
But as she scrubbed, Snow felt a bump, something festering
under the surface, like a tapeworm curled up and living
in her left cheek.
Doc the Dwarf was no dermatologist
and besides Snow doesn't get to meet him in this version
because the mint leaves the tall doctor puts over her face
only make matters worse. Snow and the Queen hope
against hope for chicken pox, measles, something
that would be gone quickly and not plague Snow's whole
If only freckles were red, she cried, if only
concealer really worked. Soon came the pus, the yellow dots,
multiplying like pins in a pin cushion. Soon came
the greasy hair. The Queen gave her daughter a razor
for her legs and a stick of underarm deodorant.
doodled through her teenage years—"Snow + ?" in Magic
Markered hearts all over her notebooks. She was an average
student, a daydreamer who might have been a scholar
if she'd only applied herself. She liked sappy music
and romance novels. She liked pies and cake
instead of fruit.
The Queen remained the fairest in the land.
It was hard on Snow, having such a glamorous mom.
She rebelled by wearing torn shawls and baggy gowns.
Her mother would sometimes say, "Snow darling,
why don't you pull back your hair? Show those pretty eyes?"
or "Come on, I'll take you shopping."
staying in her safe room, looking out of her window
at the deer leaping across the lawn. Or she'd practice
her dance moves with invisible princes. And the Queen,
busy being Queen, didn't like to push it.
I am taking a poetry writing workshop in my last semester of my MFA program, and I am about to start teaching a poetry writing class for students ages 12 - 17 at Arts of Cobb so poetry is on the brain lately.
Today's Poem-A-Day from the Academy of American Poets was so AWESOME that I had to share it.
Sign up for Poem-A-Day here, and you, too, will get an awesome poem in your e-mail every day.
by Joe Brainard
oh, I don't know.
More about Joe Brainard
Poem of the Week is back!
To My Twenties
by Kenneth Koch
How lucky that I ran into you
When everything was possible
For my legs and arms, and with hope in my heart
And so happy to see any woman—
O woman! O my twentieth year!
Basking in you, you
Oasis from both growing and decay
Fantastic unheard of nine- or ten-year oasis
A palm tree, hey! And then another
And another—and water!
I’m still very impressed by you. Whither,
Midst falling decades, have you gone? Oh in what lucky fellow,
Unsure of himself, upset, and unemployable
For the moment in any case, do you live now?
From my window I drop a nickel
By mistake. With
You I race down to get it
But I find there on
The street instead, a good friend,
X— N—, who says to me
Kenneth do you have a minute?
And I say yes! I am in my twenties!
I have plenty of time! In you I marry,
In you I first go to France; I make my best friends
In you, and a few enemies. I
Write a lot and am living all the time
And thinking about living. I loved to frequent you
After my teens and before my thirties.
You three together in a bar
I always preferred you because you were midmost
Most lustrous apparently strongest
Although now that I look back on you
What part have you played?
You never, ever, were stingy.
What you gave me you gave whole
But as for telling
Me how best to use it
You weren’t a genius at that.
Twenties, my soul
Is yours for the asking
You know that, if you ever come back.
by Barbara Hamby
When moviegoers die, instead of paradise they go to Paris,
for where else can you find 200 screens
showing nearly every film you’d want to see, not to mention movies
like Captain Blood, in which bad boy Errol Flynn
buckles his swash across the seven seas, and though I’m not dead,
I may be in heaven, walking down the rue St. Antoine,
making lists of my favorite movies, number one being Cocteau’s
Beauty and the Beast, but I’m with Garbo at the end:
“Where is my beast? Give me my beast.” Oh, the beasts have it
on the silver screen—Ivan the Terrible, M, Nosferatu,
The Mummy—all misshapen, murderous monsters,
because no matter how beautiful we are, inside we know
ourselves to be blood-sucking vampires, zombies, freaks cobbled
together with spare parts from the graveyard,
and God some kind of Dr. Frankenstein or megalomaniacal director,
part nice-guy Frank Capra, yes, but the other part
Otto Preminger, bald, with Nazi tics, because the world
is so beautiful and hideous at the same time,
an identical Technicolor sky over us all, and the stars, who came up
with that concept: the distance, the light,
the paparazzi flash? And the dialogue, which is sometimes snappy
or très poétique, as if written by Shakespeare himself,
then at other times by the most guttural Neanderthal on the planet,
grubbing his way across the landscape, noticing the sky
only when it becomes his enemy or friend, dark with birds,
not Hitchcock’s, but dinner, throwing rocks into the sky,
most of them missing their target, a few bouncing off his prognathous jaw,
like Kubrick with his cavemen and spacemen existing
on the same continuum, a Möbius strip to be sure but with Strauss,
both Richard and Johann, in the background, and though it’s winter
there’s a waltz in the air as I walk through the Place des Vosges,
and I’m still trying to come up with number two,
maybe 400 Blows or Breathless, because here I am, after all in Paris
still expecting to see Belmondo and Seberg racing
down the street, cops after them, bullets flying, and maybe I am
in heaven, but I’ll always be waiting for Godard.
From Five Points
Here's one for all of my fellow Atlantians stuck in the snowpocalypse...STILL!
by William Baer
Timing’s everything. The vapor rises
high in the sky, tossing to and fro,
then freezes, suddenly, and crystalizes
into a perfect flake of miraculous snow.
For countless miles, drifting east above
the world, whirling about in a swirling free-
for-all, appearing aimless, just like love,
but sensing, seeking out, its destiny.
Falling to where the two young skaters stand,
hand in hand, then flips and dips and whips
itself about to ever-so-gently land,
a miracle, across her unkissed lips:
as he blocks the wind raging from the south,
leaning forward to kiss her lovely mouth.
I Went in With My Hands Up
by Caleb Barber
“Sweet Jesus as morning the queenly women of our youth!
The monumental creatures of our summer lust!”
—Thomas McGrath, “Letter to an Imaginary Friend”
It was a little like that pregnant black heifer
stuck in the aluminum feeder-box sized specifically for calves
—jackknifed, full of muesli and seed, her head turned out
toward the snowy morning.
Me and that 80-year-old Irishman had to lift it,
the several hundred pounds of green metal, knowing,
with our elbows hefted above our divergent hairlines
and our ankles foundered in thick pasture mud, we would be totally exposed.
And she’d be coming out in a hurry, big and taut around the middle.
Us just hoping she wouldn’t lose her calf in the fuss.
It was a little like that. Stopping by that girl’s house
the other night. Except without the help. And this doesn’t come out right.
I would never be so pigheaded as to compare a woman to a cow.
Just to compare the parameters using the inconsequential vessel of simile.
I didn’t even know what horns that heifer bore.
What spawn might be brewing within her black belly.
But it had to be done. She had to be turned loose. I kept my legs.
And one doesn’t count as a stampede.
From Rattle - Poetry for the 21st Century
One of my New Year's resolutions is to get back to posting a poem every week...because we all need more poetry in our lives, I think.
On that note, here's a poem for the new year!
New Year's Day
by Kim Addonizio
The rain this morning falls
on the last of the snow
and will wash it away. I can smell
the grass again, and the torn leaves
being eased down into the mud.
The few loves I’ve been allowed
to keep are still sleeping
on the West Coast. Here in Virginia
I walk across the fields with only
a few young cows for company.
Big-boned and shy,
they are like girls I remember
from junior high, who never
spoke, who kept their heads
lowered and their arms crossed against
their new breasts. Those girls
are nearly forty now. Like me,
they must sometimes stand
at a window late at night, looking out
on a silent backyard, at one
rusting lawn chair and the sheer walls
of other people’s houses.
They must lie down some afternoons
and cry hard for whoever used
to make them happiest,
and wonder how their lives
have carried them
this far without ever once
explaining anything. I don’t know
why I’m walking out here
with my coat darkening
and my boots sinking in, coming up
with a mild sucking sound
I like to hear. I don’t care
where those girls are now.
Whatever they’ve made of it
they can have. Today I want
to resolve nothing.
I only want to walk
a little longer in the cold
blessing of the rain,
and lift my face to it.
I’m Over the Moon
by Brenda Shaughnessy
I don’t like what the moon is supposed to do.
Confuse me, ovulate me,
spoon-feed me longing. A kind of ancient
date-rape drug. So I’ll howl at you, moon,
I’m angry. I’ll take back the night. Using me to
swoon at your questionable light,
you had me chasing you,
the world’s worst lover, over and over
hoping for a mirror, a whisper, insight.
But you disappear for nights on end
with all my erotic mysteries
and my entire unconscious mind.
How long do I try to get water from a stone?
It’s like having a bad boyfriend in a good band.
Better off alone. I’m going to write hard
and fast into you, moon, face-fucking.
Something you wouldn’t understand.
You with no swampy sexual
promise but what we glue onto you.
That’s not real. You have no begging
cunt. No panties ripped off and the crotch
sucked. No lacerating spasms
sending electrical sparks through the toes.
Stars have those.
What do you have? You’re a tool, moon.
Now, noon. There’s a hero.
The obvious sun, no bullshit, the enemy
of poets and lovers, sleepers and creatures.
But my lovers have never been able to read
my mind. I’ve had to learn to be direct.
It’s hard to learn that, hard to do.
The sun is worth ten of you.
You don’t hold a candle
to that complexity, that solid craze.
Like an animal carcass on the road at night,
picked at by crows,
taunting walkers and drivers. Your face
regularly sliced up by the moving
frames of car windows. Your light is drawn,
quartered, your dreams are stolen.
You change shape and turn away,
letting night solve all night’s problems alone.