Here is the first poem I remember reading in my pre-U course, sometime back in 1991 or 1992, where I said to myself: "Hey, this is pretty awesome. I may actually come to like poetry if there are other poems like this..." It's close to my heart because it's bizarre topically (especially for it's time) exquisitely written and just the first thing where my heart, my brain went...PING epiphanal for a poem. I'd read them before and never thought I'd get them I thought they were too much, too challenging, for the most part. But this was the one, the portal, my gateway poem.
Every day God pats my head and calls me angel, his little broken woman and gives me flowers as if I hadn't had enough of these and I choke back my rage and he mistakes this for distress as I stand there shaking in my little sackcloth dress.
Had I ever had the choice I'd have worn a very different dress, slit from breast to navel and far too tight and I'd have smoked and sworn and been out of my head on drugs, not grief, and the flowers would have been a tattoo around my ankle, not an anchor to drag me down, and as for being a virgin, I'd have slept with both men and women.
I would never recommend a shallow stream and what was no more than a daisy chain as being the ideal way to die. It was far too pretty but I had to improvise and I was a poet, far more so than him, who threw out every word he ever thought as if that might have kept his sorry life afloat.
I didn't drown by accident. I was a suicide. At least let me call my mind my own even when my heart was gone beyond recall.
Today, a car crash might have been my final scene, a black Mercedes in a tunnel by the Seine, with no last words, no poetry, with flashbulbs tearing at my broken body because broken was the way I felt inside, the cameras lighting up the wreckage of a life. That would, at least, have been an honest way to die.
We were talking about poetry. We were talking about nuclear war. She said she couldn’t write about it because she couldn’t imagine it. I said it was simple. Imagine this doorknob is the last thing you will see in this world. Imagine you happen to be standing at the door when you look down, about to grasp the knob, your fingers curled toward it, the doorknob old and black with oil from being turned so often in your hand, cranky with rust and grease from the kitchen. Imagine it happens this quickly, before you have time to think of anything else; your kids, your own life, what it will mean. You reach for the knob and the window flares white, though you see it only from the corner of your eye because you’re looking at the knob, intent on opening the back door to the patch of sunlight on the porch, that garden spread below the stairs and the single tomato you might pick for a salad . But when the flash comes you haven’t thought that far ahead. It is only the simple desire to move into the sun that possesses you. The thought of the garden, that tomato, would have come after you had taken the knob in your hand, just beginning to twist it, and when the window turns white you are only about to touch it, preparing to open the door.
Dorianne Laux is probably my favorite poet. I love reading the poems everyone's been posting!
So I have been and will continue to bum youse out poetically because that's how I roll (wait till I get to Plath), but I decided on this numerically unlucky day of April 13, I'd post a happy poem I enjoy:
HAPPINESS by Raymond Carver
So early it's still almost dark out. I'm near the window with coffee, and the usual early morning stuff that passes for thought. When I see the boy and his friend walking up the road to deliver the newspaper. They wear caps and sweaters, and one boy has a bag over his shoulder. They are so happy they aren't saying anything, these boys. I think if they could, they would take each other's arm. It's early in the morning, and they are doing this thing together. They come on, slowly. The sky is taking on light, though the moon still hangs pale over the water. Such beauty that for a minute death and ambition, even love, doesn't enter into this. Happiness. It comes on unexpectedly. And goes beyond, really, any early morning talk about it.
I love Robert Lowell! Feeling nostalgic, this one reminds me of my dad 'cause he once told me this is his favorite poem: Whitman's When Lilacs Last In the Dooryard Bloom'd http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/174748
I, having loved ever since I was a child a few things, never having wavered In these affections; never through shyness in the houses of the rich or in the presence of clergymen having denied these loves; Never when worked upon by cynics like chiropractors having grunted or clicked a vertebra to the discredit of those loves; Never when anxious to land a job having diminished them by a conniving smile; or when befuddled by drink Jeered at them through heartache or lazily fondled the fingers of their alert enemies; declare
That I shall love you always. No matter what party is in power; No matter what temporarily expedient combination of allied interests wins the war; Shall love you always.
The Sharon Olds Leningrad one from yesterday, this one and the one I'll post tomorrow are close to my heart as they're the ones I chose to write my first ever poetry essay on many years ago, early on in my schoolin'.
Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2010 1:20 pm Posts: 2553 Location: north of Boston, MA, USA
I haven't read much poetry in a long time but I do enjoy it. I like Billy Collins:
On Turning Ten
The whole idea of it makes me feel like I'm coming down with something, something worse than any stomach ache or the headaches I get from reading in bad light-- a kind of measles of the spirit, a mumps of the psyche, a disfiguring chicken pox of the soul.
You tell me it is too early to be looking back, but that is because you have forgotten the perfect simplicity of being one and the beautiful complexity introduced by two. But I can lie on my bed and remember every digit. At four I was an Arabian wizard. I could make myself invisible by drinking a glass of milk a certain way. At seven I was a soldier, at nine a prince.
But now I am mostly at the window watching the late afternoon light. Back then it never fell so solemnly against the side of my tree house, and my bicycle never leaned against the garage as it does today, all the dark blue speed drained out of it.
This is the beginning of sadness, I say to myself, as I walk through the universe in my sneakers. It is time to say good-bye to my imaginary friends, time to turn the first big number.
It seems only yesterday I used to believe there was nothing under my skin but light. If you cut me I could shine. But now when I fall upon the sidewalks of life, I skin my knees. I bleed.
Also Taylor Mali, best when he performs his work:
_________________ "I feel like it's not a real political discussion if I'm not morally opposed to something I don't understand." - ndpittman
There aren't a ton of modern writers writing formal poetry anymore unless they sort of do it as an experiment or exercise or just an occasional thing, but there (was) Hart Crane and A.E. Stallings who always and only writes strictly in meter: