October 24, 2011

painting elephant

The face on the canvas
begins to breathe,
like an animal
staring out of a cage.

The elephant holds a tiny brush
in his wrinkled trunk,
paint blotches dried
to his ivory tusks.

He stands, like a small grey house,
mixing colors in his studio.

He’s at his easel all day
and late into the night,
concentrating on a face
across the pillow of his imagination.

Details return to him,
burned into the mainframe of his memory.
He can feel her lips again
kissing his forehead.

craig shay (Bay Shore, NY, 1982)

October 21, 2011


Sometimes mine is a broken wing,
and I haven't the heart to sing.
Trapped in my own rib cage
I see bars on everything.
But every disease has a cure
and every lock comes with a key,
and love rains from high above,
sweetening the salty sea.
I am a dove in times of clashes;
an eagle when I want to be;
I am a phoenix, baptized in ashes,
feeling the wind wash over me.

fatima elkabti (La Mirada, CA, 1988)

October 20, 2011

the heavy musk of masochism

I busted my ass for $20 a week squeezing cellophane dreams out of jugular veins. Flowers hung from sad, limp stems in the raspy hallway of my apartment. My life felt like a screaming frenzy of nothingness. I began panicking, deteriorating, gnashing my teeth late into the night. And then one Sunday morning, as the churning sun beat down on my ingrown toenail, the antidote appeared wearing a silk suit.

The lion no longer chews upon my heart.

cliff weber (Santa Monica, CA, 1986)

October 19, 2011

the atoms of lust

Acid Rain
Free Time
is an illusion
She said
to a classroom
of one.

ronald steiner (Butler, PA, 1976)

the transition

I am the
I ask questions.
I am
the master
I am the
answer to
all questions.

ronald steiner (Butler, PA, 1976)

October 18, 2011

Bruce Lee, the poet

"Bruce Lee was an accomplished poet who not only wrote his own work but translated the work of others. He was a man who took poetry so seriously that he even wrote an entire movie script (with the aid of Stirling Silliphant, the screenwriter of the Oscar winning In the Heat of the Night) based off of a poem that he composed. This poem, "The Silent Flute", was even written into the titular script, set to be delivered as a final monologue for the hero."

dave landsberger, excerpt from 'Poetry Kung Fu or: Breaking Boards With Your Head is Dumb, Write Poems Instead', a Rumpus Original published in the The Rumpus, October 4, 2011

October 13, 2011

cynara cardunculus

Between you and me, a jade earth-flower, upturned
bud with petals, sharp-tipped, alien fruit. You tug
a leaf from its vertical stalk, and dip sweet curve
into even sweeter silk-butter, your liquid eyes smiling
greenly through long lashes. Here, with you, my spirit
glides on velvet currents. As you dip your heart
in honey-lush bowl and raise it to my lips, I open—
October wind sighs outside as I whisper, “Don’t stop,”
for the curve of your hand fits my cheek, of your body
fits mine. Outside, gold leaves break loose in the wind,
and against snow-heavy clouds the blackbirds fly.

lucien darjeun meadows (Virginia Beach, VA, 1987)

October 12, 2011

despite the darkness

the bean plants lived
despite the darkness
of my closet

I didn't think
they'd grow

but they did

into these
spindly white things,
these seedlings,
translucent but tall
and twisting every which
way, almost alien,
almost frightening,
but beautiful, even
unconscious breath-holding:

how unexpected
to be alive

marit rogne (Ann Arbor, MI, 1987)

October 11, 2011

American Poems Every Student Should Know

Emma Taylor, a writer for Accredited Online Colleges, sent us the link to a recent post featured on her site's blog, an article titled 20 American Poems Every Student Should Know. From Edgar Allan Poe to Saul Williams, and including names such as Emily Dickinson, William Carlos Williams and Charles Bukowski, this selection is witty, diverse and fun to read, and of course carries a disclaimer: "the entirety of the American poetry scene can’t be distilled into only 20 works", stating also that "this happens to be one writer’s opinion of a few worth exploring".

Read the complete list of poems here:

20 American Poems Every Student Should Know (accreditedonlinecolleges.com)

October 10, 2011

Nobel in Literature awarded to
Swedish Poet Tomas Tranströmer

The Nobel Prize in Literature 2011 was awarded to Tomas Tranströmer (Stockholm, Sweden, 1931), author of more than 15 collections of poetry and regarded as one of Sweden's most important poets.

Tranströmer's most famous works include 17 Poems (17 dikter, 1954), Windows and Stones (Klanger och spår, 1966) and Baltics (Östersjöar, 1974). His poetry has been translated into more than 50 languages.

In a story published by The New York Times, John Freeman, editor of the literary magazine Granta, said about him: "He is to Sweden what Robert Frost was to America."

The Swedish Academy's citation states the prize, endowed with 10 million kronor ($ 1.5 million), was awarded to Tranströmer "because, through his condensed, translucent images, he gives us fresh access to reality."

Further reading:

The Official Website of the Nobel Prize (Nobelprize.org)

The Official Website of Tomas Tranströmer (The Lion Publishing Group)

Poetry Defeats Politics (The Wall Street Journal)

The Academy of American Poets