December 20, 2010

winter ramblings -- part iii

Movers and shakers all hooked on Paxil
And the rest of us left to our own devices
Anything but the truth was not enough
A burden over strained shoulders

There's no such thing as an easy winter
Here in the Northern Plains
Weather Channel tuned the clock around
Noodles, bagels and franks
Noodles, bagels and franks
20 inches of snow

And she said:
For the soul is an empty auditorium
filled with ancient echoes
and ragged velvet seats

And the TV said:
How does one define a Utopian world
And Utopian experiences?
Well, you get to witness, enjoy and take bliss
Of the Utopian universe here

And the Internet said:
The sexiest escort walking
Hand in hand with you at your command
You can have her with you
For a splashy massage
A fragrant shower
Or even for physical entertainment

And I said:
Everything I've lent is lost now

g.r. butler (Des Moines, IA, 1977)

December 19, 2010

last days for 2010 poetry submissions

Yes, it's that time of the year again: our reading period is coming to an end. Deadline for 2010 is December 21st. Materials sent after this date will not be considered. The Young American Poets staff will resume poetry reviews on January 15th, 2011.

Want to submit? Then hurry up, but don't forget to read our guidelines here.

The Young American Poets team

December 18, 2010

jest after midnight

Desperate times call for drastic measures:

Drop the boredom bomb for good,
End the cool kid wars and fuck the blues

Crop your Facebook profile picture
Trimming out and weighing in

Props are fake like plastic trees
Troops, though, are dead indeed

Wrap me around your heart
Make it feel like crap

Shout out the Lost numbers to your neighbors
In the middle of the night -- Let them all wonder

Pet an illusion
Bet on a horse


Kick that nail biting habit
Easy to make it go, easy to get it right back

Set the rules and break them
One by one; like monkeys

(This works wonders when I'm sober,
Should do the trick for you)

Now, to a lesser extent
I wish I was viral
I wish I was viril

I really wish I was

matt sambarino (Dallas, TX, 1986)

December 17, 2010

a poet overcome by enthusiasm isn’t a poet

"Too much of anything gets you nowhere. Even logicians warn that someone who tries to prove too much ends up proving nothing at all. We see excess everywhere in life. Excessive or profuse sensation turns to numbness. It produces indolence, inaction, a culture of sluggishness among individuals and whole populations. A poet overcome by enthusiasm, passion, etc., isn’t a poet—I mean he isn’t able to make poetry. Confronted with nature, his mind is swamped imagining the infinite, ideas swarm in his head and he’s unable to separate, select, or grasp any of them; he’s completely incapacitated, in other words; he can’t harvest the fruit of his sensations—he can’t conceptualize and formulate, can’t apply himself and write, can’t theorize or practice."

giacomo leopardi (Recanati, 1798-Naples, 1837), excerpt from an article originally published in the November 2010 issue of Poetry. Translated from the Italian by W.S. Di Piero.

Further reading:

The poetry of pessimism: Giacomo Leopardi (Rice University)

The Solitary Life (The New York Times)

Leopardi: Selected Poems. Translated by Eamon Grennan (Princeton University Press)

Giacomo Leopardi (Wikipedia)

December 13, 2010

i want to dance barefoot on the grave of history

At the Alamo at the tourist hour, I don't mind the heat as much as I do the screaming children; maybe I should have paid for the audio tour to drown out the people. This was a church, it was holy, then it saw war, an unholy one. The plaques call this a shrine. More glorified war, more valorized shame, more hatred historicized incorrectly. The signs that instruct me to not touch the walls make me want to read them as if they were braille. The rooms have been retrofitted for air conditioning, the stones must feel refreshing, I want them against my skin. I want the nerve endings in my soles to absorb the chill and store it for when I walk back to the hotel in the middle of the day. I want to take off my shoes and let the past creep up through the base of my body.

allyson whipple (Cleveland, OH, 1984)

December 10, 2010

thirty years to the day

on my thirteenth birthday, elaine told me
now that i was grown, she would not be attending
anymore hockey games

when the tornado upended eighth avenue and logan
the four of us gathered at the streets of london pub in north capitol,
the pints were pricey and the band talked too much

i was the black sheep that ate the flock
i opened my box of letters
the three of you did not even know mom took up pottery

lawrence gladeview (Longmont, CO, 1983)

December 7, 2010

bring it on

I want to smash apart my computer and snort it up.
I want to melt my cellular phone and shoot it into my veins.

Let us all drink tumbling towers
and piss in our neighbor's yard

Spring comes in a can now.
Can I take pill for that?

Studies have shown lions are roaming our streets.
There are some side effects of course

Never trust a man with a mouth.

garrett west (Detroit, MI, 1984)

December 6, 2010

lorelei café

i lounged at the kaffeehaus–
identical to that fake german
café from epcot, if the huge
manmade lake was the rhine

i dunked a stale berliner in
my cappuccino and flipped
through the pages of my
fresh faced german diary,
purchased in a gift shop
for impulsive americans.

i traced the phrase
"übung macht den meister"*
etched along the binding
in flawless cursive script

the pastry crumbled and
oozed on a blank page.

three years later,
it remains, a lone
journal entry

stephanie gustafson (St. Paul, MN, 1988)

* Editor's note: "practice makes the master"