Gregory Djanikian – Banality

Gregory Djanikian There's something to be said for banality,the way it keeps everything on a level plane,one cliché blithely following anotherlike cows heading toward the pasture. How lovely sometimes not to thinkabout Russian Futurism, or the second lawof thermodynamics, or how thinking itselfrequires some thoughtfulness. I'd like to ask if Machiavelliever owned a dog named …

David Kirby – A Few Old Things

David Kirby Rilke said he wanted a room “with a few old things                        and a window opening onto great trees,” which makesme think of my favorite rooms and their furnishings,            an obvious choice being this brightly-lit bedroom,                        newspapers and coffee cups on the floor, bedclothesscattered everywhere, perfumed with the smell                        of sex, maybe, or maybe …

John Clare – I Am

John Clare (July 13, 1793 – May 20, 1864) I am—yet what I am none cares or knows;My friends forsake me like a memory lost:I am the self-consumer of my woes—They rise and vanish in oblivion’s host,Like shadows in love-frenzied stifled throes—And yet I am and live—like vapours tossed Into the nothingness of scorn and noise,Into …

Hayden Saunier – 14 Degrees Below Zero in the Grocery Store Parking Lot

Hayden Saunier A dog and I stare at each otherfrom our separate cars, waiting for our people to return.He’s a shepherd mix, big head, big ears,like me, he’s riding shotgun.Heat blares inside my car,exhaust plumes from the pickup truck he’s in,so I know he isn’t freezing but I don’t knowif he’s a he or a …

William Wordsworth – Surprised By Joy

Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings; it takes its origins from emotion recollected in tranquility. The emotion is contemplated till, by a species of reaction, the tranquility gradually disappears. William Wordsworth (April 07, 1770 - April 23, 1850) Surprised by joy—impatient as the WindI turned to share the transport—Oh! with whomBut Thee, long …

Sarah P. Strong – After 75 Years, She Finally Gets Angry

Sarah P. Strong At first we did not know what was happening.The tea on the porch table cooled several degreeswhile she stood up, clutchedthe scrollwork back of the chair. The lineson her face arranged themselves in a waywe’d never seen, her nostrils flaredand the bird in the tree behind her stoppedsinging. Someone, not me, tooka …

Julie Kane – Used Book

Julie Kane (July 20, 1952 -) What luck—an open bookstore up aheadas rain lashed awnings over Royal Street,and then to find the books were secondhand,with one whole wall assigned to poetry;and then, as if that wasn’t luck enough,to find, between Jarrell and Weldon Kees,the blue-on-cream, familiar backbone ofmy chapbook, out of print since ’83—its cover …

Maxine Kumin – Custodian

Maxine Kumin (June 6, 1925 – February 6, 2014) Every spring when the ice goes outblack commas come scribbling across the shallows.Soon they sprout forelegs.Slowly they absorb their tailsand by mid-June, full-voiced, announce themselves.Enter our spotted dog.Every summer, tense with the scent of them,tail arced like a pointer's but waggingin anticipation, he stalks his frogstwo …

Emily Dickinson – As Imperceptibly As Grief

Emily Elizabeth Dickinson (December 10, 1830 – May 15, 1886) As imperceptibly as GriefThe Summer lapsed away—Too imperceptible at last,To seem like Perfidy—A Quietness distilledAs Twilight long begunOr Nature spending with herselfSequestered Afternoon—The Dusk drew earlier in—The Morning foreign shone—A courteous, yet harrowing Grace,As Guest, that would be gone—And thus, without a WingOr service of a …