Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer – The Price of Nothing

Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer What could be more valuablethan nothing? The nothing thatframes “The Thinker,” the nothingthat holds every bowl,every vase, every bust, every thought.Let others buy the clay, the steel,the papier-mâché. I will be satisfiedwith nothing more than nothing.Nothing pleases me. Nothingenchants me. Nothing,as Heisenberg says,has a weight. Just thinkof the space here beside mewhere …

Lisel Mueller – Brendel Playing Schubert

Lisel Mueller (February 8, 1924 – February 21, 2020) We bring our hands togetherin applause, that absurd noise,when we want to be silent. We might as wellbe banging pots and pans,it is that jarring, a violationof the music we've listened towithout moving, almost holding our breath.The pianist in his blindinglywhite summer jacket bowsand disappears and …

Dorianne Laux – Against Endings

Dorianne Laux (January 10, 1952 -) On the street outside the windowsomeone is talking to someone else,a baffling song, no words, only the musicof voices—low contralto of questions,laughter’s plucked strings—voices in darknessbelow stars where someone straddles a bikeup on the balls of his feet, and someone elsestands firm on a curb, her arms crossed, twodogs …

Vanessa Jimenez Gabb – Basic Needs

Vanessa Jimenez Gabb There will be workBy late fallRaining inHabana ViejoIt’s so hardTo not think of youPrivacy is complicatedThe famous hotelBy the seaWhere did you come fromWhere did you come fromSometimes the verbsAren't importantThank youFor this organizationThe conspicuous absenceOf logosThese mountains I believeWill absolve meWhen I rememberTo look upMoney doesn't alwaysMean what I thinkIt doesIt …

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 …

Diane Ackerman – The Consolation Of Apricots

Diane Ackerman (October 07, 1948 -) Especially in early spring,when the sun offers a thin treacle of warmth,I love to sit outdoorsand eat sense-ravishing apricots.Born on sun-drenched trees in Morocco,the apricots have flown the Atlanticlike small comets, and I can tastebroiling North Africa in their flesh.Somewhere between a peach and a prayer,they taste of well …

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow – Birds of Passage

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (February 27, 1807 – March 24, 1882) Black shadows fallFrom the lindens tall,That lift aloft their massive wallAgainst the southern sky; And from the realmsOf the shadowy elmsA tide-like darkness overwhelmsThe fields that round us lie. But the night is fair,And everywhereA warm, soft vapor fills the air,And distant sounds seem near, …

Arthur Sze – Transpirations

Arthur Sze(December 1, 1950 -) Leafing branches of a back-yard plum—branches of water on a dissolving ice sheet—chatter of magpies when you approach—lilacs lean over the road, weighted with purple blossoms—then the noon sun shimmers the grasses—you ride the surge into summer—smell of piñon crackling in the fireplace—blued notes of a saxophone in the air—not …

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 …

Sean Hill – Hello

Sean Hill She, being the midwifeand your mother’slongtime friend, saidI see a heart; can yousee it?And on the greydisplay of the ultrasoundthere you were as you were,our nugget, in that momentbecoming a shrimpor a comma punctuatingthe whole of my life, separatingits parts—before and after—,a shrimp in the seaof your mother, and I couldn’thelp but see …

Regina Spektor – Theories Of Everything

Regina Spektor (February 18, 1980 -) (When the lecturer’s shirt matches the painting on the wall)He stands there speaking without loveOf theories where, in the democracyOf this universe, or that,There could be legislatorsWho ordain trajectories for falling bodies,Where all things must be dreamed with indifference,And purpose is a momentary silhouetteBacklit by a blue anthropic flash,A …