Alicia Ostriker

Though I haven’t read much of her, what I’ve seen, I like. This from Academy of American Poets Poem-a-Day series:

Thirsting

It’s not that the old are wise
But that we thirst for the wisdom

we had at twenty
when we understood everything

when our brains bubbled
with tingling insights

percolating up from
our brilliant genitals

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Desultory Saturday

A friend asked that I post more recipes, and this morning I made one of my basic breakfast variations–so delicious.

You may not be able to go out and pick greens from your garden, but any greens will do. In my case I picked baby broccolini and my only two asparagus stalks, sautéed onions and garlic, added herbs, and fried an egg on top with a little cheddar cheese. For crunch I used a little leftover brown rice. To get the egg to set before the vegetables burn, I just cover the pan for a minute or two. Continue reading

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Another Monday poem on Tuesday

At a workshop this weekend someone brought this poem, by Lynn Emanuel, and I remembered how much I like her work.

Why it took me so long to get the poem up here, I don’t know. The days seem to melt away. Perhaps I should take up drinking:

Frying Trout While Drunk

Mother is drinking to forget a man
who could fill the woods with invitations:
come with me he whispered and she went
in his Nash Rambler, its dash
where her knees turned green
in the radium dials of the 50’s.
When I drink it is always 1953,
bacon wilting in the pan on Cook Street
and mother, wrist deep in red water,
laying a trail from the sink
to a glass of gin and back.
She is a beautiful, unlucky woman
in love with a man of lechery so solid
you could build a table on it
and when you did the blues would come to visit.
I remember all of us awkwardly at dinner,
the dark slung across the porch,
and then mother’s dress falling to the floor,
buttons ticking like seeds spit on a plate.
When I drink I am too much like her—
the knife in one hand and the trout
with a belly white as my wrist.
I have loved you all my life
she told him and it was true
in the same way that all her life
she drank, dedicated to the act itself,
she stood at this stove
and with the care of the very drunk
handed him the plate.

Lynn Emanuel, from Hotel Fiesta

 

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Monday Poem

I’m still reading Bullets into Bells, the anthology about gun violence. It’s a remarkable collection. On Saturday we had a local town hall to follow up on the students’ march against gun violence. I realized we think about it almost entirely in terms of the mass events–but every gun death creates a circle of trauma, as this poem explores.

How My Mother Died

My father shook the gun to get the bullet out.
He was a careless man, but only once.
I shouldn’t linger on this, the road rising out of itself,
my father out on Pine Street in the dark,
down on all fours trying to open up his face
with gravel, trying to get down to the tar
of what went wrong by making blood again.
They find him there in a dream of twigs Continue reading

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Side of fries, $100

This morning I made fried potatoes for breakfast. The potatoes had been in the ground the day before, and I used hand- rendered beef tallow mixed with a little bacon grease for the cooking fat. I cooked the onions and garlic separately.

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New chicks

It’s like Christmas morning when new chicks arrive. I ordered a new breed, called Cukoo Bluebars, in February, and Tuesday morning, five baby chicks arrived, shipped USPS overnight from Ohio.

I had a brooder all ready for them, and they’ll spend the first two weeks inside before moving to the outdoor brooder. Continue reading

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Poetry Monday

This poem is from Poetry Sunday, in Women’s Voices for Change, a great resource. Usually hosted by Rebecca Foust, the Marin County Poet Laureate, this week’s selection is from another local poet, Susan Cohen. There are three other poems by Agi Mishol, an Israeli poet, on the site, and a brief biography of the author.

For Now

The days resemble one another.
The cat’s sharp claws rest
deep within her paws.

In the yard the dogs
gnaw on a rabbit’s skull.
My shadow extends, grows Continue reading

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Postwar Polish Poetry

Some of the most moving poetry seemed to come out of Poland after World War II. Polish history reads like a particularly bloody video game of conquest and reconquest of those fertile fields smack in the center of Europe. Everybody wanted them. But the Holocaust and the Nazi/Russian battles seemed to sear something in the Polish soul. Miłoz’ anthology, Postwar Polish Poetry contains a treasury of poems. Many of these writers have appeared here over the years, but Anna Swir is new to me. Her full name is Anna Świrszczyńskaya, and she was a nurse during the Warsaw Uprising.

Here is one of the sections from Building the Barricade: Continue reading

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Phillip K. Dick

I think two of his books, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep and Man in the High Castle, are classics, as is this quote that Larry gave me yesterday:

Reality is that which, when you stop believing it, doesn’t go away. Continue reading

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A poem from last Sunday

Amanda Moore was one of the readers at Britt Marie’s last Sunday. This was my favorite of the poems she read:

The Broken Leg

Eventually it comes between us:
not the plaster barricade
between every tender moment we might have,
but the dependence.

After the flurry of surgeons
and worry of permanent damage

there is the carrying of urine
the changing of bandages
the creak of crutches and incessant talk of scabs.
Like a shabby patch of grass
I am stretched out beneath him, trampled
and benignly offering servitude:
not the meal or the pillow, the TV or the bed or the Vicodin,
but the nagging truth behind it all.

In short, it’s unromantic,

this child in the shape of my husband,
this outstretched hand, rumpled head and hungry mouth.
And the bright side? Well, talk to me another day.
For now it is logistics and medicine,
car pools and take-out pizza, not laughing
while he climbs the stairs on his butt.
And it’s the weight of one house,
its dishes and litter and dust on my shoulders.
Continue reading

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