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Month: October 2015

Poem of the Day: Edgar Allan Poe

 

THE RAVEN

 

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore—
            While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
“’Tis some visitor,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door—
                       Only this and nothing more.”

           Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December;
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
           Eagerly I wished the morrow;—vainly I had sought to borrow
           From my books surcease of sorrow—sorrow for the lost Lenore—
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore—
                      Nameless here for evermore.

           And the silken, sad, uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Thrilled me—filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
           So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating
           “’Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door—
Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door;—
                      This it is and nothing more.”

           Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
“Sir,” said I, “or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
           But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,
           And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,
That I scarce was sure I heard you”—here I opened wide the door;—
                      Darkness there and nothing more.

           Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before;
           But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token,
           And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, “Lenore?”
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, “Lenore!”—
                      Merely this and nothing more.

           Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before.
           “Surely,” said I, “surely that is something at my window lattice;
           Let me see, then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore—
Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore;—
                      ’Tis the wind and nothing more!”

           Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a stately Raven of the saintly days of yore;
           Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
           But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door—
Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door—
                      Perched, and sat, and nothing more.

Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore,
“Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,” I said, “art sure no craven,
Ghastly grim and ancient Raven wandering from the Nightly shore—
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night’s Plutonian shore!”
                      Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”

           Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly,
Though its answer little meaning—little relevancy bore;
           For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
           Ever yet was blessed with seeing bird above his chamber door—
Bird or beast upon the sculptured bust above his chamber door,
                      With such name as “Nevermore.”

           But the Raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only
That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
           Nothing farther then he uttered—not a feather then he fluttered—
           Till I scarcely more than muttered “Other friends have flown before—
On the morrow he will leave me, as my Hopes have flown before.”
                      Then the bird said “Nevermore.”

           Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
“Doubtless,” said I, “what it utters is its only stock and store
           Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful Disaster
           Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore—
Till the dirges of his Hope that melancholy burden bore
                      Of ‘Never—nevermore’.”

           But the Raven still beguiling all my fancy into smiling,
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird, and bust and door;
           Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
           Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore—
What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt, and ominous bird of yore
                      Meant in croaking “Nevermore.”

           This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom’s core;
           This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining
           On the cushion’s velvet lining that the lamp-light gloated o’er,
But whose velvet-violet lining with the lamp-light gloating o’er,
                      She shall press, ah, nevermore!

           Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
Swung by Seraphim whose foot-falls tinkled on the tufted floor.
           “Wretch,” I cried, “thy God hath lent thee—by these angels he hath sent
           thee; Respite—respite and nepenthe from thy memories of Lenore;
Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe and forget this lost Lenore!”
                      Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”

           “Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil!—prophet still, if bird or devil!—
Whether Tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,
           Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted—
           On this home by Horror haunted—tell me truly, I implore—
Is there—is there balm in Gilead?—tell me—tell me, I implore!”
                      Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”

           “Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil!—prophet still, if bird or devil!
By that Heaven that bends above us—by that God we both adore—
           Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn,
           It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Lenore—
Clasp a rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore.”
                      Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”

           “Be that word our sign of parting, bird or fiend!” I shrieked, upstarting—
“Get thee back into the tempest and the Night’s Plutonian shore!
           Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!
           Leave my loneliness unbroken!—quit the bust above my door!
Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!”
                      Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”

           And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
           And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon’s that is dreaming,
           And the lamp-light o’er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
                      Shall be lifted—nevermore!

 

—borrowed from Poetry Foundation

 

 

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Poem of the Day: Iliana Rocha

 

LA ESTRELLA

 

When Polaris falls, my grandmother
will mourn in the center of the earth, her grief
a giant telescope

expanding
through mantle, lithosphere, crust—
a grito.

In her hand, a mirror of polished obsidian—
lava’s reaction to water. In her hand, reflections:
a plumed serpent,

a jaw,
a rosary,
a spirit of thistle,
silver raspberries & beryllium,
frozen rain.

When it was her husband, it was the Ouija board,
her daughters circling
the imperial eye.

When it was the hurricane, it was the attic
of her house,
her canary Pepito, the bird
she kept in its cage even after it died.

She will keep the star too,
when it dies,
grind it into powder

she’ll put in the throat
of her pistol,

cough into the sky.

 

—from Karankawa, Pitt Poetry Series (2015)
—also previously appeared on Blackbird

 

 

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Poem of the Day: Louise Mathias

 

PRONE, NOVEMBER

 

Just your slow, pink movements near the doorway.

If there were fields, they’d long ago rolled back in agate bliss.

Until you were indelible, a dahlia.

Bale of hay, almost made for a woman bent over.

Her pale sweet hedging (which,

in certain landscapes,

is an early form of love. )

I want you slow: birds hover near my waist.

Not sleep in the distance but the mimeograph

of sleep.

Above all else, the trembling resembles a forest.

 

—from Louise Mathias’ The Traps, Stahlecker Selections (2013)
—also previously appeared with Web De Sol

 

 

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Poem of the Day: Clayton T. Michaels

 

PRECIOUS

 

Bring me sackcloth and oleander.

Break out the shotguns.

           We’re going to town.

Changes in the weather

tracked on smoke-streaked yellowed windows

            via crosshatches thumbnail-

                           scratched into their frames.

Silences breed vacuums small enough

            to hide in the hem of a skirt:

I collect the spent matches as proof.

            (so very precious to no one else but me)

Like the granules of salt I tossed over my left shoulder

and several dozen miles worth

                        of broken guitar strings.

There are ashes in the lake.

There are termites in the marrow.

I have aluminum stuck in my teeth.

            (bring me a glass of water and I’ll tell you everything)

 

—from Clayton T. Michaels’ Watermark, Phoenicia Publishing (2010)

 

 

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Poem of the Day: Lisa Nanette Allender

 

L.V. WOMEN

 

The Women wear their hair
like a blonde ballet
trained to perform
each golden strand
sun-bleached and
chemical-precision,
in perfect position.

The women wear their skin
unnaturally tight
dry and porous
like the concrete surrounds,
pneumatic-pillow breasts
under their gowns.

The women wear their men
on their arms
never hand-in-hand,
old enough to be their fathers

The men
whose tanned, wrinkled hands
perch like brown birds
on the mechanical devices,
hungry,
they scavenge
seek sustenance
in this bright space
painted sky
clouds like candy
hung too low
the birds scatter
over tables,
over currency.
Some of it:
cash
some of it:
women,
skirted in anonymity
eyes uplifted
in a dark beg,
a not-too-solemn promise
to behave
like their blond strands
to be a medal
for the men
who leave this,
the casino,
otherwise
empty-handed.

 

—previously appeared on Goodgoshalmighty and Lisa Nanette Allender’s website.

 

 

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Poem of the Day: Michalle Gould

 

WHEN I WAS NAKED

 

I was the sturdy bowl of plums half-buried in snow
outside the artist’s studio. He paints the shades of purple
reflected in condensed water on my skin.

I was the snowy hill topped by a nun’s black habit,
a fall of dark hair descending to wintry shoulders,
an infinite stretch of icy skin.

My body was a mystery. The anatomist
touched his scalpel to the edge of my jaw,
opened his sketchpad and drew back my skin.

The courtesan in Osaka tried something new, trimmed away leaves,
stem, floated me—denuded lily—in a stone bowl full of milk.
A day later, the bowl was scattered petals on a blue-white skin.

A vine is a humble creeping thing, but clustered in boastful fruit.
We called to the artist, “I am emerald! I am amethyst!”
until some wild animal left us naked, eating only our skin.

In a cemetery, a mole tunneled back and forth between the graves,
extended blind fingers, knew before any scientist,
the last to go is hair. The first is skin.

 

—from Michalle Gould’s Resurrection Party, Silver Birch Press (2014)

 

 

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Two Truths & A Lie

 

My future & my past are essentially the same:
whether it is me or her riding in the back seat, I still have to ask permission

of my mother or daughter if I can go anywhere. I traded
in my happiness like a receipt

for defective batteries, & the world keeps turning
without me. I wish it were as simple

to lure my happiness back in as it is
to fill a grocery bag—or better, to drop it: the contents

spilling across the sidewalk, oranges
against gray cement, & I would. I would take them

to the highest point in a fifty mile radius—those
life choices—drop them from the top

of a building, & wait for them to strike to pavement.

 

 

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My “Apology” Broadside from Tracey Knapp’s Mouth is Here!!

 

I have some very cool news to share with you all today. Last year around this time, I posted a question on Facebook: “Friends, poets, writers, if there were an easily-accessed venue to have broadsides of your work made, how many of you would take advantage of such a service?” And the feedback was amazing: more “likes” than I’ve gotten on nearly any post, ever, and quite a few comments and personal messages, all to the effect of “Yes!” Unfortunately, this conversation landed around the same time when I was pregnant and beginning to write book reviews and conduct author interviews on the regular, and I overestimated how much time I had and how much work I could do in that time, so this concept was placed on the back burner… but it was never abandoned. Now, a year later, while reading and reviewing Tracey Knapp’s Mouth from 42 Miles Press, I was visually inspired to draw something, specifically with her poem, “Apology.” And so I went for it. I did a basic sketch, to maintain the image in my mind, and contacted the Series Editor to see if he and Tracey would be interested in a broadside being made, and he was. So, to have a little more fun with it, I purchased a matted frame and posted a picture of the empty frame of Facebook, saying “Soon to be filled.” And now it has been.

 

20151020_163340-1

 

And now I feel like I could keep making these things for the rest of my life.

So, poets, and writers, this is where you come in. If you have a particular poem or short piece that you are especially proud of, or would like to give more attention, or if you simply want something to take on that upcoming book tour, get in touch with me. I’m willing to discuss specific poems, image ideas, colors, whatever inspires you—or I can go in completely the opposite direction and read your collection and select and poem and generate an image and design myself, like I did for Tracey’s poem. But either way, I would love love love to hear from you. I hope you’ll reach out.

And for all of you out there, writer or admirer, please keep coming back to check out the ever-growing gallery. Reprints will be for sale, and they will be marked down at readings and AWP. In the future I may even have frames available!

Thank you, all, always, for your support.

Until Later, Best ~ from me.

 

 

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Reading Tracey Knapp

 

TO THE NEW MOON

 

Come night. Come
sirens and midnight babies
born in the backseats
of taxicabs. Come moon.

You crazy weeping
alcoholic, quit drinking
yourself into nothingness.
Someone’s trumpet
has gone missing tonight.

Someone is looking
for you, holding your
hairbrush to the nose
of a bloodhound.

Leave your shadow
on the door mat
and come inside. I’ll cook
you up something good,
a grilled cheese sandwich
to go with that frown.

It’s just us girls
tonight. Let’s spray paint
the stairwell, burn
phonebooks in the bathtub.

Even though you’re telling me
you’re done, it’s over, I’ve still hung
my clothes out to dry overnight
in the ocean wind, and that tide

is all your work. You may
have been the first,
but you’re not the only one
to circle your grief, to slowly
darken because of it.

I know that it’s hard to show
your face in the face
of the sun and his narcissism,
the earth’s pushy shadow,
but I’ve seen you in the daylight,
edging into the sky
early for a while, urging

the herons to stab at fish,
the street cars to lurch
up and over the long hill
before they rattle on down towards the bay.

Moon, it’s two in the morning
and it’s time to stop hiding:
the French Alps are talking
about your new glow,
how you actually look younger,
and all the dogs adore you.

 

ANOTHER REPORT

 

Sometimes I think I’m better off
keeping my mouth shut. Other times
I open up and hope something good

falls in—a sleeping pill, a flower petal
soft as the wing of a moth. I hope for
a moth to fly in through the crack in the glass.

For the glass to uncrack, unrest to surrender.
It’s too late to revive the sheep. I mean to say
I’ve barely slept all week, still thinking

about the fur shell of a dead squirrel
full of maggots I found in the backyard.
I had to hold the thing,

lift it with a rake and wrap it
in a shopping bag. I threw it in the dumpster,
the body light and warm with stench.

Something parasitic remains in you
when you handle certain matters.
It makes you want to remove

what lingers and put it in the ground.
I gave the rake to the neighbors,
and avoided the backyard, even after

winter, when the crows crowded the trees and cried.
I closed for business. I gave up
whatever I had that felt like it was dying on me—

an old cactus in a teacup, my dumb guitar,
the facial expressions for thanks and I don’t think so.
I left a friend that year.

I stopped calling my mother
because who needs the same bad advice
you’d already give to yourself?

Once she told me to write it all down
and look where that has gotten me.

 

NOT REALLY

 

Another kitten collage
at the vet—how cute.
I flirt with the technician.
My dog hides under
the metal table.
I don’t blame him.

No one wants a thermometer
up their butt, even if it means
feeling better later. I’m not feeling
any better about the sparrow
my dog ate or all those clothes
in my closet covered in fur.

You would think
that a closet is a great place
to hide, but after a few hours
it feels like you’re shrinking.

You would think
someone would notice. No one
knocked down the door
after three days straight
of sitting in bed eating nachos.

I’ve had enough contact
for one week, enough nachos
for a lifetime. My dog is enough.

Enough lives in my life, so exhausting.

All my life, I’m either showing up
or shying away. Shaking hands
or taking off. Every day,
my dog drags me around the lake,
investigates the bushes as if something
has happened there. Could be
a bagel or a dead bird.

Could be something that should
be found, a pigeon feather
or a razor blade.

Both glimmer in the glance
of the sun. You can’t hide
from that kind of witness.

 

*

 

all from Tracey Knapp’s Mouth, 42 Miles Press, 2015

 

 

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Tracey Knapp Reading at IU South Bend Tomorrow!

 

12122559_461467290703448_6840164226149637173_nHi everyone! Just in case you haven’t heard, poet Tracey Knapp will be reading at IU South Bend tomorrow night at 7:30pm on the Bridge on the third floor of Weikamp Hall. She will be reading from her first full-length collection, Mouth, published by 42 Miles Press, and there will be books for sale and cookies after the reading! This is FREE and open to the public!

Tracey Knapp reading!
October 22, 2015
7:30pm
Weikamp Hall
3rd floor Bridge
Free and open to the public!

And if you haven’t yet read Tracey’s book, there’s still time! You can purchase it here, or read some poems here, or read my review here.

Also, if you are available this evening, Tracey will be visiting David Dodd Lee’s poetry workshop for a discussion and Q & A. This is also free and open to the public, so please come and join in on the conversation! This will be in Weikamp Hall on the second floor, room 2170.

Tracey Knapp Q & A!
October 21, 2015
7:00pm
Weikamp Hall
2nd floor, room 2170
Free and open to the public!

Again, tonight at 7pm for the discussion, tomorrow at 7:30 for the reading. And I also will be bringing something really awesome and poetry-related to sell after the reading, so be on the lookout for that, too! (Details to come…)

 

 

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