Tribrach: for those who love (or would like to love) poetry

“Because in times like these/ to have you listen at all, it's necessary/ to talk about trees." -Adrienne Rich, "What Kind of Times Are These"

Dailies 3/26/17: dead leaves, flying, a case study of Akinetic Mutism, & being acquainted w/ the night



Kathy Fagan – How We Looked


didn’t matter for once
because we were flying.

The crows we were
clothed in took a running

Read rest of poem 


Jane Lewty – Case Study #20: Akinetic Mutism 
[let’s say you came back too soon]

here is more space than
thought before
—and greater hunger—
where quiet is

Read rest of poem 


Robert Frost – Acquainted with the Night

I have been one acquainted with the night.
I have walked out in rain—and back in rain.
I have outwalked the furthest city light.

Read rest of poem 


Georgia Douglas Johnson – Dead Leaves

The breaking dead leaves ’neath my feet
A plaintive melody repeat,
Recalling shattered hopes that lie
As relics of a bygone sky.

Read rest of poem 

NY Weeklies– seen: March, loneliness, & visiting the grave

Duh. I’ve been posting links to the Zapruder columns in the NY Times w/out realizing that the paper’s T Magazine also has weekly poetry postings, always paired w/an art work.  Here’s the latest:


Alex Dimitrov – ALONE TOGETHER

Where I’m writing this there’s an ad for high heaven.
It cost me more than those evenings to see you;
more than a lifetime to see my own face.
Money and time then. Both seem misspent here.

Read rest of poem and see more of “No,” the Marilyn Minter painting based on it




Laura Kasischke  – March

It’s the murderer who got away with it, sitting
on a park bench, thinking about snow

and how it’s over. Little flower-faces peeking
out of dirt to shriek Hello!

Read rest of poem 


Michele Glazer – SEEN

Nature that wants to fill in

the gap the Falls

falls in and the eye falls

on: that

Read rest of poem 


LAWRENCE FERLINGHETTI IS ALIVE! & a fairy-tale-like news story


In honor of Lawrence Ferlinghetti‘s 98th birthday


I say, to a man in the drug store
check-out line not completely
out of nowhere. He’s wearing
a black and white City Lights shirt
with Lawrence’s handwriting.


“About a young Tuva girl, Saglana Salchak, from the Taiga forest in Siberia near the Mongolian border, who traveled hours to get help for her sick grandmother”

Nanci Lee – HAPPY

You told me that I am not happy
or not someone you think of as
happy and I sense that it came from
love or something wanting to be
(poetry diary  217-3/26/17)

Dailies 3/25/17: perennials, an oil spill, going back & an effort to prolong the inevitable



Rebecca Dunham – Black Horizon

Grand Isle, Louisiana, 2010
Post-Deepwater Horizon oil spill

Like ribbons of kelp, they wash up
bark-black and stretching
far as the eye can see—boys
sway in the waves, skin sheened
in oil as they toss the tar balls.

Read rest of poem 


Kendra Tanacea – Perennial

The rhododendron in Monroe
—-from the picture window of my childhood home,

that gave us, every year, its first bloom on the fourth
—-of June. Lilacs every April,

Read rest of poem 



Brandon Rushton – Calisthenics

All things are an effort to prolong the inevitable.
For example, my deep concern when the kids call
top bunk it means they’ve acquired innuendo.
They’ll get there, if they haven’t already
and already it is hard for me to accept that.

Read rest of poem 


D. H. Lawrence – Going Back

The night turns slowly round,
Swift trains go by in a rush of light;
Slow trains steal past.
This train beats anxiously, outward bound.

Read rest of poem 

We came with heavy suitcases /made from wooden boards by brothers /we left behind



John Guzlowski


We came with heavy suitcases
made from wooden boards by brothers
we left behind, came from Buchenwald
and Katowice and before that
Lwów, our mother’s true home,

Read rest of poem at the Atticus Review 

(poetry diary  216-3/25/17)

American Life in Poetry: Column 626



A front porch is very much like a stage, and this poem by Marilyn Nelson is like watching a little play. The poet, who has published books of poetry and prose for young and old alike, lives in Connecticut and her most recent book is My Seneca Village (Namelos, 2015).

Daughters 1900

Five daughters, in the slant light on the porch,
are bickering. The eldest has come home
with new truths she can hardly wait to teach.

She lectures them: the younger daughters search
the sky, elbow each other’s ribs, and groan.
Five daughters, in the slant light on the porch

and blue-sprigged dresses, like a stand of birch
saplings whose leaves are going yellow-brown
with new truths. They can hardly wait to teach,

themselves, to be called “Ma’am,” to march
high-heeled across the hanging bridge to town.
Five daughters. In the slant light on the porch

Pomp lowers his paper for a while, to watch
the beauties he’s begotten with his Ann:
these new truths they can hardly wait to teach.

The eldest sniffs, “A lady doesn’t scratch.”
The third snorts back, “Knock, knock: nobody home.”
The fourth concedes, “Well, maybe not in church . . . ”
Five daughters in the slant light on the porch.

We do not accept unsolicited submissions. American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (, publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright ©1990 by Marilyn Nelson, “Daughters 1900,” from The Homeplace, (Louisiana State Univ. Press, 1990). Poem reprinted by permission of Marilyn Nelson and the publisher. Introduction copyright © 2017 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction’s author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006.

Dailies 3/24/17: a self-portrait, a bad woman, a Shropshire lad, & some other paradise



Alex Dimitrov – Out of Some Other Paradise

And people walked out of churches and bars,
cafés and apartments, cities, towns, photographs,
someone’s Friday night party,
someone they once knew or slept with.

Read rest of poem 




Sheila McMullin – Bad Woman, lineal question variation

When I sleep you are in the scene

You are white light behind the scene

Read rest of poem 


A. E. Housman – A Shropshire Lad, II

Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with bloom along the bough,
And stands about the woodland ride
Wearing white for Eastertide.

Read rest of poem 


Ocean Vuong – Self-Portrait as Exit Wounds

Instead, let it be the echo to every footstep
drowned out by rain, cripple the air like a name

flung onto a sinking boat, splash the kapok’s bark
through rot & iron of a city trying to forget

Read rest of poem 



What the NEA really funds. + what happens when the big cat turns around.


Quick note: last week I put up a link to an article arguing for the abolishment of the NEA.   The author, George F. Will, had interesting arguments, including that the NEA primarily only helps the already-privileged.  After speaking with a Connecticut-based artist-friend who received one of their grants under the stipulation that she perform arts-related community service in return & who spoke passionately & positively about the organization, I looked up what the NEA  funded in CT from 2015-2017. (One can use this page to find what else they’ve funded in every state.) 

In my state, at least, which contains both rich and poverty-stricken areas, the NEA has given a large amount lot of grants that benefit public schools, public work, and public art.  The bulk of the money, according to Wendy Bury, the executive director of the Southeastern Cultural Coalition, (Connecticut’s Grassroots Arts Organizations Count The Cost Of Threatened Federal Cut – Harriet Jones – NPR – 3/23/17) goes to  “community, grassroots organizations doing really important work in the communities, mostly in underserved, in some of the rural areas…”

If you want to test this out, do a search for what the NEA has funded in your own state, and judge for yourself how much good the grants do or do not do.


After Dylan’s Nobel, What Makes a Poet a Poet? – David Orr – New York Times – 3/24/17

This article mentions the way that poets often appropriate song lyrics, using the example of when “Donald Hall includes the lyrics to five Beatles songs in his anthology ‘The Pleasures of Poetry’ (1971).” (The last section of the book contains + is labeled “Five Lyrics by the Beatles.”)


In his NY Times piece, David Orr writes:

“Culture is less a series of peaceable, adjacent neighborhoods, each inhabited by different art forms, than a jungle in which various animals claim whatever territory is there for the taking. It’s possible that poets can trail along foxlike behind the massive tiger of popular music, occasionally plucking a few choice hairs from its coat both to demonstrate their superiority and to make themselves look a bit tigerish. With Dylan’s Nobel, we saw what happens when the big cat turns around.”

it’s doubtful that your poems will “raise one Lazarus from a grave / Metaphoric or literal.”


(poetry diary  215-3/24/17) waiting to find out what happens w/health care today. Did a search for poems about “health insurance” and found this ironic one, which for me in 2017 captures some of the tension many of today’s poets feel between wanting to help others via activism and wanting to write poetry. 

Progressive Health
Carl Dennis
We here at Progressive Health would like to thank you
For being one of the generous few who’ve promised
To bequeath your vital organs to whoever needs them.


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