Dailies 6/26/17: old cats, condoms, the Common Wealth & jazz

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Ann Iverson – Plentitude

Even near the very end
the frail cat of many years
came to sit with me

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Yusef Komunyakaa – from “The Last Bohemian of Avenue A”

Here’s the End of the World
mobile with its shiny bullhorn
& platitudes among drawings
tattooed across the beige hood

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Nancy Chen Long – The Common Wealth, Cash and Carry 

Everyone*********sells out. Someone somewhere
*****is shilling. Ammunition
sells like water

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Kathryn Nuerenberger – The Real Thing

Sir John Mandeville, the great explorer and liar,
claimed “there grows a kind of fruit as big
as a gourd, and when it is ripe men open it
and find inside an animal of flesh and blood
and bone, like a little lamb without wool.”
He called this the Vegetable Lamb of Tartary.

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the world’s 1st poet was a bit like Ivanka Trump

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WHY HAS NO ONE EVER HEARD OF 
THE WORLD’S FIRST POET? ENHEDUANNA IS REVERED BY ANCIENT ALIEN CONSPIRACY THEORISTS—BUT FEW OTHERS – Charles Halton – Literary Hub – 6/22/17

“Enheduanna and her writings produce both complications and conflicted assessments. It is incredibly inspiring that the first author that we know of in all of human history was a woman living within a kick-your-teeth-down-your-throat, highly repressive patriarchal society. I imagine it took a lot of courage for her to step out of the convention of anonymous writing and boldly attach her name to her works. People probably regarded her as conceited and arrogant, a prima donna and an iconoclast. But she was also the king’s daughter, which gave her an immense amount of privilege. She used this privilege to carry her father’s water as he brutally expanded his colonial empire.”

In a footnote, Halton adds that “It’s taking every ounce of self-control I have to avoid comparing her to Ivanka Trump.”

Temple Hymn 7 

Enheduanna, translated by Betty De Shong Meador

high-lying Kesh

in all heaven and earth ***** you are the form-shaping place

*spreading fear like a great poisonous snake

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Dailies 6/25/17: fathers, Dorothy after Oz, & the passing of time

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Avid Romtvedt – Sunday Morning Early

My daughter and I paddle red kayaks
across the lake. Pulling hard,
we slip easily through the water.

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Lindsey Royce – The Fatherly Season

From a distance, I watch my father raking,
belt bent beneath the weight of his gut,
wingtips he hits me with matting tracks in damp
grass, trip-spring mouth cursing twigs that snare

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William Wenthe – Endings

The low waves of Kansas plains
roll to the border of the farmyard
where Dorothy stands. The land arrives
to meet her eyes: timothy and coneflower;

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T.S. Eliot – Song

If space and time, as sages say,
Are things which cannot be,
The fly that lives a single day
Has lived as long as we.

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Rattle: “Republican in Red” & “Lordy”

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on “the shooting of Republican congressmen in Alexandria….”

Alejandro Escudé – REPUBLICAN IN RED

Can you write about guns? The sun-glint off of them
I suppose—Aristotle’s stern belief in material things,
the fact that they’re an object with expeditious words
running alongside of the barrel. I recall making guns
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“…inspired by James Comey’s statement during his testimony ‘Lordy, I hope there are tapes….’”

Joan Colby – LORDY

The word ejects my father from the grave.
Enthusiastic: Lordy, followed by a volley
Of inspiration like migrating blackbirds.

Dailies 6/24: Mormon missionaries, death, summer, beauty

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Lola Haskins – Serenade

Soon your small yellow leaves
will become meteors
falling through the dark as

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K.A. Hays – Petition

Here floats the mind on summer’s dock.
The knees loose up, hands dither off,
the eyes have never heard of clocks.

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Jill McDonough – Sealing Woodrow

My parents visit me in Salt Lake City
and we go let the Mormons tell us who
we are, or who we’ve been. Museum
of names of the dead they keep: the Granite

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Elinor Wylie – Beauty

Say not of Beauty she is good,
Or aught but beautiful,

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American Life in Poetry: Column 639

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BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

One of my favorite poems is Louise Bogan’s “The Crossed Apple” which mentions two species, Meadow Milk and Sweet Burning, and since reading it many years ago I have ma de notes of the names of apples, a poet’s delight. In this touching poem by Cathryn Essinger, who lives in Ohio, I’ve come upon yet another for my collection. Her most recent book is What I Know About Innocence from Main Street Rag press.

Summer Apples

I planted an apple tree in memory
of my mother, who is not gone,

but whose memory has become
so transparent that she remembers

slicing apples with her grandmother
(yellow apples; blue bowl) better than

the fruit that I hand her today. Still,
she polishes the surface with her thumb,

holds it to the light and says with no
hesitation, Oh, Yellow Transparent . . .

they’re so fragile, you can almost see
to the core. She no longer remembers how

to roll the crust, sweeten the sauce, but
her desire is clear—it is pie that she wants.

And so, I slice as close as I dare to the core—
to that little cathedral to memory—where

the seeds remember everything they need
to know to become yellow and transparent.


We do not accept unsolicited submissions. American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (www.poetryfoundation.org), publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. 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

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