Dailies, last day of 2017


Poetry Diary:

Naomi Shihab Nye – Burning the Old Year

Letters swallow themselves in seconds.
Notes friends tied to the doorknob,
transparent scarlet paper,
sizzle like moth wings,
marry the air.
Gregory Djanikian – A Roost of Turkeys
They are dropping down from the apple trees
some twenty of them wild turkeys
in the early morning winging softly to the ground
feathery air-lightened becoming such awkward

Read rest of poem 



Maggie Smith – Rain, New Year’s Eve

The rain is a broken piano,

playing the same note over and over.

Read rest of poem 



Rabindranath Tagore – Gitanjali 35

Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high;
Where knowledge is free;

Read rest of poem 

Dailies 12/10/17


Traci Brimhall – If Marriage Is a Duel at Ten Paces

Let’s count our steps with endearments. Honey. My love.
Let’s mix our gunpowder with rouge and foxglove seeds.
If marriage is a war for independence, I’ll find a feather

Read rest of poem 



Emily Dickinson – The Soul unto itself Is an imperial friend 

The Soul unto itself
Is an imperial friend  –  
Read rest of poem 




James Harms -Aubade (Lisa Lisa Lisa) 

Sometimes I kiss the inch
of air above your body
warmed by your skin.

Read rest of poem 



Poetry Diary: would post more tonight but am going to sleep.

Park Going to Sleep

Helen Hoyt 

The shadows under the trees
And in the vines by the boat-house
Grow dark,
And the lamps gleam softly.

Read rest of poem 



American Life in Poetry: Column 661



The University of Minnesota Press has published a fine collection of bee poems, If Bees are Few. Here’s one by one of my favorite poets, Naomi Shihab Nye, who lives in San Antonio.Her most recent book is Famous from Wings Press.

Bees Were Better

In college, people were always breaking up.
We broke up in parking lots,
beside fountains.
Two people broke up
across a table from me
at the library.
I could not sit at that table again
though I did not know them.
I studied bees, who were able
to convey messages through dancing
and could find their ways
home to their hives
even if someone put up a blockade of sheets
and boards and wire.
Bees had radar in their wings and brains
that humans could barely understand.
I wrote a paper proclaiming
their brilliance and superiority
and revised it at a small café
featuring wooden hive-shaped honey-dippers
in silver honeypots
at every table.

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. Poem copyright ©2008 by Naomi Shihab Nye, “Bees Were Better,” from If Bees Are Few: A Hive of Bee Poems, Ed., James P. Lenfestey, (University of Minnesota Press, 2016). Poem reprinted by permission of Naomi Shihab Nye 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 7/5/17: When did hordes of sentences start beginning with So? – Alcohol & a rattlesnake – a confession – & the graveyard shift at Ace’s Truck Stop


(Image from a blog entry at Dictionary.comWhy do people end sentences with “so”? What effect does it have on conversation? – Jane Solomon – 8/21/13)


Naomi Shihab Nye – The Tent


When did hordes of sentences start beginning with So?

As if everything were always pending,

leaning on what came before.

Read rest of poem 


Mark Cox – Alcohol


In this faded family photo—
Horton, Kansas, ’36—
they are just two farmhands in overalls,
kept, by a bowed velvet cordon,

Read rest of poem 



E.J. Koh – Confession

Under my showerhead, I drink

the water to feel full.

Read rest of poem 


J. T. Knoll – Graveyard Shift At Ace’s Truck Stop

Speed popping, long haul truckers stretch, yak, and
drink coffee with locals searching for pancakes or bacon
and eggs after a night of drinking, dancing, gambling, and
making whoopee at nightspots like the Tower Ballroom,

Read rest of poem 

Naomi Shihab Nye poem read by Judge in Gavin Grimm trial


Poetry in the Courtroom – David Cole – The New York Review of Books 

“On Friday, April 7, Judge Andre Davis of the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit resorted to a poem by the Palestinian-American writer Naomi Shihab Nye, in an extraordinary opinion praising a young man who fought for his rights—and lost. Judge Davis’s opinion attests to the courage of Gavin Grimm for standing up for his rights, even as the court denied his request for vindication of those rights.”

“….At the opinion’s close, Judge Davis turned to poetry to capture Gavin’s bravery. Borrowing from Nye’s poem, ‘Famous,’ he explained that Gavin is ‘famous,’ not in the Hollywood sense of celebrity, but in Nye’s sense, because ‘[he] never forgot what [he] could do.’ Here’s the poem, which he quoted in full:”

Naomi Shihab Nye
The river is famous to the fish.
The loud voice is famous to silence,
which knew it would inherit the earth
before anybody said so.

“We boiled down the lies in another pan till they disappeared. / We washed that pan.”


(poetry diary 181 -2/17/17.) Watching re-caps of yesterday’s press conference and having a nice, gentle fantasy about feeding the President & his administration serum of the sort that Nye writes about.  A calming poem. 

Truth Serum
Naomi Shihab Nye 
We made it from the ground-up corn in the old back pasture.
Pinched a scent of night jasmine billowing off the fence,
popped it right in.
That frog song wanting nothing but echo?
We used that.

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