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My Grandmother's Love Letters

Édouard Boubat


My Grandmother's Love Lettersby Hart Crane

There are no stars tonight
But those of memory.
Yet how much room for memory there is
In the loose girdle of soft rain.

There is even room enough
For the letters of my mother’s mother,
Elizabeth,
That have been pressed so long
Into a corner of the roof
That they are brown and soft,
And liable to melt as snow.

Over the greatness of such space
Steps must be gentle.
It is all hung by an invisible white hair.
It trembles as birch limbs webbing the air.
And I ask myself:

"Are your fingers long enough to play
Old keys that are but echoes:
Is the silence strong enough
To carry back the music to its source
And back to you again
As though to her?"

Yet I would lead my grandmother by the hand
Through much of what she would not understand;
And so I stumble. And the rain continues on the roof
With such a sound of gently pitying laughter.



[copyright Hart Crane, 1920]

I Wont Lie This Plague of Gratitude



I Wont Lie This Plague of Gratitude

­­by Kaveh Akbar



I won’t lie this plague of gratitude
________is hard to bear       I was comfortable
in my native pessimism         not this spun-
________sugar fantasy         last night I made actual
______________cake        there were no worms in the flour no
________bloody whirls in the eggs        afterwards the minor
______________holiday below my waistband remained festive
________ as ever        when I touched two breasts        each one
was my favorite       not long ago I was hard to even
________hug like ribbons of cartilage cut
from a lamb      I dressed in shredded roses
________and pistachio shells      I drank an entire language
______________ and flung tar at whatever moved
__________until the world cut me open like a tube of paint
______________ until it crushed me between its fingers
__________like a hornet         none of it was graceful
I had to learn to love people one at a time
________singing hey diddle diddle will you suffer me
a little       how could they say no
________how could they say anything      I kept
                                  biting their tongues     I kept clicking
___________my heels        now I am cheery
_______________ and Germanic like a drawer full
___________of strudel       I always wanted to be a saint
but I thought I’d be one of the miserable
________ones       sainted by pain      burnt alive inside
a brazen bull      instead I weep openly at obnoxious
________beauty      cello music comes in
________________from blocks away and I lose it completely
________ there is a word for these fits of incomprehensible
________________delight       I said it last night
________ when my mouth was full of cake



Kaveh Akbar’s poems have appeared in PoetryAPR, Guernica, PBS NewsHour, Boston Review, and elsewhere.  He is the author of the forthcoming chapbook Portrait of the Alcoholic (Sibling Rivalry Press, January 2017) and full-length collection Calling a Wolf a Wolf (Alice James Books, late 2017). He is the recipient of a 2016 Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation, a Pushcart Prize, and the Lucille Medwick Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America, He was born in Tehran, Iran and currently lives and teaches in Florida. 

This poem was originally published in Black Warrior Review and is shared here with the generous permission of the author. Read more about the author here.

Photo of Pier Angeli by Alan Grant.

Nos petites étoiles



 Nos petites étoiles


Antoine de Saint-Exupéry 
(excerpts)

“To me, you are still nothing more than a little boy who is just like a hundred thousand other little boys. And I have no need of you. And you, on your part, have no need of me. To you I am nothing more than a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes. But if you tame me, then we shall need each other. To me, you will be unique in all the world. To you, I shall be unique in all the world....” 

“People have forgotten this truth,” the fox said. “But you mustn’t forget it. You become responsible forever for what you’ve tamed. You’re responsible for your rose.”



“You’re beautiful, but you’re empty...One couldn’t die for you. Of course, an ordinary passerby would think my rose looked just like you. But my rose, all on her own, is more important than all of you together, since she’s the one I’ve watered. Since she’s the one I put under glass, since she’s the one I sheltered behind the screen. Since she’s the one for whom I killed the caterpillars (except the two or three butterflies). Since she’s the one I listened to when she complained, or when she boasted, or even sometimes when she said nothing at all. Since she’s my rose.”

Peonies


Peonies 

This year       I need you more than you need me
Cut for bloggers, smashed upon your sisters in buckets, my orphans
I wave my cash at the flower farmers and adopt you, bulbous babes
Displaced delicacies, you are my children, my saviors, my paramours, the treasures to which I awake each morning as I anticipate your nascent opening
Your naked thrush-poms, sweet scent of love-nectar and the sublime momentary burst of blossom
I cannot make you close enough
I eat and smother you and yet I cannot make you too near

I long to thrust you into that space in my heart where lovers once ravaged
To sow you into that hole
That I might learn to know my love as holy
wholly
wholly
my own



-->

à la folie





If there was a god
Who could make a world in seven
How many thousands of days have
I sat not creating fire? No, I mean
A woman is not a rope-bridge

Peace Love


Peace Love

by Taylor Roberts

Dare I miss the days without the fog 
When all we sought was that purest note of wonder,
The jasmine gasp. Fallen Wasp,
I wandered where the groves once were.
I wandered, wanting nothing more.


Haiku

Students sit in protest at Woolworth's in Jackson, MS. Photo by Fred Blackwell.

Haiku 

by Sonia Sanchez


my bones hang to-
gether like pinched dragonflies
shake loose my skin



[copyright Sonia Sanchez, 1999]
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