Wednesday, May 26, 2010

When Berryman Died by Chella Courington

He left his shoes, scuffed loafers,
on the bridge. A cordovan pair
he could have shed
anywhere: at the university,
beside his desk, under Tate’s coffee table,
at the foot of a lover’s bed.

Every night he thought, tomorrow.
Mornings, he remembered
his suit at the cleaners, his essay
on Marlowe, students waiting
outside his office. January 7
reasons ran dry.

He bathed and trimmed his beard,
put on a new shirt.
In eight degrees he walked
to the bridge.

First Published: Touchstone (2007-2008). Ed. David Murphy.

Monday, May 10, 2010

From the poem, "Under Siege," by Mahmoud Darwish

If you are not rain, my love
Be tree
Sated with fertility, be tree
If you are not tree, my love
Be stone
Saturated with humidity, be stone
If you are not stone, my love
Be moon
In the dream of the beloved woman, be moon
(So spoke a woman to her son at his funeral)

Mahmoud Darwish (1941-2008) was a very highly esteemed & prolific Palestinian poet.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Prairie Spring by Willa Cather

Evening and the flat land,
Rich and sombre and always silent;
The miles of fresh-plowed soil,
Heavy and black, full of strength and harshness;
The growing wheat, the growing weeds,
The toiling horses, the tired men;
The long empty roads,
Sullen fires of sunset, fading,
The eternal, unresponsive sky.
Against all this, Youth,
Flaming like the wild roses,
Singing like the larks over the plowed fields,
Flashing like a star out of the twilight;
Youth with its insupportable sweetness,
Its fierce necessity,
Its sharp desire,
Singing and singing,
Out of the lips of silence,
Out of the earthy dusk.

---O Pioneers! [frontispiece]

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Billie Holiday by RL Greenfield

Billie Holiday

Now what
Now that I have Billie Holiday inside me
Now what do I do
Now that I have become Billie Holiday
I’ve got a bellyful of Billie Holiday
All morning pouring into me
Like a gigantic oil well rolling into my veins
Now I am full to my eyeballs
Brain heart hips groin legs feet
I am full up to the hairline with Billie Holiday
I guess it’s time to take a vacation in the desert
Some place where there is no life at all
So I can push the button & turn Billie loose on death
Just let her roam & croon & ooze rich wine on the dying world
Billie Holiday does not belong in the green world of spring
The green world of spring already has its greenness
Billie belongs in the starkest desert where there is no hope
Let her mourn & groove & chew away at the heart there
Let her bleed from the eyes songs of the keening throat
Let her cry her milk-less milk & silk-less silk
Let her alone, America-----leave that woman to herself
Billie Holiday has to ooze God out of darkest darkest wine

RL Greenfield printed in Santa Barbara Independent