London

April 26, 2017

He’s a man on the King’s Road—macintosh,
trilby hat—who kisses me by the newspaper
stand, says Come on babe and off we go,
on a bus over Chelsea Bridge to the locks
and market in Camden Town. He holds my hand,
says he likes to watch me age, play catch-up,
and he educates me, privately, during evening
South Bank strolls, buys me secondhand books,
recites the history of The Tower, tells me
about ice skaters on the Thames and how
Shakespeare and Marlowe would slap his back
after shows at The Theatre and Globe. But my man
sleeps with eyes open and those eyes are old.
I watch as he snores, dive down those pupils
and feel his river pulse through my body,
see the decaying faces of those it conceals.
The lights of Soho tickle my skin but even now
I’m not taken in by him. I’m not his only lover.
Why should I be? We’re unfaithful to each other.
Even though he makes me feel I matter, more than
anyone else has done or ever will, I can’t
give up everything to be with him. So I watch
my children play elsewhere in a garden we can
afford as I cyberstalk him on my phone,
imagine his sweaty body moving on top of me.
And I’m sniffing his pheromones and the thought
of him overtakes me again and part of me yearns
to be on a train back to sirens, lights, and fumes.

Lisa Parry

Mess

April 24, 2017

Days I enjoy

April 23, 2017

Days I enjoy are days when nothing happens,
When I have no engagements written on my block,
When no one comes to disturb my inward peace,
When no one comes to take me away from myself
And turn me into a patchwork, a jig-saw puzzle,
A broken mirror that once gave a whole reflection,
Being so contrived that it takes too long a time
To get myself back to myself when they have gone.
The years are too strictly measured, and life too short
For me to afford such bits of myself to my friends.
And what have I to give my friends in the last resort?
An awkwardness, a shyness, and a scrap,
No thing that’s truly me, a bootless waste,
A waste of myself and them, for my life is mine
And theirs presumably theirs, and cannot touch.

Vita Sackville-West

The Napkin Trick

April 22, 2017

It’s been done before:
The need for conversation
starts and ends with a slow walk
around a familiar, short block—
the light purse or empty pocket.
(Tonight
after all
should only call for some cash.)
A set of doors is chosen
but not broached,
and reluctance comes as a reminder
of isolated drinks
where music from cars
(circling the block in search of a parking spot)
is forgotten
on the front and back
of a red paper napkin.

Ana Maria Caballero

The Rest of Me

April 21, 2017

The apartment is quiet.
You are still sleeping
in the other room.
It’s just past eight,
late for you.

I hear the whir of the fan
in the corner, feel its breeze
address my right forearm.

My sweatshirt sleeves are pushed up,
the rest of me under the comforter,
somehow warm and cold
at the same time.

Periodically, a car drives by,
above my head, past the
window of our basement
apartment.

Where do they have to go?
I wonder.
I could half-sit here forever
clicking these keys,
finding anything while
moving only my fingers.

Katherine Botsis

Death Season

April 21, 2017

We have fallen into the place
where everything is music.
The strumming and the flute notes
rise into the atmosphere,
and if the whole world’s harp
should burn up,
there will still be hidden instruments
playing, playing
This singing art
is sea foam.
The graceful movements
come from a pearl
somewhere
on the ocean floor.
Poems reach up like spindrift
and the edge of driftwood
along the beach
wanting, wanting
They derive from a slow
and powerful root
that we cannot see.
Stop the words now.
Open the window
in the center of your chest,
and let the spirits fly
in and out!

Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī

Unusual girl

April 17, 2017

Wading

April 17, 2017

The man I once knew

April 16, 2017

The men I once knew offered gifts,
like male penguins offering stones to a female
in the competition for courtship.
One offered a bag of lemons, bright and shiny,
still warm from the Mediterranean garden
where he plucked them. Another took me
on a boat. It had no life-jackets. We sailed
dangerously and I was sea-sick for days.
It’s no problem, he said, just watch the horizon.
The third kept painting me, Botticelli’s Venus,
he murmured, digging his brush
to the canvas, failing each time to find the line
that would match the line of my thigh.

Lemons. Life-jacket. My thigh.
We failed calamitously, we failed gloriously
too, and even now on any day,
I can’t say I ever felt ruined
by their attentions.
It was how we passed the time,
pleasantly.

Mary O’Donnell