remember the kisses

May 19, 2019

I will remember the kisses
our lips raw with love
and how you gave me
everything you had
and how I
offered you what was left of
me,
and I will remember your small room
the feel of you
the light in the window
your records
your books
our morning coffee
our noons our nights
our bodies spilled together
sleeping
the tiny flowing currents
immediate and forever
your leg my leg
your arm my arm
your smile and the warmth
of you
who made me laugh
again.

Charles Bukowski

Nude bodies like peeled logs
sometimes give off a sweetest
odour, man and woman

under the trees in full excess
matching the cushion of

aromatic pine-drift fallen
threaded with trailing woodbine
a sonnet might be made of it

Might be made of it! odour of excess
odour of pine needles, odour of
peeled logs, odour of no odour
other than trailing woodbine that

has no odour, odour of a nude woman
sometimes, odour of a man.

William Carlos Williams

Down There

May 14, 2019

Yes,
I want to talk at length about Men-
struation. Or my period.
Or the rag as you so lovingly put it.
All right then.

I’d like to mention my rag time.

Gelatinous. Steamy
and lovely to the light to look at
like a good glass of burgundy. Suddenly
I’m an artist each month.
The star inside this like a ruby.
Fascinating bits of sticky
I-don’t-know-what-stuff.
The afterbirth without the birth.
The gobs of a strawberry jam.
Membrane stretchy like
saliva in your hand.
It’s important you feel its slickness,
understand the texture isn’t bloody at all.
That you don’t gush
between the legs. Rather,
it unravels itself like string
from some deep deep center –
like a Russian subatomic submarine,
or better, like a mad Karlov cackling
behind beakers and blooping spirals.
Still with me?

Oh I know, darling,
I’m indulging, but indulge
me if you please.
I find the subject charming.

In fact,
I’d like to dab my fingers
in my inkwell
and write a poem across the wall.
“A Poem of Womanhood”
Now wouldn’t that be something?

Words writ in blood. But no,
not blood at all, I told you.
If blood is thicker than water, then
menstruation is thicker than brother-
hood. And the way

It metamorphosizes! Dazzles.
Changing daily
like starlight.
From the first
transparent drop of light
to the fifth day of chocolate paste.

I haven’t mentioned the smell. Think
Persian rug.
But thicker. Think
cello.
But richer.
A sweet exotic snuff
from an ancient prehistoric center.
Dark, distinct,
and excellently
female.

Sandra Cisneros

Pastimes

May 13, 2019

Just leave me alone
to write poetry
and play the
piano. My hands
pirouette
and dance over
the keys. My pen
spins and twirls
over the page

I am happy now.

Thomas H Scott

Sinkholes

May 10, 2019

take you where
you don’t want to go.

Where you’d been
and had passed smilingly through,
and were alive. Then.

Joyce Carol Oates

Vile Romance

May 6, 2019

I am naked on someone else’s bed, bearing my
soul with my heart ripped out from its cage and

beating, beating, beating in my hands. I wonder
what it feels like to be loved, so I open my mouth.

I say, DO YOU LIKE ME LIKE THIS? And I wait
as if the answer is yes. I wait as if there is an

answer at all. My nakedness is a concept, like
if I am naked enough then maybe our love will

last forever. But there is no answer, no response.
Things don’t work the way they are supposed to,

and love isn’t love if you have to bribe somebody
with a concept that won’t last. After he kisses me,

I put on my clothes; I don’t put my heart back
where it belongs. I give it to him, all red, all bleeding.

Two weeks later, he texts me saying that all the red
was ruining his clothes.

Keren Chelsea

caution: this poet only speaks in junipers, and seaweed.
only drinks sunlight brewed coffee –
warning: this poet is still searching for a word
to soften the currents in her palms
crawls in to orchards to breathe like the flowers
dancing high on the trees.
this poet breaks open fruits to learn sweetness
is being reckless holy
misdialling Lucifer
to ask for his lost glory.
this poet is creating god from dirt
& feeding sugar to the birds.
creates tenderness out of discarded clothings
and eden out of whispers.
this poets fills her belly with vile creatures
& laughs when they wriggle.
this poet is building castles out of broken temples
is carrying heaven in the darkness of her skin.
this poet is no poet is god made girl
no – this poet is girl made god.

Patricia Camille Anthony

Little Prayer

May 6, 2019


let ruin end here

let him find honey
where there was once a slaughter

let him enter the lion’s cage
& find a field of lilacs

let this be the healing
& if not let it be

Danez Smith
From the collection : Don’t Call Us Dead

These poems can’t make history vanish, but they can contend against it with the force of a restorative imagination. Smith’s work is about that imagination — its role in repairing and sustaining communities, and in making the world more bearable…Their poems are enriched to the point of volatility, but they pay out, often, in sudden joy… . But they also know the magic trick of making writing on the page operate like the most ecstatic speech.(The New Yorker)

On Loving Helen

April 28, 2019


one. All of this was written in the stars.
Don’t think for a moment that you are the one
holding the pen. Don’t think for a moment
that the skies aren’t already laughing.

two. When you first see her, she will be light
refracted, splintered divinity, some unlovely portrait
of a goddess misremembered. Go home.
Ready the ships. Practice swallowing the sea.

three. You won’t remember much about the war.
All you’ll know for certain is that now and forever,
every word you say will be a battle cry.
Every day you will be careful with
your earthquake hands.

four. She will not let you touch her
at first. Instead she will ask about
the city, burning. The men turned to ash.
She will ask you if you remember their names.

five. Your voice does not drown out
her beating heart. Your words do not muddy
her pulse. Come to terms with this quickly—
no, it doesn’t get easier. Lay down. Be still
for once in your life. Let her tread over your chest.

six. Love will arrive unannounced
on a Friday night; love will catch you trembling.
Love will take the golden apple from your hand
and into its mouth. Love will smile.
Love will bite down.

seven. You will bleed.

eight. When you watch her sleeping,
as you’ll no doubt do, convince yourself
she is a statue. Tell yourself
the swan’s egg she was born in never cracked.
Call it marble. Call it pure. Someday
you will stop looking for the lie.

nine. Recall that you are being watched
and the fates are getting bored.
At night you think you hear them,
passing the scissors back and forth.
Don’t let them fade you to black just yet.
You owe her at least that much.

ten. On the bad days, show her your hands.
They haven’t unlearned the cataclysm
that they are and will always be.
The ground beneath your feet
will still bend for them. Tell her
here I am.

eleven. And remember: you will bleed.

Christina Im

It is only thanks to your good looks
I can take part
in the rites of love.

Mystical ecstasies,
treasons delightful
as a crimson lipstick,
a perverse rococo
of psychological involutions,
sweetness of carnal longings
that take your breath,
pits of despair
sinking to the very bottom of the world:
all this I owe to you.

How tenderly every day I should
lash you with a whip of cold water,
if you alone allow me to possess
beauty and wisdom irreplaceable.

The souls of my lovers
open to me in a moment of love
and I have them in my dominion.
I look as does a sculptor
on his work
at their faces snapped shut with eyelids,
martyred by ecstasy,
made dense by happiness.
I read as does an angel
thoughts in their skulls
I feel in my hand
a beating human heart,
I listen to the words
which are whispered by one human to another
in the frankest moments of one’s life.

I enter their souls,
I wander
by a road of delight or of horror
to lands as inconceivable
as the bottoms of the oceans.
Later on, heavy with treasures
I come slowly
to myself.

O, many riches,
many precious truths
growing immense in a metaphysical echo,
many initiations
delicate and startling
I owe to you, my thigh.

The most exquisite refinement of my soul
would not give me any of those treasures
if not for the clear, smooth charm
of an amoral little animal.

Anna Swir

translated by Czeslaw Milosz and Leonard Nathan