Archive for May, 2005|Monthly archive page


In Too lazy to assign a category on May 23, 2005 at 10:38 pm

I filled my untidy garden with birds.
It was simple. Let me instruct. You buy
A red plastic cylinder crammed with seeds
(Tawny, black, striped), then precariously
Loop it round twigs. Then birds drop from the sky.
Bluetits quarrel, ferociously.

They bring long-tailed tits with their piping cries,
Sparrows who squabble and scrabble the fence,
Then the robin, wild with anger. He flies
At red like an enemy, Where the seeds
Fall deep, a pale carpet, without defence
Shy chaffinches, loud blackbirds feed.

But the youngest cat lies under a bush.
Her almond-shaped eyes squint patient as day.
I can see, already, her silent rush.
Should I scoop up the seeds? Break tangled strings?
How can I send so many birds away?
How can I live without wings?

— Alison Brackenbury

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a field guide to lemon

In Too lazy to assign a category on May 22, 2005 at 9:48 pm

Demons are smaller than one might expect.
They land on the shoulder, like specks of sulphur,
then climb into the inner ear,
setting up their equipment on collapsible tables.

I can feel one now, glowing like an ember,
his tiny claws scratching and scraping,
his voice like a gramophone, urging me on
to tell you how much I hate you,

but I will ignore him, as you should,
unless you do not believe in demons,
but only in the pleasant things of life,
of which, I am told, there are numerous examples.

— Tom Jenks

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In Too lazy to assign a category on May 22, 2005 at 9:43 pm

One of those gorgeous warm September days
perfect for picking blackberries on the Heath.

We're all vagrants snatching at the hedge,
grabbing the plumpest fruit.

Oak leaves colour pink and gold,
acorns bunch – clusters of bright black

elderberries catch the eye,
rosehips bulge, longing to be pulled

but we're only here to take blackberries.
My fingers and mouth bruise

from the juice I surreptitiously
suck and lick away. Bare arms

snag with brambles a dozen times
for each prize, often not worth

the scratch and tear. How stunted
and deformed the berries are!

Sometimes nature doesn't work,
sometimes it takes a pill to jerk the leaden

psyche into overdrive.
Sometimes you have to fumble.

— Karen Green

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In Too lazy to assign a category on May 22, 2005 at 9:41 pm

With a sachet of lavender secreted inside it
the purple bag is plump as a small bird's
breast, echoes your voice, its restful
clarity. When I slide my thumb down
the velvet underside a sense of psalm

fills me and dark cat night sidling in,
fitting the mound of herself to
a human back. I picture tension easing
in the day-to-day shifts we make
with those we're knitted to. Though I'm weak

the emperor purple gloves my skin
awake, rallies the brain's metropolis, sends
pungent messages to the pulsing townships.
For months my braced body's fought
the indiscriminate battalions sent in to rout

any cancerous cell filching a plot
of land but now it's flagging, wants
to hunch in a ditch, weep at its wounds.
Useless to wish frailty was a boiler suit
I could unbutton – it's married to the roots

of my hair, my blood. But this pouch
you chose for me, its insistent coolth,
raises a garden where flowering bushes
are blue-leaved and threaded with bee thrum,
raspberries spill ripeness on my thumbs.

— Myra Schneider

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Sound of a body falling off a bridge

In Too lazy to assign a category on May 15, 2005 at 5:13 pm

I can tell you there is no word for this
in any language. I've asked

and everyone seems to confirm
its translatability.

Feet shuffling off a stone pillar-
simple, but not easy. A young tree

fracturing under the sudden weight-
exactly how one imagines it.

And somewhere between shuffle and fracture-
the silence of Scott Koch's body

falling off the Normanwood Bridge,
which is also the silence of stars.


They write their arc over faces
of stones staring up from riverbed,

and if you were a swarm of mayflies
hatching in the pre-dawn, coal-dark

aubade of a Susquehanna morning,
or if you were a freshman in college

and bought some pot and drove out
with friends to gaze at stars,

you would know stars make
a hell of a racket. Like time, like death,

they scrawl their inscrutable marks
of light.


Say you are not a hatch of insects
or one of those kids wrecked and lovely,

their skins' leaf-awkward sheen.
Though if you were, you'd be lost

in a fury of living and dying.

So you'll have to trust the words
for the way his face twitched, went

stone-white, for how unbeautiful
his body comprehended night, words

for a breath untaken, the arrested
air in his lungs.


I give them to you piecemeal,
hand over hand, as if in aftermath

we build a city of bridges. I press each
against your mouth. They taste of salt.

They fall into place. They are beginning
to mean less and less. They only do

what they do. For anything else, you'll need
something like a life, or memory-

car tires ticking over a bridge, wheel
of a flower cart knocking cobblestone,

seams, separations.

— James Hoch

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In Too lazy to assign a category on May 15, 2005 at 5:10 pm

Earlier, a slow child in the vicinity
of a Slow Children sign, a boy
just taking his time, his bookbag
weighing him down, and now —
driving past Caution: Falling
Rock Zone – an actual fallen rock
right in the middle of the Interstate!
I call 911, report it – the danger –
one loose rock suggesting many,
some hard hilltop family of them
finally about to become unglued.

I say the signs have started to come true,
and laugh, but the operator is serious,
only wants to know where, and who.
I give her the where she needs
and drive on, who I am,
I'm sure, of no importance here.

Outside of Frostburg I exit and stop
at Stop, then at red stop again,
remembering those few times
late at night — because I'm careful
about my braveries –
when I've gunned it,
went right on through.

Truth is, I'd be happy in this world
to be quietly significant
like a good editor.
I'd like to improve Slow Children,
for example, by putting in
that comma where it belongs.

I'm almost home. The increase in Jesus
bumper stickers has been telling me so.
At Finzel near Little Savage in big letters
at the end of a driveway: Beware Dog,
and there he is, the Beware Dog
halfway between the house and the road,
sleeping or waiting, I'll never know.

— Stephen Dunn

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Love poem

In Too lazy to assign a category on May 5, 2005 at 5:46 pm

My clumsiest dear, whose hands shipwreck vases,
At whose quick touch all glasses chip and ring,
Whose palms are bulls in china, burs in linen,
And have no cunning with any soft thing

Except all ill-at-ease fidgeting people:
The refugee uncertain at the door
You make at home; deftly you steady
The drunk clambering on his undulant floor.

Unpredictable dear, the taxi drivers' terror,
Shrinking from far headlights pale as a dime
Yet leaping before apopleptic streetcars—
Misfit in any space. And never on time.

A wrench in clocks and the solar system. Only
With words and people and love you move at ease;
In traffic of wit expertly maneuver
And keep us, all devotion, at your knees.

Forgetting your coffee spreading on our flannel,
Your lipstick grinning on our coat,
So gaily in love's unbreakable heaven
Our souls on glory of spilt bourbon float.

Be with me, darling, early and late. Smash glasses—
I will study wry music for your sake.
For should your hands drop white and empty
All the toys of the world would break.

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and even more quotes

In Too lazy to assign a category on May 1, 2005 at 5:32 pm

Nothing has happened until it's described.
—Virginia Woolfe

Keeping an open mind is important, but not so open that your brain falls out.
—James Oberg, space engineer

I am for those tiny invisible loving human forces that work from individual to individual, creeping through the crannies of the world like so many rootlets . . . yet which, if given time, will rend the hardest monuments of human pride.
—Henry James

The highest reward for a person's toil is not what they get from it, but what they become by it.
—John Ruskin

To change one's life:
Start immediately.
Do it flamboyently.
No exceptions.
—Henry James

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny.
—Martin Luther King

The artist is willing to give all his or her strength and life to probing with blunt instruments those same secrets no one can describe any way but with the instruments’ faint tracks.
—Annie Dillard

In ritual, the world as lived and the world as imagined turn out to be the same world.
—Clifford Geertz

A space is never about one thing. It is a place for many senses: sight, sound, touch and the unaccountable things that happen in between.
—Tadeo Ando

The impulse to create begins—often terribly and fearfully—in a tunnel of silence.
Adrienne Rich

Beauty is nothing but the beginning of terror we're still just able to bear
—Rainer Maria Rilke

American imagination demands the real thing and, to attain it, must fabricate the absolute fake.
—Umberto Eco

One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time.
—André Gide

We must use what we have to invent what we desire.
—Adrienne Rich

It is no great accomplishment to hear a voice in the head. The accomplishment is to make sure that it is telling you the truth.
—Terrence McKenna

We are losing our ability to imagine and that is the quickest way of losing sight of the truth.
—Paul Bowles

The greatest distance between people is not space but culture.
—Jamake Highwater

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More quotes

In Too lazy to assign a category on May 1, 2005 at 5:00 pm

A cynic is one who is prematurely disappointed in the future.
—Sidney J Harris

The optimist proclaims that we live in the best of all possible worlds; and the pessimist fears this is true.
—James Branch Cabell

Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.
—Albert Einstein

The first question I ask myself when something doesn't seem to be beautiful is why do I think it's not beautiful. And very shortly you discover there is no reason.
—John Cage

Sex is the most compressed set of circumstances that we've got. Everything is in that collision.
—Arthur Miller

Ambition is exhausting. It makes you friends with people for the wrong reasons, just like drugs.
—Carrie Fisher

Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream by night.
—Edgar Allan Poe

Sanity is madness put to good uses.
—George Santayana

Appealing work spaces are to be avoided. One wants a room with no view, so imagination can meet memory in the dark.
—Annie Dillard

Experience is what you have when what you expect doesn't happen.
—Lee Shulman

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In Too lazy to assign a category on May 1, 2005 at 4:50 pm

Our dreams must be stronger than our memories. We must be pulled by our dreams, rather than pushed by our memories.
—Jesse Jackson

Boredom is only another name for a certain species of frustration.
— Susan Sontag

If we don't believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don't believe in it at all.
—Noam Chomsky

Against the irrationality of violence, it is necessary to propose the irrationality of forgiveness.
— Lionel Navarez

The truth will set you free. But first,it will piss you off.
—Gloria Steinem

I think that there is far too much work done in the world.
— Bertrand Russell
– In Praise of Idleness –

Art is the only way to run away without leaving home.
—Twyla Tharp

As the shadow follows the body
As we think, so we become

Most of my advances were by mistake. You uncover what is when you get rid of what isn't.
—Buckminster Fuller

Reality is the leading cause of stress amongst those in touch with it.
—Jane Wagner

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