Monthly Archives: December 2015

Monday’s Verse 12/21/2015

I like poems about music.

So there were TWO poets named Phillips on this year’s NBA (National Book Award, although with Kobe’s recent long, free-verse, lyrical adieu, I can understand your confusion) long list, Patrick and Rowan Ricardo. Rowan Ricardo Phillips. The anagram of his name shows there that IS a simple solution to unwanted holiday waist gain: "Hips pill: cardio war on." Further, he was born and raised in New York, and splits his time between there and Barcelona. He speaks Spanish and has done literary translations. He’s also won a slew of awards and taught at a bevy of prestigious schools. I hope you enjoy this one, and I hope you get some great holiday time off with your families! -ed.

LITTLE SONG

Both guitars run trebly. One noodles
Over a groove. The other slushes chords.
Then they switch. It’s quite an earnest affair.
They close my eyes. I close their eyes. A horn
Blares its inner air to brass. A girl shakes
Her ass. Some dude does the same. The music’s
Gone moot. Who doesn’t love it when the bass
Doesn’t hide? When you can feel the trumpet peel
Old oil and spit from deep down the empty
Pit of a note or none or few? So don’t
Give up on it yet: the scenario.
You know that it’s just as tired of you
As you are of it. Still, there’s much more to it
Than that. It does not not get you quite wrong.

-2014

Monday’s Verse 12/14/2015

Dear readers,

I’m sorry I don’t have more time to talk about today’s poem and poet, but I did want to get it out in a timely manner. Maybe someone can take over for me? Marilyn Hacker (b. 1942) writes ephemeral, lapidary poems, hence her anagram, "my rain chalker." She was long-listed for this year’s National Book Award, and I hope you enjoy this one! -ed.

EXILE

Her brown falcon perches above the sink
as steaming water forks over my hands.
Below the wrists they shrivel and turn pink.
I am in exile in my own land.

Her half-grown cats scuffle across the floor
trailing a slime of blood from where they fed.
I lock the door. They claw under the door.
I am an exile in my own bed.

Her spotted mongrel, bristling with red mange,
sleeps on the threshold of the Third Street bar
where I drink brandy as the couples change.
I am in exile where my neighbors are.

On the pavement, cans of ashes burn.
Her green lizard scuttles from the light
around torn cardboard charred to glowing fern.
I am in exile in my own sight.

Her blond child sits on the stoop when I come
back at night. Cold hands, blue lids; we both
need sleep. She tells me she is going to die.
I am in exile in my own youth.

Lady of distances, this fire, this water,
this earth makes sanctuary where I stand.
Call off your animals and your blond daughter,
I am in exile in my own hands.

Monday’s Verse 12/7/2015

Dear readers,

Comin’ at you from sunny California today. I was all set to print another National Book Award nominee’s poetry, when this poem’s title reached out and grabbed from the Poetry Foundation. You know I’m a sucker for a ghazal. Jamila Woods is a Chicago native who is also a singer, and works in arts education–including organizing the world’s largest poetry festival, there in Chicago. Her own website cites Lucille Clifton and Gwendolyn Brooks as influences. I love this poem, hope you do, too. -ed.

GHAZAL FOR WHITE HEN PANTRY

beverly be the only south side you don’t fit in
everybody in your neighborhood color of white hen

brown bag tupperware lunch don’t fill you
after school cross the street, count quarters with white friends

you love 25¢ zebra cakes mom would never let you eat
you learn to white lie through white teeth at white hen

oreos in your palm, perm in your hair
everyone’s irish in beverly, you just missin’ the white skin

pray they don’t notice your burnt toast, unwondered bread
you be the brownest egg ever born from the white hen

pantry in your chest where you stuff all the Black in
distract from the syllables in your name with a white grin

keep your consonants crisp, coffee milked, hands visible
never touch the holiday-painted windows of white hen

you made that mistake, scratched your initials in the paint
an unmarked crown victoria pulled up, full of white men

they grabbed your wrist & wouldn’t show you a badge
the manager clucked behind the counter, thick as a white hen

they told your friends to run home, but called the principal on you & you learned Black sins cost much more than white ones

-2015