poetry

POTD - Kithenette Building by Gwendolyn Brooks

kitchenette building

by Gwendolyn Brooks

We are things of dry hours and the involuntary plan,
Grayed in, and gray. “Dream” makes a giddy sound, not strong
Like “rent,” “feeding a wife,” “satisfying a man.”

But could a dream send up through onion fumes
Its white and violet, fight with fried potatoes
And yesterday’s garbage ripening in the hall,
Flutter, or sing an aria down these rooms

Even if we were willing to let it in,
Had time to warm it, keep it very clean,
Anticipate a message, let it begin?

We wonder. But not well! not for a minute!
Since Number Five is out of the bathroom now,
We think of lukewarm water, hope to get in it.

Finals of Copa Poética this Friday Night, 8-10pm in Highland Park

This Friday, July 11th, I'll be reading alongside some of the most dynamic poets in Los Angeles for the last of the Copa Poética series, looking to capture some of the spirit and energy of the World Cup in words.

For the series, I've been writing a new form I am calling the XI (and 11-lined poem).

The most recent post over on Manipulated Bestiary (my poem a week for a year book project) is a tribute to Miroslav Klose, the player with the most World Cup goals in history who will be playing this Sunday in the finals.

XI: Klose - Die Mannschaft

The years swim back to you, brightening
your implacable wisdom with strength

Do you not stand at the edge of the sky
with your nervous arms extended invoking a personal
God to breathe a wind into your empty heart
like the rest of us? Exchanging your being with
the terrible angels wheeling overhead one exhaled breath
at a time? The winds gnaw at your face

the time you move through is the time of monument
and story, grain for grain exchanging marble for stone
we outlive our own lives in your softening cheek.

POTD - Stars by Louise Gluck

Stars

by Louise Glück

Read by Daniel Dean Demerin

I’m awake; I am in the world-
I expect
no further assurance.
No protection, no promise.

Solace of the night sky,
the hardly moving
face of the clock.

I’m alone- all
my riches surround me.
I have a bed, a room.
I have a bed, a vase
of flowers beside it.
And a nightlight, a book.

I’m awake; I am safe.
The darkness like a shield, the dreams
put off, maybe
vanished forever.

And the day-
the unsatisfying morning that says
I am your future,
here is your cargo of sorrow:

Do you reject me? Do you mean
To send me away because I am not
full, in your word,
because you see
the black shape already implicit?

I will never be banished. I am the light,
your personal anguish and humiliation.
Do you dare
send me away as though
you were waiting for something better?

There is no better.
Only (for a short space)
the night sky like
a quarantine that sets you 
apart from your task.

Only (softly, fiercely)
the stars shining. Here,
in the room, the bedroom.
Saying I was brave, I resisted,
I set myself on fire.

POTD - To Laugh Often and Much by Ralph Waldo Emerson

"To laugh often and much; To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.

To kick off National Poetry Month, we have the very talented actor Bryan Bellomo reading this amazing passage from Ralph Waldo Emerson.