Category Archives: poetry

Looking for the Smoke

in the dark spaces
i went looking for the smoke.
Thought i glimpsed it
around the dust gathering on the third stair,
followed it past open windows,
chased it through the kitchen, a hallway
filled with secret light,
i went searching high,
low, i found nothing.

Felt my way in the early dark to the deck to see a
skyline city far away, no avail. Went looking to the east
and there! I saw a ghost of myself
jumping free into dense air,
she seemed convinced of one thing.

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Filed under poem, poet, poetry, stream of consciousness, Uncategorized

I Buried My Brother

I buried my brother. And now,
the color of the sky has faded and with it
Time has donned a mystical velvet robe. He
wings me about the room like a mad scientist
whose hands are tied with potions and promises;
we were supposed to be
in a future I created full of greenery
and gold light. We were to be tomorrows and
tomorrows long from now.

His wand swirls round, stirring stars to wake. Another
day is over, and so ends this illusion.
I bury my head in my hands
and cry into soft fabric folds of his gentle gown.

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Filed under conceptual, dead, death, poem, poetry

Lemon

Lemon in my hand has such soft waxen rind,
the smell is citrus, light, acidic, clean.

I am now 8 years old in a world of sand, sucking lemon juice
through a peppermint stick, a grandparent’s treat.

Then, I am Positano, a lemon of such giant size, and my family
together watches rain wash candied terra cotta roofs clean.

Once more, I’m at lunch in a blue room with my great aunt
squeezing a distracted, thin slice into a diet coke.

Always, a small bit of juice finds a crack in the skin and stings.
Tomorrow, we’ll roll the pulp in sugar and have a sweet lick.

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Filed under childhood, growing older, poem, poetry

Planting Peas from American Life in Poetry

Lovely, lovely poem featured in American Life in Poetry today. I could read this over and over again. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. 

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

The ancient Chinese poets used to say that at some point in each poem the poet ought to lift his (or her) eyes, ought to look beyond the surface of the present into something deeper and more meaningful. Here is just such a poem by Linda M. Hasselstrom, who lives in South Dakota.

Planting Peas

It’s not spring yet, but I can’t
wait anymore. I get the hoe,
pull back the snow from the old
furrows, expose the rich dark earth.
I bare my hand and dole out shriveled peas,
one by one.

I see my grandmother’s hand,
doing just this, dropping peas
into gray gumbo that clings like clay.
This moist earth is rich and dark
as chocolate cake.

Her hands cradle
baby chicks; she finds kittens in the loft
and hands them down to me, safe beside
the ladder leading up to darkness.

I miss
her smile, her blue eyes, her biscuits and gravy,
but mostly her hands.
I push a pea into the earth,
feel her hands pushing me back. She’ll come in May,
she says, in long straight rows,
dancing in light green dresses.

American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (www.poetryfoundation.org), publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright ©1984 by Linda M. Hasselstrom; http://www.windbreakhouse.com. Her most recent book of poems, written with Twyla Hansen, is Dirt Songs, The Backwaters Press, 2011. Poem reprinted by permission of Linda M. Hasselstrom and the publisher. Introduction copyright © 2014 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction’s author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006. We do not accept unsolicited manuscripts.

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Filed under American Life in Poetry, poem, poetry

Moving

Boxes, open at the top, spring up like a new development
of cookie cutter homes waiting to be bought.
You discover pieces of Ikea chairs never assembled
languishing in a closet you opened twice in four years
and M&M earrings (a gift?) never removed from their backing.

There is dust, and dirt, ticket stubs and cat toys shoved far
beneath the couch. You find yourself sitting on the hard floor for hours
listening to music and thumbing through photo albums. Your face was fuller then.

Beneath you the people at the bar pound their fists as the Orioles
hit a run. Across the street, cars wait for steamed crabs at Chris’ Seafood.

Heat rises. Night falls. Tomorrow, this is nothing but a dream.

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Filed under Baltimore, poem, poetry, Uncategorized

single in the summer

You, girl, are preoccupied
with the way heat from an afternoon sidewalk
steams your bare thighs. You let
thunder bang around in the empty
cavity of your day-dreamin mind.

Forget what they sold you.

Love is not a hot dress, a polished spoon,
a bleak expectation, 

It is a moment you’ll never own;
a long-awaited rain slipping into dirt,
or how you can silently lean
into a Miles Davis’ horn 
sounding a single humid and final note.

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Filed under love, poem, poetry, reflections, relationships, summer, women

Proclaimer and Vision

i exist differently. i am

the breath between

breaths, the gap. a golden hue

between day and night, your

pause between no and yes, i am

a living rift.

i see a girl at a crowded deck party.

she says “look, that girl is all alone” and

i am both

proclaimer and vision.

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Filed under conceptual, poet, poetry, stream of consciousness, writers