rain and Canadian pennies

If, when walking to a window
to view rain in shiny opaque sheets,
you find a Canadian penny
sitting on the sill,

is it still good luck?

Or are you more alone than ever
because the world is washing away
and even lucky charms
are foreign –

Or are we luckier than we realize?
Maybe we should thank our fellow
traveler for such a token of a
big and shining world.

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Backbones unfurled

In the east we paint
rebelliously, our backbones
Unfurled. Trains, unaware
Hum low tones “I’m here,
I’m here.”

sunrise

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Celebrate Impermanence

Celebrate impermanence;
wash your upturned face in scents
like shadows, harbor, industry, earth;
let autumn slant and shimmer
until all becomes a checkered dock.

Grab tight the world and squeeze in familiar
desperation – then
relax and open up.

Celebrate Impermanence

Celebrate Impermanence

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Without a road taken, Vegas Appears

And here I am over Colorado, racing towards Vegas,
and the cracked red lands, and the lights of a buzzing Oasis,
I brought along Kerouac.
He’s made me desperate
to take off and write that way, and live that way, hopping
rides with wild abandon.

Outside clouds pile high on each other, and here I sit,
smashed in the middle,
bursting at the thought:

I read this book 14 years ago
when the country was still unknown to me,
all marked for treasure, Xs and lines and potential on paper.

This was before the country’s heartache,

before constant notifications and
gel manicures, sushi, home ownership, broken marriages,
before GPS and Instagram,

before terrorism even. I was an open road.

Stretching out, clouds settle in, thinning like hair,

I want to visit the Omaha of my grandfather, the wild and raw,
Model T dripping oil, hissing in protest.
He made it to the Hoover Dam and camped out,
he slept under stars that don’t exist anymore because
we’ve swiped them away.

Without a road taken, Vegas appears.

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Comings and Goings by Glenna Luschei #AmericanLifeinPoetry

Like Ted – I also enjoyed this poem greatly – the concept of belongings and how we travel through life, creating new stories, picking things up and then leaving them for someone else…. Enjoy!

 

American Life in Poetry: Column 549

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

Glenna Luschei, who makes her home in California, has traveled the world, and like all good poets has paid attention to what she’s seen. Here’s a fine poem not from Cambodia or Greece but from Tucson, about the belongings some of us leave behind for others to carry ahead. It’s from her book, The Sky Is Shooting Blue Arrows, from University of New Mexico Press.

Comings and Goings

In Tucson
when a university student
goes home
she might leave her desk
and a chair, a bookcase outside her cave
with a sign, “Take me.”

And who could resist
heat radiating over furniture
like a mirage? You hoist
an old Victrola into your pickup
and ratchet up a new song.

You start that life in the West,
invent a past, and when that tune
winds down, it’s okay to put out,
“Take me.”

What do we have in life
but comings and goings?

We do not accept unsolicited submissions. 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 ©2014 by Glenna Luschei, “Comings and Goings,” from The Sky Is Shooting Blue Arrows, (Univ. of New Mexico Press, 2014). Poem reprinted by permission of Glenna Luschei and the publisher. Introduction copyright © 2015 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.

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A “Roses are Red” Approach: How Poetry Improves Your Work Performance

When I say the word “poetry”, what comes to mind?

Maybe it’s the beautiful simplicity of Japanese haiku. Perhaps it’s more the stress of Chaucer, Dickinson, or Shakespeare. Or maybe it’s a sentimental card you received once; “roses are red, violets are blue….”

I’ve found that too many times, poetry is an instinctive shudder. Which is just to say – poetry is ruined for a lot of people in school and they never look back.

Well, my goal is to convince you to try poetry again because it’s worthwhile for your career and life, no matter who you are, right at this very moment.

We all have a creative side (even you!). The trouble is that most of us don’t cultivate it. Mostly, we’re just too busy.

But poetry fits a busy lifestyle better than most arts.

And the reason for adding poetry to your life isn’t just to cultivate your artistic side (which it will) – it’s also to improve your leadership, your communication, and your overall ability to relate to the world.

Poetry requires a cultivation of patience. It also demands self-reflection and exploration, both of which might not be on your daily to-do but are vital skills to hone. It’s my belief that practicing the art of poetry improves these two areas of our lives, which in turn, improves our ability to perform at work.

If I’ve piqued your interest, let’s start with how to write your first poem. With each step, we’ll see how it also relates to work performance. Like yoga, the benefits are in the practice of it… so don’t be shy to try!

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The Guitar by Patrick Phillips (American Life in Poetry)

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

Patrick Phillips lives in Brooklyn, but in every city, town and village, and at every crossroads, there’s an old guitar. Here’s one from Elegy for a Broken Machine, a fine book from Alfred A. Knopf.

The Guitar

It came with those scratches
from all their belt buckles,

palm-dark with their sweat
like the stock of a gun:

an arc of pickmarks cut
clear through the lacquer

where all the players before me
once strummed—once

thumbed these same latches
where it sleeps in green velvet.

Once sang, as I sing, the old songs.
There’s no end, there’s no end

to this world, everlasting.
We crumble to dust in its arms.


We do not accept unsolicited submissions. 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 ©2015 by Patrick Phillips, “The Guitar,” from Elegy for a Broken Machine, (Alfred A. Knopf, 2015). Poem reprinted by permission of Patrick Phillips and the publisher. Introduction copyright © 2015 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.

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