Posts Tagged ‘ poem ’

“Brancusi’s Golden Bird” by Mina Loy

Brancusi’s Golden Bird

by Mina Loy


The toy
       become the aesthetic archetype


As if
       some patient peasant God
       had rubbed and rubbed
       the Alpha and Omega
       of Form
       into a lump of metal


       A naked orientation

       unwinged    unplumed
           —the ultimate rhythm
       has lopped the extremities
       of crest and claw
       the nucleus of flight


       The absolute act
       of art
       to continent sculpture
       —bare as the brow of Osiris—
       this breast of revelation


       an incandescent curve
       licked by chromatic flames
       in labyrinths of reflections


       This gong
       of polished hyperaesthesia
       shrills with brass
       as the aggressive light
       its significance


       The immaculate
       of the inaudible bird
       in gorgeous reticence…



Source: “Brancusi’s Golden Bird” by Mina Loy

noise & silence: Climate Strike Poetry: John Clare

A poem by John Clare on the tragic privatization of collective land –


The Mores


Far spread the moorey ground a level scene

Bespread with rush and one eternal green

That never felt the rage of blundering plough

Though centurys wreathed spring’s blossoms on its brow

Still meeting plains that stretched them far away

In uncheckt shadows of green brown, and grey

Unbounded freedom ruled the wandering scene

Nor fence of ownership crept in between

To hide the prospect of the following eye

Its only bondage was the circling sky

One mighty flat undwarfed by bush and tree

Spread its faint shadow of immensity

And lost itself, which seemed to eke its bounds

In the blue mist the horizon’s edge surrounds

Now this sweet vision of my boyish hours

Free as spring clouds and wild as summer flowers

Is faded all – a hope that blossomed free

And hath been once, no more shall ever be

Inclosure came and trampled on the grave

Of labour’s rights and left the poor a slave

And memory’s pride ere want to wealth did bow

Is both the shadow and the substance now

The sheep and cows were free to range as then

Where change might prompt nor felt the bonds of men

Cows went and came, with evening morn and night,

To the wild pasture as their common right

And sheep, unfolded with the rising sun

Heard the swains shout and felt their freedom won

Tracked the red fallow field and heath and plain

Then met the brook and drank and roamed again

The brook that dribbled on as clear as glass

Beneath the roots they hid among the grass

While the glad shepherd traced their tracks along

Free as the lark and happy as her song

But now all’s fled and flats of many a dye

That seemed to lengthen with the following eye

Moors, loosing from the sight, far, smooth, and blea

Where swopt the plover in its pleasure free

Are vanished now with commons wild and gay

As poet’s visions of life’s early day

Mulberry-bushes where the boy would run

To fill his hands with fruit are grubbed and done

And hedgrow-briars – flower-lovers overjoyed

Came and got flower-pots – these are all destroyed

And sky-bound mores in mangled garbs are left

Like mighty giants of their limbs bereft

Fence now meets fence in owners’ little bounds

Of field and meadow large as garden grounds

In little parcels little minds to please

With men and flocks imprisoned ill at ease

Each little path that led its pleasant way

As sweet as morning leading night astray

Where little flowers bloomed round a varied host

That travel felt delighted to be lost

Nor grudged the steps that he had ta-en as vain

When right roads traced his journeys and again –

Nay, on a broken tree he’d sit awhile

To see the mores and fields and meadows smile

Sometimes with cowslaps smothered – then all white

With daiseys – then the summer’s splendid sight

Of cornfields crimson o’er the headache bloomd

Like splendid armys for the battle plumed

He gazed upon them with wild fancy’s eye

As fallen landscapes from an evening sky

These paths are stopt – the rude philistine’s thrall

Is laid upon them and destroyed them all

Each little tyrant with his little sign

Shows where man claims earth glows no more divine

But paths to freedom and to childhood dear

A board sticks up to notice ‘no road here’

And on the tree with ivy overhung

The hated sign by vulgar taste is hung

As tho’ the very birds should learn to know

When they go there they must no further go

Thus, with the poor, scared freedom bade goodbye

And much they feel it in the smothered sigh

And birds and trees and flowers without a name

All sighed when lawless law’s enclosure came

And dreams of plunder in such rebel schemes

Have found too truly that they were but dreams.

– John Clare


Source: noise & silence: Climate Strike Poetry: John Clare

Exit Strategy by Kazim Ali – Poems | Academy of American Poets

Exit Strategy

Kazim Ali

I hear the sound of the sprinkler outside, not the soft kind we used to run through
but the hard kind that whips in one direction then cranks back and starts again.

Last night we planned to find the white argument of the Milky Way 
but we are twenty years too late. Last night I cut the last stargazer 
lily to wear in my hair. 

This morning, the hardest geography quiz I’ve ever taken: how does one carry
oneself from mountain to lake to desert without leaving anything behind?

Perhaps I ought to have worked harder. 
Perhaps I could have paid more attention.
A mountain I didn’t climb. Music I yearned for but could not achieve.

I travel without maps, free-style my scripture, pretend the sky is an adequate
representation of my spiritual beliefs. 

The sprinkler switches off. The grass will be wet. 
I haven’t even gotten to page 2 of my life and I’m probably more than halfway through,
who knows what kind of creature I will become.

Kazim Ali

Source: Exit Strategy by Kazim Ali – Poems | Academy of American Poets

Poems and Poetics: Rochelle Owens: Beloved the Aardvark, Part Three

[The third & concluding section of Owens’s major opus]

Evolution is smart

clean  clear and simple  gaps
in the sequence of
events laid down and eroded away
hungry or thirsty
eat or drink  body of data
data of body
audible inaudible
the rhythm the rhythm of
spontaneous change
letters spell out
o b l i t e r a t e
a jaw opens and closes
vigilant the babe sucking
On a giant computer
screen  vibrating subatomic
particles shape
the contours of a skull
and in your
mammalian brain  tendons
and nerves pulsate
craving  licking
burning chunks  rupturing flesh
cinnamon  cumin and honey
five lambs
slaughtered for the feast
carnal/spiritual                                                                                                               2
Under an occult sky
of greens and yellows the tattoo
artist bites into an apple
chewing and swallowing
moisture and nutrients flow in
the tattoo artist’s brain
seized with jittery energy
chewing and swallowing
inhaling exhaling  a layer of skin
the skin
a montage of bite marks
chewing and swallowing
inhaling exhaling  the breath blowing
kisses along the digestive tract
spirals of veins
pulsate from mouth to rectum
blood in  blood out
seized with jittery energy
chewing and swallowing
inhaling exhaling  drawing zigzags
of black lines
a layer of skin the skin
the canvas absorbing sunlight
inhaling  exhaling
drawing zigzags
of black lines  drawing a fetal skull
sprouting tooth buds
the universe
contains everything that exists
letters that spell out                                                                                                        3
r u i n s c a p e
After waking
and lying down trust your
instinctual senses
disturbingly informative
tears  mucus
albumen  a goat smile
on your lips
Long ago
an hour ago  only a minute
in the here and now
in the zone
diverging from a course
of events
spirals of wind and fire
layers of brown dust
Out of an ant hill
curved like an embrace
a waft of air
and morning
to evening and evening
to morning
audible  inaudible
an unknown word  letters
that spell out
A m f a t t e h r
                *                                                                                                                4
The bones that form
the Aardvark Venus  rays of light
penetrate your fingers
drawing black lines
spirals of muscles  blood vessels
a long cylindrical tongue
biomorphic  geomorphic
polymorphic  corkscrews of white
slashes  slashes of solar light
Long ago  an hour ago
only a minute  a black line
shapes itself
an image on a rock
subatomic particles pulsate
the universe contracts
e x p a n d s
The warmest of mothers
moves in circles  massive her claws
digging  searching
body of data  data
of body  the Aardvark Venus
her rabbitlike ears
heating to the
temperature of human skin
a long cylindrical tongue
work is a binding obligation
blood in  blood out
her breast vein as thick as a finger
mounds of sand appear
lines of ants appear  disappear
a hissing sound
suffer the Aardvark children
Listening to Willie Nelson
you witness a lovely desert sunset
a goat smile on your lips
mounds of sand appear
disappear and morning to evening
evening to morning
9 breakfasts  5 lunches  6 dinners
white the summer blossoms
a girl in your arms  hungry or thirsty
eat and drink
On the wall of a cave
in the Sahara  in a zone diverging
from a course of events
disease  famine  torture  war
in a sacred refuge or a tomb
Behold!  the Aardvark Venus
luminous the overlapping
charcoal drawings  charcoal fed
with wind and fire
charcoal fed with blood and sunlight
Earth  Air  Fire  Water
hormonal forces evoke
the rhythm of spontaneous change                                                                           6
inhaling  exhaling
moisture and nutrients
flow through your mammalian brain
inhaling  exhaling
the universe contracts  e x p a n d s
seized with jittery energy
inhaling  exhaling
flexing  contracting  evoking
the rhythm
the rhythm of spontaneous change
disease  famine  torture  war
rays of light
penetrate your vulva  scrotum
illuminate your heart
your hand cupping the little god
mounds of sand appear
out of an ant hill curved
like an embrace
Earth  Air  Fire  Water
– Rochelle Owens
[author’s comment: To look at the image of an Aardvark is to take a cosmic Rorschach test, and like a cubist mural is both a microcosm and macrocosm.  You understand
Intuitively – a Cartesian resolution of body and spirit.  The poem presented here is the third of a series of poems titled ‘Beloved the Aardvark,’ related I suppose to the poem ‘Devour Not the Elephant’ that appeared earlier in Poems and Poetics.” (Rochelle Owens).
      And Marjorie Perloff on the unique power & pitch of Owens’ exploratory work, from the 1960s to the present: ‘Rochelle Owens’ writing … is sui generis. She is, in many ways, a proto-language poet, her marked ellipses, syntactic oddities, and dense and clashing verbal surfaces recalling the long poems of Bruce Andrews and Ron Silliman. But Owens is angrier, more energetic, and more assertive than most of her Language counterparts, male and female, and she presents herself as curiously non-introspective.” 
      Part One of Beloved the Aardvark can be found here on Poems and Poetics, and Part Two can be found here.]


Source: Poems and Poetics: Rochelle Owens: Beloved the Aardvark, Part Three

friday by Anna Mendelssohn | Teflon #19


This is the reason why I do not conform.
A smile is a formality. That is all that exists
between people who do not know each other.
It is irrelevant what one knows of anyone.

The torso. People without minds. Tenses can be
Rapidly switched. How does one know that
one’s pursuer does not intend to cause one
harm. A man can demand explanations.

A woman is accused of aggressive behaviour
for querying motive. One does not need to
Pursue anyone, one can be invited to live
in a house & find oneself being used

for servitude. And Interrogated, relentlessly
& remorselessly, until one is too weak
to move. This is peace as is death.
It is imagined that one is writing.
Why is it difficult to register Detestation.

The dangers in writing are inherent.
Why it is dangerous to criticize the Establishment
Openly. Why what amuses the Establishment
is the Bad Use of language and Sex.
Why women are discussed in terms of knickers.
Why it is important not to lose control
Of one’s own mind. Why Literature
Frames novices. Why Framing is a sociopolitical act.

by Anna Mendelssohn
published in Teflon #19 (Summer/Autumn 2018)

Any Grieving Mammal by Ellen Welcker

Ellen Welcker

Any Grieving Mammal

There are 500 students.

They will each say ten kind things by a certain date and if they do, they will have won The Kindness Challenge.

Because they are humans, even though they are children, they are trying to do it as fast as they can.

I myself can only think of facts.

Because I am a mother, even though I am a cow, I let my son sit by himself under the cork tree and be happy.

The fact is that real things are mixed up with imaginary ones. So all the more real.

There are 496 students.


To be a real estate developer is to be in communion with nature. You want that to be wrong, but I’ve thought about this. To be a banker is to value the seventh generation. It’s “value” that’s been misconstrued.

To be the victim of violence is to be separate from it, and inexorably linked.

All living things and non—made for human consumption.

This isn’t true, but since you live this way, it is.

There are 491 students.


At the lake, the river people say this is okay.

It would be better if it were moving.

Maybe we should be still.



It is a comfort to stay bored.

It’s why cud was invented.

There are 483 students.


Your office mate has a nose-whistle, but it is starting to feel like demons. Sunshine streams vigilantly through the cubicles. All of your freckles are the exact shape and size of ticks. But worse, you’d say they are “fleshy.”

You check the box marked “nostalgia for pavilions.”

You check the box marked “glory holes in abandoned department stores.”

You’re so comfortable here, except for the heightened tick vigilance, basking in the gloss and burble of the water feature. Bit of rebar straining out of faux rock like stitches on a wound the skin’s closed up around.

There are 479 students.


You’ve heard that people hate Geminis, which really hurts your feelings, and your other feelings, too. That’s cow humor. We don’t understand astrology, but we do make a point of facing directly to the magnetic north or south while grazing.

Your neighbors can tell by your yard you are the kind of people who don’t want to know the genders of your children.

You don’t want to write this poem, its symmetries too too.

The child asks to play orca whales.

You are his mother.

You carry him swimming on your back, through the chlorinated lazy river, bright bright, blue blue.

There are 478 students.


Flowers make us happy. In this poem, you will only say true things.

Like, no one knows jack shit.

Like, if a person is adopted by an animal, then they have a chance.

You think I don’t know what “ruminate” means.


There are 475 students.

You sip a tea of Icelandic moss and say, the cost of living increase is relative to the cost of not dying, hear a sound like a whale in agony.

There are 474 students.


People are full of knees, especially in bed.

It is possible your mom knows you, has always known you, knew you before you had a consciousness, and you just won’t let that be true.

I don’t even have bullets. I don’t even have a trigger, the back seat laments, and it is also difficult to let them know you.

There are 469 students.

No one can see out their eye holes.


Squinting into the opaque bus windows. Wavingwavingwaving at whomever.

By the time you walk home, there are 465 students.

You don’t need me to tell you what the facts are.

Remember, I am his mother, and a cow.


When she leaves she leaves the potatoes and a phone charger. When you go you leave a T-shirt and socks. You mean to leave your running shoes. She means to leave her flip-flops. You go and she goes and you go and she goes.

The banderilleros are getting mad. And the picadores are getting madder. And the matador is so mad he is crying, because he can’t show off with his cape and his sword.

A man with a hat reminds you of someone. Hey, you say, hey!You give the man a thumbs-up. But it’s just a trucker hat, some other logo. Still, you loved him for a minute.

There are 458 students.


The portrait of a marriage is a creek, partially dormant in winter. An ice alligator, a plunger provided, gratis.

You ask me how I know all this. I am looking at you with my big, dumb eyes.

You are rule-oriented and wearing your dissidentshirt to the alternative health care provider. It’s too hot, but don’t take your sweater off here.

You only wear it for a layer underneath. For home chores, for weekends. You’re a dissidentin the garden, shelling peas.

There are 443 students.


You have spurned your lover in the gravest of ways. Didn’t realize how much you would talk about grappling hooks, and tonight, you have chosen a biography over sex.

The portrait of a marriage is a rest stop to change the diaper. Back on the highway you have forgotten to pee.

My kind is red-green blind; a bull charges a matador’s cape for the movement. Much like a gunman.

Or is this the bull-in-the-china-shop metaphor?

How should I know?


There are 441 students.


When the phone rings in the dead of night you run across the street like you’ve been training for it. All these miles for a dead sprint to the neighbors’. See how you repeat yourself? But they’re alive.

The blood in the toilet. The trail down the hall. The diapers, half the size of your phone.

You are trying to say “mama” and know what that means.

There are 439 students.

When you know you can’t say it and when you say it you don’t know.


There are 429 students.

The light is golden and the trees are lit from within. In autumn, you feel beloved by the earth, all its inhabitants, for entire afternoons, sometimes.

What is the sustenance as large as our grief.

And which is the stomach for it.

Coexisting seems a low goal.

There are 424 students.


A little brown dog walks the path below your window. You’re looking forward to sleeping here, your astral-self projecting into the canopy.

Crows shit midair, and they’re shaped like birds, so of course they can fly. You look up to them, looking down on them, you’re on the fourth floor.

Your desk is black and warm in the sun, but wind drifts through anyway. Planes on various flight paths, and one drags a banner through the sky.

There are 412 students.


Any pleasure is not small—it’s been a long time since you’ve thought, and it feels good to be above people, quieting the servant in you.

Thought you’d bare your breasts; let the wind just whittle them away.

The sun has cooled, a gray wash on the black desk and your thighs are blotchy and goose-bumped. The windowsill is lined with treasures, chrysanthemum rocks and other special ones.

The people—how their necks are bent, and freighters swim like cows in the sound.

There are 409 students.

The facts, the facts, the facts.

I say this as his mother. He was happy as a child. In the flowers.

There is no such thing as conclusion.

This poem owes a debt of gratitude to The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf.

Source: Any Grieving Mammal

for my beloved friend, Sheryl ~ we used to sit beneath the tree at lunch breaks, a kind of homage to Ferdinand and his cork tree, a tribute to peace, joy, and love among friends. Thank you, Sheryl. yr friend, Donna

“Collude” by Bhanu Kapil


Bhanu Kapil


with the anemone zero.

Drink 12 oz. of coffee in Longmont.

Are you parched?

Is your name Pinky?

What color is the skin of your inner arm, creamy?

Valentine City rebate: a box of chocolates from Safeway.

Yours, yours, yours.

In its entirety.

Don’t collude with your inability to give or receive love.

Collude, instead, with the lining of the universe.

Descent, rotation, silk water, brief periods of intense sunlight striated with rose pink glitter.

The glitter can only get us.

So far.

Here we are at the part with the asphalt, airstream Tupperware, veins, some nice light stretching.

Call me.

This is a poem for a beloved.

Who never arrived.

Source: “Collude” by Bhanu Kapil