The Summer Ends

The summer ends, and it is time
To face another way. Our theme
Reversed, we harvest the last row
To store against the cold, undo
The garden that will be undone.
We grieve under the weakened sun
To see all earth’s green fountains dried,
And fallen all the works of light.
You do not speak, and I regret
This downfall of the good we sought
As though the fault were mine. I bring
The plow to turn the shattering
Leaves and bent stems into the dark,
From which they may return. At work,
I see you leaving our bright land,
The last cut flowers in your hand.

Wendell Berry


Tiny Things Can Still Beat You

An eye where a button should be.
A loss. Find the jar filled with everything
that is smaller than you
and locate a stray button to close the eye.
Squint your eye around a microscope,

telescope, horoscope. Find a new
way to see. Locate a star
where a pond should be. You can
see better with a microscope.
Find how tiny things can still beat you.

Condensation beads on the lip
of the jar and then you lift
the jar: inverted Petri dish. The pond:
inverted sky. Jump into the pond
and hope not to land in a Petri dish

for whatever is bigger than you.
Find a sky map and chart your course
through the pond. Use a telescope
to find a star that is dying for you.
You are this same speck in the sky
of something smaller and smaller
and smaller.

Jessica Lynn Smith


Exotic Travel

When you are in a good mood
exotic travel is possible, snowbound
at the Metropolitan Museum of Art,
for example.

On rainy Saturdays, to make truffle
butter for plates of Risotto and sit
before the electric fire,

Clementines, clean as yellow tigers
filling the house with orange scent;

One Sunday, passing under the 1,000
bulbs of the Ford Theater on Broadway
I notice your hair color,
light sunburn on summer breeze.

Bernard Henrie


Why Your Signature Is Illegible

To prove your inner child is still in there,
while committing an adult act.

To refuse to wear your name tag
in a different way.

To rebel against the authority police
of cursive letter formation.

To avenge those punished for penmanship
and condemned to handwriting drills.

To pretend to transcribe your name
as if spoken in slurred speech.

To bond with the scaled-down appetite
of the abstract artist.

To tease as if you’re slipping
into a fishnet bodystocking.

To invite others to join the ongoing quest
of deciphering who you are.

To bask in the ‘cool factor’
of the unkempt, the trouser slouch.

To make a secret handshake with yourself.
Because your name can be typed below it.

M. Nasorri Pavone


Take Love for Granted

Assume it’s in the kitchen,
under the couch, high
in the pine tree out back,
behind the paint cans
in the garage. Don’t try
proving your love
is bigger than the Grand
Canyon, the Milky Way,
the urban sprawl of L.A.
Take it for granted. Take it
out with the garbage. Bring
it in with the takeout. Take
it for a walk with the dog.
Wake it every day, say,
“Good morning.” Then
make the coffee. Warm
the cups. Don’t expect much
of the day. Be glad when
you make it back to bed.
Be glad he threw out that
box of old hats. Be glad
she leaves her shoes
in the hall. Snow will
come. Spring will show up.
Summer will be humid.
The leaves will fall
in the fall. That’s more
than you need. We can
love anybody, even
everybody. But you
can love the silence,
sighing and saying to
yourself, “That’ s her.”
“That’s him.” Then to
each other, “I know!
Let’s go out for breakfast!”

Jack Ridl


Secured Cushions, Beer and Olives


The boat of revelation has whiteness and chrome,
no map or compass; only our thirst

carries us to sea
where the Pacific speaks in tongues,

what you require, what
you call prayer.

People are healed here, people
with crystals on their breasts,

drifting with currents.
Days do not come one after the other

forever, days are not a stretch of water,
days are waves that break.

We sail until the correlates of horizon
release themselves to ocean’s open expanse.

Without our locations we do not
need to say, I am here,

you are here, or I am here,
you are not here.

Lisa C. Krueger

Melody Seal

Melody Seal

A Bronze God, or a Letter on Demand

I like to think of your silence as the love letters you will not write me,
as two sax solos from two ages across a stage, learning the languages
of kissing with your eyes closed. I like to think of you as a god
to whom I no longer pray, as a god I aspire to. I like the opening of your joined palms,
which is like an urn where my ashes find a home. The music of your lashes;
the silent way your body wears out mine.
Mostly, I like to think of you at night when a black screen of shining dust shines
from your mines to the edge of my skin, where you are a lamp of flutters.
I remember the spectral lashes–marigold, tamarind, secret thing between your thighs,
of closed kissing eyes. At night, the possibility of you is a heavy
sculpture of heavy bronze at the side of my bed,
a god. And I pray you into life. Into flesh.
Clifton Gachagua

Defective Evolution


אֲנִי חָשָׁה בְּהִתְפַּתְּחוּת לְקוּיָה
שֶׁלֹּא צָמְחָה לִי גִּיטָרָה אֵיפֹה שֶׁהָיְתָה אֲמוּרָה
שֶׁהוֹרַי הִגְּרוּ לָאָרֶץ הַלֹּא נְכוֹנָה
שֶׁפָּרִיז רְחוֹקָה מִדַּי.
אֲנִי חָשָׁה בְּהִתְפַּתְּחוּת לְקוּיָה
שֶׁהָאֶצְבָּעוֹת מִתְעַצְּלוֹת לְגַלּוֹת אֶת הַבְּשׂוֹרָה
שֶׁהָרוֹמַנְטִיקָה הִתְאַבְּדָה בִּקְפִיצָה לַנָּהָר
וְהַמַּיִם הַיְרֻקִּים דָּרְשׁוּ תַּשְׁלוּם אַחֲרֵי מוֹתָהּ.
אֲנִי חָשָׁה בְּהִתְפַּתְּחוּת לְקוּיָה שֶׁל סִפְרֵי הַשִּׁירָה
מִלִּים נִגְרָרוֹת בְּשׂעֲרוֹתֵיהֵן בָּעֵשֶׂב הַיָּרֹק
מֻשְׁלָכוֹת אֶל הַנָּהָר
שִׁירִים עִלְּגִים וְעִוְרִים צָפִים בַּמַּיִם
שָׁטִים לְצַד גְּוִיּוֹת רוֹקֶנְרוֹל,
אִינְטֶלֶקְטוּאָלִים, מְשׁוֹרְרִים וְכָל הָאֲחֵרִים
שֶׁהִתְבַּקְּשׁוּ לְהִתְמַקְצֵעַ בִּזְנוּת
לְהַתְאִים עַצְמָם לָאֲוִירָה.
אֲנִי חָשָׁה בְּהִתְפַּתְּחוּת לְקוּיָה
עַל קַו הַתֶּפֶר שֶׁבֵּין מַחְשֵׁב לִמְכוֹנַת כְּתִיבָה
הַלִּיבִּידוֹ שֶׁלִּי מֵעוֹלָם לֹא הִתְעוֹרֵר לְמַרְאֵה מָסָךְ
נְיָר לְעֻמַּת זֶה מֵעִיר אוֹתִי.
אֲנִי חָשָׁה בְּהִתְפַּתְּחוּת לְקוּיָה
פַּעַם קָרָאתִי שִׁירָה עִם תִּזְמֹרֶת עַל בָּמָה
פַּעַם הִצְלַחְתִּי לָעוּף עִם הַמּוּזִיקָה
אַחַר־כָּךְ לֹא הִצְלַחְתִּי לוֹמַר מִלָּה שֶׁאֵינָהּ אַהֲבָה
אַחַר־כָּךְ יָדַעְתִּי שֶׁנָּגַעְתִּי בַּדָּבָר הֲכִי יָפֶה שֶׁאֵדַע
וּמֵאָז אֲנִי חָשָׁה בְּהִתְפַּתְּחוּת לְקוּיָה.

I feel evolution is defective.
A guitar didn’t bloom out of me where it should,
my parents immigrated to the wrong country,
Paris is too far.
I feel evolution is defective.
Fingers are too lazy to discover the gospel:
Romanticism jumping into a river and killing itself,
the green water demanding payment after death.
I feel the evolution of poetry books is defective.
Words dragged by their hair in the green weeds
lie splayed across the river,
blind and stuttering poems float on the water,
sail past rock’n’roll corpses,
intellectuals, poets and all the others
who were asked to major in prostitution
to suit the atmosphere.
I feel evolution is defective
on the seam between computer and typewriter,
my libido never awakens at the sight of a screen
while paper, in contrast, arouses me.
I feel evolution is defective.
Once I read poetry on stage with a band,
once I flew with the music.
Afterwards I couldn’t say a word except love,
afterwards I knew I’d touched the most beautiful thing I’d ever touched
and ever since I feel evolution is defective.

Hagit Grossman

Embroidery by Chloe Giordano.

Embroidery by Chloe Giordano.

Self-Portrait, 1969

He’s still young—; thirty, but looks younger—
or does he? … In the eyes and cheeks, tonight,
turning in the mirror, he saw his mother,—
puffy; angry; bewildered … Many nights
now, when he stares there, he gets angry:—
something unfulfilled there, something dead
to what he once thought he surely could be—
Now, just the glamour of habits …
                                                                 Once, instead,
he thought insight would remake him, he’d reach
—what? The thrill, the exhilaration
unravelling disaster, that seemed to teach
necessary knowledge … became just jargon.

Sick of being decent, he craves another
crash. What reaches him except disaster?

Frank Bidart

Calle Principe, 25


Without warning we lose
the vastness of the fields
singular enigmas
the clarity we swear
we’ll preserve

but it takes us years
to forget someone
who merely looked at us

José Tolentino Mendonça



All worlds begin with asking. Instinctively

the chlorophyll of the new and briefly

edenic asks, “Am I home? Can I stop

inventing these engines?” And end and begin

with asking, with a wild fecund of ambitions

on the lip, on the edge. Sometimes I can feel

my bones resting in the mass of me and sometimes

I can’t. I ache to move, I think of moving.

"If-then," I say, "if-then."

Ryan Flaherty


Something of an arrow in him,
and something of a flower.

I brought him down just after dawn
in cold and pearly weather.

The echo from my Wingmaster
ripped blue air asunder.

In the hound’s mouth his gloss was fading,
eyes still embered, amazed, reflecting

sunrise bloody on the quiet river,
wingtips sharp against my fingers.

I shiver now as I remember
reading: when you’re ready to cross over

they’ll judge your heart’s failings
against the weight of a feather.

R.T. Smith

Sad Steps

Groping back to bed after a piss
I part thick curtains, and am startled by   
The rapid clouds, the moon’s cleanliness.

Four o’clock: wedge-shadowed gardens lie   
Under a cavernous, a wind-picked sky.   
There’s something laughable about this,

The way the moon dashes through clouds that blow   
Loosely as cannon-smoke to stand apart   
(Stone-coloured light sharpening the roofs below)

High and preposterous and separate—   
Lozenge of love! Medallion of art!
O wolves of memory! Immensements! No,

One shivers slightly, looking up there.
The hardness and the brightness and the plain   
Far-reaching singleness of that wide stare

Is a reminder of the strength and pain   
Of being young; that it can’t come again,   
But is for others undiminished somewhere.

Philip Larkin