But you can have the fig tree and its fat leaves like clown hands
gloved with green. You can have the touch of a single eleven-year-old finger
on your cheek, waking you at one a.m. to say the hamster is back.
You can have the purr of the cat and the soulful look
of the black dog, the look that says, If I could I would bite
every sorrow until it fled, and when it is August,
you can have it August and abundantly so. You can have love,
though often it will be mysterious, like the white foam
that bubbles up at the top of the bean pot over the red kidneys
until you realize foam’s twin is blood.
You can have the skin at the center between a man’s legs,
so solid, so doll-like. You can have the life of the mind,
glowing occasionally in priestly vestments, never admitting pettiness,
never stooping to bribe the sullen guard who’ll tell you
all roads narrow at the border.
You can speak a foreign language, sometimes,
and it can mean something. You can visit the marker on the grave
where your father wept openly. You can’t bring back the dead,
but you can have the words forgive and forget hold hands
as if they meant to spend a lifetime together. And you can be grateful
for makeup, the way it kisses your face, half spice, half amnesia, grateful
for Mozart, his many notes racing one another towards joy, for towels
sucking up the drops on your clean skin, and for deeper thirsts,
for passion fruit, for saliva. You can have the dream,
the dream of Egypt, the horses of Egypt and you riding in the hot sand.
You can have your grandfather sitting on the side of your bed,
at least for a while, you can have clouds and letters, the leaping
of distances, and Indian food with yellow sauce like sunrise.
You can’t count on grace to pick you out of a crowd
but here is your friend to teach you how to high jump,
how to throw yourself over the bar, backwards,
until you learn about love, about sweet surrender,
and here are periwinkles, buses that kneel, farms in the mind
as real as Africa. And when adulthood fails you,
you can still summon the memory of the black swan on the pond
of your childhood, the rye bread with peanut butter and bananas
your grandmother gave you while the rest of the family slept.
There is the voice you can still summon at will, like your mother’s,
it will always whisper, you can’t have it all,
but there is this.
– Barbara Ras
218/365, originally uploaded by limonene.
I have often asked myself why I keep books that could only ever be of any use in a distant future, titles remote from my usual concerns, those I have read once and will not open again for many years, if ever! But how could I throw away The Call of the Wild, for example, without destroying one of the building bricks of my childhood, or Zorba the Greek, which brought my adolescence to a tear-stained end, The Twenty-Fifth Hour and all those other volumes consigned to the topmost shelves, where they lie untouched and silent in that sacred trust of which we are so proud.
It is often much harder to get rid of books than it is to acquire them. They stick to us in that pact of need and oblivion we make with them, witnesses to a moment in our lives we will never see again. While they are still there, it is part of us. I have noticed that may people make a note of the day, month, and year that they read a book; they build up a secret calendar. Others, before lending one, write their name in the flyleaf, note whom they lent it to in an address book, and add the date. I have known some book owners who stamp them or slip a card between the pages the way they do in public libraries. Nobody wants to mislay a book. We prefer to lose a ring, a watch, our umbrella, rather than a book whose pages we will never read again, but which retains, just in the sound of its title, a remote and perhaps long-lost emotion.
– Carlos María Domínguez
Primarily by zigzags like a poem,
bunny moves. Out of base material,
grass is arranged. Certainly, bunny
has much figured out. Quickly, it converts
fear of death, starvation, boredom
into giddy-up, part Chinese checker,
part quantum which is here or there
but never in between. Cherished
by Plains Indians was bunny’s power
to disappear by holding very still.
The ancient poet wakes, a bit hungover,
footprints of his friend in new snow
going down the hill, bunny dances
on the edge of the abyss. A cactus
has less in common with static
than a thistle with a kestrel. Baseball
is full of superstition because
it’s surround by infinity, played
on a diamond formed by multiples of three.
Full of funny hops, bunny twitches,
procreates, kept alive by a curious,
somewhat gross digestive practice
and, perhaps in recompense, excessive
cuteness except for cousin jackrabbit
who looks like those late photos
of Artaud. To give a jackrabbit shock
therapy would be redundant though.
Bunny glimpsed by headlight: sailor’s
delight; bunny in morning red:
might as well stay in bed. Bunny
munches its radish leaves without irony.
Without irony, bunny dashes down the hole.
A sense of incongruity, feigned ignorance,
or the doubleness of being one place
but feeling you are another is solely
a human blessing/curse, an aid perhaps
in traffic jams but much worse trying
to embrace a lover and feeling stuck again
in the third-grade cloakroom, whiffs of glue.
It is times like these it seems bunny
knows exactly what to do, flee then stop
and disappear but friend, our work is dark
in a darker world of not leaping in the sun
much. Nerves live in the wormwood.
Every canoe is a sad canoe. Bunny
hops in the vetch but whatever holds us
in its mouth hasn’t decided yet to bite
or drop us in a fluffier nest.
– Dean Young
I’m going to Coney Island to have myself a dog
And reminisce why I still hate it here
It’s all these people with their cotton candy eyes
It’s so sweet now put the train in gear
The ground is swallowing my options for release
And if it rains they might just disappear
I counted 27 birds up there today
I’m thinking that’s why I still love it here
I’m thinking that’s why I still love it here.
– Good Old War
and the mitt.
bat, or it
hit ball, bat
off bat, flies
air, or thuds
to take bat’s
keep the date.
Ball goes in
(thwack) to mitt,
and goes out
ball gets hit
(pow) when bat
to a place
has to quit
and the fans.
on a diamond,
and for fun.
home, and it’s
– May Swenson
(If you drop your dreams on the floor like that cats are going to tread softly on them and they’ll end up dirty with pawprints. Dreams should be in the dresser; that’s why we have a dresser. For dreams. In the little right drawer.)
– Paul Ford