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Wednesday, August 20, 2014


The Body is the House, and                                     Kim Addonizio
according to the spiritual teacher,
you are the open space inside the house.
Also, you are already dead.
This is good news.

Being the space inside the house
is infinitely better than being the house;
this is definitely good news,
because the walls are collapsing, and the floors,

so it is definitely infinitely better.
The foundation is dissolving to concrete dust,
the roof is collapsing, but no matter;
there's the sturdy blue flame of you

as the concrete world dissolves to dust.
Don't you feel better now—I mean
the sturdy-blue-flame-you,
the you that is not a condemned home?

Don't you feel better than when you learned
that you were already dead
and condemned to be homeless,
according to the spiritual teacher. 

The Storm                                                                                Jennifer Moss
Where one mind stops,
another begins.

Where cutlery shines on plates,
a voice lowers.

One length of forgiveness,
round and round like a child's game
in the dust.

Outside, the rain formalizing.

When we leave we are replaced.

Shaky clouds in lightning,
my shadow alive on the floor.

Then the small passage for sleep.

How green and spidery the sky.

In its net, the dead bees of memory. 


Saying It to Keep It from Happening                            John Ashbery

Some departure from the norm
Will occur as time grows more open about it.
The consensus gradually changed; nobody
Lies about it any more. Rust dark pouring
Over the body, changing it without decay—
People with too many things on their minds, but we live
In the interstices, between a vacant stare and the ceiling,
Our lives remind us. Finally this is consciousness
And the other livers of it get off at the same stop.
How careless. Yet in the end each of us
Is seen to have traveled the same distance—it’s time
That counts, and how deeply you have invested in it,
Crossing the street of any event, as though coming out of it were
The same as making it happen. You’re not sorry,
Of course, especially if this was the way it had to happen,
Yet would like an exacter share, something about time
That only a clock can tell you: how it feels, not what it means.
It is a long field, and we now only the far end of it,
Not the part we presumably had to go through to get here.
If it isn’t enough, take the idea
Inherent in the day, armloads of wheat and flowers
Lying around flat on handtrucks, if maybe it means more
In pertaining to you, yet what is is what happens in the end
As though you cared. The event combined with
Beams leading up to it for the look of force adapted to the wiser
Usages of age, but it’s both there
And not there, like washing or sawdust in the sunlight,

At the back of the mind, where we live now.


Sacrament of the Moths            Penelope Scambly Schott 
Dust from a moth's wing is lint from a prayer.
In a vault in the Vatican, they collect that lint.
The Vatical Vault of Sacred Moth Lint
opens second Tuesdays from three until six.
Lines of the pious spit-shine their coins
as they wait to kneel upon sanctified lint.
The tonsured Father who samples the lint
reports that it tastes of flute. He also tests
bicycles, beatitude by beatitude. This chain,
he intones, hath snagged another angel.
You've heard him: he pedals through dusk
as if it were moth gauze, dinging his final
crepuscular bell. 

The Envoy      Jane Hirschfield

One day in that room, a small rat.
Two days later, a snake.

Who, seeing me enter,
whipped the long stripe of his
body under the bed,
then curled like a docile house-pet.

I don't know how either came or left.
Later, the flashlight found nothing.

For a year I watched
as something -- terror? happiness? grief? --
entered and then left my body.

No knowing how it came in.
Not knowing how it went out.

It hung where words could not reach it.
It slept where light could not go.
Its scent was neither snake nor rat,
neither sensualist nor ascetic.

There are openings in our lives
of which we know nothing.

Through them
the belled herds travel at will,
long-legged and thirsty, covered with foreign dust.

from 32 Statements about Writing Poetry by Marvin Bell

 19. You need nothing more to write poems than bits of string and thread and some dust from under the bed.

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