Robert Pinsky |
Dire one and desired one,
In an old allegory you would carry
A chained alphabet of tokens:
Ankh Badge Cross.
Engraved figure guarding a hallowed intaglio,
Jasper kinema of legendary Mind,
Naked omphalos pierced
By quills of rhyme or sense, torah-like: unborn
Vein of will, xenophile
Yearning out of Zero.
Untrusting I court you.
I seek your face, I read
That Crusoe's knife
Reeked of you, that to defile you
The soldier makes the rabbi spit on the torah.
"I'll drown my book" says Shakespeare.
Drowned walker, revenant.
After my mother fell on her head, she became
More than ever your sworn enemy.
Sometimes like a poet or critic of forty years later.
Or she spoke of the world as Thersites spoke of the heroes,
"I think they have swallowed one another.
Would laugh at that miracle.
You also in the laughter, warrior angel:
Your helmet the zodiac, rocket-plumed
Your spear the beggar's finger pointing to the mouth
Your heel planted on the serpent Formulation
Your face a vapor, the wreath of cigarette smoke crowning
Bogart as he winces through it.
You not in the words, not even
Between the words, but a torsion,
A cleavage, a stirring.
You stirring even in the arctic ice,
Even at the dark ocean floor, even
In the cellular flesh of a stone.
My poker friends
Question your presence
In a poem by me, passing the magazine
One to another.
Not the stone and not the words, you
Like a veil over Arthur's headstone,
The passage from Proverbs he chose
While he was too ill to teach
And still well enough to read, I was
Beside the master craftsman
Delighting him day after day, ever
At play in his presence--you
A soothing veil of distraction playing over
Dying Arthur playing in the hospital,
Thumbing the Bible, fuzzy from medication,
Ever courting your presence,
And you the prognosis,
You in the cough.
Gesturer, when is your spur, your cloud?
You in the airport rituals of greeting and parting.
Indicter, who is your claimant?
Bell at the gate.
Spiderweb iron bridge.
Cloak, video, aroma, rue, what is your
Elected silence, where was your seed?
What is Imagination
But your lost child born to give birth to you?
Or presence ever at play:
Let those scorn you who never
Starved in your dearth.
Dare to disparage
Your harp of shadows I taste
Wormwood and motor oil, I pour
Ashes on my head.
You are the wound.
Be the medicine.
Maggie Estep |
I am THE SEX GODDESS OF THE WESTERN HEMISPHERE
so don't mess with me
I've got a big bag full of SEX TOYS
and you can't have any
'cause they're all mine
the SEX GODDESS OF THE WESTERN HEMISPHERE.
"Hey," you may say to yourself,
"who the hell's she tryin' to kid,
she's no sex goddess,"
But trust me,
if only for the fact that I have
the unabashed gall
myself a SEX GODDESS,
I mean, after all,
it's what so many of us have at some point thought,
we've all had someone
who worshipped our filthy socks
and barked like a dog when we were near
giving us cause
to pause and think: You know, I may not look like much
but deep inside, I am a SEX GODDESS.
we'd never come out and admit it publicly
well, you wouldn't admit it publicly
but I will
because I am
THE SEX GODDESS OF THE WESTERN HEMISPHERE.
I haven't always been
a SEX GODDESS
I used to be just a mere mortal woman
but I grew tired of sexuality being repressed
in late night 900 number ads
where 3 bodacious bimbettes
heave cleavage into the camera's winking lens and sigh:
"Big Girls oooh, Bad Girls oooh, Blonde Girls oooh,
you know what to do, call 1-900-UNMITIGATED BIMBO ooooh.
I got fed up with the oooh oooh oooh oooh oooh
I got fed up with it all
so I put on my combat boots
and hit the road with my bag full of SEX TOYS
that were a vital part of my SEX GODDESS image
even though I would never actually use
my SEX TOYS
'cause my being a SEX GODDESS
it isn't a SEXUAL thing
it's a POLITICAL thing
I don't actually have SEX, no
I'm too busy taking care of
important SEX GODDESS BUSINESS,
I gotta go on The Charlie Rose Show
and MTV and become a parody
of myself and make
buckets full of money off my own inane brand
of self-righteous POP PSYCHOLOGY
because my pain is different
because I am a SEX GODDESS
and when I talk,
Because, you guessed it,
I AM THE SEX GODDESS OF THE WESTERN HEMISPHERE
and you're not.
D. H. Lawrence |
The Cross, the Cross
Goes deeper in than we know,
Deeper into life;
Right into the marrow
And through the bone.
Along the back of the baby tortoise
The scales are locked in an arch like a bridge,
Scale-lapping, like a lobster's sections
Or a bee's.
Then crossways down his sides
Tiger-stripes and wasp-bands.
Five, and five again, and five again,
And round the edges twenty-five little ones,
The sections of the baby tortoise shell.
Four, and a keystone;
Four, and a keystone;
Four, and a keystone;
Then twenty-four, and a tiny little keystone.
It needed Pythagoras to see life playing with counters on the living back
Of the baby tortoise;
Life establishing the first eternal mathematical tablet,
Not in stone, like the Judean Lord, or bronze, but in life-clouded, life-rosy tortoise shell.
The first little mathematical gentleman
Stepping, wee mite, in his loose trousers
Under all the eternal dome of mathematical law.
Fives, and tens,
Threes and fours and twelves,
All the volte face of decimals,
The whirligig of dozens and the pinnacle of seven.
Turn him on his back,
The kicking little beetle,
And there again, on his shell-tender, earth-touching belly,
The long cleavage of division, upright of the eternal cross
And on either side count five,
On each side, two above, on each side, two below
The dark bar horizontal.
It goes right through him, the sprottling insect,
Through his cross-wise cloven psyche,
Through his five-fold complex-nature.
So turn him over on his toes again;
Four pin-point toes, and a problematical thumb-piece,
Four rowing limbs, and one wedge-balancing head,
Four and one makes five, which is the clue to all mathematics.
The Lord wrote it all down on the little slate
Of the baby tortoise.
Outward and visible indication of the plan within,
The complex, manifold involvednes,s of an individual creature
On this small bird, this rudiment,
This little dome, this pediment
Of all creation,
This slow one.
Ruth Padel |
the ivory ghost
of a halter.
commas behind the ear.
"Taller, by half a head,
than my Lord Walsingham.
His Devon-cream brogue,
mussed in her mud.
The Queen leans forward,
a rosy envelope of civet.
whispering seed pearls.
Her own sleeve
rubs that speck of dirt
on his cheek.
ornamental fruit baskets
swing in the smoke.
"It is our pleasure
to have our servant trained
some longer time
" Stamp out
marks of the Irish.
Their saffron smocks.
All curroughs, bards
stuck on low spikes,
an avenue of heads to
the war tent.
sold to the Canaries.
hung in their own hair
on city walls.
like ghosts crying
out of their graves.