Helen Dunmore |
Tonight there's a crowd in my head:
all the things you are not yet.
You are words without paper, pages
sighing in summer forests, gardens
where builders stub out their rubble
and plastic oozes its sweat.
All the things you are, you are not yet.
Not yet the lonely window in midwinter
with the whine of tea on an empty stomach,
not yet the heating you can't afford and must wait for,
tamping a coin in on each hour.
Not the gorgeous shush of restaurant doors
and their interiors, always so much smaller.
Not the smell of the newsprint, the blur
on your fingertips — your fame.
the love you will have for Winter Pearmains
and Chanel No 5 — and then your being unable
to buy both washing-machine and computer
when your baby's due to be born,
and my voice saying, "I'll get you one"
and you frowning, frowning
at walls and surfaces which are not mine —
all this, not yet.
Give me your hand,
that small one without a mark of work on it,
the one that's strange to the washing-up bowl
and doesn't know Fairy Liquid for whiskey.
Not yet the moment of your arrival in taxis
at daring destinations, or your being alone at stations
with the skirts of your fashionable clothes flapping
and no money for the telephone.
Not yet the moment when I can give you nothing
so well-folded it fits in an envelope —
a dull letter you won't reread.
Not yet the moment of your assimilation
in that river flowing westward: rivers of clothes,
of dreams, an accent unlike my own
saying to someone I don't know: darling.
Marilyn Hacker |
Spring wafts up the smell of bus exhaust, of bread
and fried potatoes, tips green on the branches,
repeats old news: arrogance, ignorance, war.
A cinder-block wall shared by two houses
is new rubble.
On one side was a kitchen
sink and a cupboard, on the other was
a bed, a bookshelf, three framed photographs.
Glass is shattered across the photographs;
two half-circles of hardened pocket bread
sit on the cupboard.
There provisionally was
shelter, a plastic truck under the branches
of a fig tree.
A knife flashed in the kitchen,
merely dicing garlic.
Engines of war
move inexorably toward certain houses
while citizens sit safe in other houses
reading the newspaper, whose photographs
make sanitized excuses for the war.
There are innumerable kinds of bread
brought up from bakeries, baked in the kitchen:
the date, the latitude, tell which one was
dropped by a child beneath the bloodied branches.
The uncontrolled and multifurcate branches
of possibility infiltrate houses'
walls, windowframes, ceilings.
Where there was
a tower, a town: ash and burnt wires, a graph
on a distant computer screen.
Elsewhere, a kitchen
table's setting gapes, where children bred
to branch into new lives were culled for war.
Who wore this starched smocked cotton dress? Who wore
this jersey blazoned for the local branch
of the district soccer team? Who left this black bread
and this flat gold bread in their abandoned houses?
Whose father begged for mercy in the kitchen?
Whose memory will frame the photograph
and use the memory for what it was
never meant for by this girl, that old man, who was
caught on a ball field, near a window: war,
exhorted through the grief a photograph
(Or was the team a covert branch
of a banned group; were maps drawn in the kitchen,
a bomb thrust in a hollowed loaf of bread?)
What did the old men pray for in their houses
of prayer, the teachers teach in schoolhouses
between blackouts and blasts, when each word was
flensed by new censure, books exchanged for bread,
both hostage to the happenstance of war?
Sometimes the only schoolroom is a kitchen.
Outside the window, black strokes on a graph
of broken glass, birds line up on bare branches.
"This letter curves, this one spreads its branches
like friends holding hands outside their houses.
Was the lesson stopped by gunfire? Was
there panic, silence? Does a torn photograph
still gather children in the teacher's kitchen?
Are they there meticulously learning war-
time lessons with the signs for house, book, bread?
Charles Bukowski |
with an Apple Macintosh
you can't run Radio Shack programs
in its disc drive.
nor can a Commodore 64
drive read a file
you have created on an
IBM Personal Computer.
both Kaypro and Osborne computers use
the CP/M operating system
but can't read each other's
for they format (write
on) discs in different
the Tandy 2000 runs MS-DOS but
can't use most programs produced for
the IBM Personal Computer
bits and bytes are
but the wind still blows over
and in the Spring
the turkey buzzard struts and
flounces before his
Dejan Stojanovic |
If an ancient man saw planes two thousand years ago
He would've thought they were birds
Or angels from another world
Or messengers from other planets.
Every new machine would have surprised him—
The car, TV, radio, phone, camera.
He would've thought he was a savage
Who didn't understand.
If he saw a computer,
Watching people talking on the internet,
He would have thought it was a civilization
Much more advanced and ahead of his.
And if he stayed longer among the messengers
He would have learned that every child had the knowledge
And understanding of these things
Or how to use all of them.
Yet, after a while, he would have noticed
That none of them were advanced enough
To be labeled as those who know more
Than the one who said: I know nothing.
Kenn Nesbitt |
Poor Cinderella, whose stepmom was mean,
could never see films rated PG-13.
She hadn’t a cell phone and no DVD,
no notebook computer or pocket TV.
She wasn’t allowed to play video games.
The tags on her clothes had unfashionable names.
Her shoes were not trendy enough to be cool.
No limousine chauffeur would drive her to school.
Her house had no drawing room; only a den.
Her bedtime, poor darling, was quarter past ten!
Well one day Prince Charming declared that a ball
would be held in his honor and maidens from all
over the kingdom were welcome to come
and party to techno and jungle house drum.
But Poor Cinderella, with nothing to wear,
collapsed in her stepmother’s La-Z-Boy chair.
She let out a sigh, with a lump in her throat,
then sniffled and picked up the TV remote.
She surfed channel zero to channel one-ten
then went back to zero and started again.
She watched music videos, sitcoms and sports,
commercials and talkshows and weather reports.
But no fairy godmother came to her side
to offer a dress or a carriage to ride.
So Poor Cinderella’s been sitting there since,
while one of her stepsisters married the Prince.
She sits there and sadly complains to the screen,
if only her stepmother wasn’t so mean.
Copyright © Kenn Nesbitt 2009. All Rights Reserved.
Richard Brautigan |
I want your long blonde beauty
to be taught in high school,
so kids will learn that God
lives like music in the skin
and sounds like a sunshine harpsicord.
I want high school report cards
to look like this:
Playing with Gentle Glass Things
Writing Letters to Those You Love
Finding out about Fish
Marcia's Long Blonde Beauty