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Best Famous Laure-Anne Bosselaar Poems

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Written by Laure-Anne Bosselaar | Create an image from this poem

Community Garden

  I watch the man bend over his patch,   
a fat gunny sack at his feet.
He combs the earth with his fingers, picks up pebbles around tiny heads of sorrel.
Clouds bruise in, clog the sky, the first fat drops pock-mark the dust.
The man wipes his hands on his chest, opens the sack, pulls out top halves of broken bottles, and plants them, firmly, over each head of sorrel — tilting the necks toward the rain.
His back is drenched, so am I, his careful gestures clench my throat, wrench a hunger out of me I don't understand, can't turn away from.
The last plant sheltered, the man straightens his back, swings the sack over his shouler, looks at the sky, then at me and — as if to end a conversation — says: I know they'd survive without the bottles, I know.
He leaves the garden, plods downhill, blurs away.
I hear myself say it to no one: I never had a father.

Written by Laure-Anne Bosselaar | Create an image from this poem

The Worlds in this World

 Doors were left open in heaven again: 
drafts wheeze, clouds wrap their ripped pages 
around roofs and trees.
Like wet flags, shutters flap and fold.
Even light is blown out of town, its last angles caught in sopped newspaper wings and billowing plastic — all this in one American street.
Elsewhere, somewhere, a tide recedes, incense is lit, an infant sucks from a nipple, a grenade shrieks, a man buys his first cane.
Think of it: the worlds in this world.
Yesterday, while a Chinese woman took hours to sew seven silk stitches into a tapestry started generations ago, guards took only seconds to mop up a cannibal’s brain from the floor of a Wisconsin jail, while the man who bashed the killer’s head found no place to hide, and sat sobbing for his mother in a shower stall — the worlds in this world.
Or say, one year — say 1916: while my grandfather, a prisoner of war in Holland, sewed perfect, eighteen-buttoned booties for his wife with the skin of a dead dog found in a trench; shrapnel slit Apollinaire's skull, Jesuits brandished crucifixes in Ouagadougou, and the Parthenon was already in ruins.
That year, thousands and thousands of Jews from the Holocaust were already — were still ¬— busy living their lives; while gnawed by self-doubt, Rilke couldn’t write a line for weeks inVienna’s Victorgasse, and fishermen drowned off Finnish coasts, and lovers kissed for the very first time, while in Kashmir an old woman fell asleep, her cheek on her good husband's belly.
And all along that year the winds kept blowing as they do today, above oceans and steeples, and this one speck of dust was lifted from somewhere to land exactly here, on my desk, and will lift again — into the worlds in this world.
Say now, at this instant: one thornless rose opens in a blue jar above that speck, but you — reading this — know nothing of how it came to flower here, and I nothing of who bred it, or where, nothing of my son and daughter’s fate, of what grows in your garden or behind the walls of your chest: is it longing? Fear? Will it matter? Listen to that wind, listen to it ranting The doors of heaven never close, that’s the Curse, that’s the Miracle.
Written by Laure-Anne Bosselaar | Create an image from this poem


  I sold her bed for a song.
A song of yearning like an orphan’s.
Or the one knives carve into bread.
But the un-broken bread song too.
For the song that rivers sing to the ferryman’s oars.
With that dread in it.
For a threadbare tune: garroted, chest-choked, cheap.
A sparrow’s, beggar’s, a foghorn’s call.
For the kind of song only morning can slap on love-stained sheets — that’s what I sold my mother’s bed for.
The one she died in.
Sold it for a song.
Written by Laure-Anne Bosselaar | Create an image from this poem

Dinner at the Who's Who

  amidst swirling wine 
and flickers of silver guests quote 
Dante, Brecht, Kant and each other.
I wait in the hall after not powdering my nose, trying to re- compose that woman who’ll graciously take her place at the table and won’t tell her hosts: I looked into your bedroom and closets, smelled your “Obsession” and “Brut,” sat on your bed, imagined you in those spotless sheets, looked long into the sad eyes of your son staring at your walls from his frame.
I tried to smile at myself in your mirrors, wondering if you smile that way too: those resilient little smiles one smiles at one’s self before facing the day, or another long night ahead — guests coming for dinner.
So I wait in this hall because there are nights it’s hard not to blurt out Stop! Stop our babble: Pulitzer, Wall Street, sex, Dante, politics, wars, have some Chianti.
let’s stop and talk.
Of our thirsts and obsessions, our bedrooms and closets, the brutes in our mirrors, the eyes of our sons.
There is time yet — let’s talk.
I am starving.
Written by Laure-Anne Bosselaar | Create an image from this poem

Filthy Savior

  Look at this storm, the idiot,
pouring its heart out here, of all places,
an industrial suburb on a Sunday, 
soaking nothing but cinder-block
and parking lots,

 wasting its breath on smokeless 
smoke-stacks, not even a trash can 
to send rumbling through the streets.
And that lightning bolt, forking itself to death, to hit nothing — what a waste.
What if I hadn’t been here, lost too, four in the morning, driving around in a jean-shirt over my night-gown, reciting Baudelaire aloud — like an idiot ¬— unable to sleep, scared to death by my longing for it, death, so early in the morning, driving until the longing runs on empty? The windshield wipers can’t keep up with this deluge, and I almost run over it, a flapping white thing in the middle of the street.
I step out, it’s a gull, one leg caught in a red plastic net snared around its neck.
I throw my shirt over the shrieking thing, take it back to the car, search my bag for something, anything, find a nail file, start sawing at the net.
The gull is huge, filthy, it shits on my shirt, pecks at me — idiot, I’m trying to save you.
I slip a sleeve over its head, hold it down with one hand, saw, cut, pull with the other, free the leg, the neck, wrap the gull again, hold it against me, fighting for its life, its crazed heart beats against mine.
I put my package on the hood, open the shirt, and there it goes, letting the wind push it, suck it into a cloud; then it’s gone — like some vague, inhuman longing — as the rain lifts, and the suburbs emerge in dirty white light.

Written by Laure-Anne Bosselaar | Create an image from this poem

English Flavors

  I love to lick English the way I licked the hard 
round licorice sticks the Belgian nuns gave me for six
good conduct points on Sundays after mass.
Love it when ‘plethora’, ‘indolence’, ‘damask’, or my new word: ‘lasciviousness,’ stain my tongue, thicken my saliva, sweet as those sticks — black and slick with every lick it took to make daggers out of them: sticky spikes I brandished straight up to the ebony crucifix in the dorm, with the pride of a child more often punished than praised.
‘Amuck,’ ‘awkward,’ or ‘knuckles,’ have jaw- breaker flavors; there’s honey in ‘hunter’s moon,’ hot pepper in ‘hunk,’ and ‘mellifluous’ has aromas of almonds and milk .
Those tastes of recompense still bitter-sweet today as I roll, bend and shape English in my mouth, repeating its syllables like acts of contrition, then sticking out my new tongue — flavored and sharp — to the ambiguities of meaning.