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Monday, March 23, 2015

"Other" ------ poem by Nathaniel Hutner

You will use my madness
To give me pain – you,
Who speak in the guise of truth
And wish me ill.
Have I not pain enough
For the ten of you, or twenty?
Can you really be invulnerable?
You have given the gift of my faults.
I have already lived with them,
They know me,
And I have made them my friends.
It is as if I lived with them
On a small island and we passed
Our time shifting places.

I am now all that I have been
And shall be,
History and potentiality.
My faults cannot destroy me.
Nor my madness.
Nor you.

Nathaniel C. Hutner

First published in Chrysanthemum, Spring/Summer 1992

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Two poems ----- Joseph Riccardi


No longer to eat this bread of Earth,
Will I taste a richer bread,
Will I sit again at someone's board
Or will stones remain my bed?

So traveler, pass on --
And if your bread is poor,
Be thankful you can curse at it,
And pound on the baker's door!


Poverty is a black kid
bouncing on a box spring
put out for the garbage --
but now a trampoline!

Poverty is looking for coins
under the sofa cushions,
fallen from pockets
to buy bread and milk!

Poverty is ten kids
climbing over a truck
marked "Good Humor" --
buying half of an ice pop!

Poverty is a toothache
and you with no dentist
to relieve the pain,
and you with no mother!

Poverty's a saxophone
you have to conceal
as you run home
from band practice!

Poverty's having no legs
and you on a roller
plunking the banjo,
while begging for money!

Poverty's never putting
your rippling muscles
to useful endeavor,
but only to harming!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Joel Kabakov -------- Five Poems

Night Singer
(for O.T.)

I saw the full moon take a last sip of ocean
wipe her lip on a cloud
and slink down an elliptical alley
our marooned throats parched at the thought of squinting
at the light of day
as the shadows long and regal before her imperious stare
now decayed into high-contrast artificiality
frogs and crickets fallen silent
speechless along with the whole backside of the planet
diurnal fools began shuffling from desk to desk
clutching cases crammed with sobriety
While after dawn
I hang out at her favorite bar
wings folded
waiting to sing.


This love that our glance created
is but a distant mirage
a mirage in the desert
keeping life’s waters
eternally beyond reach
as if knowing that thirst sustains love
the absence of quenching
of final attainment
the suffering root
the branch
a blossom’s fragrance
all reaching
for that hint of heavenly dew
to arrive
just before
the moment of extinction.

Ask Me

We now learn that matter in the universe is aligned
in a grid,
that each molecule knows its mark
as if order came first
that the stars know the moment of our birth
as if knowledge came first
that each canvas knows what it wants to become
as if image came first
that the tiger knows when to strike
as if power came first
that prayer is answered
as if God came first
and as all systems fail
all gods flee
all stars fall
and as knowledge is overrun by innocence
something else comes into being
Ask me.

Columbia Crossing

Riotous wild flowers defy
the vandal winds of noon
a ruler of skies and river
retracts his wings
talons outstretched
into the rapids below the dam
I watch and conjugate “ I am” in several dead languages
may the tongues whose words for the movement of water
the finite expressions for the consistency of snow
and the constancy of love
may poesy that long ago ceased its harmonious continuum
when the river stopped
cry out in counterpoint with the rapids again
we walk among the blossoms and the driftwood bereft of literacy
as scriptures encode themselves
in the pagination of windblown silts
respelling the gorge through millennia.

Available Light

I straddle her doorway
phantom quiet
she greets me
“there’s a switch on the wall
behind you and a little to the right”
she says
“but remember
I live by available light”
she says
my dark pocket disgorges its dried fruit
its seeds
“I suspected you of coming to share your needs”
she says
“but when the sun abdicates its window above
certain species are available for love”
“now take my hand
think to me
there is an available link to me
not in gravity
not in jest
nor time escaping in your chest
copperite moons upon the moat
not scripture
nor what patient prelates wrote”
“belong to none and no one
nor to me”
she says
“I’m available
available but free.”