theme

Meanwhile in my head, I'm undergoing open-heart surgery. - Anne Sexton
199"I was so bored yesterday evening
two packs of cigarettes did absolutely nothing for me.
Tried to write, wrote nothing.
For the first time in years I played the violin,
walked around,
watched people play backgammon
and made appropriate comments,
sang songs off key,
caught flies — a matchboxful.
Finally, dammit!
I came here to see you…" - Orhan Veli Kanik, from The Visitor
299"You want to believe
you can turn emotion’s flood
into living waters
from which you’ll emerge whole,
dazzling like the sun." - Rachel Barenblat, from Standing At The Edge
365"Cut me open and the light streams out.
Stitch me up and the light keeps streaming out between
the stitches." - Richard Siken, from The Dislocated Room
494"It’s love or it isn’t." - Richard Siken, from The Dislocated Room
263"And yet both had this hidden impulse, this incalculable force—this thing they cared for and didn’t talk about—oh, what was it?" - Virginia Woolf, from Night And Day
650"Feelings:
oh, I have those; they
govern me." -  Louise Glück, from The Red Poppy
405"How wrong we both were
about each other,
and how happy we have been." - Linda Pastan, from I Married You
253"You’re trying to remember something
too important to forget." - Naomi Shihab Nye, from The Art Of Disappearing
247"You worship the blood
you call it hysterical bleeding
you want to drink it like milk
you dip your finger into it and write
you faint at the smell of it
you dream of dumping me into the sea." - Adrienne Rich, from Waking In The Dark
273"The first day it feels like fall
I want to tell my secrets
recklessly until there is nothing
you don’t know that would make
your heart change years from now.
How foolish we are to believe
we might outlive this distance.
I don’t know names for things
in the prairie, where the expanse
of light and the hissing of tall stalks
make me move slowly,
like in another country before
I must share it with anyone.
In what do you believe?
In September’s slight motion
of particulars, in the weight of birds,
in lust, propulsion, maps
that lie. You should not have loved
me.
Now: goldenrod, prairie-clover,
the ovate-leafed bluebell with its open
throat saying how did you expect
to feel?
Colonies of prairie-smoke
and pods turning golden and papery,
the grassy plains iterating patience,
and things I cannot name.
Begin with apples reddening.
Begin with a woman touching
the cities in your feet.
Hartford,
Anchorage, the Bronx. Did you ever
see yourself as more
than yourself?
I walk into a part
of afternoon that deepens
inventing an endpoint
for sadness. Everyone is gone.
On the subject of deception,
where do you stand?
There’s a chill
in the air and the flowers know,
the goddamned flowers, their loosed
color. Sometimes we are cruel
and we mean it. We author the house
with its threadbare linens, the false
miniatures of people saying look at me.
Will the landscape forgive you?
Is it yours to describe? What
is the sound inside your mouth?

I’m surrounded by grasslands
in every direction. The sound
is a clamoring, because desire
is never singular and we want it
this way. We want it easy.
I have already let go
of summer. Here, the wind—
dispersal of seeds and story. Love,
there are things I cannot name." - Stacie Cassarino, from Midwest Eclogue
328"— One day it happens: what you have feared all your life,
the unendurably specific, the exact thing. No matter what you say or do." - Marie Howe, from How Some Of It Happened
498"I love you but I’m married.
I love you but I wish you had more hair.
I love you more.
I love you more like a friend.
I love your friends more than you.
I love how when we go into a mall and classical muzak is playing,
you can always name the composer.
I love you, but one or both of us is/are fictional.
I love you but "I" am an unstable signifier.
I love you saying, "I understand the semiotics of that" when I said, "I
had a little personal business to take care of.”

I love you as long as you love me back.
I love you in spite of the restraining order.
I love you from the coma you put me in.
I love you when you’re not getting drunk and stupid.
I love how you get me.
I love your pain, it’s so competitive.
I love how emotionally unavailable you are.
I love you like I’m a strange backyard and you’re running from the
cops, looking for a place to stash your gun.
I love your hair.
I love you but I’m just not that into you.
I love you secretly.
I love how you make me feel like I’m a monastery in the desert.
I love how you defined grace as the little turn the blood in the
syringe takes when you’re shooting heroin, after you pull back
the plunger slightly to make sure you hit the vein.
I love your mother, she’s the opposite of mine.
I love you and feel a powerful spiritual connection to you, even
though we’ve never met.
I love your tacos! I love your stick deodorant!
I love it when you tie me up with ropes using the knots you
learned in Boy Scouts, and when you do the stoned Dennis
Hopper rap from Apocalypse Now!
I love your extravagant double takes!
I love your mother, even though I’m nearly her age!
I love everything about you except your hair.
If it weren’t for that I know I could really, really love you." - Kim Addonizio, from Lucifer At The Starlite: Forms Of Love
172"Reading a good one makes me love the one who wrote it,
as well as the animal or element or planet or person
the poet wrote the poem for. I end up like I always do,
flat on my back like a drunk in the grass, loving the world.
Like right now, I’m reading a poem called "Summer"
by John Ashbery whose poems I never much cared for,
and suddenly, in the dead of winter, "There is that sound
like the wind/Forgetting in the branches that means
something/Nobody can translate…”
I fall in love
with that line, can actually hear it (not the line
but the wind) and it’s summer again and I forget
I don’t like John Ashbery poems. So I light a cigarette
and read another by Zbigniew Herbert, a poet
I’ve always admired but haven’t read enough of, called
"To Marcus Aurelius" that begins "Good night Marcus
put out the light/and shut the book For overhead/is raised
a gold alarm of stars…”
First of all I suddenly love
anyone with the name Zbigniew. Second of all I love
anyone who speaks in all sincerity to the dead
and by doing so brings that personage back to life,
plunging a hand through the past to flip off the light.
The astral physics of it just floors me. Third of all
is that "gold alarm of stars…" By now I’m a goner,
and even though I have to get up tomorrow at 6 am
I forge ahead and read "God’s Justice" by Anne Carson,
another whose poems I’m not overly fond of
but don’t actively disdain. I keep reading one line
over and over, hovering above it like a bird on a wire
spying on the dragonfly with "turquoise dots all down its back
like Lauren Bacall”
. Like Lauren Bacall!! Well hell,
I could do this all night. I could be in love like this
for the rest of my life, with everything in the expanding
universe and whatever else might be beyond it
that we can’t grind a lens big enough to see. I light up
another smoke, maybe the one that will kill me,
and go outside to listen to the moon scalding the iced trees.
What, I ask you, will become of me?" - Dorianne Laux, from Mugged By Poetry
527"

The poets stand in the rain.
They wear no raincoats.
They have no umbrellas.
They are discussing the shadow of a shadow of a shadow.

But their poetry is already soaking wet—
They have not developed their reality muscles
So they walk with a limp while admiring the color of a vein in a leaf.

" - Mahvash Mossaed from My Painted Dreams: The Poets
/ past