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Below are the 9 most recent journal entries recorded in yma's LiveJournal:

Saturday, June 19th, 2004
5:42 pm
2 poems, to make up for missing yesterdays
One Reason

I.

The sky's blue is not uniform: the air
is denser near the horizon, and multiple
scatterings of molecules there create
broken light. The most fundamental optical instrument--
the normal human eye--sees this air as white.

Even nearsighted, I see the sky
light's dominant color as plain blue
because my eyes are--like other, normal ones--
more sensitive to it than to a more brilliant violet.

II.

You and I hide ourselves with absoluteness:
two vertical lines on either side
of an italicized, lower-case i: |i|.

Our essence: imaginary. Two names
on each credit card, joint checking,
two signatures on the apartment lease--
these, our facts, assure us.

III.

For centuries, no number less than zero existed.
To acknowledge negative required a revision
of belief structures, a discarding of the simple,
one-word label
number.

IV.

A rational number: the ration of two integers
with terminating or repeating decimals.
There is an end point
or, at the very least, comforting repetition.


The square root of two is irrational,
represented by approximation,
just as our root is, ultimately, irrational.
We try to map it precisely but can
only smudge it with our fingers.

V.

For all practical purposes, we cannot prove
that i exists. The existence of real numbers,
however, implies the existence of i,

even if it cannot be expressed
with certain quantities of apples or oranges
or certain word problems like:
Annie has x pencils, and she gives i of them
to her classmate. How many pencils does Annie have left?

But we yearn for i. We want i in our lives,
even if we can't touch it, even though we'll never
be able to explain it to a close friend.

i didn't mean to kiss your husband
at the office party last Christmas,
it was just that i was under the mistletoe
and he happened to walk past, so i took advantage
of the situation because i was in the right
place at the right time.

Thus, the distance between i and you can be
calculated and is growing exponentially.

VI.

The scattered light's recombination illuminates
our appearance, so transparent its fragility is visible
to even the naked eye. Our nearsightedness dictates
our far point, sets limits on our future, which is not infinity--
but rather somewhere quite nearer.

But as we catch flashes of ourselves
in the dense air near the horizon,
i plus you seems tangible, seems almost real.


--Robyn D. Morgan
third coast magazine, spring 2004 issue

The Divorcée and Gin

I love the forsted pints you come in,
and the tall bottles with their uniformed men;
the bars where you're poured chilled
into shallow glasses, the taste of drowned olives,
and the scrawled benches where I see you
passed impatiently from one mouth
to another, the bag twisted tight around
your neck, the hand that holds you
shaking a little from its need
which is the true source of desire; God, I love
what you do to me at night when we're alone,
how you wait for me to tkae you into me
until I'm so confused with you I can't
stand up anymore. I know you want me
helpless, each cell whimpering, and I give
you that, letting you have me just the way
you like it. And when you're finished
you turn your face to the wall while I curl
around you again, and enter another morning
with aspirin and the useless ache
that comes from loving, too well,
those who, under the guise of pleasure,
destroy everything they touch.


--Kim Addonizio
Tell Me
Thursday, June 17th, 2004
3:26 pm
Eyes Down
Eyes Down

Today I wake like a chainsawed forest,
Snuggled in my limitations.

Not for me The Bigger Picture;
More the blurred, peripheral vision

Of a couple muzzy after love.
Intent on my toecaps, I've glimpsed the blue,

Gullied surprise of gentians in deep frost,
Budapest tramlines bronzed with chestnuts,

Everywhere an eyes-down planet
I would have missed if I'd been looking up.


--Robert Crawford
Poetry magazine, June/July 2004
Wednesday, June 16th, 2004
6:55 pm
The Dipper
As part of my attempt to force myself back to poetry, I'm going to post one poem every day from now until July 15th.

The Dipper

It was winter, near freezing,
I'd walked through a forest of firs
when I saw issue out of the waterfall
a solitary bird.

It lit on a damp rock,
and, as the water swept stupidly on,
wrung from its own throat
supple, undamnable song.

It isn't mine to give,
I can't coax this bird to my hand
that knows the depth of the river
yet sings it on land.


--Kathleen Jamie
Poetry Magazine, June-July 2004
Sunday, May 16th, 2004
10:31 pm
Friends Only from now on (and a poem)
Well, for my own writings. I will still post poems by other authors, ones that I think should be shared for whatever reason. But if you want to read my own works, you have to be my friend. Visit grass_stained, my personal journal, get to know me, let me get to know you, and we'll see what we can do.

Friends, log in to read the most recent poem.

In the Workshop After I Read My Poem Aloud

All at once everyone in the room says
nothing. They continue doing this and I begin to know
it is not because they are dumb. Finally

the guy from the Bay Area who wears his chapbook
on his sleeve says he likes the poem a lot
but can't really say why and silence

starts all over until someone says she only has
a couple of teeny suggestions such as taking out
the first three stanzas along with

all modifiers except "slippery" and "delicious"
in the remaining four lines. A guy who
hasn't said a word in three days says

he too likes the poem but wonders why
it was written and since I don't knoe wither
and don't even know if I should

I'm grateful there's a rule
I can't say anything now. Somebody
I think it's the shrink from Seattle

says the emotion is not earned and I wonder
when is it ever. The woman on my left
who just had a prose poem in Green Thumbs and Geoducks

says the opening stanza is unbelievable
and vindication comes for a sweet moment
until I realize she means unbelievable.

But I have my defenders too and the MFA from Iowa
the one who thinks the you is an I
and the they a we and the then a now

wants to praise the way the essential nihilism
of the poem's occasion serves to undermine
the formality of its diction. Just like your comment

I say to myself. Another admires the zenlike polarity
of the final image despite the mildly bathetic
symbolism of sheep droppings and he loves how

the three clichés in the penultimate stanza
are rescued by the brazen self-exploiting risk.
The teacher asks what about the last line

and the guy with the chapbook volunteers it suits
the poem's unambitious purpose though he has to admit
it could have been worded somewhat differently.


--Don Colburn
Friday, August 8th, 2003
11:01 am
Fork
Because on the first day of class you said,
"In ten years most of you won't be writing,"
barely hiding that you hoped it would be true;
because you told me over and over, in front of the class,
that I was "hopeless," that I was just wasting my time
but more importantly yours, that I JUST DIDN'T GET IT;
because you violently scratched out every other word,
scrawled "Awk" and "Eek" in the margines
as if you were some exotic bird,
then highlighted your own remarks in pink;
because you made us proofread the galleys
of your how-I-became-a-famous-writer memoir;
because you wanted disciples, and got them,
and hated mef or not becoming one;
because you were beautiful and knew it, and used it,
making wide come-fuck-me eyes
at your readers from the jackets of your books;
because when, at the end of the semester,
you grudgingly had the class over for dinner
at your over-decorated pseudo-Colonial
full of photographs with you at the center,
you served us take-out pizza on plastic plates
but had us eat it with your good silver;
and because a perverse inspiration rippled through me,

I stole a fork, slipping it into the pocket of my jeans,
then hummed with inward glee the rest of the evening
to feel its sharp tines pressing against my thigh
as we sat around you in your dark paneled study
listening to you blather on about your latest prize.
The fork was my prize. I practically sprinted
back to my dorm room, where I examined it:
a ridiculously ornate pattern, with vegetal swirls
and the curvaceous initials of one of your ancestors,
its flamboyance perfectly suited to your
red-lipsticked and silk-scarved ostentation.

That summer, after graduation, I flew to Europe,
stuffing the fork into one of the outer pouches
of my backpack. On a Eurail pass I covered ground
as only the young can, sleeping in youth hostels,
train stations, even once in the Luxembourg Gardens.
I'm sure you remember the snapshots you received
anonymously, each featuring your fork
at some celebrated European location: your fork
heald at arm's length with the Eiffel Tower
listing in the background; your fork
in the meaty hand of a smiling Beefeater;
your fork balanced on Keat's grave in Rome
or sprouting like an antenna from Brunelleschi's dome;
your fork dwarfing the Matterhorn.
I mailed the photos one by one--if possible
with the authenticating postmark of the city
where I took them. It was my mission that summer.

That was half my life ago. But all these years
I've kept the fork, through dozens of moves
and changes--always in the same desk drawer
among my pens and pencils, its sharp points
spurring me on. It became a talisman
whose tarnished aura had as much to do
with me as you. You might even say your fork
made me a writer. Not you, your fork.
You are still the worst teacher I ever had.
You should have been fired but instead got tenure.
As for the fork, just yesterday my daughter
asked me why I keep a fork in my desk drawer,
and I realized I don't need it anymore.
It has served its purpose. Therefore
I am returning it to you with this letter.

--Jeffrey Harrison, The Yale Review, April 2003
Sunday, July 27th, 2003
6:08 pm
The Foxhole Manifesto -- Jeff McDaniel
(formatting got screwed up a bit)

There are no atheists in foxholes
-old Christian Proverb

The first god I remember was a Santa Claus god, who you only
turned to around Christmas time,
who you tried to butter up, and then got mad at if you didn’t
get what you wanted.
That didn’t make sense. I knew if there was a god, he could see
through us, like we were made
out of cellophane, like he could stare directly into our hearts
the way we look into an aquarium,
like he’d know what was floating around in there, like he might be
the one feeding it.

Then there were those people who used god to threaten you,
saying you better
be careful—god’s watching, like god was a badass hillbilly
sitting in some cloud
with a pair of binoculars, a cotton candy beard, a six pack,
and a shotgun.

Then I saw people who had Jesus’ name on their bumper sticker,
like he was running for president.
And sometimes those people with Jesus on their bumper sticker
would cut you off
on the freeway and give you the finger, which is very different
from lending you a hand.

Then there were the people on television, dressed in weird clothes
and scary make-up, swearing
they had the secret to god, like god was a keyhole and their eyeball
was pressed to it, and if I just
gave ‘em some money they’d let me look, and then I could see god
just hanging around in his boxer shorts,
and though I liked the idea of spying on god, I began to wonder
if the world would be a healthier place
if the Romans had just put up with Jesus and let him die of old age.

And then there were the football players, kneeling down in front
of everybody, thanking god,
like he was their best friend, but then they’d jump around and spike
the ball, yell I’m number one,
and I’d be confused, because if you’re number one, then
what number is god?

Then I saw politicians trotting god out on a leash, like a racehorse
they wanted to hop on
and ride to the finish line. But if they lost it would be god’s fault,
and god would be the donkey
they’d pin all their problems on, and that was very nice of god:
to be both a race horse and a donkey.

And then there were those who said you’d better be good on Earth
if you wanna get into heaven,
like heaven was the United States, and Earth was Mexico, and angels
were border patrol. Like when you die
you sit in a parked car on the outskirts of heaven, the engine idling,
your soul in the back seat in one of those kennels
used to carry small dogs on airplanes, as you listen on the radio to all
the people you wronged testify against you.

And then there was the church, which was like a cafeteria, where
they served god to you on those very
un-godlike plates, but I wanted my god pure, and not watered down
by human beings, so I just had one of those
catastrophe gods—you know, the one you only turn to in an emergency,
like god’s the national guard you call in
to clean up the earthquake of your life. So I got drunk one night,
drove home, passed out behind the wheel,
woke, going sixty straight at a brick wall, slammed the brakes, heart
banging like a wrecking ball in my chest,
staring at death’s face in the bricks, close enough to see we had
the same cheekbones.

Now I have a god who’s like a mechanic who can fix anything,
so when I wanna chew somebody’s head off
like a saltwater taffy, or amputate my DNA, or open my wrists
like windows that have been painted shut,
I just put my soul into a box, like a busted computer, and haul it in.
And he never asks to see my paperwork,
or says my warranty has expired. And I walk out feeling better.
And I don’t care if he doesn’t exist.

Jeff McDaniel from “The Splinter Factory”
Thursday, September 26th, 2002
3:13 pm
Louise Gluck, "First Memory"
Long ago, I was wounded. I lived
to revenge myself
against my father, not
for what he was --
for what I was: from the beginning of time,
in childhood, I thought
that pain meant
I was not loved.
It meant I loved.
Wednesday, September 18th, 2002
8:34 pm
louise gluck, "parados"
Another poem that isn't mine. However, I enjoy this one, so I think it should go in here

Long ago, I was wounded.
I learned
to exist, in reaction,
out of touch
with the world: I'll tell you
what I meant to be --
a device that listened.
Not inert: still.
A piece of wood. A stone.

Why should I tire myself, debating, arguing?
Those people breathing in the other beds
could hardly follow, being
uncontrollable
like any dream --
through the blinds, I watched
the moon in the night sky, shrinking and swelling --

I was born to a vocation:
to bear witness
to the great mysteries.
Now that I've seen both
birth and death, I know
to the dark nature these
are proofs, not
mysteries--
Thursday, September 12th, 2002
11:08 pm
anne sexton: lullaby
Eh, for my first entry I should probably use something of my own, but I just want to share this.


It is a summer evening.
The yellow moth sags
against the locked screens
and the faded curtains
suck over the window sills
and from another building
a goat calls in his dreams.
This is the TV parloer
in the best ward at Bedlam.
The night nurse is passing
out the evening pills.
She walks on two erasers,
padding by us one by one.

My sleeping pill is white.
It is a splendid pearl;
it floats me out of myself,
my stung skin as alien
as a loose bolt of cloth.
I will ignore the bed.
I am linen on a shelf.
Let the others moan in secret;
let each lost butterfly
go home. Old woolen head,
take me like a yellow moth
while the goat calls hush-
a-bye.


You know you love it.
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