Tonight No Poetry Will Serve – Adrienne Rich

Saw you walking barefoot taking a long look at the new moon’s eyelid later spread sleep-fallen, naked in your dark hair asleep but not oblivious of the unslept unsleeping elsewhere Tonight I think no poetry will serve Syntax of rendition: verb pilots the plane adverb modifies action verb force-feeds noun submerges the subject noun is choking verb disgraced goes on doing there are adjectives up for sale now diagram the sentence   Adrienne Rich, May 26, 2008.  

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Translations – Adrienne Rich

You show me the poems of some woman my age, or younger translated from your language Certain words occur: enemy, oven, sorrow enough to let me know she’s a woman of my time obsessed with Love, our subject: we’ve trained it like ivy to our walls baked it like bread in our ovens worn it like lead on our ankles watched it through binoculars as if it were a helicopter bringing food to our famine or the satellite of a hostile power I begin to see that woman doing things: stirring rice ironing a skirt typing a manuscript till dawn…

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The Cycle Continues – Lidwina Bautista

  I see her — a small, brown woman pushing a baby carriage behind a white woman; sadness envelopes my heart, weep I say will my weeping free her or console her? I see their passive faces wanting to disappear and hide their faces educated women, forced to flee the poverty and bleak future at home.   I wonder what she is thinking fear of people laughing and feeling sorry for her JUST A NANNY, a maid, must comply to her master’s wishes/commands or be sent back to her past from which she is trying to run away.   Hush,…

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Pears – For Kathleen B. Nestor by Mary D’Angelo

  O, how you filled my baby days with sticky sweet-tasting pureed pears, strained through the family sieve. The yellow-skinned fruit with the spherical base and tapered top that you would skin with your sharp knife.   How we laughed when the cat played with the peel, pawing it through the air, while I sat strapped in the high-chair, my mouth shaped in the smallest O, my eyes wider than the years between us.   My mouth a hangar, the spoon of pears a plane that zipped though the air, each swallow followed by a laugh.   How our memories…

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The Weakness – Toi Derricotte

That time my grandmother dragged me through the perfume aisles at Saks, she held me up by my arm, hissing, “Stand up,” through clenched teeth, her eyes bright as a dog’s cornered in the light. She said it over and over, as if she were Jesus, and I were dead. She had been solid as a tree, a fur around her neck, a light-skinned matron whose car was parked, who walked on swirling marble and passed through brass openings — in 1 9 4 5. There was not even a black elevator operator at Saks. The saleswoman had brought velvet…

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The Lover

I want to approach you naked in my musings and black jeans. To join you and share a belly laugh without invading to relax with you listening, attuned to befriend you without crowding. Love and caress you, with no touching skin. To watch the Aspen outside, shudder in the storm, cold. Rain beckons us Water beads Horizontal confetti Tap tap tapping “Cheers” on the window. As I kiss the fine hair dotting the length of your spine, I want to wrap myself around you twice — like I’m six feet tall. Protective, urgent. Make you moan As the wind howls,…

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The Sound of My Name – Dily Morris

Over and over I call her back to me– her flowered bathrobe with pink trim around the collar glasses a little crooked hair wispy white. Scuffing blue terrycloth slippers she turns toward me, grasping the counter edge for balance, and speaks my name with more love than anyone ever squeezed into one word. Over and over I listen to the sound of my name– the memory of her, speaking my name.   Dily Morris

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One Death – Geraldine Connolly

When my grandmother was dying in her soft bed in the corner of my aunt’s farmhouse kitchen, we all sat with her, even the children   staring at the white, shut face, masked in a rapture of its own while all the noisy racket of death filled the air, lungs letting go,   blood about to rise in a purple wash, the pot of bones knocking, in a fury to stay behind, stay with us. Or perhaps the soul was rattling   its grip, a last hold on life, giving the body one final slap, she shuddered and trembled so,…

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My Elegant Solution

“I’m taking Butch out,” I said, while standing in the hallway outside my parents room. It was 7 a.m. on a Friday morning in August and I was reporting my activities to them, as I had to do all the time. I was sixteen. School was out and I got no reprieve from either of them. How I hated summer for this reason. There was no answer. Perfect. I unhooked our small black Lab from the indoor leash they kept him on. At least he wasn’t muzzled overnight like at other times. I bent down to pet him. Tears welled…

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