so much depends

upon

a red wheel

barrow

glazed with rain

water

beside the white

chickens

William Carlos Williams

The morning coffee. I'm not sure why I drink it. Maybe it's the ritual of the cup, the spoon, the hot water, the milk, and the little heap of brown grit, the way they come together to form a nail I can hang the day on. It's something to do between being asleep and being awake. Surely there's something better to do, though, than to drink a cup of instant coffee. Such as meditate? About what? About having a cup of coffee. A cup of coffee whose first drink is too hot and whose last drink is too cool, but whose many in-between drinks are, like Baby Bear's porridge, just right. Papa Bear looks disgruntled. He removes his spectacles and swivels his eyes onto the cup that sits before Baby Bear, and then, after a discrete cough, reaches over and picks it up. Baby Bear doesn't understand this disruption of the morning routine. Papa Bear brings the cup close to his face and peers at it intently. The cup shatters in his paw, explodes actually, sending fragments and brown liquid all over the room. In a way it's good that Mama Bear isn't there. Better that she rest in her grave beyond the garden, unaware of what has happened to the world.

Ron Padgett


Prayer the church's banquet, angel's age,

God's breath in man returning to his birth,

The soul in paraphrase, heart in pilgrimage,

The Christian plummet sounding heav'n and earth

Engine against th' Almighty, sinner's tow'r,

Reversed thunder, Christ-side-piercing spear,

The six-days world transposing in an hour,

A kind of tune, which all things hear and fear;

Softness, and peace, and joy, and love, and bliss,

Exalted manna, gladness of the best,

Heaven in ordinary, man well drest,

The milky way, the bird of Paradise,

Church-bells beyond the stars heard, the soul's blood,

The land of spices; something understood.

"Prayer (I)"

George Herbert


Feeling rich for one moment for using money as a bookmark

Feeling deceitful for making public some opinions while neglecting others

Feeling disordered at the sight of three statues conspiring in a row

Feeling insufficient for having a lukewarm reaction to news

Feeling important for having been offered a seat at the table

Feeling apologetic for nonetheless tuning out an argument

Feeling blue for identifying some people who don’t respect you

Feeling like a knife slipping into a pool of water for bearing  disagreement

Feeling redundant for moving in a similar direction as others

Feeling angry for imagining the opening of the passage yet  unopened for you

Feeling antisocial for declining further missives from home

"Inventory for Spring"

Wendy Xu


A grand piano wrapped in quilted pads by movers, tied up

with canvas straps—like classical music’s birthday gift

to the criminally insane—is gently nudged without its legs

out an eighth-floor window on 62nd street.

It dangles in April air from the neck of the movers’ crane,

Chopin-shiny black lacquer squares and dirty white crisscross

patterns hanging like the second-to-last note of a concerto

played on the edge of the seat, the edge of tears, the edge

of eight stories up going over—it's a piano being pushed

out of a window and lowered down onto a flatbed truck!—

and I’m trying to teach math in the building across the street.

Who can teach when there are such lessons to be learned?

All the greatest common factors are delivered by long-necked cranes

and flatbed trucks or come through everything, even air. Like snow.

See, snow falls for the first time every year, and every year

my students rush to the window as if snow were more interesting

than math, which, of course, it is.

So please.


Let me teach like a Steinway,

spinning slowly in April air,

so almost-falling, so hinderingly

dangling from the neck of the movers’ crane.

So on the edge of losing everything.

Let me teach like the first snow, falling.

"Undivided Attention"

Taylor Mali


Cherry plums suck a week’s soak,

overnight they explode into the scenery of before

your touch. The curtains open on the end of our past.

Pink trumpets on the vines bare to the hummingbirds.

Butterflies unclasp from the purse of their couplings, they

light and open on the doubled hands of eucalyptus fronds.

They sip from the pistils for seven generations that bear

them through another tongue as the first year of our

punishing mathematic begins clicking the calendar

forward. They land like seasoned rocks on the

decks of the cliffs. They take another turn

on the spiral of life where the blossoms

blush & pale in a day of dirty dawn

where the ghost of you webs

your limbs through branches

of cherry plum. Rare bird,

extinct color, you stay in

my dreams in x-ray. In

rerun, the bone of you

stripping sweethearts

folds and layers the

shedding petals of

my grief into a

decayed holo-

gram—my

for ever

empty

art.


"Valentine"

Lorna Dee Cervantes


There was an old man of Calcutta,

Who coated his tonsils with butta,

Thus converting his snore

From a thunderous roar

To a soft, oleaginous mutta.

Ogden Nash


It's been a long time, I shouldn't have left you

Without a strong rhyme to step to

Think of how many weak shows you slept through

Time's up, I'm sorry I kept you

Thinking of this, you keep repeating, you miss

The rhymes from the microphone soloist

So you sit by the radio, hand on the dial, soon

As you hear it, pump up the volume

Dance with the speaker 'till you hear it blow

Then plug in the headphone cause here it go

It's a four-letter word when it's heard, it controls

Your body to dance (You got it) soul

Detects the tempo like a red alert

Reaches your reflex, and let it work

When this is playing, you can't get stuck with

The steps, so get set and I'mma still come up with

A gift to be swift, follow the leader, the rhyme will go

Def with the record that was mixed a long time ago

It can be done but only I can do it

For those that can't dance, just clap your hands to it

I start to think and then I sink

Into the paper like I was ink

When I'm writing, I'm trapped in between the lines

I escape when I finish the rhyme...

I got soul

You got it

You got it

You got it

You got it


Picture a mic, the stage is empty

A beat like this might tempt me

To pose, show my rings and my fat gold chain

Grab the mic like I'm on Soul Train

But I wait cause I mastered this

Let the others go first so the brothers don't miss

Eric B. break the sticks (you got it)

Rakim will begin when you make the mix

I'll experiment like a scientist

You wanna rhyme, you gotta sign my list

Cause I'm a manifest and bless the mic I hold

You want it next? then you gotta have soul

Cause if you ain't got it, I'm a make an encore

Take the mic, make the people respond for

The R, cause that's the way it'll have to be

If you wanna get on after me

Think about it, wait, erase your rhyme

Forget it and don't waste your time

Cause I'll be in the crowd if you ain't controlling it

Drop the mic, you shouldn't be holding it

This is how it should be done

This style is identical to none

Some try to make it sound like this but you're getting me

So upset that I'm wet cause you're sweating me

I drip steam like a microphone fiend

Eager to MC is my theme

I get hype when I hear a drum roll

Rakim is on the mic and you know I got soul

You got it

You got it

You got it

You got it

I got soul (you got it) that's why I came

To teach those who can't say my name

First of all, I'm the soloist, the soul controller

Rakim gets stronger as I get older

Constant elevation causes expansion

I write my rhymes while I cool in my mansion

Then put it on tape and in the city I test it

Then on the radio the R is requested

You listen to it, the concept might break you

Cause almost anyone can relate to

Whoever's out of hand, I'mma give 'em handles

Light 'em up, blow 'em out like candles

Or should I just let 'em melt?

Then give 'em a hand so they can see how it felt

I'm not bold just cause I rock gold

Rakim is on the mic, and you know I got soul

You got it

You got it

You got it

You got it


Now I'mma stop to see what you got

Get off the mic before I get too hot

I want to see which posse can dance the best

It should be easy cause the beat is fresh

Now if you're from Uptown, Brooklyn-bound

The Bronx, Queens, and Long Island Sound

Even other states come right and exact

It ain't where you're from, it's where you're at

Since you came here, you have to show and prove

And do that dance until it don't move

Cause all you need is soul self-esteem will release

The rest is up to you, Rakim'll say peace

"I Know You Got Soul"

Rakim


lighght

Aram Saroyan


A narrow Fellow in the Grass

Occasionally rides -

You may have met him? Did you not

His notice instant is -

The Grass divides as with a Comb,

A spotted Shaft is seen,

And then it closes at your Feet

And opens further on -

He likes a Boggy Acre -  

A Floor too cool for Corn -

But when a Boy and Barefoot

I more than once at Noon

Have passed I thought a Whip Lash

Unbraiding in the Sun

When stooping to secure it

It wrinkled And was gone -

Several of Nature’s People

I know, and they know me

I feel for them a transport

Of Cordiality

But never met this Fellow

Attended or alone

Without a tighter Breathing

And Zero at the Bone.

Emily Dickinson


Poetry is truth in its Sunday clothes

Joseph Roux

Poetry is just the evidence of life.
If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash.

Leonard cohen

If I feel physically as if the top of my head
were taken off, I know that is poetry.

Emily Dickinson

Poetry is a deal of joy and pain and wonder,
with a dash of the dictionary.

Khalil Gibran

Poetry is the journal of a sea animal living on land, wanting to fly in the air.

Carl Sandburg

Poetry is an act of peace.

Pablo Neruda


Poetry is ordinary language raised to the Nth power. Poetry is boned with ideas,
nerved and blooded with emotions, all held together by the delicate, tough skin of words.

Paul Engle

Poetry is eternal graffiti
written in the heart of everyone.

Lawrence Ferlinghetti

Poets are soldiers that liberate words
from the steadfast possession of definition.

Eli Khamarov

The poet is the priest of the invisible.

Wallace Stevens

Poetry is frosted fire.

J. Patrick Lewis