One More Heinous Crime

Until they look around
to the wide world and all her fading sweets,
there is your book, just as you laid it down,
the sun crawling inside the sheets
behind the wall thin as a wren’s bone:
a heap of broken images where the sun beats.
So at the edge of my home town
I drive around the streets
with neither name nor face.
A bottle of red wine each night moved her along
(and this gray spirit yearning in desire).
Each moment is a place.
Huge pangs, and strong,
until the lengthening wings break into fire.

Emily Dickinson | Facts by Our Side Are Never Sudden
William Shakespeare | Sonnet 19
Edna St. Vincent Millay | Interim
Anne Sexton | The Break Away
Dylan Thomas | Vision and Prayer (I)
T. S. Eliot | The Waste Land
William Stafford | Boom Town
Charles Bukowski | I Made a Mistake
Ogden Nash | A Tale of the Thirteenth Floor
Nick Flynn | You Asked How
Alfred, Lord Tennyson | Ulysses
Mark Strand | Black Maps
John Milton | Upon the Circumcision
Elizabeth Barrett Browning | Sonnet 22


Tanka after Titles from The Devil's Tour, by Mary Karr

Etching of the plague
years. Winter in the city
of friendship. Rounds, sad
rite, soft mask. Grace. The legion
bayou. The unweepables.


In Tranquillity

When I think of it now, the danger, the eventual gunshots echoing off gray brick, I remember
  the panicked yells of inquiry,

two wild, one found only in cultivation.
A vessel in Juan’s brain begins to bleed.

We go on and we tremble,
return to sip coffee quietly.

          Santee Frazier | The Robbery
          Josephine Miles | Fields of Learning
          Linda Kunhardt | Order
          Frank Stanford | Pits
         Martín Espada | Imagine the Angels of Bread


Turning Away Quite Leisurely

The quotidian violence of the world!
Knowing this is by no means death
(though the death-tined rioting peasant’s rake
is cozening the Princesse de Clèves into a midnight micturition spree
with no end, but brilliant nonetheless),
I’ll have to wear dark glasses and carry the cane.

     Arthur Size | Shooting Star
     Denise Levertov | At the Justice Department November 15, 1969
     Ed Sanders | Yiddish Speaking Socialists of the Lower East Side
     John Ashbery | Daffy Duck in Hollywood
     Terence Winch | The Them Decade
     David Trinidad | Evening Twilight


A Shovel the Only Sound

My mom often said he wasn’t the man
running down the stairwell in the garden . . .

                    When she was found, she was lying on her face.

And I made one big mistake tonight.
I did not call to the Holy Spirit or whistle My lordy, lordy.

     Nin Andrews | Something Else
     Charles Reznikoff | Domestic Scenes
     Blas Falconer | Dear Friend
     John Giorno | I Resigned Myself to Being Here
     David Biespiel | Marvel


Almost Up to Modernism

Here is a factory made fresh by broken windows.
Columns constructed from delirious dust
split into a roomful of pictures that shimmer along walls
speaking in tongues,
destroying the Lake Poets in the process.

     Elaine Equi | A Bouquet of Objects
     Diane Ward | Lovely Stuff
     Donna Masini | Nightscape
     Yusef Komunyakaa | “Everybody's Reading Li Po” Silkscreened on a Purple T-Shirt
     Michael Davidson | Thinking the Alps


Thick Clouds Conspire

O, I’m the man who sailed those early seas
with a pair of wooden spoons on an oil drum,
holding quiet conversations with an early moon.
Key West sank downward under massive clouds
you will feel against your ankles as you pass through.

         Langston Hughes | Let America Be America Again
         Elizabeth Alexander | Praise Song for the Day
         Amy Lowell | Lilacs
         Wallace Stevens | Farewell to Florida
         Lucie Brock-Broido | Domestic Mysticism


Home Invasion with IKEA Bath Textiles

She was born to tease
and lay there in the middle of the bed.
Three boys beyond their mothers’ call
shed tears, bodily fluids, at all this trust, at even the thought.
Along the wall, the family’s bright towels.

     Carla Drysdale | Video Game
     Elaine Sexton | Rethinking Regret
     Mary Cornish | Numbers
     Denise Duhamel | Buying Stock
     Marie-Elizabeth Mali | Cabana Boy


Risen from Her Bed of Troublesome Snacks

Without saying hello, in the restaurant
my Great Aunt Sarah
drives back another wad of tobacco,
spits it into the pan of eggs.
And just what the fuck else was she supposed to do?

     Jeffrey McDaniel | The Quiet World
     Robert Lowell | My Last Afternoon with Uncle Devereux Winslow
     Dara Wier | Fear
     Sylva Fischerová | Eggs, Newspaper, and Coffee (trans. Sylva
        Fischerová and Stuart Friebert
     Jayne Cortez | Rape


Lower Peninsula Pastoral

The ward is quiet, the mothers delivered,
all bafflement and loveliness. The still air,
the sob at the base of the body.
In the house in Detroit,
dogs who pitch and yaw all night for a little water.

     Elizabeth Spires | The First Day
     Paul Violi | When to Slap a Woman
     Andrew Joron | Skymap Under Skin
     Lawrence Joseph | Sand Nigger
     Jane Miller | Adoration


On This a Whole Kingdom Hung

The mills locked their doors and I thought I heard voices.
I had already been weeping quietly.

A man sweating and stoking,
the yellow hulk of Cats winding bay front chip yards—
we were the fragrance of the idea of the meaning of not. We didn’t want destruction.

Meanwhile, the sunlight off broken glass is everywhere.

     Gabrielle Calvocoressi | Late Twentieth Century in the Form of Litany
     Patrick Donnelly | Prayer at the Opera
     Anthony Walton | Third Shift
     Michael McGriff | Coos Bay
     Adrian Blevins | Why the Marriage Failed
     Oliver de la Paz | Hello,


Matter Got Up in Costume as Itself

The oleanders in your courtyard
     where they burn candles for you

Failing yellow light
     leaves out subject and object

To trust that last breath wings out something more than air

     Federico García Lorca | Ballad of One Doomed to Die (Romance
          del Emplazado
, trans. Langston Hughes)
     Ishmael Reed | Pocadonia
     Karla Kelsey | Fragile Ladder Barques, 10.3
     Carlos Drummond de Andrade | Looking for Poetry
     Mark Doty | Theory of the Soul


Since Your Love Died

The disobedient mind is the fruit of inactivity swaying upon
petals on a wet, black bough
drying inward from the edge.
To know there’s no one here to save you:
ah guess ah’ll go up Echo Mountain and crah.

         Philip Whalen | Many Colored Squares
         Ezra Pound | In a Station of the Metro
         Edna St. Vincent Millay | Ebb
         Gabrielle Calvocoressi | Save Me Joe Louis
         Edward Field | Unwanted


Dark Harvest

It was late September. I’d just poured a glass of wine, begun
to think I had sent the postman and his donkey
out of the barn and
into the static. And as I heard my father
(someone dying of love, someone from whom time had taken
flags and honking cars,
the various and gathered families)
howl down the spiral staircase
Come all ye faithless
I drove into town to drink tea in the cafe.

     Carol Ann Duffy | Mrs Midas
     Rod Jellema | Letter to Myra Sklarew, Visiting Mekounida, on the Island of Evvoia,
          in Greece
     Curtis Bauer | A Splinter Becoming a Burning Plank
     Kevin Clark | Radio Fate
     Louise Glück | The Balcony
     Gary Soto | Envying the Children of San Francisco
     David St. John | The Swan at Sheffield Park
     Albert Goldbarth | Reality Organization
     C. D. Wright | The Secret Life of Musical Instruments
     Robert Hass | Happiness


Gone Astray in Trackless Wastes

I no longer believed in the revolution
but what is there for a man to do with his life?

It gave purpose to my wanting to be alone.
The aftermath is two people breathing.

I am used up, a waste gas.
And there are other, worse, symptoms.

     Derek Wolcott | The Schooner Flight
     Russell Edson | Angels
     Terry Ehret | The Author of This Poem Will Grant an Interview
     David Roderick | Self-Portrait in 1969 (Summer)
     Brian Spears | Hurry
     Eric McHenry | Litte Viral Song


After the Fire at Club Lobohombo, Mexico City

I post letters to my lost Mayan sisters
waiting to be shaken open by some
precarious thriver in the song-stung dark.
Over the ear, a conch of voice and music
was a sack full of torn wings beating.

          H. L. Hix | Cy Twombly, “Night Watch”
          Keetje Kuipers | 4th of July
          Joshua Corey | Severance Songs, 2.1
          Luis Cernuda | Apologia pro Vita Sua (trans. Reginald Gibbons)
          Larry Levis | Earl the Chicken Farmer


Incident Along Route 50

In reality, the barn wasn’t clean, ninety men
and a woman sobbing in a hospital gown, Not fair.
And look! That cowboy
as he flicks his razor.
Nine months later, my brother was born.

         Norman Dubie | Trakl
         Laura Kasischke | Warehouse of Prayers
         Gloria Frym | Looking for Trouble
         Frank O’Hara | Southampton Variations
         Marilyn Hacker | Days of 1944: Three Friends