Who Will Sing of Them Now?

Rattle of silverware, and three clocks ticking
On the grand stage at their appointed moments
Pouring over time itself the pure distillate arias

Praising a universe in which nothing happens

In that eternal battle
Relentless and unchanging
No one wins or loses

Through one body then another
To let my eyes simplify again, and make no judgments
To open the heart, only a little at a time

Just beyond my reach, waiting to be called upon again

                              In the House of the Voice of Maria Callas
                              Ode to Coal
                              Song: The Kiss
                              A Man Alone
                              Onomastics & the Falling Snow


This Forest Where No Deer Graze
and Roots Strike Upwards

The tilt of fisted history
that kick-starts their DNA to black and purple liquid life
becoming little red birds
and strange chantings—ashes, angels and dolls,
a life in an arc of motion, oh Russian doll.

         Jennifer Moxley / Not on My Seashore
         Mario Petrucci / Ukritye
         John Gallaher / On Your Brilliant Escape
         Wanda Coleman / American Sonnets, sonnet 17
         Ellen Doré Watson / Flood, According to Her


Dickinson & Swinburne & Zombies (O! My)

It waits upon the lawn,
howls and hisses as with mouths of snakes and wolves at bay.
Hear the locks turn in their wooden ears.
Black puddles, putrid flapping—
this is what happens when you cease.

         Emily Dickinson / A Light Exists in Spring
         Algernon Charles Swinburne / Grace Darling
         Karyna McGlynn / Epistle to Elsner on the Eve of his 34th Birthday
         Gary Glazner / Death by Taxi
         Maggie Nelson / The Mute Story of November


I Have Told My Story Over and Over at Parties

I wanted this quark-colored tangerine-flake double-deckered
hot bread and butter.
He brings our plates to the table —
this was gruesome. Fighting over a ham sandwich?
That was the good war, the war we won.

     George Starbuck / On Reading John Hollander’s Poem “Breadth. Circle. Desert.
          Monarch. Month. Wisdom. (for which there are no rhymes)”

     Jack Collom / Bald Eagle Count
     Clarence Major / Waiter in a California Vietnamese Restaurant
     Gerald Stern / Another Insane Devotion
     Howard Nemerov / The War in the Air


Close Your Eyes with Holy Dread

Blank page after blank page, motives sail by—
parade float driven by a carriage pulled by a pig
and plastic Diplodocus at Jurassic Golf;
a green jurassic palm tree, planted; a yellow spastic monkey, swinging—
a whole procession of them coming.

     Ira Sadoff / In Madrid
     Cathy Park Hong / Ensor
     Joy Gaines-Friedler / Capitalism South Carolina
     D. A. Powell / [the cocktail hour finally arrives: whether ending a day at the office]
     Tom Clark / Oct. 28


Tygers (Tristes | Trapped)

The Thames runs, bones rattle, rats creep,
weeks of street cafes yawn by
when at last! the People are all rejoicing in the liberated zone.
But all of them go with their feet tied.
It is not a cathouse of the rising.

         Wendy Cope / Waste Land Limericks
         Sibyl James / The White Junk of Love, Again, translitic 8 (after Louise Labé,
         sonnet VIII)

         Bob Holman / Maizie’s Revolution
         Roberto Juarroz / Second Vertical Poetry, poem 21 (trans. W. S. Merwin)
         d. a. levy / Cleveland Undercovers, canto V