Things That I Love Today

Sharks in the Rivers

by Ada Limon

We’ll say unbelievable things
to each other in the early morning—

our blue coming up from our roots,
our water rising in our extraordinary limbs.

All night I dreamt of bonfires and burn piles
and ghosts of men, and spirits
behind those birds of flame.

I cannot tell anymore when a door opens or closes,
I can only hear the frame saying, Walk through.

It is a short walkway—
into another bedroom.

Consider the handle. Consider the key.

I say to a friend, how scared I am of sharks.

How I thought I saw them in the creek
across from my street.

I once watched for them, holding a bundle
of rattlesnake grass in my hand,
shaking like a weak-leaf girl.

She sends me an article from a recent National Geographic that says,

Sharks bite fewer people each year than New Yorkers do, according to Health Department records.

Then she sends me on my way. Into the City of Sharks.

Through another doorway, I walk to the East River saying,

Sharks are people too. Sharks are people too. Sharks are people too.

I write all the things I need on the bottom
of my tennis shoes. I say, Let’s walk together.

The sun behind me is like a fire.
Tiny flames in the river’s ripples.

I say something to God, but he’s not a living thing,
so I say it to the river, I say,

I want to walk through this doorway But without all those ghosts on the edge, I want them to stay here. I want them to go on without me. I want them to burn in the water

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Things That I Love Today

A Sad Child by Margaret Atwood

You’re sad because you’re sad.
It’s psychic. It’s the age. It’s chemical.
Go see a shrink or take a pill,
or hug your sadness like an eyeless doll
you need to sleep.

Well, all children are sad
but some get over it.
Count your blessings. Better than that,
buy a hat. Buy a coat or pet.
Take up dancing to forget.

Forget what?
Your sadness, your shadow,
whatever it was that was done to you
the day of the lawn party
when you came inside flushed with the sun,
your mouth sulky with sugar,
in your new dress with the ribbon
and the ice-cream smear,
and said to yourself in the bathroom,
I am not the favorite child.

My darling, when it comes
right down to it
and the light fails and the fog rolls in
and you’re trapped in your overturned body
under a blanket or burning car,

and the red flame is seeping out of you
and igniting the tarmac beside you head
or else the floor, or else the pillow,
none of us is;
or else we all are.

Things That I Love Today

Burning the Letters by Slyvia Plath

I made a fire; being tired
Of the white fists of old
Letters and their death rattle
When I came too close to the wastebasket
What did they know that I didn’t?
Grain by grain, they unrolled
Sands where a dream of clear water
Grinned like a getaway car.
I am not subtle
Love, love, and well, I was tired
Of cardboard cartons the color of cement or a dog pack
Holding in it’s hate
Dully, under a pack of men in red jackets,
And the eyes and times of the postmarks.

This fire may lick and fawn, but it is merciless:
A glass case
My fingers would enter although
They melt and sag, they are told
Do not touch.
And here is an end to the writing,
The spry hooks that bend and cringe and the smiles, the smiles
And at least it will be a good place now, the attic.
At least I won’t be strung just under the surface,
Dumb fish
With one tin eye,
Watching for glints,
Riding my Arctic
Between this wish and that wish.

So, I poke at the carbon birds in my housedress.
They are more beautiful than my bodiless owl,
They console me–
Rising and flying, but blinded.
They would flutter off, black and glittering, they would be coal angels
Only they have nothing to say but anybody.
I have seen to that.
With the butt of a rake
I flake up papers that breathe like people,
I fan them out
Between the yellow lettuces and the German cabbage
Involved in it’s weird blue dreams
Involved in a foetus.
And a name with black edges

Wilts at my foot,
Sinuous orchis
In a nest of root-hairs and boredom–
Pale eyes, patent-leather gutturals!
Warm rain greases my hair, extinguishes nothing.
My veins glow like trees.
The dogs are tearing a fox. This is what it is like
A read burst and a cry
That splits from it’s ripped bag and does not stop
With that dead eye
And the stuffed expression, but goes on
Dyeing the air,
Telling the particles of the clouds, the leaves, the water
What immortality is. That it is immortal.

16 March 2011, AM

For AM.

I don’t know how to be truly sad
Or how to be really happy.
No, I don’t know how to be.
Might sincere souls be
Like me, without knowing it?

Before the lie of emotion
And the fiction of the soul,
I cherish the calm it gives me
To see flowers without reason
Flower without a heart.

But finally there is no difference.
As flowers flower without wanting to,
Without wanting to, people think.
What in flowers is florescence
In us is consciousness.

Later, for us as for them,
When Destiny decides it is time,
The feet of the gods will come
And trample all of us under.

Fine, but until they come
Let us still flower or think.

The Cobweb by Raymond Carver

A few minutes ago, I stepped onto the deck
of the house. From there I could see and hear the water,
and everything that’s happened to me all these years.
It was hot and still. The tide was out.
No birds sang. As I leaned against the railing
a cobweb touched my forehead.
It caught in my hair. No one can blame me that I turned
and went inside. There was no wind. The sea
was dead calm. I hung the cobweb from the lampshade.
Where I watch it shudder now and then when my breath
touches it. A fine thread. Intricate.
Before long, before anyone realizes,
I’ll be gone from here

In This Cage Some Songs Are Born by Charles Bukowski

I write poetry, worry, smile

laugh

sleep

continue for a while

just like most of us

just like all of us;

sometimes I want to hug all

Mankind on earth

and say,

god damn all this that they’ve brought down

upon us,

we are brave and good

even though we are selfish

and kill each other and

kill ourselves,

we are the people

born to kill and die and weep in dark rooms

and love in dark rooms,

and wait, and

wait and wait and wait.

we are the people

we are nothing

more.

Things That I Love Today #71

This Morning by Raymond Carver

This morning was something.  A little snow
lay on the ground.  The sun floated in a clear
blue sky.  The sea was blue, and blue-green,
as far as the eye could see.
Scarecely a ripple.  Calm.  I dressed and went
for a walk – determined not to return
until I took in what Nature had to offer.
I passed close to some old, bent over trees.
Crossed a field strewn with rocks
where snow had drifted.  Kept going
until I reached the bluff.
Where I gazed at the sea, and the sky, and
the gulls wheeling over the white beach
far below. All lovely.  All bathed in pure
cold light.  But, as usual, my thoughts
began to wander.  I had to will
myself to see what I was seeing
and nothing else.  I had to tell myself this is what
mattered, not the other (And I did see it,
for a minute or two!) For a minute or two
it crowded out the usual musings on
what was right, and what was wrong – duty,
tender memories, thoughts of death, how I should treat
with my former wife.  All the things
I hoped would go away this morning.
The stuff I live with every day.  What
I’ve trampled on i order to stay alive.
But for a minute or two I did forget
myself and everything else.  I know I did
For when I turned back I didn’t know
where I was.  Until some birds rose up
from the gnarled trees.  And flew
in the direction I needed to be going.