Words are Birds by Francisco X. Alarcon

Words are Birds BY FRANCISCO X. ALARCÓN wordsare birdsthat arrivewith booksand spring theylovecloudsthe windand trees some wordsare messengersthat comefrom far awayfrom distant lands for themthere areno bordersonly starsmoon and sun some wordsare familiarlike canariesothers are exoticlike the quetzal bird some can standthe coldothers migratewith the sunto the south some wordsdiecaged—they’re difficultto translate and othersbuild nestshave chickswarmContinue reading “Words are Birds by Francisco X. Alarcon”

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Poem: A New National Anthem

BY ADA LIMÓN The truth is, I’ve never cared for the NationalAnthem. If you think about it, it’s not a goodsong. Too high for most of us with “the rocketsred glare” and then there are the bombs.(Always, always, there is war and bombs.)Once, I sang it at homecoming and threweven the tenacious high school bandContinue reading “Poem: A New National Anthem”

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A Litany for Survival

BY AUDRE LORDE For those of us who live at the shorelinestanding upon the constant edges of decisioncrucial and alonefor those of us who cannot indulgethe passing dreams of choicewho love in doorways coming and goingin the hours between dawnslooking inward and outwardat once before and afterseeking a now that can breedfutureslike bread in our children’sContinue reading “A Litany for Survival”

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[i carry your heart with me(i carry it in]

BY E. E. CUMMINGS i carry your heart with me(i carry it inmy heart)i am never without it(anywherei go you go,my dear;and whatever is doneby only me is your doing,my darling)                                                      i fearno fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i wantno world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meantand whateverContinue reading “[i carry your heart with me(i carry it in]”

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Praise Song For The Day

Praise Song for the Day BY ELIZABETH ALEXANDER A Poem for Barack Obama’s Presidential Inauguration Each day we go about our business, walking past each other, catching each other’s eyes or not, about to speak or speaking. All about us is noise. All about us is noise and bramble, thorn and din, each one of ourContinue reading “Praise Song For The Day”

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Two Poems by Keith Leonard

OPENING LECTURE AT THE CONSTELLATION INSTITUTE When you draw shapes in the night sky, it will help if you remember that your pencil passes through matter we can’t see, or name, but know exists. It will help if you imagine the bright spots as your parents, your past lovers, or enemies. Perhaps you will drawContinue reading “Two Poems by Keith Leonard”

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I Think a Thousand Thoughts… and Nothing At All

I write poems. I have for a long time. Some of them are not for public cosumption. Some of them are angsty and old and… telling. I was reading some of them today. Some of my old poems. Perception is weird. Sometimes I like them. Sometimes I don’t. Today I liked this one. The sunContinue reading “I Think a Thousand Thoughts… and Nothing At All”

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Small Craft Talk Warning

All poetry is about hope.A scarecrow walks into a bar.An abandoned space station falls to earth.When probing the monster’s brain,you’re probably probing your own.A beautiful woman becomes a ghost.I hope I never miscalculate the dosagethat led to the infarctionof my lab rabbit again.All poetry is a form of hope.Not certain, just actuallike love and otherContinue reading “Small Craft Talk Warning”

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Gratitude by Barbara Crooker

Gratitude This week, the news of the world is bleak, another wargrinding on, and all these friends down with cancer,or worse, a little something long term that they won’t die offor twenty or thirty miserable years—And here I live in a house of weathered brick, where a manwith silver hair still thinks I’m beautiful. HowContinue reading “Gratitude by Barbara Crooker”

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The Creative Drive

The Northeast has lost millions of poems, reducing the canopy. Just a few days ago,high winds knocked a poem onto a power line A recent study found that poems increasedthe sale price of a home by close to $9,000.The years, however, have not been kind to poems. a few blocks from my house.I had notContinue reading “The Creative Drive”

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It’s a New Dawn, It’s a New Day

I’m a huge fan of Nina Simone. My favorite song? Feelin’ Good. I like it in all its iterations I guess. Most people probably have forgotten all about Nina’s version and skipped right to Michael Buble. That’s OK. I don’t think she would mind. Nor would she care about the Muse version. I like thatContinue reading “It’s a New Dawn, It’s a New Day”

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Poem: How Can Black People Write About Flowers at a Time Like This

dear reader, with our heels digging into the good mud at a swamp’s edge, you might tell me something about the dandelion & how it is not a flower itself but a plant made up of several small flowers at its crown & lord knows I have been called by what I look like moreContinue reading “Poem: How Can Black People Write About Flowers at a Time Like This”

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Heal the Cracks in the Bell of the World

Heal the Cracks in the Bell of the World For the community of Newtown, Connecticut, where twenty students and six educators lost their lives to a gunman at Sandy Hook Elementary School, December 14, 2012 Now the bells speak with their tongues of bronze. Now the bells open their mouths of bronze to say: ListenContinue reading “Heal the Cracks in the Bell of the World”

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Ode To Alternatives

  Hey Kevin, I know I’m always talking, but look at those two little boys who don’t know any better – they’re using a king as a pawn, a pawn as a knight, a queen as a bishop-and isn’t not knowing the rules just beautiful? Because really, where’s the joy in shouldering night into workdayContinue reading “Ode To Alternatives”

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This Page Ripped Out and Rolled into a Ball

  A rose by any other name   could be Miguel   or Tiffany Could be David or Vashti   Why not Aya   which means beautiful flower  but also verse and miracle   and a bird         that flies away quickly    You see where this is going          That is    you couldContinue reading “This Page Ripped Out and Rolled into a Ball”

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Barter

  Life has loveliness to sell, All beautiful and splendid things, Blue waves whitened on a cliff, Soaring fire that sways and sings, And children’s faces looking up Holding wonder in a cup.   Life has loveliness to sell, Music like a curve of gold, Scent of pine trees in the rain, Eyes that loveContinue reading “Barter”

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So, Why Learn Spanish?

130. Poem Written in 1991 When the Soviet Union Was Disintegrating by Ursula K. Le Guin The reason why I’m learning Spanish by reading Neruda one word at a time looking most of them up in the dictionary and the reason why I’m reading Dickinson one poem at a time and still not understanding orContinue reading “So, Why Learn Spanish?”

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Set in Stone

  A rosary that was my mother’s tucked in the glove compartment of his car and a copy of Exile on Main Street with instructions to play track 6 when he hit some lonesome desert highway. I love him so much my chest hurts, thinking of him riding off into his own life, me the weepingContinue reading “Set in Stone”

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Opticks

This is her descending glance captured in a hidden photograph taken when I was an infant and Mother held me at arm’s length. I look back for her, unsurprised still questioning why she doesn’t return my gaze. Her eyes fix on a spot between her face and my face. For the infant there is no distinction.Continue reading “Opticks”

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The afterlife of fame

is dark a neglected mansion with vanishing court rats in the empty pool and antiquated actress languishing as ghost of her famous self flickers in the projector’s beam or framed in silver haunts every room Face unrecognizable? Name forgotten? O float me to Oblivion in my swan bed with my bandaged wrists and doors shornContinue reading “The afterlife of fame”

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At Harlem Hospital across the street from the Schomburg the only thing to eat is a Big Mac

after Z. S. Still, somehow we are carousel. We spin bodies to the wall and back. We are woman and man and man. We are surgeon and operation. We are everybody we love. We are inside them. We are inside and we are laughing. We are man and we will die too. We know thatContinue reading “At Harlem Hospital across the street from the Schomburg the only thing to eat is a Big Mac”

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Anthropocene Blues

sound de-territorializes weather and my love clings to you sings to you in the “new weathers” within a tragedy of the Anthropocene nothing not held hostage by the hand of Man can we resist? will we fail? to save our world? we dream replicas of ourselves fragile, broken robotic thought-bubbles inside the shadow a loomingContinue reading “Anthropocene Blues”

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