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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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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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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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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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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Let Them Not Say

Let them not say: we did not see it. We saw. Let them not say: we did not hear it. We heard. Let them not say: they did not taste it. We ate, we trembled. Let them not say: it was not spoken, not written. We spoke, we witnessed with voices and hands. Let themContinue reading “Let Them Not Say”

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Thoughts While Walking

A steel hush freezes the trees. It is my mind stretched to stiff lace, And draped on high wide thoughts. My soul is a large sallow park And people walk on it, as they do on the park before me. They numb my levelness with dumb feet, Yet I cannot even hate them. ~ MaxwellContinue reading “Thoughts While Walking”

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I, Too

I, too, sing America. I am the darker brother. They send me to eat in the kitchen When company comes, But I laugh, And eat well, And grow strong. Tomorrow, I’ll be at the table When company comes. Nobody’ll dare Say to me, “Eat in the kitchen,” Then. Besides, They’ll see how beautiful I amContinue reading “I, Too”

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Foreclosing on That Peril

I’ll keep explaining—because maybe you still don’t get it Those children in California (substitute any state), dead from gunfire— Let me begin again in a little roof garden with my friend A perverse reader, he listens to my stories as if they were TV I mean he mocks me lovingly on the roof and atContinue reading “Foreclosing on That Peril”

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White Sands

—Walking along a ridge of white sand— it’s cooler below the surface— we stop and, gazing at an expanse of dunes to the west, watch a yellow yolk of sun drop to the mountains— an hour earlier, we rolled down a dune, white sand flecked your eyelids and hair— a claret cup cactus blooms, andContinue reading “White Sands”

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To Live in the Zombie Apocalypse

The moon will shine for God knows how long. As if it still matters. As if someone is trying to recall a dream. Believe the brain is a cage of light & rage. When it shuts off, something else switches on. There’s no better reason than now to lock the doors, the windows. Turn offContinue reading “To Live in the Zombie Apocalypse”

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I Have Not Come Here to Compare Notes But to Sit Together in the Stillness at the Edge of This Wound

Asked if it isn’t weird to be at an awards ceremony with Gregory Peck, Dylan says, “Well, listen, everything’s weird. You tell me something that’s not weird.” He might as well have said “big,” that his songs are a witness to magnitude, that your poems are. And why shouldn’t they be? Look at the epicContinue reading “I Have Not Come Here to Compare Notes But to Sit Together in the Stillness at the Edge of This Wound”

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from “Please Bury Me in This”

Now my neighbor through the wall playing piano, I imagine, with her eyes closed. When she stops playing, she disappears. I am still waiting for the right words to explain myself to you. When there was nothing left to smoke, I drew on my lips with a pen until they were black. Or is thisContinue reading “from “Please Bury Me in This””

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