Weed

Finding the merest
crack in the pavement
lying there, dormant:
awaiting a rain drop
to loose the awn.
It is not wanted
here, or anywhere.
Nevertheless, here it is.
Moisture opens its seed coat.
(Always the loading dock,
never the grand entryway.)
It swells, pops;
out come cotyledons
indistinguishable from
common lambsquarters
redroot pigweed
wild buckwheat
and with those it gathers
rays of light and feeds itself
before the true leaves sprout.
Its root begins to crack
pavement, upend slabs of concrete.
Its secret: time, life.
How can mere aggregate
bar its way?
That which is not allowed
it is impossible to oppose.

Now You Are in College!

We are delighted!
We are liberated from
the tyranny of your light
or erratic sleep
We are now noisy when we
want to be and we want to be
but you don’t want to know about this
So don’t read this!
I didn’t write it for you
just about you
as a sidebar
to my real feelings
which always come out most tellingly
in the cracks between
my actual text

Easy Girl Incredibly Difficult (by Julie Hart)

Some Other Mother’s Lament

So, did you let your children go to school

out of state? See, it’s only recently

we (that is, I) have realized where we

went wrong, jumped the track, so to speak.

We let them think they had a choice, could dream,

could choose their own path, their own life, when what

we wanted all along was that they choose

us. Well, me. My husband here does not agree.

Or, even more annoyingly, will not

say that he agrees, even if he does.

I’m too controlling, right? No. Wrong again.

But, see, to be freely chosen—we all

long for that—don’t we? I did’t choose to

feel this way about them. It just happened.

My tragedy? My husband chooses me,

but I choose them and they choose others,

callow girls of no particular charm.

They can’t hold a candle to me, my

ferocity undiminished by time—

in fact, concentrated, a gas leak waiting

to be lit and then—whoa!—watch out, sister!

I know. I KNOW! I can not win this fight,

yet fight I must. How can they forget me

like this, when all I can do any more

is remember them, remember when

they needed me and only me, without

me, they would have died. Or so it seems.

Now I need them to graciously pretend

Pretend I’m needed when I’m not, not now

anyhow, I serve as ornamental,

the family—all three generations

represented in this photo—see? That’s

me. I look the same in every picture,

my function fossilized, effectiveness

neutralized. They won’t listen to me!

I know what’s best for them, for me, they turn

their backs, wave me away, no agency

is left to me in this world. I don’t want

to leave them to it. They are so young,

so inexperienced in what decades

will throw at you. As if you get to choose

who to love and how and when to stop.

Tags: poem poetry lit

Stieglitz and O’Keeffe: A Visual Dialogue

Her body, sharp points separated by
soft mounds of flesh. It’s her body, but his
story. Her ribs are his ladder up her
breastbone. Her tendons flying buttresses
holding up her head for him. Her heavy
water balloon breasts menace her Champs de
Mars abdomen, a Plain of Abraham
of conflicts old. Her thighs, thick, sinuous,
arrest his breath. The dimple of navel
rings all the bells in his head, heart, groin.
He positions her just so to create
the effect he wants to feel. Beautiful.
He has brought his taste forward, highlighted.
After the shutter clicks, she lowers her
arms, steps away and picks up her brush.
He has stolen nothing from her that she
has not freely given. She feels his awe
as communication. She paints back.

Tags: poetry lit poem

R. says her poetry is so beautiful,
clearest yet of all her writing.
J. says he’s sure her poetry will
“inform” her other writing.
B. says her stories are strange,
but about such an interesting person.
Y. says her talent is social,
which is to say, not narrative.
L. says she is not a prude,
but is it a good idea to go on record
using the f-word so freely?
N. hints that perhaps she doesn’t
realize how self-revelatory these passages are.
D. is certain that these new pieces
are a departure from her usual fare.
P. finds her characters enervating,
the denouements unearned.
She finds R., J., B., Y., L., N., D. and P.
to be full of
S.

Tags: poem lit poetry

Five
should
be
enough

Mixed Messages

Be yourself, they said
but over here
and in our shadow
listen
don’t talk
sit still
be good
as long as that’s “yourself”
you’re golden

Tags: poem lit poetry

Several Philosophical Propositions

I can get you to like me, I can’t get you to read my poetry.
I can get you to read my poetry, I can’t get you to like it.
I can get you to like it, I can’t get you to engage with it.
I can get you to engage with it, I can’t get anyone to publish it.
I can get someone to publish it, I can’t get people to buy it.
I can get people to buy it, I can’t get them to like me.

Tags: poetry lit poem

Top Ten Secrets

1. I am a really happy person.
2. You can’t make me do anything.
3. I have told someone all my secrets.
4. Even the ones I didn’t tell anyone for a long time weren’t really bothering me. I just didn’t think my family would understand or could take them as calmly as I did.
5. I call my family’s culture The Fetish. I refuse to continue their cult.
6. My mother thinks I don’t love her when I refuse her invitations. It’s not true. I just don’t want to do the things she suggests.
7. I ‘m not embarrassed by what other people are embarrassed by. I don’t know why. No one has been able to install guilt or shame in me. This makes me either a Sufi saint or a sociopath. Depends on your point of view, not mine.
8. I suffer from intellectual snobbery so steep no one comes up to my standards. Also triumphalism. I don’t know it all. Just what’s important to me, because I have made it my business to find out. Why haven’t you?
9. I think my body looks fine. I don’t care if you don’t think so.
10. Glib isn’t the only way to be smart.
11. I am a really happy person.