Sunday Poem: Edition 8

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These warm spring nights with “tops of petals” appearing “where before there was only polite grass” bring to mind the poem White Clover by Marvin Bell. It appears in Bell’s Nightworks: Poems, 1962-2000. Just as this book was published, Bell began his two-term run as Iowa’s first Poet Laureate.

White Clover

Once when the moon was out about three-quarters
and the fireflies who are the stars
of backyards
were out about three-quarters
and about three-fourths of all the lights
in the neighborhood
were on because people can be at home,
I took a not so innocent walk
out amongst the lawns,
navigating by the light of lights,
and there there were many hundreds of moons
on the lawns
where before there was only polite grass.
These were moons on long stems,
their long stems giving their greenness
to the center of each flower
and the light giving its whiteness to the tops
of the petals. I could say
it was light from stars
touched the tops of flowers and no doubt
something heavenly reaches what grows outdoors
and the heads of men who go hatless,
but I like to think we have a world
right here, and a life
that isn’t death. So I don’t say it’s better
to be right here. I say this is where
many hundreds of core-green moons
gigantic to my eye
rose because men and women had sown green grass,
and flowered to my eye in man-made light,
and to some would be as fire in the body
and to others a light in the mind
over all their property.

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Sunday Poem: Edition 7

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Today I’m sharing a poem from Kathleen Sheeder Bonanno’s moving collection of poems (and 2008 Beatrice Hawley award winner) Slamming Open the Door, which details the aftermath of the 2003 murder of her daughter, Leidy:

Death Barged In

In his Russian greatcoat
slamming open the door
with an unpardonable bang,
and he has been here ever since.

He changes everything,
rearranges the furniture,
his hand hovers
by the phone;
he will answer now, he says;
he will be the answer.

Tonight he sits down to dinner
at the head of the table
as we eat, mute;
later, he climbs into bed
between us.

Even as I sit here,
he stands behind me
clamping two
colossal hands on my shoulders
and bends down
and whispers to my neck,
From now on,
you write about me.

Sunday Poem: Edition 6

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This poem by B.A. Wingate appeared in the Winter 2012 issue of Prairie Schooner (Vol. 86, No. 4):

HOW TO RECOGNIZE A WEREWOLF

The old verses suggest a cannibal; a man who can tell you
you taste like pig. Here is the meaning in the myth:

A real werewolf howls not to the moon but for the moon.

He will say she is silver. Leviathan in the night window. So bright
all he can see are stains in glass.

He will project a small madness on the monthly fulls.

He is the silver-blind gull calling to silver fish in the sea water.

Driven to blind-dive into the musk he steals without knowing
he’s swallowed something whole. Real werewolves four-finger

your upper arm like the first man took the pomegranate
from woman’s land. He lotus positions himself in your door.

He deep kisses with flat plane eyes. He resonates on a frequency
so unknown you will long to receive his diseases.

He will discharge silver with his semen.
In the throes, he will gull call. Gull call.

There will be weddings. There will be orbits.

He will tear out your throat unless you violate him over
and over.

Sunday Poem: Edition 5

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Special Edition. This week, I’m sharing an original piece. It’s a drabble, a work of fiction that is precisely 100 words in length. As always, comments are welcome!

Camp

We pitched a tent in the field behind
our house to remember the weight
of the stars above our heads. Instant
coffee brewed over an illegal fire tastes best,
you say. It’s cold outside
and this tent is no match for the wind, thin cloth
flapping open and closed like a mouth that can’t
stop yelling.
The coffee goes
as quickly as the conversation. The fire cools,
flames fizzle and with nothing left to burn
you suggest we go back inside.
But there is no warmth there either.
This cold
ground is a constant even when the stars burn out.

Baltimore Book Festival

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One of my favorite yearly outdoor events is the Baltimore Book Festival, a weekend-long celebration of all things literary held each September in the lovely downtown neighborhood of Mount Vernon. This year I had the pleasure of attending events on both Friday and Saturday.

On Friday evening I headed to the City Lit Stage for Literary Happy Hour, complete with locally crafted Brewer’s Art beers and a chat about the history of the festival.  Later, I indulged my Bravo TV addiction with a reading by The Real Housewives of New Jersey’s Teresa Giudice, who was promoting her newest cookbook, Fabulicious: Fast and Fit. Really, it was thirty minutes of her squirming awkwardly on a barstool while dodging questions about her bankruptcy and whether or not her husband really called her “the c word” on television.

Saturday was a wonderful day full of readings and musical entertainment, booths upon booths of authors and literary magazines, sales, and street performers. I enjoyed a morning full of Waxing Moon masks and puppets, spoken word poetry, roaming characters from children’s books, and a productive book swap (traded some Philip Roth for some Marilyn Robinson). I even discovered–and subscribed to–a new literary “magazine”: Hoot, a postcard review of [mini] poetry and prose, which deserves a post of its own. Aaaand, though I was ineligible to win because I wasn’t able to return on Sunday, I entered the Maryland Writers Association’s drabble contest. A drabble, in case you’re curious, is a short story that is exactly one hundred words long. I’ll share mine in this week’s Sunday poem!

Sunday Poem: Edition 4

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This poem by Hannah Gamble was originally published in issue 21 of jubilat and appeared Friday, 9/28, on Verse Daily. Hannah is the author of Your Invitation to a Modest Breakfast, selected by Bernadette Mayer for the 2011 National Poetry Series and to be published by Fence later this year. Her poems and interviews appear or are forthcoming in APR, The Laurel Review, Indiana Review, and Ectone, among others.

Somewhere Golden 

One woman said
Clean yourself up

with a cocktail napkin, so here I am
in the bathroom.
Sounds of the party.
Sounds of one man
pretending he gets the joke.
Oh, he gets the joke.
He Just didn’t think
it was very funny.
I can understand that man.
The bones of Tom’s hands
made a fist
and told my nose
a joke, which is to say he
hit me. The resulting laughter
was quiet, but
well-sustained. People decorate
their bathrooms
like I would rather be at the beach
than in this bathroom.
I’d rather be watching swans
mate for life. Well,
not actually mating.
Okay, actually mating;
you can hardly tell
what’s going on. Unlike
pornography, or unlike
a wedding ceremony. Or, no.
The wedding ceremony is more
like swans. I thought
I was just watching two people
hold hands
in front of a candle.
The people deciding
to wear flowers in the winter,
disrespectful of what the world,
bigger than us, said we could wear
or eat, like the asparagus hors d’oeuvres
insisted it was a good time
to feel like it was summer.
At the wedding I was quiet.
At the party I was quiet
until Tom found me
offensive. The homeowners
long ago had decided
I’d rather be somewhere golden
than in this bathroom.
Outside the sounds
of people making promises,
or rather, hushing a room
to condone the most public
of promises made
in front of a candle.
When I’m cleaned up
I’ll find, if he was invited,
the man who played the organ,
or the priest who wears soft shoes
so he doesn’t disturb the holy
spirits
resting in the rafters
when he walks through
t
he resting cathedral,
stooping at times
to pick up flowers.

Sunday Poem: Edition 3

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Carol Ann Davis directs the undergraduate creative writing program at the College of Charleston, in Charleston, S.C., where she is associate professor of English and editor of Crazyhorse. Her first book of poetry, Psalm (Tupelo Press, 2007), was runner-up for the 2005 Dorset Prize. Her poems have appeared in The Iowa ReviewThe Threepenny Review, and Image, among others. Her poem “Care” appeared in AGNI Online, Boston University’s online literary magazine, in 2008:

Care

for my father

When I give it away
and it comes back
blown to bits, windburnt,
sheared to pulp, when I do that
and know its name is still
something without burden attached,
something which sleeps
and owns nothing, that is when
I am finished wanting more for it,
though it has trouble breathing
and can no longer sing.  That is when
the watercolor edge of things
grows both alien and sure.  And no warning
in the weather hopes to change us.  It is here
where nothing has been
it stands and blooms
regardless of care.  Our hands
dip into a pool
that has grown cold
overnight.

Sunday Poem: Edition 2

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Today I’m sharing a poem by Michael Collier, a professor at University of Maryland and former poet laureate of Maryland. I had the pleasure of hearing him read on two occasions, and the luck of attending a small workshop that he held for my undergrad poetry class. This poem appeared in the April 2012 issue of Poetry Magazine:

Six Lines for Louise Bogan

BY MICHAEL COLLIER

All that has tamed me I have learned to love

and lost that wildness that was once beloved.

All that was loved I’ve learned to tame

and lost the beloved that once was wild.

All that is wild is tamed by love—

and the beloved (wildness) that once was loved.

Garlic Parmesan Zucchini With Tomato

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I am a lazy chef, so here is a super-easy, super-tasty dish that will fill you up for under 200 calories!

Ingredients: 1 zucchini, 1 plum tomato, 1 tsp minced garlic, 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp grated parmesan cheese, 1 tsp basil

To prepare: Dice zucchini and tomato into 1/2″ cubes. In a bowl, toss vegetables with garlic and olive oil. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, place vegetables flat on baking sheet, and sprinkle with basil and parmesan. Bake at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes. Serve as is, or drizzle with marinara sauce.

There are approximately 198 calories in the entire dish (without marinara). It’s a light, delicious dish for summer—works well as a side dish or an entree.