FAVORITE WORDS

 
I was born drunk & paisley, vestige  from the womb. My face laughed into itself—  eyes sank into earlobe & nostrils warped into seahorse.  I was vanilla bean & Mexican vanilla & amniotic  dessert, & my mother did everything she could not to devour me.    I became comino & ajo & hibiscus—  all good for grinding. Mocajete, fist, & knuckle decomposing mass  & matter, baby & mother. When she tried to stillbear me it hurt  until she cried diamonds while my father was swapping spit  with the agave.   ― Iliana Rocha, 1981, Creation Myth

I was born drunk & paisley, vestige

from the womb. My face laughed into itself—

eyes sank into earlobe & nostrils warped into seahorse.

I was vanilla bean & Mexican vanilla & amniotic

dessert, & my mother did everything she could not to devour me.

I became comino & ajo & hibiscus—

all good for grinding. Mocajete, fist, & knuckle decomposing mass

& matter, baby & mother. When she tried to stillbear me it hurt

until she cried diamonds while my father was swapping spit

with the agave.

― Iliana Rocha, 1981, Creation Myth

in rome I got down among the weeds and tiny perfumed flowers like eyeballs dabbed in blood and the big ruins said  do it my way pal  while starlings kept offering show biz solutions and well the vatican pursued its interests the palm trees like singular affidavits the wind succinct and the mountains painted blue just before dawn accelerated at the last point of departure before the big illuminated structures dug up from the basement got going and I ate crostatas for breakfast and on the terrace chatted with the clay-faced old man next door and said I was after a woman who’d left me years ago and he said lord aren’t we all.  ―  Charlie Smith, 1947, Crostatas

in rome I got down among the weeds and tiny perfumed
flowers like eyeballs dabbed in blood and the big ruins
said do it my way pal while starlings
kept offering show biz solutions and well the vatican
pursued its interests the palm trees like singular affidavits
the wind succinct and the mountains painted blue
just before dawn accelerated at the last point
of departure before the big illuminated structures
dug up from the basement got going and I ate crostatas
for breakfast and on the terrace chatted
with the clay-faced old man next door and said I was
after a woman who’d left me years ago and he said lord aren’t we all.

Charlie Smith, 1947, Crostatas

A man called Dad walks by  then another one does. Dad, you say  and he turns, forever turning, forever  being called. Dad, he turns, and looks  at you, bewildered, his face a moving  wreck of skin, a gravity-bound question  mark, a fruit ripped in two, an animal  that can’t escape the field.   ― Eleni Sikelianos, 2010, At The Airport

A man called Dad walks by

then another one does. Dad, you say

and he turns, forever turning, forever

being called. Dad, he turns, and looks

at you, bewildered, his face a moving

wreck of skin, a gravity-bound question

mark, a fruit ripped in two, an animal

that can’t escape the field.

― Eleni Sikelianos, 2010, At The Airport

We each wanted our own story, my father and I;  we were talkers, him first then me,  each wanted the other to listen until his heart broke.  It didn’t matter where the story began,  or what it was about, each had a better one,  each had gone farther, seen more,  each needed – this time – to be listened to;  each was ready to kill the other to get him to shut up.    Or so it seemed to me  until I hated him. He had the advantage,  years when I didn’t exist; he knew war, marriage,  the birth of sons, decline; I knew dreams, agility,  desire, a boy’s will. It was no wonder I got out of there,  no wonder I ran for my life  like a boy running at a sunset.    Everywhere I went, sons out on bail  yapped like maniacs. And every time a man stopped me  to pour out his heart, I understood why he did this.  And the whispers in theaters,  and the soft patter after lovemaking,  and the derelict explaining himself to a building,  I understood. A boy can’t make his father listen to him,  and he can’t make his father stop talking.  Even years later, when I returned,  my father wouldn’t let me get a word in,  he had so much to say about how he missed me.   ― Charlie Smith, 1994, The Essential Story

We each wanted our own story, my father and I;

we were talkers, him first then me,

each wanted the other to listen until his heart broke.

It didn’t matter where the story began,

or what it was about, each had a better one,

each had gone farther, seen more,

each needed – this time – to be listened to;

each was ready to kill the other to get him to shut up.

Or so it seemed to me

until I hated him. He had the advantage,

years when I didn’t exist; he knew war, marriage,

the birth of sons, decline; I knew dreams, agility,

desire, a boy’s will. It was no wonder I got out of there,

no wonder I ran for my life

like a boy running at a sunset.

Everywhere I went, sons out on bail

yapped like maniacs. And every time a man stopped me

to pour out his heart, I understood why he did this.

And the whispers in theaters,

and the soft patter after lovemaking,

and the derelict explaining himself to a building,

I understood. A boy can’t make his father listen to him,

and he can’t make his father stop talking.

Even years later, when I returned,

my father wouldn’t let me get a word in,

he had so much to say about how he missed me.

― Charlie Smith, 1994, The Essential Story

My tears are like the quiet drift Of petals from some magic rose; And all my grief flows from the rift Of unremembered skies and snows.  I think, that if I touched the earth, It would crumble; It is so sad and beautiful, So tremulously like a dream.   ― Dylan Thomas, Clown In The Moon

My tears are like the quiet drift
Of petals from some magic rose;
And all my grief flows from the rift
Of unremembered skies and snows.

I think, that if I touched the earth,
It would crumble;
It is so sad and beautiful,
So tremulously like a dream.

― Dylan Thomas, Clown In The Moon

Live  To the point of  Tears   ― Albert Camus

Live

To the point of

Tears

― Albert Camus

there is a place in the heart that will never be filled  a space and even during the best moments and the greatest times we will know it  we will know it more than ever  there is a place in the heart that will never be filled and  we will wait and wait in that space.   ― Charles Bukowski, No Help For That

there is a place in the heart that
will never be filled

a space
and even during the
best moments
and
the greatest times
we will know it

we will know it
more than
ever

there is a place in the heart that
will never be filled
and

we will wait
and
wait
in that space.

― Charles Bukowski, No Help For That

who knows if the moon’s  a balloon, coming out of a keen city  in the sky—filled with pretty people?  and if you and i should    get into it, if they  should take me and take you into their balloon,  why then  we’d go up higher with all the pretty people    than houses and steeples and clouds:  go sailing  away and away sailing into a keen  city which nobody’s ever visited, where    always  it’s  Spring and everyone’s  in love and flowers pick themselves   ― E.E. Cummings, 1925, Who Knows If The Moon’s

who knows if the moon’s

a balloon, coming out of a keen city

in the sky—filled with pretty people?

and if you and i should

get into it, if they

should take me and take you into their balloon,

why then

we’d go up higher with all the pretty people

than houses and steeples and clouds:

go sailing

away and away sailing into a keen

city which nobody’s ever visited, where

always

it’s

Spring and everyone’s

in love and flowers pick themselves

― E.E. Cummings, 1925, Who Knows If The Moon’s

Haze. Three student violists boarding  a bus. A clatter of jackhammers.  Granular light. A film of sweat for primer  and the heat for a coat of paint.  A man and a woman on a bench:  she tells him he must be psychic,  for how else could he sense, even before she knew,  that she’d need to call it off? A bicyclist  fumes by with a coach’s whistle clamped  hard between his teeth, shrilling like a teakettle  on the boil. I never meant, she says.  But I thought, he replies. Two cabs almost  collide; someone yells  fuck  in Farsi.  I’m sorry, she says. The comforts  of loneliness fall in like a bad platoon.  The sky blurs—there’s a storm coming  up or down. A lank cat slinks liquidly  around a corner. How familiar  it feels to feel strange, hollower  than a bassoon. A rill of chill air  in the leaves. A car alarm. Hail.   ― William Matthews, 1998, Morningside Heights, July

Haze. Three student violists boarding

a bus. A clatter of jackhammers.

Granular light. A film of sweat for primer

and the heat for a coat of paint.

A man and a woman on a bench:

she tells him he must be psychic,

for how else could he sense, even before she knew,

that she’d need to call it off? A bicyclist

fumes by with a coach’s whistle clamped

hard between his teeth, shrilling like a teakettle

on the boil. I never meant, she says.

But I thought, he replies. Two cabs almost

collide; someone yells fuck in Farsi.

I’m sorry, she says. The comforts

of loneliness fall in like a bad platoon.

The sky blurs—there’s a storm coming

up or down. A lank cat slinks liquidly

around a corner. How familiar

it feels to feel strange, hollower

than a bassoon. A rill of chill air

in the leaves. A car alarm. Hail.

― William Matthews, 1998, Morningside Heights, July

sometimes  i smell my parents  on my words.  and i weep.     ― Nayyirah Waheed, 2017

sometimes

i smell my parents

on my words.

and i weep.

― Nayyirah Waheed, 2017