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POETRY SWAP MEET: Poetry we don't usually know about, or?

Kinkpoet
Kinkpoet
Fire of Insight
United States
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Taylor Mali

As a slam poetry performer, Taylor Mali has been on seven National Poetry Slam teams; six appeared on the finals stage and four won the competition (1996 with Team Providence; 1997, 2000 and 2002 with Team NYC-Urbana). Mali is the author of What Learning Leaves and the Last Time as We Are (Write Bloody Publishing), has recorded four CDs, and is included in various anthologies. Poets who have influenced him include Billy Collins, Saul Williams, Walt Whitman, Rives, Mary Oliver, and Naomi Shihab Nye. He is perhaps best known for the poem "What Teachers Make." The popular poem became the basis of a book of essays, titled, "What Teachers Make: In Praise of the Greatest Job in the World" which was published in 2012 by Putnam Adult.[9]

He appeared in Taylor Mali & Friends Live at the Bowery Poetry Club and the documentaries "SlamNation" (1997) and "Slam Planet" (2006). He was also in the HBO production, "Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry," which won a Peabody Award in 2003. Taylor Mali is the former president of Poetry Slam Incorporated, and he has performed with such renowned poets as Billy Collins and Allen Ginsberg. Although he retired from the National Poetry Slam competition in 2005,[10] he still helps curate the reading series Page Meets Stage, held monthly at the Bowery Poetry Club. His chapbook, The Whetting Stone, won the Rattle Chapbook Prize for 2017. Source: Wikipedia

Link to recording of Taylor Mali reading The Second Pass:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=awaBcRsOXsY

Taylor Mali
THE SECOND PASS

The first pass along the whetting stone
creates an edge too fine to last;
the second, more blunting pass
tempers the edge into usefulness.


Together we used to hone blades
so unutterably precise
tomatoes would slice themselves
open to expose their reddest flesh.


Later, in the restaurant’s kitchen,
when the head chef needed a knife,
screaming in French, he came to her
station and used one of hers.


She told me this with pride one night,
then put her hand on my chest
and cried stainless steel tears
I could not understand.


When she jumped from the window
and they searched the apartment,
they found in the bathroom a knife,
its edge unbloodied, as sharp as a razor.


And I keep thinking of the second pass,
how it sharpens as it dulls the working edge,
how the one has a real and necessary need
of the other to do what it does.

—from The Whetting Stone
2017 Rattle Chapbook Prize Winner

Vandel_Viaclovsky
Vandel_Viaclovsky
Van
Thought Provoker
United States
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The Flea

By John Donne (1572–1631)


Mark but this flea, and mark in this,  
How little that which thou deniest me is;  
It sucked me first, and now sucks thee,
And in this flea our two bloods mingled be;  
Thou know’st that this cannot be said
A sin, nor shame, nor loss of maidenhead,
   Yet this enjoys before it woo,
   And pampered swells with one blood made of two,
   And this, alas, is more than we would do.

Oh stay, three lives in one flea spare,
Where we almost, nay more than married are.  
This flea is you and I, and this
Our marriage bed, and marriage temple is;  
Though parents grudge, and you, w'are met,  
And cloistered in these living walls of jet.
   Though use make you apt to kill me,
   Let not to that, self-murder added be,
   And sacrilege, three sins in killing three.

Cruel and sudden, hast thou since
Purpled thy nail, in blood of innocence?  
Wherein could this flea guilty be,
Except in that drop which it sucked from thee?  
Yet thou triumph’st, and say'st that thou  
Find’st not thy self, nor me the weaker now;
   ’Tis true; then learn how false, fears be:
   Just so much honor, when thou yield’st to me,
   Will waste, as this flea’s death took life from thee.




Jade-Pandora
Jade-Pandora
jade tiger
Tyrant of Words
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Asiya Wadud

THE DOG GOD


for Soleil

Some say the dog god infinite empire. Some say turn the same stone until the work is done. Some say burnish the dog god against a slick cutting stone. Some say wait until each stone is turned. Some suns light others too much, some need it urgent, some just yearn, some say the dog god lurks infinite pyre. Some say Titus when the milk is gone, some need the dog god when the laughing days are done, some yoke the lambent sun, some yearn. Some express simulacrum. Some urgent plovers alight their burden. Some crest fetid carrion when the dog god comes meek. Some take for granted the just, able sun.
Some flex currency at the dog god summit, some commit to knowing when the matte waters reign calm. Some protect a knowing that rises from the bones and the dog god, the dog god the home.
But the good living ones and the bevy between us and they nurture and they frequent and they stoke the new flame and their urgency for mere gods does justice just the same and the good gods the small gods the robbed gods keep us and the bevy gives shadow to the good gods among us.

__________________________________

Asiya Wadud: “I teach second grade and last Thursday a student said, again and again, ‘Tomorrow is going to be very different from today, tomorrow is going to be very different from today.’ This student is seven years old and the only president she’s ever known is Barack Obama. I wrote this as a reminder that there are always good gods among us, even when dog gods reign.”

AnonymousBystander
AnonymousBystander
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David Berman (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Berman_(musician)) ...

... was a poet as well as a musician.  He has a poetry collection called Actual Air (https://opencity.org/books/actual-air) ... since this isn't readily available, find below one of his song lyrics ...

That's Just the Way That I Feel

Well, I don't like talkin' to myself
But someone's gotta say it, hell
I mean, things have not been going well
This time I think I finally fucked myself
You see, the life I live is sickening
I spent a decade playing chicken with oblivion
Day to day, I'm neck and neck with giving in
I'm the same old wreck I've always been

And when I see her in the park
It barely merits a remark
How we stand the standard distance
Distant strangers stand apart

Course I've been humbled by the void
Much of my faith has been destroyed
I've been forced to watch my foes enjoy
Ceaseless feasts of schadenfreude
And as the pace of life keeps quickening
Beneath the bitching and the bickering
When I try to drown my thoughts in gin
I find my worst ideas know how to swim

Well, a setback can be a setup
For a comeback if you don't let up
But this kind of hurtin' won't heal
And the end of all wanting
Is all I've been wanting
And that's just the way that I feel

I met failure in Australia
I fell ill in Illinois
I nearly lost my genitalia
To an anthill in Des Moines
I was so far gone in Fargo
South Dakota got annoyed
That's the shit I'm talkin' 'bout
When I talk to you about
Ceaseless feasts of schadenfreude

And a setback can be a setup
For a comeback if you don't let up
But this kind of hurtin' won't heal
And the end of all wanting
Is all I've been wanting
The end of all wanting
Is all I've been wanting
The end of all wanting
Is all I've been wanting
And that's just the way that I feel

Jade-Pandora
Jade-Pandora
jade tiger
Tyrant of Words
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OCEAN VUONG

On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous



i

Tell me it was for the hunger
& nothing less. For hunger is to give
the body what it knows

it cannot keep. That this amber light
whittled down by another war
is all that pins my hand

to your chest.


i

You, drowning
between my arms —
stay.

You, pushing your body
into the river
only to be left
with yourself —
stay.


i

I’ll tell you how we’re wrong enough to be forgiven. How one night, after
backhanding
mother, then taking a chainsaw to the kitchen table, my father went to kneel
in the bathroom until we heard his muffled cries through the walls.
And so I learned that a man, in climax, was the closest thing
to surrender.


i

Say surrender. Say alabaster. Switchblade.
Honeysuckle. Goldenrod. Say autumn.
Say autumn despite the green
in your eyes. Beauty despite
daylight. Say you’d kill for it. Unbreakable dawn
mounting in your throat.
My thrashing beneath you
like a sparrow stunned
with falling.


i

Dusk: a blade of honey between our shadows, draining.


i

I wanted to disappear — so I opened the door to a stranger’s car. He was divorced. He was still alive. He was sobbing into his hands (hands that tasted like rust). The pink breast cancer ribbon on his keychain swayed in the ignition. Don’t we touch each other just to prove we are still here? I was still here once. The moon, distant & flickering, trapped itself in beads of sweat on my neck. I let the fog spill through the cracked window & cover my fangs. When I left, the Buick kept sitting there, a dumb bull in pasture, its eyes searing my shadow onto the side of suburban houses. At home, I threw myself on the bed like a torch & watched the flames gnaw through my mother’s house until the sky appeared, bloodshot & massive. How I wanted to be that sky — to hold every flying & falling at once.


i

Say amen. Say amend.

Say yes. Say yes

anyway.


i

In the shower, sweating under cold water, I scrubbed & scrubbed.


i

In the life before this one, you could tell
two people were in love
because when they drove the pickup
over the bridge, their wings
would grow back just in time.

Some days I am still inside the pickup.
Some days I keep waiting.


i

It’s not too late. Our heads haloed
with gnats & summer too early
to leave any marks.
Your hand under my shirt as static
intensifies on the radio.
Your other hand pointing
your daddy’s revolver
to the sky. Stars falling one
by one in the cross hairs.
This means I won’t be
afraid if we’re already
here. Already more
than skin can hold. That a body
beside a body
must make a field
full of ticking. That your name
is only the sound of clocks
being set back another hour
& morning
finds our clothes
on your mother’s front porch, shed
like week-old lilies.

_______________________________

Born in Saigon in 1988, poet and editor Ocean Vuong was raised in Hartford, Connecticut, and earned a BA at Brooklyn College (CUNY). In his poems, he often explores transformation, desire, and violent loss.

In 2014, Vuong was awarded a Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry fellowship from the Poetry Foundation. He received a Whiting Award in 2016 and a MacArthur fellowship in 2019. He is the former managing editor of Thrush Press and currently lives in the Pioneer Valley of Massachusetts, where he is on faculty in the MFA program at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Jade-Pandora
Jade-Pandora
jade tiger
Tyrant of Words
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Joined 9th Nov 2015
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OCEAN VUONG

A Little Closer to the Edge

Young enough to believe nothing
will change them, they step, hand-in-hand,

into the bomb crater. The night full
of  black teeth. His faux Rolex, weeks

from shattering against her cheek, now dims
like a miniature moon behind her hair.

In this version the snake is headless — stilled
like a cord unraveled from the lovers’ ankles.

He lifts her white cotton skirt, revealing
another hour. His hand. His hands. The syllables

inside them. O father, O foreshadow, press
into her — as the field shreds itself

with cricket cries. Show me how ruin makes a home
out of  hip bones. O mother,

O minutehand, teach me
how to hold a man the way thirst

holds water. Let every river envy
our mouths. Let every kiss hit the body

like a season. Where apples thunder
the earth with red hooves. & I am your son.

________________________________

Born in Saigon in 1988, poet and editor Ocean Vuong was raised in Hartford, Connecticut, and earned a BA at Brooklyn College (CUNY). In his poems, he often explores transformation, desire, and violent loss.

In 2014, Vuong was awarded a Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry fellowship from the Poetry Foundation. He received a Whiting Award in 2016 and a MacArthur fellowship in 2019. He is the former managing editor of Thrush Press and currently lives in the Pioneer Valley of Massachusetts, where he is on faculty in the MFA program at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Jade-Pandora
Jade-Pandora
jade tiger
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Daryl Jones

QUOTIDIAN


How the word stands out, ironically,
in everyday speech, as if you’d found
on the vinyl seat beside you
in a busy Italian restaurant
a length of four-inch, corrugated,
black plastic drainpipe, an object
commonplace, certainly,
in the whirring and jackhammering din
of an urban construction site, but startling
amid the clattering crockery and garlicky aroma
of Luigi’s Little Italy.
But then, let’s say, you begin to find
lengths of black plastic drainpipe
in the back seat of your car, under
your desk in the office, at the bottom
of your closet and under your bed.
Then you notice one beside the anchor’s desk
on the evening news, in a photo of politicians
on the front page of the paper.
Soon the startling is quotidian.
It no longer surprises or troubles you.
It’s just black plastic drainpipe, you say.
Everyone sees it. Everyone carries it around.
__________________________________

Daryl Jones: “This is a response to a an opinion column by CNN reporter Stephen Collinson, who describes Donald Trump’s actions of the past week, his weaponization of the Presidency, the normalization of his egregious behavior, and the widespread complacency in the face of such unprecedented conduct. This is how democracies are lost.”

Jade-Pandora
Jade-Pandora
jade tiger
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Jackleen Holton

A HARD LUMP


sprung up on the right side of my neck
so I went to the doctor, who patted around
the mass, told me it was probably nothing, a cluster
of pissed-off cells, a mini-revolt.
I started to say the word I feared.
No, he said, probably not that, but we’ll run some tests.
Just as I thought, he told me after the needle biopsy,
the CT scan, just a minor populist bloc.
In fact, it looks smaller than before.
Go home, rest. Then we’ll do another scan.
And after that, because it had begun to throb,
a little fist just under my jugular vein,
I said I think it wants to do me in, but he shook
his head, and then he cut me, pulled out the bloody
lump and sewed me back up. I went numb.
He told me I might not feel anything
for about a year. I tried to speak but my voice
came out like a weak wind.
After they biopsied it, he called to say
that it was after all the thing I’d feared,
and that there were surely more pockets
of fascist cells. He said we have to go into battle,
we’ll use this agent we found in the war.
I said I had to think about it. He said don’t think too long.
I went home and cried until a sleep like death
came and covered me, and a god I didn’t know
if I believed in held me in her arms
and whispered you have to love it,
but I knew I already did because it had broken me
open, sent my roots down, it gathered my friends
around me, and we wove a shawl
of prayers. And I said Jesus, and she nodded
even though that’s not her full name. And I said America,
that’s what I call my body sometimes,
we have to love ourself now, we can’t go back
again, we must use this to grow into something
so much greater than we’ve ever been.

__________________________________

Jackleen Holton: “John Dean said to President Nixon during the Watergate scandal: ‘We have a cancer within—close to the presidency, that’s growing. It’s growing daily. It’s compounding.’ In the week following Trump’s acquittal by senate Republicans, it is more apparent than ever that the cancer on this presidency has compounded and continues to spread throughout our republic.”

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