other peoples poetry

breathing underwater

I built my house by the sea.
Not on the sands, mind you,
not on the shifting sand.

And I built it out of rock.

A strong house
by a strong sea.
And we got well acquainted, the sea and I.
Good neighbors.
Not that we spoke much.
We met in silences,
respectful, keeping our distance
but looking our thoughts across the fence of sand.

Always the fence of sand our barrier,
always the sand between.

And then one day
(and I still don’t know how it happened)
the sea came.

Without warning.
Without welcome even.

Not sudden and swift, but a shifting across the sand like wine,
less like the flow of water than the flow of blood.
Slow, but flowing like an open wound.

And I thought of flight, and I thought of drowning, and I thought of death.
But while I thought, the sea crept higher till it reached my door.
And I knew that there was neither flight nor death nor drowning.

That when the sea comes calling you stop being good neighbors,
Well acquainted, friendly from a distance neighbors.
And you give your house for a coral castle
And you learn to breathe under water.

– Carol Bialock

other peoples poetry, poetry

on disaster and poetry

“Who is the Author of Disaster?
For an answer, read
The Book of Nature or
a woman’s face.”

Disaster shuts down language. Disaster cannot be fathomed. Disaster stops all speech because the suffering it causes is so total and complete….

Does disaster really render language inadequate? What is its relation to the language of poetry in particular? In 1965, cultural critic Theodor Adorno asserted that “to write poetry after Auschwitz is barbaric.” Disaster is so often discussed in terms of silence and the inability to speak, but I want to think about how disaster produces speech, writing, and testimony and how disaster is reproduced through language. I’m not talking about disaster as metaphor in poetry but about a poetry that arises in direct response to a disaster, a poetry of disaster.

Nicole Cooley

other peoples poetry, poetry

dorothy wordsworth

The daffodils can go fuck themselves.
I’m tired of their crowds, yellow rantings
about the spastic sun that shines and shines
and shines. How are they any different

from me? I, too, have a big messy head
on a fragile stalk. I spin with the wind.
I flower and don’t apologize. There’s nothing
funny about good weather. Oh, spring again,

the critics nod. They know the old joy,
that wakeful quotidian, the dark plot
of future growing things, each one
labeled Narcissus nobilis or Jennifer Chang.

If I died falling from a helicopter, then
this would be an important poem. Then
the ex-boyfriends would swim to shore
declaiming their knowledge of my bulbous

youth. O, Flower, one said, why aren’t you
meat? But I won’t be another bashful shank.
The tulips have their nervous joie-de-vivre,
the lilacs their taunt. Fractious petals, stop

interrupting my poem with boring beauty.
All the boys are in the field gnawing raw
bones of ambition and calling it ardor. Who
the hell are they? This is a poem about war.

– Jennifer Chang

other peoples poetry, poetry

things I heard

“what is it a
recognizes that a
cannot see?”
– Nathan


“My girl Hilary,
she gunna win”
– Stacy

“Don’t make me
sick while I’m
– Allen


“I would like
a dog too
but unfortunately
I had an
Asian girlfriend
in the 80’s”
– Allen


“I’m from the
land of
‘here they come'”
– Mike


Where were you
at age 11?

Allen- Fresno
George- North Carolina
Gary- Boston
Genarro- Boston
Stacy- New Orleans

Michael James- “all around the world”


“When I was 11
going on 12
I was on that
old paper route
I think”
– Anthony

other peoples poetry, poetry


“One day I’ll give birth to a tiny baby girl
and when she’s born she’ll scream
and I’ll tell her to never stop

I will kiss her before I lay her down at night
and will tell her a story so she knows
how it is and how it must be for her to survive

I’ll tell her to set things on fire
and keep them burning
I’ll teach her that fire will not consume her
that she must use it”


Nicole Blackman

other peoples poetry, poetry

The Queen Of Old Orchard Beach, Maine

every summer, she comes here
between tours
the emo kids mixing in
perfectly with the baby
she rests on the beach, with a
shadow of a ferris wheel
in the background

every summer, she comes
just when the lobster boats
are holding sway, far off into the
ocean, barely visible

she’ll take off her top
and the sun will make love
to her body

she always wears wayfarers,
though the shopkeepers say
her blue eyes pierce like

I have been brave enough to
walk over to her a few times,
and say” hello,”
once, pretending my beach
ball went over by

she just smiled in that way
people who are affluent do,

it was like a miracle!

on her right leg,
were the names of her
nieces and nephews, she

an older couple sitting not
far from us, says
the government should do
a better job of guarding its

brunette hair covers her face,
like a shaggy dog;
she brushes it back

I react as if
I’ve seen an epiphany

she asks me who’s better
Miles Davis or John Coltrane?

I don’t immediately answer

i’m transfixed by the
tattoo on her right arm
the one of the French flag
with the term under it that reads

Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite

a poem for Liz by Erren Geraud Kelly/ November 20, 2015