poetry

ursula

the poet says “troy”

this reminds Ursula
of something

“god works in mysterious
ways”

“if I ever have a boy
I am going to name
him Troy”

she looks at me

“I have twins you know”

I do know this
because everyone knows this
I listen intently
perched on the edge
of a decaying
cafeteria chair

she continues

“they are girls”

“they are named after
bible characters”

I know more than she
offers

she doesn’t tell me that
the twin girls
named after bible characters
were taken last year
by a balding man
and his silent accomplice
conjoined grim reapers
c/o the department of social services

they were taken
because she lives
in a cardboard box
and does the things men ask her to do
in exchange for food and protection

she’s electric
a fallen powerline–
when I am near her
in a public library
9 am on a Wednesday morning a heterosexual woman
I think about
sex

she makes the men at our table nervous
with unflinching eye contact
and spaghetti straps
I watch them drown
in her flood

the man
who consumed her body

“Bobby Wilson”

gave her HIV
along with
those identical heartbeats
and was never seen
again

Alan says something now
he says

“what is going to be Troy’s
last name?”

everyone laughs
they know about
Ursula
they know about what she
does

“well I can tell you
one thing,
it sure as hell
ain’t gunna
be Wilson”

she laughs
and only
then do
I laugh

Standard
other people's poems, poetry

a la brecha (to the persecuted)

If suffering comes unabated,

if weariness weighs down your spirit,
do as the once barren tree:
flourish.
And like the planted seed:
rise.

Resurge, breathe, shout, walk, fight,
Vibrate, glide, thunder, shine forth…
Do as the river rich with new rainwater:
grow.
Or like the sea approaching a rocky shore:
strike.

Know how to face the angry thrust of storms,
not braying, like a frightened lamb,
but roaring, like a defiant beast.

Rise! Revolt! Resist!
Do as the bull in the face of adversity:
charge
with confident power.

Standard
poetry

how wonderful

How wonderful to be understood,
to just sit here while some kind person
relieves you of the awful burden
of having to explain yourself, of having
to find other words to say what you meant,
or what you think you thought you meant,
and of the worse burden of finding no words,
of being struck dumb . . . because some bright person
has found just the right words for you—and you
have only to sit here and be grateful
for words so quiet so discerning they seem
not words but literate light, in which
your merely lucid blossomiong grows lustrous.
How wonderful that is!

And how altogether wonderful it is
not to be understood, not at all, to, well,
just sit here while someone not unkindly
is saying those impossibly wrong things,
or quite possbily they’re the right things
if you are, which you’re not, that somone
—a difference, finally, so indifferent
it would be conceit not to let it pass,
unkindness, really, to spoil someone’s fun.
And so you don’t mind, you welcome the umbrage
of those high murmurings over your head,
having found, after all, you are grateful
—and you understand this, how wonderful!—
that you’ve been led to be quietly yourself,
like a root growing wise in darkness
under the light litter, the falling words.

– irving feldman

 

 

Standard