poem31 Mar 2014 09:08 am
Whale Tile Mural by Makena Tile Murals

Whale Tile Mural by Makena Tile Murals

The world ends like the whale falls
to the ocean floor: slowly, unencumbered
by life, supported by water, sinking
into the strata of scavengers
until hunger and fear turns everyone
to hagfish and sharks, teeth and odors,
opportunity and opportuned.

In the fin-frenzy, there is no future.
The stomach rules all.
But once the blubber is gone
the bones are so white
they dazzle even the sunlight
silting the eggs of mackerel.

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poem24 Mar 2014 08:57 am

Cetus_Hevelius

Man never did learn to fly, but
for one or two cases that
were quickly relegated to
the medical curios box.

Whales, though—whales we modded
’til they were giant zeppelins,
bones thinner than the birds
that now bore our weight as couriers.

The whales merged with cities
made of platinum and tungsten,
neuro-wired for power and control.

Great herds of whale cities flew
like dreams of children, man
dreaming of his days
as children
beneath the great blue sky.

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poem17 Mar 2014 09:27 am
Leonid Meteor Storm by Edmond Weiss
Leonid Meteor Storm by Edmond Weiss

This universe stalled

stunted, well-nigh aborted,
Barely a light year across,
We’re all neighbors,

And all relations,
One world, one sun,
That’s it,
And when the Empire of Frost
Stretches out its long shadow,

To assimilate every last hectare,
You surrender,

Give up your dreams, because
There is nowhere to run,

To start afresh,
But somewhere in the darkness,

When work’s done and the sun’s hid,
We are sharpening our sickles,
    and telling each other
        that anything
            is better than this.

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poem10 Mar 2014 09:14 am
The Israel Museum, Jerusalem Collection; Purchase, Boxenbaum-Neta Fund; Artwork copyright of the artist ; Photo copyright The Israel Museum, Jerusalem

Column VII by Larry Abramson

I don’t think the Moon wants
to go home.  You have cosseted it,
given it cake and cookies,
admired its fullness as a function
of time.  It has kept you up
late with its returned volley
of flattery and I desperately want
for you to come to bed,
warm depression in the mattress
beside me as we co-pilot into sleep.
From the darkness I hear your laughter
and know it has fooled you
through one more story, tenderly
wiping the dust from your eyes.
I’m a poor lover, voyeur
in my own home, unable to take
the stairs and step into the brilliance.
I believe in choice.
When you ran away with me
my metal heart nearly burst.
Choose again, choose me again.
Moon and spoon may rhyme
but we are worlds apart.

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poem03 Mar 2014 08:52 am
Oya by Steve Gravel, shared under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Oya by Steve Gravel, shared under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Coming of Age

She shakes a red-brown hip jangling with clamshells,
her shimmering thighs bright with the out-flowing tide
and calls to me in a loon’s voice.

“Don’t be afraid of the mud, honey.
It’s so good for your complexion!”

She is lip-smack salty and trade wind persuasive.
The furrows of her hair are slick with chlorophyll
that stains the string of corals at her throat.

“Just leave your clothes there. Great Mother!
Haven’t I seen you naked before?”

Not like this, bared to the bluefin sky,
flesh cold as a crested wave waiting to fall
into the rip current, tongue like a sand dollar.

“I’m…I’m not going to drown, am I?
You said I can breathe under water now.”

Pearly teeth flash behind a grin wide as a dolphin’s.
Fingers like rockweed tendrils reach out to tug me in.
Her laughter is a fall of rain on a brine pool.

“Trust your body, little minnow.
It knows what it’s doing.”

Stumbling into the sea foam, the transformation takes me;
skin to glistening scales, neck to slitted gills,
and we dive, a pair of salmon swimming home, always home.

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poem24 Feb 2014 09:54 am

 

Friedrich_Geselschap_044

This pair of human hands used to belong to
Neither da Vinci, nor Mozart, nor Napoleon
Nor Newton, nor Van Gogh, nor Thomas Edison
Nor Shakespeare, nor Doug Henning, of course nor Li Bai
Look, the blood is still dripping!

But it once warmed the heart of a frozen crow
Opened the door to a stranger starving to death
Added a handful of soil to a withering rose
Waved to a breeze blowing from nowhere
Wouldn’t it be a big fool to buy these hands?

Most important, the hands carry with them authentic spirits
Inherited from gods though still unknown to us, and the owner
Has cut them off to donate to an honorable human cause
Our initial price is set at ten hundred thousand
200, 200? 300, 300? 350, 350? 400,400?

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poem17 Feb 2014 09:37 am

Pluto, By Pat Rawlings / NASA [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Pluto, By Pat Rawlings / NASA [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Icy planet, black and orange,
methane dwarf, Kuiper anomaly,
Clyde Tombaugh found you
from a hill in Flagstaff in 1930,
dancing along the edge of the universe.
Victoria Burley, an 11-year-old Oxford girl
named you after the Roman god
of a place cold and distant.
Chaotic orbiter, trans-Neptunian,
what cold comfort, self-knowledge,
what peace there must be to persist
in such refuting definition.

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poem09 Dec 2013 11:24 am

 

Derek Harper [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

the fog remembers
promises once watered
by cascades of dew
each speck of mist
a prism into the past

when these men and women
lived and breathed
walking this valley soil
with trowel and shovel
digging deep

to bury the seeds of dreams
first nurtured in
Armenia, Japan, Arkansas
Italy or Oklahoma
now they return

during this first fog
of the year
California’s heartland smothered
beneath a cotton-thick mist
the cold means nothing

when that thick mud
squishes between bared toes
hardened by a long walk
along Route 66;
with water comes growth

even after death
those seeds still grow in
this dirt, this promised land
that blessed kiss of moisture
the musk of earth heavy in air

the joy of grit
between each finger, the smile
at spying a first seedling;
one blessed night to return home
the fog remembers

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poem02 Dec 2013 08:45 am

1024px-Hieronymus_Bosch_096

 

for now, they have all stopped
pretending to be more than chimpanzees
struggling ferociously for power, sex, fame or money

lying seemingly still on each padded shelf
under the roof of hardened darkness
is a bleeding devil
tightly enclosed within a decent
human shape, as if in a vast morgue

high above them is squatting a bloated serpent
with a body of billion eyes all viciously open
to watch for so many tiny dragons
chasing and collecting the deformed soul
trying desperately to escape
form every fleshy casket

Changming Yuan, 7-time Pushcart nominee and author of Chansons of a Chinaman (2009) and Landscaping (2013), grew up in rural China but currently tutors in Vancouver, where he co-publishes Poetry Pacific with Allen Qing Yuan and operates PP Press. With a PhD in English, Yuan has recently been interviewed by [PANK], and had poetry appearing in Best Canadian Poetry, BestNewPoemsOnline, Exquisite Corpse, London Magazine, Threepenny Reviewand 769 other literary journals/anthologies across 28 countries. In 2013, Yuan has been bitten by 3 poisonous snakes.

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poem25 Nov 2013 08:41 am
2048px-Girl_with_a_pomegranate,_by_William_Bouguereau
You burned my tales,
but I shall tell you
of how I ate the fruit
that bore my child.
I found it in the wet muds
of the mountains.
the thick trees
curled above
the foaming waters.
The flesh of lucuma is hard,
as an egg left too long in the desert sun.
This is no fruit
to be eaten swiftly.
I held it in my breasts
until it softened beneath the sun,
its juices warm upon my skin.
The skin of lucuma is green,
as the trees that huddle against the mountains.
The earth rocked beneath me
as I ate.
The thick trees
curled above
the foaming waters.
Sweet, sweet this fruit
though the taste
turned bitter.
Heavy, heavy the seeds
that lingered in my belly.
I stood beneath the moon
and hungered.
Sweet, sweet the child
that slid out beneath my legs.
Bitter, bitter his cries, like the seas
I used to quench his endless thirst.
The moon came to me as a beggar
and claimed that he had made the child.
I spat my seeds into his face.
You may say that this has not been told
the way that things should be done.
That no goddess could ever spit
her rage against the moon.
That I have not told the end, of how,
I twisted my seed-son into rock
and plunged with him into the sea,
turning the oceans against the moon.
The moon pulls at me in the sea.
The tide churns against my legs.
But here I always have my son.
Here I can spit at the moon,
and sing my song to the wind.
And I may say: shape my tale
to whatever words you wish to hear.
Whatever the tale you tell,
I will stay here in the waters, singing.
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