Monet’s Waterlilies

Today as the news from Selma and Saigon
poisons the air like fallout,
I come again to see
the serene, great picture that I love.

Here space and time exist in light
the eye like the eye of faith believes.
The seen, the known
dissolve in iridescence, become
illusive flesh of light
that was not, was, forever is.

O light beheld as through refracting tears.
Here is the aura of that world
each of us has lost.
Here is the shadow of its joy

–by Robert Hayden
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when he stopped writing her

the letter always bled for her for her eyes (brown as those old bottles in the medicine cabinet) bleeding words like teardrops yet without spilling onto the green tile floor those words always pure only staining the paper glossy black ink blood like muslin stuck to an old wound those words always strong yet blurred, obscure words only a scholar would find obscene

happy are those who die because they have returned to those first crumbs of dirt that fed us to that first hole to that soft black and smell of coal

-Pablo Picasso

Self Evident

It’s not so much the truth that bothers

Truths like lies

can sometimes shift

so whether they’re spat or whispered

they’ll always unfold

It’s the lying that kicks up the brick dust

The you can lie to them, we all do it

We’re all a them to someone

Where honesty hung off the tongue ready to dive

there’s only omission

a clean unwillingness

to break down and be an outright liar

Cowardly, feverish, but ready

my truth will lay in wait in trenches of jowls

Let the world have it

when necessary

when commanded

until then

Fuck’em my shit is self evident

The Secret Explanation Of Where Poems Come From

If ever you are in the room with those

Lost in the reverie of poetry

And struggling to guide their thoughts, they close

Their seeking eyes to help them better see;

If ever you have watched a poet’s face

Composing line within a world inside

No other soul can witness nor divide;

Then you are not alone in wond’ring, “Where,

While all their flesh and blood on Earth remains,

Do poets take their thoughts before they bare

Them back transformed? Where is a poem’s domain?”

This verse will not reveal from whence it came,

And poets–they write poems to explain.

–Allan Wolf

–from “Medusa”

Dammit, Athena, take away my father’s gold. Send me away

to live with lepers. Give me a pimple or two.

But my face. To have men never again be able to gaze

at my face, growing stupid in anticipation

of that first touch, how can any woman live like that?

How will I be able to watch their warm bodies

turn to rock when their only sin was desiring me?

All they want is to see me sweat. They just want

to touch my face and run their fingers through my…

my hair

is it moving?

By Patricia Smith

Soul Search

why do you let them?

come and leave?

like them and

love you, too?

what is the reason

behind settling for

sticks and stones?

for dimming your glow?

how come half their heart

is good enough for all or

your soul?

you bend back and break

bones for themin your home–

and yet they are allowed to stay

and make a mess of you.

why do you let them?

by Alex Elle