by Adam Zagajewski

I was strolling under the tents of trees
and raindrops occasionally reached me
as though asking:
Is your desire to suffer,
to sob?

Soft air,
wet leaves;
–the scent was spring, the scent sorrow


translated by Renata Gorczynski, Benjamin Ivry, and C.K. Williams

Glare by Ammons (17)


where do poems come from, you may
want to know: have you ever wondered:

do you care about the baby, not the
fetus: if you're like many people

you don't care about the poem, so why
care where it comes from, when you

mostly do care about babies and still
would just as soon skip the phylogeny:

wonder which comes first, the motion
or the feeling, or the event, perception,

connection: oceanward, you could
say that a rift of motion starts in

the doldrums, forms a progression, 
but you can't derive what it derived

from: what unsettled a bit of air:
was it air's own weight, a change of

temperature and buoyancy, or did a
wing slice through, or a meteor, or 

surely not a neutrino, so tiny: so
what causes anything to start: when

is the beginning of anything, all
beginnings begun: well, that's it: 

there's a currency of feeling and it
flows as unformed, if noticeable, as 

a drive, and describes a form of
itself, or else its energy picks up

some body here or there and marries 
itself to that, creating narrative: 

motion, going from here to there,
describes a swerve or arc or salience

and that is form: that is the seed
of form, born in the very bosom of

its substance, which is motion: next
to that, tell me what you think of

a sonnet or some fucking cookie-cutter:
I mustn't become high-handed: I'm

okay when I'm typing like this, tho: 
I'm in motion and the worm I am

extruding has a long wiggle: it
seems to me as I look about that I

know some things well: but they are
about nothing: there is no seedcorn,

there are no potato eyes in my stuff:
my poems come out of a little tug of

rift in an oceanic doldrum: it's a 
tiny little ship, an airship: fog

could drown it, saturate its jib:
who could get to Mars with that: if

I'm not to have a life, at least let
me tell you about it, that is, that

I'm not having it: that will make
me nearly think I'm having it: imagine

a life! of words: better than
nothing, better, better, bitter-bile

better: for what I meant was love:
now, don't blubber: poor comfort,

such poor comfort: twaddle:   


Purchase Glare

A Poem by Christian Wiman

All My Friends Are Finding New Beliefs

All my friends are finding new beliefs.
This one converts to Catholicism and this one to trees.
In a highly literary and hitherto religiously-indifferent Jew
God whomps on like a genetic generator.
Paleo, Keto, Zone, South Beach, Bourbon.
Exercise regimens so extreme she merges with machine.
One man marries a woman twenty years younger
and twice in one brunch uses the word verdant;
another’s brick-fisted belligerence gentles
into dementia, and one, after a decade of finical feints and teases
like a sandpiper at the edge of the sea,
decides to die.
Priesthoods and beasthoods, sombers and glees,
high-styled renunciations and avocations of dirt,
sobrieties, satieties, pilgrimages to the very bowels of  being …
All my friends are finding new beliefs
and I am finding it harder and harder to keep track
of the new gods and the new loves,
and the old gods and the old loves,
and the days have daggers, and the mirrors motives,
and the planet’s turning faster and faster in the blackness,
and my nights, and my doubts, and my friends,
my beautiful, credible friends.

Barbie’s Ferrari by Lynne McMahon

Nothing is quite alien or quite recognizable at this speed,
Though there is the suggestion of curve, a mutant
Curvature designed, I suppose, to soften or offset
The stiletto toes and karate arms that were too
Angular for her last car, A Corvette as knifed as Barbie
Herself, and not the bloodred of Italian Renaissance.
This is Attention. This is detail fitted to sheer
Velocity. For her knees, after all, are locked–
Once fitted into the driving pit, she can only accelerate
Into a future that becomes hauntingly like the past:
Nancy Drew in her yellow roadster, a convertible,
I always imagined, the means to an end
Almost criminal in its freedom, its motherlessness.
For Barbie, too, is innocent of parents, pressing
Her unloved breasts to the masculine wheel, gunning
The turn into the hallway and out over the maiming stairs,
Every jolt slamming her uterus into uselessness, sealed,
Sealed up and preserved, everything about her becoming
Pure Abstraction and the vehicle for Desire: to be Nancy,
To be Barbie, to feel the heaven of Imagination
Breathe its ether on your cheeks, rosying in the slipstream
As the speedster/roadster/Ferrari plummets over the rail
Into the ocean of waxed hardwood below. To crash and burn
And be retrieved. To unriddle the crime. To be
Barbie with a plot! That’s the soulful beauty of it.
That’s the dreaming child.
Not the dawn of Capital, the factories of Hong Kong
Reversing the currency in Beijing. Not the ovarian
Moon in eclipse. Just the dreaming child, the orphan,
Turning in slow motion in the air above the banister,
For whom ideas of gender and marketplace are nothings
Less than nothing. It’s the car she was born for.
It’s Barbie you mourn for.

The author’s book “Faith” for purchase.

Posted as a reaction to all of the Barbies that were surely given out for Christmas across the world 3 days ago.

I’m not fond of Barbie but the poem holds my attention.


by Carl Sandburg

The wishes on this child’s mouth
Came like snow on marsh cranberries;
The tamarack kept something for her;
The wind is ready to help her shoes.
The north has loved her; she will be
A Grandmother feeding geese on frosty
Mornings; she will understand
Early snow on the cranberries
Better and better then.

Garbage #11 by Ammons

an early June morning in early June, we, having
already gone out to breakfast, pop into the red

Toyota Tercel and breeze down the hill by Lake
Cayuga to the farmers' market, so bright, so

clear, rows and rows of cars and stalls and,
beyond, boats docked calm on the glassy inlet:

the people look a little ruffled, like yards
trying to come out of icebound winters into

springs, the old stalks still there, the space
of the new stuff not filled out: affliction

here, where the heavy woman, heavier than last 
fall, leans over to swish one knock-knee past

(check that rhyme) the other; affliction there,
where the wobble-legged man leans over into his

arm crutches, a four-legged progression: aging
women, drooped breasts under loose T-shirts,

hair making a virtue of snow-white or veering
off into an original expression of blue:

toothless, big-bellied, bald, broad-rumped,
deaf: the afflicted, hurts hurting but less

than they hurt at home or, if hurting more,
with some compensation: one absolutely lovely

person, perhaps: the radiance of some babies'
faces, the perfect interest of some boy in mud

puddles: and this is all under the aspect of
eternity, soon to be: but listen to the

good-mornings and how've-you-beens and 
were-you-away-any-of-the-winters, along with

the hanging baskets of fuchsia, purple and red
and streaked white, tuberous begonias with the

freshest colors alive, bread, and stall after 
stall of vegetables, goat cheese, honey, coffee

plus a live minnequin who is moved to thank you
by coins and bills dropped in a hat: this is

we at our best, not killing, scheming, abusing,
running over, tearing down, burning up: why

did invention ever bother with all this, why
does the huge beech by the water come back every

year: oh, the sweet pleasures, or even the hope
of sweet pleasures, the kiss, the letter from

someone, the word of sympathy or praise, or just
the shared settled look between us, that here

we are together, such as it is, cautious and
courageous, wily with genuine desire, policed

by how we behave, all out of eternity, into
eternity, but here now, where we make the most

of it: I settle down: I who could have used
the world share a crumb: I who wanted the sky

fall to the glint in a passing eye: the crack 
in the dome of knowledge, the aperture, so to

say, poetically speaking, into faith is, of
course, as everyone knows, the magical exception

to the naturalistic rule: derivations (pharma-
cological?) from nature do what they can, usually

with terrible side effects or with disjunctivitis
with othe rdrugs (with, with) but one exception

as in rising in a fiery go-cart is lustfully
believed to overturn, or else to bouy, all

naturalism, by which is intended to be meant
sense, common and unusual varieties, science,

knowledge, craft: there is a web-worm falls
sometimes aslant the honeysuckle hedge in spring

breeze or other dislocation and finds itself
asquirm dangerously dangled in the open air (I've

seen hornets trim those babies right out of the
air): this one I paused to view was wrestling

up the single thread of web, nipping and tucking,
reaching up for a hold on the tight and bringing

itself up till the bit length could be added
to the tiny cotton ball gathered at its

head: but this is mere mechanics: down its
back was a purplish streak exactly the color

of honeysucklebushlimbstems, the top part (buds)
of the stems: his feet, his laterals, were

exactly the color of the lateralhoneysucklebush
limbstems: while this waits explanation, I

hold it a sufficient miracle, on which, tho,
I posit no faith of a kind but faith of another

kind: that is, maybe some spooky agency does
manage all: we're attracted to stars not because

they're confessional but because of the roles 
they create into play; we're attracted to

pretend, not fact, first: then, the clothing 
of creativity about the person attracts us to

his sins: we are awed and want the clay feet
to stop walking over us: also we want better

to understand how to reach this creativity's 
sinfulness ourselves so why can't poets

speak in tongues, others than their own; is
truth in the fact or in the ppersuasion, in the

credible action or the flat statement: I don't
care whether anybody believes me or not: I

don't know anything I want anybody to believe or
in: but if you will sit with me in the light

of speech, I will sit with you: I would rather 
do this than eat your ice cream, go to a movie,

hump a horse, measure a suit, suit a measure:
I would at my age rather do this than

skateboard, but I can think of nothing I'd
rather do than think of skateboard loops out

of skateboard bowls, the various designs in the
momenta: the rising up in rounds over the rims. 

                          A.R. Ammons (1993) From his book "Garbage"