Poem for the Day: January 27th, 2022

American Deathbed by Jiarong Zhang

is boneboat. We make teeth 

from pennies for our American

toothfairy. We hide them under our

pillow next to our nectarine

acetaminophen. Dali mouths

opening to other mouths

form this neck of history.

I’m sucking my pregnancy

test like a popsicle. I’m

breastfeeding the sea.

You’re in bed with

your video game girlfriend

except it’s you on the screen,

you’re playing in the first person

your lips are kissing your feet.

You’re smoking a cigarette

in the deportees club.

You’re sitting on the toilet

beside your female-gendered

tub. I’m watching an old

woman crawl up the hill

of the city. I’m baptizing

myself in the acidachelake.

The sun is throbbing

into my throat. For who.

For who. I’m scalpel

-ing an ebony. You’re Fishhawk

Midnight. My naked legs

bent into the Geese

-Shaped V. Before we sleep,

you look out the window

to see what’s left of me. Out there,

beyond the American Deathbed,

you tell me there are lesions of

kindness. There are birds

jeweling our sleeps. There

are hyacinths, just purring.

I want my mother to see.

On the moon, you say

look closely to see

a child’s TV

playing infinitely on loop,

just purring with gravity.

I want the old song to play

of my father snoring in his

sleep. Mother yelling at me to

leave. In this twilight,

even anger is so pretty.

Live for me.

© 2014-2020, BOAAT Press. All rights reserved.

I love how playful Zhang is with language in this poem. From the lesions of kindness to the hyacinths, just purring, every image Zhang conjures is haunting in its specificity while abstract in its execution. In the background of it all is an undercurrent of electricity waiting to zap the attentive reader. American Deathbed is one of those poems you can’t read just once, and the reader willing to give it the time and attention it deserves will not regret the decision.

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at fred.slusher@thevoraciousbibliophile.com or catch me on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.

Poem for the Day: January 26th, 2022

Fresco by Richie Hofmann

I have come again to the perfumed city.
Houses with tiered porches, some decorated with shells.
You know from the windows that the houses
are from a different time. I am not
to blame for what changes, though sometimes
I have trouble sleeping.
Between the carriage houses,
there are little gardens separated by gates.
Lately, I have been thinking about the gates.
The one ornamented with the brass lion, I remember
it was warm to the touch
even in what passes here for winter.
But last night, when I closed my eyes,
it was not the lion that I pictured first.

© 2012 Richie Hofmann. Today’s poem is taken from the November 2012 issue of Poetry Magazine.

Richie Hofmann teaches poetry at Stanford University. His first collection of poetry, Second Empire, was published by Alice James Books in 2015. His forthcoming collection of poetry, A Hundred Lovers, is due to be released by Knopf on February 8th, 2022. His work appears elsewhere in The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, and The Yale Review. You can read more about him and his work on his website.

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at fred.slusher@thevoraciousbibliophile.com or catch me on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.

Poem for the Day: January 14th, 2022

i found a lover and we left the city by Patrycja Humienik

temporarily. crackle of the fire said as much.

temple into the sprawl of limbs, which came later. first



the alchemists: oysters we ate quietly as we could,

laughing, not saying a word, eyes full of language.



and it wasn’t that no one had ever touched me before,

but it had never been like this. tunnel-less. not a search



for a prize, zippered pearl to coax out of grieving.

not the scarcity of hardship or the dismissal of it, but we did look



up: airglow: sky a cicatrix: purpling, paler. damage,

and the need to undo it—not to fix, but to unribbon



the past. my mama grew up in a rural place, rolling jade

hills, my name betrayed her wish to leave that lack.



szlachetnie urodzona: desire for wealth and its associated ease.

i don’t blame her for using a name like a tool for weeding.



i, too, prune and tug at my story, but she wanted me to live

up to my name, and for that i might blame her, i learn other names,



plants that please me: forsythia, hyacinth, pyracantha; my lover

gives me a dried bouquet. i prefer weeping



willow, even seaweed, something of water. i want

not to say this but to be understood with my eyes, the way



i was, for a moment, by the fire. but some lovers are not for

lasting, though that part comes later, if i, must i, tell the truth.

© 2014-2020, BOAAT Press. All rights reserved.

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at fred.slusher@thevoraciousbibliophile.com or catch me on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.

Poem for the Day: January 7th, 2022

Dream Journal by Kareem Tayyar

If you’re swimming
then you have lost something important.

If you’re flying
then your heart’s been broken.

If you sit at a table before a deck of cards
then you are afraid of getting older.

If you undress beneath a single spotlight
then you are about to commit a crime.

If you are singing while holding a Spanish guitar
then someone you know has passed away.

If you are preparing to leap from a balcony
then you are mourning the loss of your childhood.

If you place your lips to the breast of a cloud
then you have forgotten to say your prayers.

If you run three red lights in a row
then there is a lesson you still haven’t learned.

If you pull water from an old well
then your father is preparing to call you long distance.

If you hear music playing from another house on your street
then your sister is about to come back from the dead.

If you cup your hands as a hard rain begins
then you are days away from falling in love.

If you find that you cannot run when you want to
then there is a book that you need to reread.

If you awaken in a field of strawberries
then a long  journey awaits you.

If you eat the strawberries
then you won’t be going alone.

© 2022 Kareem Tayyar. Today’s poem is taken from the January 2022 issue of Poetry.

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at fred.slusher@thevoraciousbibliophile.com or catch me on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.

Poem for the Day: January 6th, 2022

The Snow Is Deep on the Ground by Kenneth Patchen

The snow is deep on the ground.   
Always the light falls
Softly down on the hair of my belovèd.

This is a good world.
The war has failed.
God shall not forget us.
Who made the snow waits where love is.

Only a few go mad.
The sky moves in its whiteness
Like the withered hand of an old king.
God shall not forget us.
Who made the sky knows of our love.

The snow is beautiful on the ground.
And always the lights of heaven glow
Softly down on the hair of my belovèd.

© 1943 Kenneth Patchen. Today’s poem is taken from Collected Poems by Kenneth Patchen, which was published by New Directions Publishing Corporation and is available to purchase wherever books are sold.

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at fred.slusher@thevoraciousbibliophile.com or catch me on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.

Poem for the Day: December 7th, 2021

Farewell to Poetry by Daniel Ruiz

For Shang yang Fang
I give myself  to the end of  this poem to decide.
I empty myself, have emptied myself 10,000 times,
like a lung. I guess that’s a terrible estimate. We breathe a fuckton—
even when air has skunk taste and texture, as opposed
to its usual quiescence. Never thought I’d get to use
that word, quiescence, or specious, or obeisance, even though
I think a lot, which seems like a straight shot to writing,
yet side by side body and mind struggle to work in tandem,
but one at a time you feel the other melt into instinct,
yanking your hands out of the hearth or daydreaming about Kyoto
while a stranger who thinks you’re staring at him makes a face
your eyes can’t see, having flipped the iris inward
like a standing mirror before a bed a couple shamefully shares.
What makes us so deserving of space in other people’s minds?
When the car window breaks open and you seal your blind spot
with a black garbage bag, as you’re trying to change lanes,
do you remember how much we’ve complained about
ourselves, throwing meaning into our mischief  like salt into a pool?
Beware! The sidewalk scorpions are prowling about the kitchen,
claws scraping through grout. Meanwhile we turn and turn,
first to some garden, briefly, next to a scatterbrained table,
before finally the shapeshifter’s trench coat unhooks itself
from the shower rod. We take turns putting it on, choosing
the Invisibility setting, which we intuit as addictive
before retreating to our personas to deal with withdrawal.
Yet having developed a taste for breath we find we cannot stop
losing it. It’s elusive as the glimmer of oil on asphalt, a blackbird’s
coat bending to sunbeams. This is what we have decided to pursue,
bent on one leg, two ballerinas of imbalance. We are chasing it
up the parking garage, ignoring the various fonts
in which slurs are sharpied on stairwells before, on the roof,
we lose the color we sought in the light in a violent sunset,
yet go on staring into it, trying to read the negative language
the sun scribbles inside our eyelids. Yours says,
“Do not damage with your eye all that already shines.”
Here’s mine: “What are you staring at the sun for?
Some of its darkness it gets from us.”

© 2020 Daniel Ruiz. Today’s poem was taken from the November 2020 issue of Poetry.

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at fred.slusher@thevoraciousbibliophile.com or catch me on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.

Poem for the Day: December 6th, 2021

For My Daughter on Her Twenty-First Birthday by Ellen Bass

When they laid you in the crook
of my arms like a bouquet and I looked
into your eyes, dark bits of evening sky,
I thought, of course this is you,
like a person who has never seen the sea
can recognize it instantly.

They pulled you from me like a cork
and all the love flowed out. I adored you
with the squandering passion of spring
that shoots green from every pore.

You dug me out like a well. You lit
the deadwood of my heart. You pinned me
to the earth with the points of stars.

I was sure that kind of love would be
enough. I thought I was your mother.
How could I have known that over and over
you would crack the sky like lightning,
illuminating all my fears, my weaknesses, my sins.

Massive the burden this flesh
must learn to bear, like mules of love.

© 2002 Ellen Bass. Today’s poem is taken from Bass’s collection Mules of Love: Poems, which was published by BOA Editions on April 1st, 2002 and is available to purchase wherever books are sold.

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at fred.slusher@thevoraciousbibliophile.com or catch me on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.

Poem for the Day: December 5th, 2021

Sonnet XXXIV by William Shakespeare

Why didst thou promise such a beauteous day,
And make me travel forth without my cloak,
To let base clouds o'ertake me in my way,
Hiding thy bravery in their rotten smoke?
'Tis not enough that through the cloud thou break,
To dry the rain on my storm-beaten face,
For no man well of such a salve can speak
That heals the wound and cures not the disgrace:
Nor can thy shame give physic to my grief;
Though thou repent, yet I have still the loss:
The offender's sorrow lends but weak relief
To him that bears the strong offence's cross.
Ah! but those tears are pearl which thy love sheds,
And they are rich and ransom all ill deeds.

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at fred.slusher@thevoraciousbibliophile.com or catch me on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.

Poem for the Day: December 4th, 2021

Ebb by Edna St. Vincent Millay

I know what my heart is like 
Since your love died:
It is like a hollow ledge
Holding a little pool
Left there by the tide,
A little tepid pool,
Drying inward from the edge.

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at fred.slusher@thevoraciousbibliophile.com or catch me on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.

Poem for the Day: December 3rd, 2021

Sylvia Plath as an Old Story Title for Learning to Fight Depression Where the Semiotics Simply Suggest That a Garden Illustrates Peace as a Foreshadow Rather Than as a Vivid Depiction of an Ancestral Society of Sad Mothers & Helpless Fathers by Nome Emeka Patrick

Tell it this way: depression is the 30cm nail driving into the walls.

If  you ever read about Plath, ever kept a lantern from dying,

ever tended a garden it grew so wild to swallow god, ever kept

dressing the fire in your bones, then you must know about grief,

possibly how to end it. Maami once stood in this garden. Now,

I stand in her shadow like a sphinx in a crusade of an inferno.

In Lagos, another news says a student of microbiology, 400L, took

a nook’s way to the sky, death could not stop for him—anymore.

Let’s agree: failure is the arm swinging the pendulum across the face

of every dream. These gardens grow wild & the birds unfurl their

wings into an offering of flight. My cousin knelt in this garden once.

I kowtow into his absence, my knees—eyes dressed in dust & dearth.

In my mouth, every name glistens with a beak. I owe every wall

a shadow, every bed a midnight of creaks & crimson, every heart

an arrhythmia twice the speed of a destrier. In the library, my finger

Canterburies through The Selected Poems of Sylvia Plath, for once in

my whole life, I recite “Lady Lazarus” & remember I have a father

growing in the garden. Do I terrify?—what fear sweeps this little life?

Tainted black & bruised, a chorus lifts itself onto my mouth’s blade:

dy—dying is an art, so just like everything else I do it exceptionally well, yelz

yet even with honey disguised in holocaust, who, tell me, wants to die this young?

© 2020 Nome Emeka Patrick. Today’s poem originally appeared in the February 2020 issue of Poetry.

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at fred.slusher@thevoraciousbibliophile.com or catch me on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.