Poem for the Day: November 22nd, 2021

Wight by Stanley Plumly

In the dark we disappear, pure being.
Our mirror images, impure being.

Being and becoming (Heidegger), being and
nothingness (Sartre)—which is purer being?

Being alone is no way to be: thus
loneliness is the test of pure being.

Nights in love I fell too far or not quite
far enough—one pure, one impure being.

Clouds, snow, mist, the dragon's breath on water,
smoke from fire—a metaphor's pure being.

Stillness and more stillness and the light locked
deep inside—both pure and impure being.

Is is the verb of being, I the noun—
or pronoun for the purists of being.

I was, I am, I looked within and saw
nothing very clearly: purest being.

© 1999 Stanley Plumly. “Wight” first appeared in the May 1999 issue of Poetry Magazine.

Stanley Plumly (1939-2019) was greatly influenced by his working-class background, a fact which is evident in his work. He earned his B.A. at Wilmington College in Ohio and his Ph.D. at Ohio University. During his long career, he taught at the University of Iowa, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and the University of Maryland. He also served as the poet laureate of Maryland for several years. You can read more about his life and work here.

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: September 3rd, 2021

The Symbolic Life by Hayan Charara

They kept showing up, for days,
dead on the windowsill,
and for days I did nothing about the ladybugs
except to ask if their entering the house
unnoticed and dying before I saw them
was symbolic.
Thinking was so easy.
They symbolized birth and death,
change and rebirth.
It was also possible the tiny beetles
embodies an inborn need
to show themselves,
to turn up in every and any place,
even as the dried out remains of the once-lively.
Or they stood for the burden of being one thing
relieved by becoming another,
which all the world’s children suffer.

This went on and on, and could’ve gone on
forever, so I finally opened the window
and blew them into the wide open
because everything and everyone should get a
chance
to be mourned, and they got theirs,
but first they had to die, which is life,
not symbolism.

Copyright © 2017 by Hayan Charara. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on August 25, 2017, by the Academy of American Poets.

Poem for the Day: August 24th, 2021

Make Out Sonnet by F. Douglas Brown

The first time I saw two men kissing, I was six,
Living in 1970s L.A. My mom took care
Of an elderly woman who found herself in a fix
And moved into a complex of all men, bare
Chested men, with cutoff jeans and tinted glasses.
My mother’s friend gave me chocolates that matched
Her skin—this must be heaven. These sons’ asses
Peeked out beneath their shorts, but watched
Over her better than mom. Took donations for heat,
A sofa and a new wig—all changed her mood.
They even did her laundry. They did sweet
Better than honey. Did family better than blood.
And between duties, two men always off alone
So desire, like the dishes, could also get done.

Poem for the Day: August 21st, 2021

Portland, 1968 by Louise Glück

You stand as rocks stand 
to which the sea reaches
in transparent waves of longing;
they are marred, finally;
everything fixed is marred.
And the sea triumphs,
like all that is false,
all that is fluent and womanly.
From behind, a lens
opens for your body. Why
should you turn? It doesn’t matter
who the witness is,
for whom you are suffering,
for whom you are standing still.
Louise Glück. Unknown Author. Public Domain.

Note: Louise Glück was the recipient of the 2020 Nobel Prize in Literature. Her collection of poetry, The Wild Iris (1993), won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.

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

Original Poem: Arms of the Deep

Love is not a cat chasing shadows on the floor.

Fred Slusher, “Arms of the Deep”
Lull me into oblivion. My attention span 
is limited. Infinity, space, time—
your voice in my ear, bottom lip on my lobe—
turning love into cherries into wine.
Creamsicle daylight is wasting away
while we wait for the song to finish playing.
When you were mine life was always
a game sweetly played, vollied to & fro like
the king’s severed head; no throne.
Fade to black. Next reel, please.
Pleas to be real with me remain ignored.
Love is not a cat chasing shadows on the floor.
I feel you watching me caressing my own crooks
in the dark. Elbows, not thieves, though
everything of value has been stolen at one time or
another. Dear lover, take this rambling lullaby
& pitch it into the sea where memory goes to
sleep in the steadfast arms of the
deep.

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

© 2021 Fred Slusher. All rights reserved.

Poem for the Day: August 17th, 2021

I Was Minor by Olena Kalytiak Davis

Today’s poem is one of my favorites. I hope you love it as much as I do.

In this life,
I was very minor.

I was a minor lover.
There was maybe a day, a night
or two, when I was on.

I was, would have been,
a minor daughter,
had my parents lived.

I was a minor runner. I was
a minor thinker. In the middle
distance, not too fast.

I was a minor mother: only
two, and sometimes,
I was mean to them.

I was a minor beauty.
I was a minor Buddhist.
There was a certain symmetry, but
it, too, was minor.

My poems were not major
enough to even make me
a “minor poet,”

but I did sit here
instead of getting up, getting
the gun, loading it.

Counting,
killing myself.

Copyright © 2016 Olena Kalytiak Davis. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on May 31, 2016, by the Academy of American Poets.

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