Poem for the Day: February 13th, 2022

Domestic Violence by Iliana Rocha

Morning dragonflies tricked by the sliding glass
door, scattered on the porch like cigarettes torn in half,
& a horse in watercolor, its joints light blue circles.
Golf carts zoom over the green breasts
of the hills. I slept on my hands,
flat pillows filled with a puzzle of tiny bones. Loneliness’s

gray blanket, last night’s mascara, loneliness—
a dragonfly hovers like spit in slow motion near the glass,
promises to fill the pane with itself like his hand,
my face reflecting back at him. Half
the world is still asleep, my breasts
alive & waking from my shirt. Wind in circles

through grass, horses tip in its direction. Saturated circles,
faces, move the muted TV screen, broadcast more loneliness:
buy this property, try this exercise. A woman with hard breasts
isn’t convincing. When I shift in myself, glass
breaks inside me, a sky losing over half
its stars, desperate dark hands

finding something else to fill it. Like hands,
birds clap their wings in desperation’s applause, circling
as if their species is dying out. My throat, half
gastrolith, half swollen tequila, it’s not loneliness
we flying things try to avoid, but in glass
a painful logic, one you learn like the breast’s.

A rainbow interrupts the white cloud breasts,
like mine, where once his hands
lived, then destroyed. My breath against silence’s smooth glass,
longing for the wisdom of a tree’s hollow, sex circle,
how it endures loneliness
by invitations to other survivors of this world from half

its violence, all its love.

© 2021 Iliana Rocha. Today’s poem was taken from the April 2021 issue of Poetry.

Iliana Rocha earned her Ph.D. in Literature and Creative Writing from Western Michigan University. She is currently an Assistant Professor at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Her debut collection of poetry, Karankawa, won the 2014 Donald Hall Prize in Poetry. You can read more about Iliana Rocha and her work on her 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 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 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: 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 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.

Poem for the Day: December 2nd, 2021

Sylvia Plath’s Elegy for Sylvia Plath by Sina Queyras

If you can’t feel love in life you won’t feel it in death, nor
Will you feel the tulip’s skin, nor the soft gravel

Of childhood under cheek. You will have writhed
Across the page for a hard couplet, a firm rhyme, ass

High as any downward dog, and cutlass arms
Lashing any mother who tries to pass: Let’s be frank

About the cost of spurs, mothers like peonies
Whirling in storm drains, families sunk before

Reaching open water. The empty boudoir
Will haunt, but not how you imagine it will.

Nothing, not even death frees mothers
From the cutting board, the balloons, their

Lack of resistance, thoughts, he said, quick
As tulips staggering across the quad.

She heard, I like my women splayed
Out, red. Read swollen, domesticated,

Wanting out. The tulips were never warm
My loves, they never smelled of spring,

They never marked the path out of loneliness,
Never led me home, nor to me, nor away

From what spring, or red, or tulips
Could never be.

© 2014 Sina Queyras. Today’s poem originally appeared in the January 2014 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: 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: November 20th, 2021

Chorus Attempting to Interpret Unearthed Fragments of Their Play by Carolina Ebeid

Can you let go the concern
for how it began what happened

Here the word house remains
A reddening ( ) near house

To describe the sounds
coming in A human voice
barks through the window

the same voice like horsehair
stretched along the bow drawn
across the strings

Where the action is missing
we place ( ) A girl pours out

water from a pail flung up
so that the water arches
into a sickle in an instant
of daylight

The word swallows as a complaint
of swallows raiding the air
suddenly thick with gnats

When you notice the ash
you will mutter ash
& it will appear again: ash
on everything, behind the ears ash

Maybe this shadow belongs
to the house at 4:30
Shadow is a length of gauze
loosened over the garden

It began with blizzards
for nine hours

A cleft on the ceiling
or a cleft in the chest
No matter, a cleft let
the weather in

Here is a description
of a face in anger
a weather of arrows

Instead of counting sheep
the injured man folds clothes
in his head into heaps

Separate what is missing
from what’s disappeared

(here has been eaten by silverfish)
We are left to think of ( )

as the space between falling
asleep & waking up
Swallow can be a passage

the gullet, throat,
a grave in the ground
We’re surrounded by swallows

that open ( ) so fluent with bodies
nobodies

Here there was a story
& we were part of the after-
waves in a disaster

braiding wreaths of roadside flowers

The violet ones we’ll call purple daughters
The white ones: asylum lights

© 2019 Carolina Ebeid. Today’s poem originally appeared in the July/August 2019 issue of Poetry Magazine.

Ebeid earned her MFA from the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas at Austin and is pursuing her Ph.D. in creative writing from the University of Denver. She currently lives in Colorado where she teaches at Lighthouse Writers Workshop. She also serves as poetry editor at The Rumpus and edits (with her husband, Jeffrey Pethybridge) Visible Binary, an online journal specializing in experimental poetics and avant-garde expression. She has been published in numerous journals both in print and online and has been awarded multiple fellowships, among them fellowships from the Lannan Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.

You Ask Me To Talk About the Interior by Carolina Ebeid

She is the author of the poetry collection You Ask Me To Talk About the Interior, which was published in 2016 by Noemi Press and is available to purchase through Small Press Distribution.

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: November 15th, 2021

Power Politics by Margaret Atwood

[you fit into me] by Margaret Atwood

you fit into me
like a hook into an eye

a fish hook
an open eye

© 1971 Margaret Atwood. “you fit into me” originally appeared in Atwood’s collection Power Politics, which was published in 1971 by House of Anansi Books. Margaret Atwood (1939-) is one of the world’s most beloved writers with more than seventy published works to her credit. You can find a full bibliography of her works here.

Further Reading

Margaret Atwood’s 10 essential books (CBC Books; originally posted on October 9th, 2019)

Open Door: The World We Think We See Is Only Our Best Guess: A Conversation with Margaret Atwood by M. Buna (Poetry Foundation; originally posted on November 18th, 2020)

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.