Poem for the Day: November 9th, 2021

…the way Corral repeats and inverts the imagery of thorns and honey in the first and last lines of the poem lend it a freshness and vivacity not always seen in (unrequited) love poems.

Autobiography of My Hungers by Eduardo C. Corral

His beard: an avalanche of   honey,
an avalanche
of  thorns. In a bar too close to the Pacific,
he said, “I don’t love you,
but not because I
couldn’t be attracted to you.” Liar—
even my soul
is potbellied. Thinness,
in my mind, equals the gay men
on the nightly news.
Kissed by death & public scorn.
The anchorman declaring,
“Weight loss is one
of the first symptoms.” The Portuguese
have a word for imaginary, never-
to-be-experienced love.
Whoop-de-doo.
“I don’t love you,” he said.
The words flung him back—
in his eyes, I saw it—
to another bar
where a woman sidestepped his desire.
Another hunger.
Our friendship.
In tenth grade, weeks after
my first kiss, my mother
said, “You’re looking thinner.”
That evening, I smuggled a cake
into my room.
I ate it with my hands,
licked buttercream off
my thumbs until I puked.
Desire with no future,
bitter longing—
I starve myself  by yearning
for intimacy that doesn’t
& won’t exist.
Holding hands on a ferry. Tracing,
with the tip of my tongue,
a  jawline. In a bar too close
to the Pacific, he said,
“I don’t love you, but not
because I couldn’t be attracted to you.”
His beard:
an avalanche of thorns,
an avalanche of honey.

© 2020 Eduardo C. Corral. “Autobiography of My Hungers” first appeared in the July/August 2020 issue of Poetry Magazine. You can purchase this issue here.

I love the way Corral compares unrequited love to boundless hunger in this poem. Comparing the desire for food with the desire for love or sex is far from new—one need only watch Tom Jones (1963) to see a perfect example—but the way Corral repeats and inverts the imagery of thorns and honey in the first and last lines of the poem lend it a freshness and vivacity not always seen in (unrequited) love poems.

Do you have a favorite poem comparing unrequited love with physical hunger? Let me know in the comments or shoot me an email.

Books by Eduardo C. Corral (With Purchase Links)

Slow Lightning (Yale Series of Younger Poets) by Eduardo C. Corral and Carl Phillips (Foreword)
Guillotine: Poems by Eduardo C. Corral

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: October 26th, 2021

Trees by Joyce Kilmer

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

Today’s poem first appeared in the August 1913 issue of Poetry. It was later collected in Kilmer’s 1914 collection entitled Trees and Other Poems, which is available to purchase wherever books are sold. A free public domain version of the text can be accessed and disseminated without limitations at Project Gutenberg.

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: October 15th, 2021

Notes from the Camoufleurs by Karen Skolfield

The light in Afghanistan
is not the light in Vietnam.
If  vegetation, describe the leaf.

If  rock, its striation. If city, its doorways
and lintels, its hosting of guests.
Its gestures of welcome and warning.

Describe the wattage of searchlights,
the color of streetlamps, the wakefulness
of men. Describe the cigarette’s blooded eye,

a crimp of smoke. Describe evening’s
lift of heat, the riming of sweat.
If olive trees, describe the olives.

How a fig feels in the hand.
Of the women to be outfitted calculate
their curvatures and needs, if they require

more or fewer pockets for pens.
Determine torso length, musculature,
what weapons may be carried; where

the ammo belt sits, if more men
dress right or left, if concertina wire
bares its teeth every three inches or four.

Study how nature tucks itself into grasses,
study the striping of zebras, the panther’s
darkness, a savannah and the jackal

folded within; how a seal’s belly blends
with the sky when viewed from below.
A ptarmigan feathering into snow.

Describe the mission: peacekeeping
or suppression. Shield or storm.
Consider that a pattern may dazzle

or disrupt. Describe the sight lines:
heat-seeking technology versus scopes.
Scopes versus the sharp-eyed.

When a friend is not always a friend.
When a back might be turned. Consider,
at times, how the jaguar wants to be seen.

© 2020 Karen Skolfield. Today’s poem was taken from the May 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: September 25th, 2021

Tongues by Justin Danzy

Becoming the raspberry stain on the pink of   your cheek,
a tongue’s soft landing spot. Becoming the empty ritual,
what can’t be said. Becoming intercession, my language
becoming yours, the blessing of tongues. Becoming the river
in the belly, implanted language, dead boy’s song. Becoming dry
with manhood. Becoming the doors we’ve closed, those I’ve learned
to open with a tongue. Becoming seen in the body, witnessed, becoming
clarity, the fear of it. Becoming the name I’ve been given,
the honorific, a placeholder. Becoming postured
to my Father’s dilemma, the inherited tongue. Becoming
what I wish I could be on my own. Becoming kept,
becoming stolen, becoming made free to leave when I am not yet ready
to go. Becoming the might of what we serve, the oft-
invisibled. Becoming don’t look back, pillar of salt. Becoming idoled.
Becoming possessed. Becoming the body’s mettle, the tongue’s chisel.
Becoming compass. Becoming the help that I needed, my Father’s hidden
forgiveness. Becoming the secrets I hope to taste in you,
the wounded tongue, braided blood covenant. Becoming forbidden’s
starting point, a bold beginning, the flaying of   what I do not yet know I believe.

“Tongues” appears in the September 2021 issue of Poetry, which is now available to buy from newsstands everywhere or to read on the Poetry Foundation’s 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.