Author’s favorites

Ambulances
by Philip Larkin

Closed like confessionals, they thread
Loud noons of cities, giving back
None of the glances they absorb.
Light glossy grey, arms on a plaque,
They come to rest at any kerb:
All streets in time are visited.

Then children strewn on steps or road,
Or women coming from the shops
Past smells of different dinners, see
A wild white face that overtops
Red stretcher-blankets momently
As it is carried in and stowed,

And sense the solving emptiness
That lies just under all we do,
And for a second get it whole,
So permanent and blank and true.
The fastened doors recede. Poor soul,
They whisper at their own distress;

For borne away in deadened air
May go the sudden shut of loss
Round something nearly at an end,
And what cohered in it across
The years, the unique random blend
Of families and fashions, there

At last begin to loosen. Far
From the exchange of love to lie
Unreachable insided a room
The trafic parts to let go by
Brings closer what is left to come,
And dulls to distance all we are.

hello, how are you?
by Charles Bukowski

this fear of being what they are:
dead.

at least they are not out on the street, they
are careful to stay indoors, those
pasty mad who sit alone before their tv sets,
their lives full of canned, mutilated laughter.

their ideal neighborhood
of parked cars
of little green lawns
of little homes
the little doors that open and close
as their relatives visit
throughout the holidays
the doors closing
behind the dying who die so slowly
behind the dead who are still alive
in your quiet average neighborhood
of winding streets
of agony
of confusion
of horror
of fear
of ignorance.

a dog standing behind a fence.

a man silent at the window.

The Addict
by Anne Sexton

Sleepmonger,
deathmonger,
with capsules in my palms each night,
eight at a time from sweet pharmaceutical bottles
I make arrangements for a pint-sized journey.
I’m the queen of this condition.
I’m an expert on making the trip
and now they say I’m an addict.
Now they ask why.
Why!

Don’t they know that I promised to die!
I’m keeping in practice.
I’m merely staying in shape.
The pills are a mother, but better,
every color and as good as sour balls.
I’m on a diet from death.

Yes, I admit
it has gotten to be a bit of a habit-
blows eight at a time, socked in the eye,
hauled away by the pink, the orange,
the green and the white goodnights.
I’m becoming something of a chemical
mixture.
that’s it!
My supply
of tablets
has got to last for years and years.
I like them more than I like me.
It’s a kind of marriage.
It’s a kind of war where I plant bombs inside
of myself.
Yes
I try
to kill myself in small amounts,
an innocuous occupation.
Actually I’m hung up on it.
But remember I don’t make too much noise.
And frankly no one has to lug me out
and I don’t stand there in my winding sheet.
I’m a little buttercup in my yellow nightie
eating my eight loaves in a row
and in a certain order as in
the laying on of hands
or the black sacrament.
It’s a ceremony
but like any other sport
it’s full of rules.
It’s like a musical tennis match where
my mouth keeps catching the ball.
Then I lie on; my altar
elevated by the eight chemical kisses.
What a lay me down this is
with two pink, two orange,
two green, two white goodnights.
Fee-fi-fo-fum-
Now I’m borrowed.
Now I’m numb.

i carry your heart with me
by E.E. Cummings

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

Another Song
by Phil Levine

Words go on travelling from voice
to voice while the phones are still
and the wires hum in the cold. Now
and then dark winter birds settle
slowly on the crossbars, where huddled
they caw out their loneliness. Except
for them the March world is white
and barely alive. The train to Providence
moans somewhere near the end
of town, and the churning of metal
on metal from so many miles away
is only a high thin note trilling
the frozen air. Years ago I lived
not far from here, grown to fat
and austerity, a man who came
closely shaven to breakfast and ate
in silence and left punctually, alone,
for work. So it was I saw it all
and turned away to where snow
fell into snow and the wind spoke
in the incomprehensible syllable
of wind, and I could be anyone:
a man whose life lay open before him,
a book with no ending, a widow
bearing white carnations at dusk
to a hillside graveyard turned
to blank rubble, a cinder floating
down to earth and blinking slowly out,
too small to mean a thing, too tired
to even sigh. If life comes back,
as we are told it does, each time one
step closer to the edge of truth,
then I am ready for the dawn
that calls a sullen boy from sleep
rubbing his eyes on a white window
and knowing none of it can last the day.

Credo
by Matthew Rohrer

I believe there is something else

entirely going on but no single
person can ever know it,
so we fall in love.

It could also be true that what we use
everyday to open cans was something
much nobler, that we’ll never recognize.

I believe the woman sleeping beside me
doesn’t care about what’s going on
outside, and her body is warm
with trust
which is a great beginning.

Fugue No. 2 in C minor
by H.L. Hix

he asked me and I said no which was a half-truth
half a truth was all I had all love left me
I am myself a half-truth now whatever I was before
whatever I was when I thought I never lied
before I learned I always had lied to him and to myself
before I learned love itself is only half a truth
before I learned there are no whole truths
nothing that guileful god flaw has not fondled
of our ascertainings our words our bodies
before I knew I didn’t want the truth
not because I couldn’t bear it I can’t bear what I am now
but because the me who thought she was telling the truth
also thought she could be satisfied
and this me can’t bear the half-self love left me
after it asked what it asked and I said no

For Jane
by Charles Bukowski

225 days under grass
and you know more than I.
they have long taken your blood,
you are a dry stick in a basket.
is this how it works?
in this room
the hours of love
still make shadows.

when you left
you took almost
everything.
I kneel in the nights
before tigers
that will not let me be.

what you were
will not happen again.
the tigers have found me
and I do not care.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s