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My Therapist Says Make Friends with Your Monsters José Olivarez we are gathered in truce because my therapist said it was time to stop running, & i pay my therapist too much to be wrong, so i am here. my monsters look almost human in the sterile office light. my monsters say they want to be friends. i remember when we first met, me & my monsters. i…
 
My Therapist Says Make Friends with Your Monsters José Olivarez we are gathered in truce because my therapist said it was time to stop running, & i pay my therapist too much to be wrong, so i am here. my monsters look almost human in the sterile office light. my monsters say they want to be friends. i remember when we first met, me & my monsters. i…
 
The Facebook Sonnet By Sherman Alexie Welcome to the endless high-school Reunion. Welcome to past friends And lovers, however kind or cruel. Let’s undervalue and unmend The present. Why can’t we pretend Every stage of life is the same? Let’s exhume, resume, and extend Childhood. Let’s all play the games That occupy the young. Let fame And shame int…
 
“Instructions on Not Giving Up” Ada Limón More than the fuchsia funnels breaking out of the crabapple tree, more than the neighbor’s almost obscene display of cherry limbs shoving their cotton candy-colored blossoms to the slate sky of Spring rains, it’s the greening of the trees that really gets to me. When all the shock of white and taffy, the wo…
 
Michael DuBon “In the Wash” Arms deep, filth-clad, toilet toil: working at The Ski Tahoe Resort. Scrubbing this mess of spiders, disposing the cast off suppositories. the tracks of geriatric indulgence. Work, where people don’t know how to talk to you. Where the other housekeepers won’t trade Spanish with you because you’re not Latino enough, too A…
 
Anne Stevenson “The Victory” I thought you were my victory though you cut me like a knife when I brought you out of my body into your life. Tiny antagonist, gory, blue as a bruise. The stains of your cloud of glory bled from my veins. How can you dare, blind thing, blank insect eyes? You barb the air. You sting with bladed cries. Snail. Scary knot …
 
Marilyn Nelson “Asparagus” He taught me how to slurp asparagus: You hold it in your fingers, eat the stem by inches to the tender terminus, then close your eyes and suck in the sweet gem. First, cook it in its own delicious steam, sauté breadcrumbs in butter separately, combine, eat slowly. As he ate, a gleam in his eyes twinkled with such jeu d'es…
 
Did I Miss Anything? Tom Wayman Nothing. When we realized you weren’t here we sat with our hands folded on our desks in silence, for the full two hours Everything. I gave an exam worth 40 percent of the grade for this term and assigned some reading due today on which I’m about to hand out a quiz worth 50 percent Nothing. None of the content of this…
 
Ode to my Suit Pablo Neruda Every morning, suit, you are waiting on a chair to be filled by my vanity, my love, my hope, my body. Still only half awake I leave the shower to shrug into your sleeves, my legs seek the hollow of your legs, and thus embraced by your unfailing loyalty I take my morning walk, work my way into my poetry; from my windows I…
 
defining the magic Charles Bukowski a good poem is like a cold beer when you need it, a good poem is a hot turkey sandwich when you’re hungry, a good poem is a gun when the mob corners you, a good poem is something that allows you to walk through the streets of death, a good poem can make death melt like hot butter, a good poem can frame agony and …
 
Not Bad, Dad, Not Bad Jan Heller Levi I think you are most yourself when you are swimming; slicing the water with each stroke, the funny way you breathe, your mouth cocked as though you're yawning. You're neither fantastic nor miserable at getting from here to there. You wouldn't win any medals, Dad, but you wouldn't drown. I think how different ev…
 
School Prayer Diane Ackerman In the name of the daybreak and the eyelids of morning and the wayfaring moon and the night when it departs, I swear I will not dishonor my soul with hatred, but offer myself humbly as a guardian of nature, as a healer of misery, as a messenger of wonder, as an architect of peace. In the name of the sun and its mirrors …
 
From A Song About Myself John Keats There was a naughty boy, And a naughty boy was he, He ran away to Scotland The people for to see — Then he found That the ground Was as hard, That a yard Was as long, That a song Was as merry, That a cherry Was as red, That lead Was as weighty, That fourscore Was as eighty, That a door Was as wooden As in England…
 
The Fairy School under the Loch By John Rice The wind sings its gusty song. The bell rings its rusty ring. The underwater fairy children dive and swim through school gates. They do not get wet. The waves flick their flashing spray. A school of fish wriggles its scaly way. The underwater fairy children learn their liquidy lessons. Their reading book…
 
Today By Billy Collins If ever there were a spring day so perfect, so uplifted by a warm intermittent breeze that it made you want to throw open all the windows in the house and unlatch the door to the canary's cage, indeed, rip the little door from its jamb, a day when the cool brick paths and the garden bursting with peonies seemed so etched in s…
 
Toad Circus by Julia Story The day after my toad circus the toads were all dead, crunchy and silent in their window well. I wanted to draw a doorway to walk through to get to the world of lilacs: purple, contagious green leaves and no movement but the steady invisible breathing of flowers. I knew I had to tell someone what I had done so I first wal…
 
Occasional Poem BY JACQUELINE WOODSON Ms. Marcus says that an occasional poem is a poem written about something important or special that's gonna happen or already did. Think of a specific occasion, she says—and write about it. Like what?! Lamont asks. He's all slouched down in his seat. I don't feel like writing about no occasion. How about your b…
 
Ars Poetica BY ARCHIBALD MACLEISH A poem should be palpable and mute As a globed fruit, Dumb As old medallions to the thumb, Silent as the sleeve-worn stone Of casement ledges where the moss has grown— A poem should be wordless As the flight of birds. * A poem should be motionless in time As the moon climbs, Leaving, as the moon releases Twig by tw…
 
“On Turning Ten” Billy Collins The whole idea of it makes me feel like I'm coming down with something, something worse than any stomach ache or the headaches I get from reading in bad light-- a kind of measles of the spirit, a mumps of the psyche, a disfiguring chicken pox of the soul. You tell me it is too early to be looking back, but that is bec…
 
"If I Had Known" By Mary Carolyn Davies If I had known what trouble you were bearing; What griefs were in the silence of your face; I would have been more gentle, and more caring, And tried to give you gladness for a space. I would have brought more warmth into the place, If I had known. If I had known what thoughts despairing drew you; (Why do we …
 
Autumn Kalidasa The autumn comes, a maiden fair In slenderness and grace, With nodding rice-stems in her hair And lilies in her face. In flowers of grasses she is clad; And as she moves along, Birds greet her with their cooing glad Like bracelets' tinkling song. A diadem adorns the night Of multitudinous stars; Her silken robe is white moonlight, S…
 
Did I Miss Anything Tom Wayman Nothing. When we realized you weren’t here we sat with our hands folded on our desks in silence, for the full two hours Everything. I gave an exam worth 40 percent of the grade for this term and assigned some reading due today on which I’m about to hand out a quiz worth 50 percent Nothing. None of the content of this …
 
Does Maude Have Friends? (A Poem in Fifteen Tweets) Raphael Bob-Waksberg @RaphaelBW Does Marge have friends? @RaphaelBW (a poem in fifteen tweets) @RaphaelBW Who are Marge’s friends? Is Helen Lovejoy a friend? Sarah Wiggum? Agnes Skinner? @RaphaelBW To whom does Marge spill her secrets over coffee on cold days? Who laughs at Marge’s jokes? Who know…
 
We Wear the Mask Paul Laurence Dunbar We wear the mask that grins and lies, It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes,— This debt we pay to human guile; With torn and bleeding hearts we smile, And mouth with myriad subtleties. Why should the world be over-wise, In counting all our tears and sighs? Nay, let them only see us, while We wear the mask. We…
 
A Good Dog Wesley Lydon Tail-wagging and leash-pulling as we lead her into her new home, let loose she runs from the front door, runs fast not about the house, wild, but out into the back. Excitement paused for manners, she uses the little dog's room that first sweet day, because She is a Good Dog. Tail-wagging, window-fogging as we bring Santa's s…
 
The Wounded Cupid. Song BY ANACREON TRANSLATED BY ROBERT HERRICK Cupid as he lay among Roses, by a Bee was stung. Whereupon in anger flying To his Mother, said thus crying; Help! O help! your Boy’s a dying. And why, my pretty Lad, said she? Then blubbering, replied he, A winged Snake has bitten me, Which Country people call a Bee. At which she smil…
 
Cape Cod Pantoum Maria Nazos Tonight you’re loaning Billy your car, a brand-new seal-gray Volkswagen Passat with four doors, though last week at 3 a.m., he stole your canoe, and sank it in the autumn sea, then swam ashore. Tonight you’re lending Billy your car—it’s brand-new— and he’s a well-meaning, blue-eyed Byronic drinking man who last week, at…
 
Your body wakes into its quiet rattle. Ropes & ropes . . . How quickly the animal empties. We’re alone again with spent mouths. Two trout gasping on a June shore. Side by side, I see what I came for, behind your iris: a tiny mirror. I stare into its silver syllable where a fish with my face twitches once then gones. The fisherman suddenly a boy wit…
 
Leisure William Henry Davies What is this life if, full of care, We have no time to stand and stare. No time to stand beneath the boughs And stare as long as sheep or cows. No time to see, when woods we pass, Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass. No time to see, in broad daylight, Streams full of stars, like skies at night. No time to turn at B…
 
Bob Hicok Alzheimer's Chairs move by themselves, and books. Grandchildren visit, stand new and nameless, their faces’ puzzles missing pieces. She’s like a fish in a deep ocean, its body made of light. She floats through rooms, through my eyes, an old woman bereft of chronicle, the parable of her life. And though she’s almost a child there’s still b…
 
Richard Brautigan IT’S RAINING IN LOVE I don’t know what it is, but I distrust myself when I start to like a girl a lot. It makes me nervous. I don’t say the right things or perhaps I start to examine, evaluate compute what I am saying. If I say, “Do you think it’s going to rain?” and she says, “I don’t know,” I start thinking: Does she really like…
 
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