cicer: (Mad bad and dangerous to know)
[personal profile] cicer
I keep meaning to post some poems for National Poetry Month, and I keep forgetting! Argh! So here are a few of my favorites, before I forget again.

Erm. It just so happens that the poems I picked this time 'round are a bit...gritty. I think all of these poems are brilliant, and prfoundly beautiful, but I think they exemplify the sort of poetry that is...decidedly not of the flowers-love-and-sonnets school of poetry! So if you're a bit icked out by poems about bestiality, suicide, and teaching young girls to use contraceptives, perhaps these are not the poems for you. Just...so y'all know what you're getting into. :D?



The Sheep Child
by James L. Dickey

Farm boys wild to couple
With anything with soft-wooded trees
With mounds of earth mounds
Of pinestraw will keep themselves off
Animals by legends of their own:
In the hay-tunnel dark
And dung of barns, they will
Say I have heard tell

That in a museum in Atlanta
Way back in a corner somewhere
There’s this thing that’s only half
Sheep like a woolly baby
Pickled in alcohol because
Those things can’t live. his eyes
Are open but you can’t stand to look
I heard from somebody who ...

But this is now almost all
Gone. The boys have taken
Their own true wives in the city,
The sheep are safe in the west hill
Pasture but we who were born there
Still are not sure. Are we,
Because we remember, remembered
In the terrible dust of museums?

Merely with his eyes, the sheep-child may

Be saying saying

I am here, in my father’s house.
I who am half of your world, came deeply
To my mother in the long grass
Of the west pasture, where she stood like moonlight
Listening for foxes. It was something like love
From another world that seized her
From behind, and she gave, not lifting her head
Out of dew, without ever looking, her best
Self to that great need. Turned loose, she dipped her face
Farther into the chill of the earth, and in a sound
Of sobbing of something stumbling
Away, began, as she must do,
To carry me. I woke, dying,

In the summer sun of the hillside, with my eyes
Far more than human. I saw for a blazing moment
The great grassy world from both sides,
Man and beast in the round of their need,
And the hill wind stirred in my wood,
My hoof and my hand clasped each other,
I ate my one meal
Of milk, and died
Staring. From dark grass I came straight

To my father’s house, whose dust
Whirls up in the halls for no reason
When no one comes piling deep in a hellish mild corner,
And, through my immortal waters,
I meet the sun’s grains eye
To eye, and they fail at my closet of glass.
Dead, I am most surely living
In the minds of farm boys: I am he who drives
Them like wolves from the hound bitch and calf
And from the chaste ewe in the wind.
They go into woods into bean fields they go
Deep into their known right hands. Dreaming of me,
They groan they wait they suffer
Themselves, they marry, they raise their kind.




Nothing but Color
by Ai
for Yukio Mishima

I didn't write Etsuko,
I sliced her open.
She was carmine inside
like a sea bass
and empty.
No viscera, nothing but color.
I love you like that, boy.
I pull the kimono down around your shoulders
and kiss you.
Then you let it fall open.
Each time, I cut you a little
and when you leave, I take the piece,
broil it, dip it in ginger sauce
and eat it. It burns my mouth so.
You laugh, holding me belly-down
with your body.
So much hurting to get to this moment,
when I'm beneath you,
wanting it to go on and to end.


At midnight, you say see you tonight
and I answer there won't be any tonight,
but you just smile, swing your sweater
over your head and tie the sleeves around your neck.
I hear you whistling long after you disappear
down the subway steps,
as I walk back home, my whole body tingling.
I undress
and put the bronze sword on my desk
beside the crumpled sheet of rice paper.
I smooth it open
and read its single sentence:
I meant to do it.
No. It should be common and feminine
like I can't go on sharing him,
or something to imply that.
Or the truth:
that I saw in myself
the five signs of the decay of the angel
and you were holding on, watching and free,
that I decided to go out
with the pungent odor
of this cold and consuming passion in my nose: death.
Now, I've said it. That vulgar word
that drags us down to the worms, sightless, predestined.
Goddamn you, boy.
Nothing I said mattered to you;
that bullshit about Etsuko or about killing myself.
I tear the note, then burn it.
The alarm clock goes off. 5:45 A.M.
I take the sword and walk into the garden.
I look up. The sun, the moon,
two round teeth rock together
and the light of one chews up the other.
I stab myself in the belly,
wait, then stab myself again. Again.
It's snowing. I'll turn to ice,
but I'll burn anyone who touches me.
I start pulling my guts out,
those red silk cords,
spiraling skyward,
and I'm climbing them
past the moon and the sun,
past darkness
into white.
I mean to live.



Thetis
by Olga Broumas

No. I'm not tired, the tide
is late tonight, go
with your sister, go
sleep, go play.
No? Then come
closer, sit here, look

where we strung the fruit, hammocks of
apples, dates, orange peel. Look
at the moon
lolling between them, indolent
as a suckled breast. Do you understand

child, how the moon, the tide
is our own
image? Inland
the women call themselves Tidal Pools
call their water jars Women, insert
sponge and seaweed
under each curly, triangluar thatch. Well

there's the salt lip, finally
drawing back. You must understand
everything that caresses you
will not be like this
moon-bright water, pleasureable, fertile
only with mollusks and fish. There are still
other fluids, fecund, tail-whipped
with seed. There are ways
to evade them. Go
get a strand

of kelp. Fold it, down in your palm
like a cup, a hood. Good.
Squat down beside me.
Facing the moon.

Date: 2011-04-27 12:03 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lady-ganesh.livejournal.com
Oh, man. That Ai poem just improved my life.

Date: 2011-04-27 12:24 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cicer.livejournal.com
Her poetry is absolutely breathtaking. I was introduced to her during a college course on women poets that I took a couple years ago, and she's been my favorite female poet ever since. Her poems are just so raw, so gruesome and beautiful at the same time. I highly recommend her anthology Vice. Really good stuff.

Date: 2011-04-27 02:22 am (UTC)

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