Monday, April 30, 2012

Is the End Near? Or is it Something Else? Interesting Times

This poem is written in  quatrains . . . isn't it just beautiful and otherworldly?

Interesting Times


by Mark Jarman

Everything’s happening on the cusp of tragedy, the tip of comedy, the pivot of event.
You want a placid life, find another planet. This one is occupied with the story’s arc:
About to happen, on the verge, horizontal. You want another planet, try the moon.
Try any of the eight, try Planet X. It’s out there somewhere, black with serenity.
How interesting will our times become? How much more interesting can they become?
A crow with something dangling from its beak flaps onto a telephone pole top, daintily,
And croaks its victory to other crows and tries to keep its morsel to itself.
A limp shape, leggy, stunned, drops from the black beak’s scissors like a rag.
We drive past, commenting, and looking upward. A sunny morning, too cold to be nesting,
Unless that is a nest the crow has seized, against the coming spring.
We’ve been at this historical site before, but not in any history we remember.
The present has been cloaked in cloud before, and not on any holy mountaintop.
To know the stars will one day fly apart so far they can’t be seen
Is almost a relief. For the future flies in one direction—toward us.
And the only way to sidestep it—the only way—is headed this way, too.
So, look. That woman’s got a child by the hand. She’s dragging him across the street.
He’s crying and she’s shouting, but we see only dumbshow. Their breath is smoke.
Will she give in and comfort him? Will he concede at last? We do not know.
Their words are smoke. In a minute they’ll be somewhere else entirely.
Everyone in a minute will be somewhere else entirely. As the crow flies.

National Poetry Month #36

On Friendship: Poets At Lunch - Stanley Moss to W.S. Merwin

This one is so good  it literally makes my heart flutter -- even though it's not about romance or the beauty of nature, or any of those other things that often stir my insides.  Isn't it special when something like the friendship between two old poets does that? Doesn't it just take your breath away?

Poets at Lunch
Stanley Moss (to W.S. Merwin)

I said, “Nothing for the last time.”
You said, “Everything for the last time.”
Later I thought you made everything more
precious with “everything for the last time”:
the last meditation, the last falling asleep,
the last dream before the final makebelieve,
the last kiss good night,
the last look out the window at the last moonlight.
Last leaves no time to hesitate.
I would drink strong coffee before my last sleep.
I’d rather remember childhood, rehearse forgiveness,
listen to birdsong or a Spanish housemaid singing,
scrubbing a tiled floor in Seville—
I’d scrub and sing myself. O Susanna
Susanna, quanta pena mi costi.
I would strangle the snakes of lastness
like Herakles in his crib
before I cocked my ear to Mozart for the last time.
There is not sky or clouds enough to cover
the music I would hear for the last time.
I know a bank whereon the wild thyme of
everything for the last time grows, covered with
deadly nightshade and poison hemlock.
No last, no first, thinking in the moment,
years ago, you prepared the soil in Hawaii
before you planted your palm trees, then shared
most of your days and nights with them as equals.
You built your house with a Zen room.
I made no prayer when I dug a hole
and pushed in a twelve-foot white pine,
root ball locked in green plastic netting.
I did not cut the netting, so twenty years later
a tall, beautiful, white pine died.
I lynched the roots. To save my life
I would let them seize, cut out a bear’s heart,
I would partake in its flesh.
But you would die before you’d let them kill that bear.
Again, I say, “Nothing for the last time.”
You say, “Everything for the last time.”
Sailor, I would have killed a stranger
to save the world. Sailor, you would not.
We kissed goodbye on the cheek.
I hope not for the last time.
Home, I look into my brass telescope—
at the far end, where the moon and distant stars
should be, I see my eye looking back at me,
it’s twinkling and winking like a star. I go to bed.
My dogs, donkeys and wife are sleeping. I am safe.
You are home with your wife
you met and decided to marry in four days.
National Poetry Month #35 

Thanks For a Wonderful National Poetry Month

The Academy of American Poets

Good Evening Readers!

Well, it's April 30th, and if you've been following the past few weeks, you know what that means - the end of National Poetry Month. I'm really sad about it! I have so loved sharing in the magic of my favorite craft with everyone!

I just want to say thank you to all of you who have dropped by to visit during these busy days!

Not that I am very widely read or anything, barely noticed is more like it - but I am getting there, just started blogging in September, so I really appreciate the support of all my readers - especially this month! Your loyalty has meant the world to me, and don't forget that I love feedback, so please don't shy away from sharing. Comments at The Poetrycooker are set to "open" so you don't have to be an official follower to voice your opinion! I know that most of my readers actually aren't followers and I wouldn't want them to feel left out!! I want to hear more about you and what you would like to see from The Poetrycooker in the future!

I also want you to know that I not only plan to go on posting more and more poems, as before NPM, but that I also plan on making this blog more arts-centric. Anyway, the main focus of my upcoming posts will, in fact, be poetry, fashion, music, film and literature, (both fiction and non-fiction). One day, soon, and perhaps when I am a little braver, I will post some poetry under my own name.

Looking back, I  would like to thank the Academy of American Poets for starting Poetry Month in NYC back in 1996, and National Poetry Month in 2002. Without their devoted attention to the craft of poetry, and their recognition of poets and patrons aike, there would be fewer people out there who believed in the staying power of such a classic art form during this digital age. I would also like to thank The Poetry Foundation and Poetry Magazine for their endless inspiration through both their print and online publications. My parents Amy and Paul Salte desetve heaps of gratitude r as well as my High School Creative Writing teacher, Mrs. Jennifer Gainey for encouraging me to believe in myself as a writer. Also the entire Creative Writing Department at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, as well as the publishing department, through whom I have a professional publishing certificate. It is because of the first that I remain an inspired writer, and the latter that I am able to feed myself.

 It is because of people and organizations like these that I pursued Creative Writing as a college major, and later received a BFA in Poetry in 2007. It is because of them that I will forever love reading and writing.  I hope that you have enjoyed National Poetry Month and that you find the last few posts of this celebration as  inspiring as I do.

I would like to acknowledge the online community for their contribution to my celebration, including Pinterest, We Heart It, Facebook and Favim, and of course Google and Blogger. I found endless poetic and photographic inspiration in their public forums, and was also able to provide a wider audience links to my posts. Unless otherwise noted, all photographs are courtesy of We Heart It ( However, I do wish all my readers to know that while I am as thankful and equally dependent on technology as they are, that I write everyday in several journals and a notebook, and that I still  believe and covet the meaning and usefulness of  print and handwritten material, and I encourage them to never lose their passion for that original form of publication, While I am at in I also want to share a funny little fact with you all, and that is that I write most of my posts with the laptop strapped to my elliptical machine - I don't know whether to be proud or embarrassed about that, but there you have it!

I love all of you bunches, and hope to see you back again and again! And remember, never be afraid to say hello!

-The Poetrycooker

(Okay, I am done pretending like I got an award now)!

National Poetry Month #34

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Childhood is the Kingdom Where Nobody Dies


Childhood is the Kingdom Where Nobody Dies

by Edna St.Vincent Millay

Childhood is not from birth to a certain age and at a certain age
The child is grown, and puts away childish things.
Childhood is the kingdom where nobody dies.

Nobody that matters, that is. Distant relatives of course
Die, whom one never has seen or has seen for an hour,
And they gave one candy in a pink-and-green stripéd bag, or a
And went away, and cannot really be said to have lived at all.

And cats die. They lie on the floor and lash their tails,
And their reticent fur is suddenly all in motion
With fleas that one never knew were there,
Polished and brown, knowing all there is to know,
Trekking off into the living world.
You fetch a shoe-box, but it's much too small, because she won't
curl up now:
So you find a bigger box, and bury her in the yard, and weep.
But you do not wake up a month from then, two months
A year from then, two years, in the middle of the night
And weep, with your knuckles in your mouth, and say Oh, God!
Oh, God!
Childhood is the kingdom where nobody dies that matters,
—mothers and fathers don't die.

And if you have said, "For heaven's sake, must you always be
kissing a person?"
Or, "I do wish to gracious you'd stop tapping on the window with
your thimble!"
Tomorrow, or even the day after tomorrow if you're busy having
Is plenty of time to say, "I'm sorry, mother."

To be grown up is to sit at the table with people who have died,
who neither listen nor speak;
Who do not drink their tea, though they always said
Tea was such a comfort.

Run down into the cellar and bring up the last jar of raspberries;
they are not tempted.
Flatter them, ask them what was it they said exactly
That time, to the bishop, or to the overseer, or to Mrs. Mason;
They are not taken in.
Shout at them, get red in the face, rise,
Drag them up out of their chairs by their stiff shoulders and shake
them and yell at them;
They are not startled, they are not even embarrassed; they slide
back into their chairs.

Your tea is cold now.
You drink it standing up,
And leave the house
National Poetry Month #33
Josh Hutcherson, still, Bridge to Terabithia

On When It Burns (out): Once We Played

Once We Played


by Mathilde Blind

Once we played at love together—
Played it smartly, if you please;
Lightly, as a windblown feather,
Did we stake a heart apiece.

Oh, it was delicious fooling!
In the hottest of the game,
Without thought of future cooling,
All too quickly burned Life’s flame.

In this give-and-take of glances,
Kisses sweet as honey dews,
When we played with equal chances,
Did you win, or did I lose?

National Poetry Month #32
Linksmasis fotoalbumas » - milžiniškas pramoginės informacijos šaltinis

On Faith Even In The Dark: Thanks



by W.S. Merwin

with the night falling we are saying thank you 
we are stopping on the bridges to bow from the railings 
we are running out of the glass rooms 
with our mouths full of food to look at the sky 
and say thank you 
we are standing by the water thanking it 
smiling by the windows looking out 
in our directions 

back from a series of hospitals back from a mugging 
after funerals we are saying thank you 
after the news of the dead 
whether or not we knew them we are saying thank you

over telephones we are saying thank you 
in doorways and in the backs of cars and in elevators 
remembering wars and the police at the door 
and the beatings on stairs we are saying thank you 
in the banks we are saying thank you 
in the faces of the officials and the rich
and of all who will never change
we go on saying thank you thank you

with the animals dying around us 
our lost feelings we are saying thank you 
with the forests falling faster than the minutes 
of our lives we are saying thank you 
with the words going out like cells of a brain 
with the cities growing over us 
we are saying thank you faster and faster 
with nobody listening we are saying thank you 
we are saying thank you and waving 
dark though it is

National Poetry Month #31

On More Illusions: Handy Guide



Handy Guide

by Dean Young

Avoid adjectives of scale.
Dandelion broth instead of duck soup.
Don’t even think you’ve seen a meadow, ever.
The minor adjustments in our equations
still indicate the universe is insane,
when it laughs a silk dress comes out its mouth
but we never put it on. Put it on.
Cry often and while asleep.
If it’s raw, forge it in fire.
That’s not a mountain, that’s crumble.
If it’s fire, swallow.
The heart of a scarecrow isn’t geometrical.
That’s not a diamond, it’s salt.
That’s not the sky but it’s not your fault.
My dragon may be your neurotoxin.
Your electrocardiogram may be my fortune cookie.
Once an angel has made an annunciation,
it’s impossible to tell him he has the wrong address.
Moonlight has its own befuddlements.
The rest of us can wear the wolf mask if we want
or look like reflections wandered off.
Eventually armor, eventually sunk.
You wanted love and expected what?
A parachute? Morphine? A gold sticker star?
The moment you were born—
you have to trust others because you weren’t there.
Ditto death.
The strongest gift I was ever given
was made of twigs.
It didn’t matter which way it broke.
National Poetry Month # 30

Of Things That Become Forbidden: Photographs


by Barbara Guest

In the past we listened to photographs. They heard our voice speak.
Alive, active. What had been distance was memory. Dusk came,
Pushed us forward, emptying the laboratory each night undisturbed by

In the city of X, they lived together. Always morose, her lips
soothed him. The piano was arranged in the old manner, light entered the
window, street lamps at the single tree.

Emotion evoked by a single light on a subject is not transferable to
photographs of the improved city. The camera, once
commented freely amid rivering and lost gutters of treeless parks or avenue.
The old camera refused to penetrate the unknown. Its heart was soft,

Now distributed is photography of new government building. We are
forbidden to observe despair silent in old photographs.
National Poetry Month #29

Saturday, April 28, 2012

On the Illusion of Impermanence : The Wooden Overcoat

we heart it

This is an amazing piece because, in my opinion, it explains in perfect and illicit detail why difference in perspectives is one of the most beautiful things we have in our cognitive collective. That we each have our own way of looking at people and objects and moments - -  that gives these otherwise impermanent things the grace of eternity.

If  the vision and the purpose of a thing or a person is multifaceted, then it's description becomes nearly infinite. Everything gets not only it's own personal soul, but a soul made up of collective conscience. If the next life lasts forever, then, this one has its own means of continence.

Everything on this Earth will last as long as thought exists - as long as time. And if these passing lives  take memory and thought with them into Eternity, then these things - these moments, these thoughts, these things without a pulse, but very much full of life - these things will go on.

The more I think about it, the more I believe the idea that ephemera is the only thing that isn't all together there. It shouldn't make sense that impermanence is the only thing that can be touched, yet never exits. But I guess on some level it does make sense. We leave behind a wooden overcoat that holds more than we can ever know. . . an entire universe parallel to any plane that ever existed.
Who knows, maybe you got something entirely different from the piece below, and if you did, I would love to hear it . . . I yearn for the ideas of others, no matter how different, so please, share!
And now. . .

The Wooden Overcoat, by Rick Barot

Pinned Image
via Pinterest

It turns out there’s a difference between a detail
and an image. If the dandelion on the sidewalk is
mere detail, the dandelion inked on a friend’s bicep
is an image because it moves when her body does,

even when a shirt covers the little thorny black sun
on a thin stalk. The same way that the bar code
on the back of another friend’s neck is just a detail,
until you hear that the row of numbers underneath

are the numbers his grandfather got on his arm
in a camp in Poland. Then it’s an image, something
activated in the reader’s senses beyond mere fact.
I know the difference doesn’t matter, except in poetry,

where a coffin is just another coffin until someone
at a funeral calls it a wooden overcoat, an image
so heavy and warm at the same time that you forget
it’s about death. At my uncle’s funeral, the coffin

was so beautiful it was like the chandelier lighting
the room where treaties are signed. It made me think
of how loved he was. It made me think of Shoshone
funerals, where everything the dead person owned

was put into a bonfire, even the horse. In that last
sentence, is the horse a detail or an image? I don’t
really know. In my mind, a horse is never anywhere
near a fire, and a detail is as luminous as an image.

The trumpet vine on the sagging fence. The clothes
in the fire. And each tattoo that I touch on your back:
the three-part illustration of how to use chopsticks,
National Poetry Month #28

OF Things So Precious and Brief: Dispatches From An Unfinished World

I am so in love with this simple yet startling piece. Doesn't it's smallness just speak volumes? Oh, I am nearly in tears over it's beauty!


by Rebecca Lindenberg

A leaf the green that a child would choose
if asked
to draw a leaf.
This heavy-petalled rose
is humid as the accent
of my current correspondent.
Trees unberried by bird.
Trees unleafed by beetle.
My correspondent
is a tentative man and I
am unaccustomed to tentative men.
White rose blossom
browning at the edges.
Paperback book.
Inside, my mother humming
a song I’ve never heard.
Kinds of holiness.
Trees unbarked by winter deer.
My correspondent
will not let me love him.
Green things make
such mild noise.
I uncross my legs
to find, with a bare foot,
that sun has warmed the stone.
I partake of the sun.
And the stone.
National Poetry Month #27

Friday, April 27, 2012

Of Brevity: one by Then

by Harmony Holiday
Gone then risen
Milk dawn gone then risen
Our ephemeral fawning done
Gone sanguine then risen in spell
High with your wrist while nihil busy
Unburrowing dice teams from sand figurines
Risen to swirl steam scooping passing seemingly
A kindred-ided up and up, born of dormant corners
Forms filial then filled Goes mourn and swoon
Love have and love loom Union and risen
National Poetry Month #26
fire, lion tooth 

Of Yearning: I Don't Miss It

by Tracy K. Smith

But sometimes I forget where I am,
Imagine myself inside that life again.
Recalcitrant mornings. Sun perhaps,
Or more likely colorless light
Filtering its way through shapeless cloud.
And when I begin to believe I haven’t left,
The rest comes back. Our couch. My smoke
Climbing the walls while the hours fall.
Straining against the noise of traffic, music,
Anything alive, to catch your key in the door.
And that scamper of feeling in my chest,
As if the day, the night, wherever it is
I am by then, has been only a whir
Of something other than waiting.
We hear so much about what love feels like.
Right now, today, with the rain outside,
And leaves that want as much as I do to believe
In May, in seasons that come when called,
It’s impossible not to want
To walk into the next room and let you
Run your hands down the sides of my legs,
Knowing perfectly well what they know.
National Poetry Month #25

National Poem In Your Pocket Day

Today was National Poem In Your Pocket Day! Started as a community event in New York City in 2002, and made official by The Academy of American Poets in 2009, NPIYPD encourages participants to share a chosen poem with their schools, workplaces and community centers. Today, I participated for the first time - and who knows, maybe one day, I'll be able to say I participated in International Poem In Your Pocket Day!

So, since I didn't get around to everyone today, I'm using this as my chance to  share my selection with you. It's a free-verse piece by Adrienne Rich,  and it's one of my favorites. I hope you'll like it too...

For An Album


by Adrienne Rich

Our story isn’t a file of photographs
faces laughing under green leaves
or snowlit doorways, on the verge of driving
away, our story is not about women
victoriously perched on the one
sunny day of the conference,
nor lovers displaying love:
Our story is of moments when even slow motion moved too fast
for the shutter of the camera:
words that blew our lives apart, like so,
eyes that cut and caught each other,
mime of the operating room
where gas and knives quote each other
moments before the telephone
starts ringing: our story is
how still we stood,
how fast.

National Poetry Month #24

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Of What We Know, Of What We Don't, Of Why We're Lonely: Your Catfish Friend

by Richard Brautigan
If I were to live my life 
in catfish forms
in scaffolds of skin and whiskers 
at the bottom of a pond 
and you were to come by 
   one evening
when the moon was shining 
down into my dark home 
and stand there at the edge 
   of my affection
and think, "It's beautiful 
here by this pond.  I wish 
   somebody loved me,"
I'd love you and be your catfish 
friend and drive such lonely 
thoughts from your mind 
and suddenly you would be
   at peace,
and ask yourself, "I wonder 
if there are any catfish 
in this pond?  It seems like 
a perfect place for them."

National Poetry Month # 23

Of Peace: The Lake Isle of Innisfree
I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made:
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee;
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight's all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet's wings.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart's core.

National Poetry Month #22

Monday, April 23, 2012

Of Innocence: Who Is God? So Asked Our Dog

Oh, how I love this poem, and this beautiful picture!!! These are so like things a dog would ask if they could - in their innocence - in both their selflessness and their self-interest. Oh, don't you just love it?!?!
Poem by Dara Wier

How many seasons are there?
Where was God born?
How many stars?
Who discovered every single one of the Americas and all of the other places?
Do some dwarves live in caves?
Is your mother singing in church tonight?
Is your father setting his hat on his head?
Do those goldfish belong to you?
Why did their God rise from the dead?
Could it be because of a forgotten pencil?
Do you like to study history?
Is this your book?
Where does cotton grow?
Why did the Holy Family go to Egypt. What is the Holy Family?
Do you see frightened ghosts on the streets sometimes?
I see the dog in your eye.
How would you like this to end?
Gone was a dog off to where a dog wants to go.
Who needed some help from old friends?
Do you see the question mark at the end of this sentence?
Somewhat maligned Pandora remains a curious person.

National Poetry Month #21

 From the Academy of American Poets Website: Photo of Dara Wier, James Tate, Guy Pettit & Emily Pettit's beloved Scottie. She goes by Maggie, Maggy, and Magpie, variously, and is "responsible for this poem."

Of Dreams, Of Reality, Of Everything Else: Very like a Whale

Image Detail
by Brook Emery

I seem to wake
and sleep ambiguously,
to see and misconceive,
to feel on the brink of something
that doesn’t end, beauty
that is more than beautiful,
meaning that is more.
The present is all around me, dreams,
a panoply of crimes, smudges of erasure,
memory made of clouds, camels,
weasels and the unlikelihood
of somewhere within and beyond this world.
Here’s light,
angular, ubiquituous
with the milky pigments of belief.
Here’s plodding time, breathing hard.
Birds fly up, perch on branches,
peck seed from the grass, (tug worms from the soil).
I am not what I imagined,
here I am the illusionist
and dupe of my illusions,
making the angels disappear, wishing them back again.
Stories that shifted in the telling
once were true:
a virgin birth, a resurrection,
a tiger who regained his human form, a crocodile
who didn’t. I’m pitching words against the sea,
it drags them out,
flings them back again
still freighted with my weight. The waves are red with blood,
brown with shit, yellow with the sickly light, anything
but blue and green.
I am an insistent fizz and drone,
deft, adroit, as elastic
as necessity and chance,
one more clay figurine with beseeching hollows
where the eyes should be,
as different from the others
as I am the same, no more evolved
than a roach,
no better than a rat,
happy as a labrador in the sun.
This is grace, the rest is commentary
and I would let it go: in millennia
I’ll chatter metaphysics with a chimpanzee, now
my thoughts are the antlers of the Irish elk,
the wings of flightless birds, peptides
spelling out the phrase
very like a whale. Most organisms
produce more offspring than can possibly survive.
Nothing can follow that.
Something will. Blunt heads of rain,
faithless wind,
the stricken sun at dusk,
knock-kneed girls somersaulting on the beach,
the commonplace surprise
of making love face to face,
the heart breaking apart, an instrumental eye
and instrumental mind rejoicing,
a last cacophony of birds
National Poetry Month #20

Of War and Other Things: Grass

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by Carl Sandburg
Pile the bodies high at Austerlitz and Waterloo.   
Shovel them under and let me work—   
            I am the grass; I cover all.   
And pile them high at Gettysburg   
And pile them high at Ypres and Verdun. 
Shovel them under and let me work.   
Two years, ten years, and passengers ask the conductor:   
            What place is this?   
            Where are we now?   
            I am the grass. 
            Let me work.
National Poetry Month #20
Stuffs To Pass The Time

Of Trees: The Pines

by Harriet Prescott Spofford


COULDST thou, Great Fairy, give to me

The instant's wish, that I might see

Of all the earth's that one dear sight

Known only in a dream's delight,

I would, beneath some island steep,

In some remote and sun-bright deep,

See high in heaven above me now

A palm-tree wave its rhythmic bough!

And yet this old pine's haughty crown,

Shaking its clouds of silver down,

Whispers me snatches of strange tunes

And murmur of those awful runes

Which tell by subtle spell, and power

Of secret sympathies, the hour

When far in the dark North the snow

Among great bergs begins to blow.

Nay, thou sweet South of heats and balms,

Keep all thy proud and plumy palms,

Keep all thy fragrant flowery ease,

Thy purple skies, thy purple seas!

These boughs of blessing shall not fail,

These voices ringing in the gale,

The vigor of these mighty lines:

I will content me with my pines!

National Poetry Month #19