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  1. #101
    & Badger, Ratty and Toad Mole's Avatar
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    Mar 2008
    Last night anonymous hacked two poems by the same poet. I can't decide which one to publish so here are both of them -

    The Power

    Forget all of that end-of-the-pier
    palm-reading stuff. Picture a seaside town
    in your head. Start from its salt-wrack-rotten smells
    and raise the lid of the world to change the light,
    then go as far as you want: the ornament
    of a promenade, the brilliant greys of gulls,
    the weak grip of a crane in the arcades
    you've built, ballrooms to come alive at night,
    then a million-starling roost, an opulent
    crumbling like cake icing ...
    Now, bring it down
    in the kind of fire that flows along ceilings,
    that knows the spectral blues; that always starts
    in donut fryers or boardwalk kindling
    in the dead hour before dawn, that leaves pilings
    marooned by mindless tides, that sends a plume
    of black smoke high enough to stain the halls
    of clouds. Now look around your tiny room
    and tell me that you haven't got the power.

    and -

    The Milk Nostalgia Industries

    When they send the fleet of floats into the dawn
    you know they're trading in covert nostalgia.
    When the empties tinkle and the motor strains
    you know it's more than milk delivery.
    The clean, reflective words parlour and dairy
    can be squeezed for something far more nourishing.
    Parlour in particular can yield
    Jane Austen sitting on a milking stool
    with a natty teat technique; that and a pail
    each jet rings into, soft lit, in an English field.

    And dairy draws on road maps' blank regions,
    where sewage works and abattoirs and stud farms
    exist as in original outlines
    drawn up in Milk Nostalgia Head Office.
    They say that down its corridors are rooms
    where every bottled note left out is filed
    before joining the archives underground.
    Remember when we took the audio tour
    to look upon this great, lost literature
    writ in last-thing-at-night's forgotten hand?

    Ah, the tour. The very milk of homesickness
    was handed to us in warm tetra-paks,
    and we felt our headphones fill with the white hiss
    of the world speeding up. The milk turned black
    as bull's blood, but before we reached the end
    each saw their own arcades and galleries:
    my father was down there, blowing on the skin
    of boiling milk to calm its head of steam,
    and my mother carrying a glass lit from within
    to bed. And then the gift shop, full of cheese.

    - Paul Farley.

  2. #102
    & Badger, Ratty and Toad Mole's Avatar
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    Mar 2008
    If you liked the two poems below, do meet the poet, Paul Farley, by clicking on -

    or for an interview with the poet, Paul Farley, do click on -

    And if you would like to see Liverpool disappear for a billionth of a second, do click on -

  3. #103
    & Badger, Ratty and Toad Mole's Avatar
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    Mar 2008
    Forgetting the bacon, the poet came home with -

    A Bowl of Spaghetti

    "To find a connectome, or the mental makeup of a person,"
    researchers experimented with the neurons of a worm

    then upgraded to mouse hoping
    "to unravel the millions of miles of wire in the [human] brain"

    that they liken to "untangling a bowl of spaghetti"

    of which I have an old photo: Rei in her high chair delicately
    picking out each strand to mash in her mouth.

    Was she two? Was that sailor dress from Mother?
    Did I cook from scratch? If so, there was a carrot in the sauce

    as Mother instructed and I'll never forget
    since some strand determines infatuation as a daughter's fate.

    - Kimiko Hahn.

  4. #104
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    Mar 2008
    If you liked the poem, "A Bowl of Spaghetti", you might like to see and hear the poet, Kimiko Hahn, by clicking on -

    Or if you wanna know what poetry is for, click on -

  5. #105
    & Badger, Ratty and Toad Mole's Avatar
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    Mar 2008
    Sent by our mole last night and posted today for you -

    My Love, Don't Believe

    My love, don't believe that today
    the planet travels on another orbit,
    it is the same journey between old
    pale stations,
    there is always a sparrow flitting
    in the flowerbeds
    a thought grown stubborn in the mind.
    Time turns on the face of the clock, it joins
    a trace of fog above the pine trees
    the world veers into the regions of cold.
    Here are the crumbs on the earth,
    the embers in the fireplace,
    the wings,
    the low and busy hands.

    (From the Italian of Bartolo Cattafi)

    - Dana Gioia.

  6. #106
    & Badger, Ratty and Toad Mole's Avatar
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    Mar 2008
    We can see the poet, Dana Gioia, talking about the value of reading by clicking on -

    Or we can hear the poet, Dana Gioia, reading aloud by clicking on -

  7. #107
    & Badger, Ratty and Toad Mole's Avatar
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    Mar 2008
    Sent last night and posted today -


    In other noises, I hear my children crying—
    in older children playing on the street
    past bedtime, their voices buoyant
    in the staggered light; or in the baby
    next door, wakeful and petulant
    through too-thin walls; or in the constant
    freakish pitch of Westside Baltimore
    on The Wire, its sirens and rapid gunfire,
    its beleaguered cops haranguing kids
    as young as six for propping up
    the dealers on the corners, their swagger
    and spitfire speech; or in the white space
    between radio stations when no voice
    comes at all and the crackling static
    might be swallowing whole a child's
    slim call for help; even in silence itself,
    its material loops and folds enveloping
    a ghost cry, one I've made up, but heard,
    that has me climbing the stairs, pausing
    in the hall, listening, listening hard,
    to—at most—rhythmical breathing
    but more often than not to nothing, the air
    of the landing thick with something missed,
    dust motes, the overhang of blankets, a ship
    on the Lough through the window, infant sleep.

    - Sinéad Morrissey.

  8. #108
    & Badger, Ratty and Toad Mole's Avatar
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    Mar 2008
    If you liked the poem, "Baltimore", you might like to see and hear the poet, Sinéad Morrissey, by clicking on -

    Or you might like to hear the poet, Sinéad Morrissey, talk about poetry and Queens University, Belfast, Ireland, by clicking on -

  9. #109
    & Badger, Ratty and Toad Mole's Avatar
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    Mar 2008
    Hoist last night and hosted today -

    Half-Life: Pittsylvania County, Virginia

    CHATHAM, VA., JANUARY 2, 2008—Underneath a plot of farmland used
    to raise cattle, hay, and timber in south-central Virginia lies what is thought
    to be the largest deposit of uranium in the United States.
    Uranium was discovered by eighteenth-century chemist Martin Heinrich
    Klaproth, who called it "a strange kind of half-metal" and named it in part
    for the recently discovered seventh planet, Uranus, one of the so-called
    "ice giants."

    That some slow, cold distant planet formed
    with a core of ice and stone and named
    for the embodiment of sky and heaven
    should have anything to do with it seemed wrong—
    given its rumored rise from pitchblende to the surface
    of fields and pastures, its dissolve into the wells
    dug and the ponds made for the animals,
    or its decay into the brief, more deadly
    daughters—an old explosion's persistent, widening
    wake—and now even more wrong given its ungodly
    worth to the men who had already sold
    the rights to it, ignorant of the worse cost
    of confusing what chooses us with what we choose,
    the near-infinite half-life of remains.

    And the worry that cancer simply ran
    in families had been replaced by suspicion
    of a greater cause: the massive vein
    of uranium found just a few miles
    outside of town on farms where in the 1950s
    scientists had come to look because
    of a known fault, restless in the rock.
    The percussive, intermittent tick
    of their Geiger counters had escalated
    to something measureless—the place itself
    a worse genetic element, the very land
    guilty. In the small sanctuary
    of the Presbyterian church where I was raised—
    the women's whispering soft and steady
    as the beat of moths' wings—their purses
    still closed around tissues, lozenges, the same

    thin tithes and offerings. Among them, I could recount
    losses so common it was no wonder
    they had come after time to believe
    predestined sacrifice: of the easily
    stricken elderly, or a son in middle age,
    an infant or toddler daughter.

    The cancers: both common and rare—
    of the lung, stomach, brain, pancreas, liver,
    breast, of the ovary, the blood itself,
    the houses on the street where I grew up
    marked with its slow plague—patient,
    insatiable—not one passed over.

    My father recalled a story about a family
    who lived in the oldest house on some of that land,
    the structure built of brick, slave-made on the place,
    he said, of the place itself—and about one
    of the women stricken with a tumor of the brain
    before there was an instrument to see it,
    long before anyone knew what uranium was.
    The story misremembered, half-lie

    or whole, I imagined again that house,
    her body-driven madness appearing
    first as headache—the one pupil eclipsing
    its iris before auras around the windows,
    around the children's heads, the chimney ciphering
    like the church organ pipe, one long note

    unplayed, the sound unaccounted for. She would have been
    bound inside herself to a stake—burning at it,
    the rope around her wrists giving way a little
    every day to the stronger bonds of invisible fire;
    what if it were in the walls, the brick laced with it,
    the water, the melons and eggs, the milk; what if

    she sifted it with the salt into the flour and fried it
    in the pan, telling her daughter to run away
    from her, to go, you go, every day,
    as far as you can. But what if it were
    in her apron with her little knife;
    she could see clearly herself in its blade.

    We had already memorized the three-bladed
    black fan, symbol for the fallout shelter
    the men had built under the post office,
    beneath its thick-combed walls of letter boxes—
    small-windowed, gilt-numbered doors with bronze
    combinations we would inherit,
    thresholds opening to promise and debt.
    It was somewhere beneath the cases

    where the rural carriers sorted their routes,
    long days of gravel back roads, orbits
    relentless, the sinuous dust of retraces.
    I never saw that shelter, never met
    anyone who had, but believed in deep shelves
    of syrupy pears and peaches as I had been taught
    to believe in heaven, safe, dreaded
    place I was told I would go, not meaning

    for my soul to be taken in my sleep,
    not meaning to drift past the moon, past
    the farthest planets, the slow, dim one ringed
    with dust and ice. It glowed the palest green
    of opaque glass, a globe at the end
    of an empty street, so far from the source
    it appeared bioluminescent origin,
    half cause, half sanctuary of last light.

    - Claudia Emerson.

  10. #110
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    Mar 2008
    If you enjoyed the poem, "Half-Life", you may like to meet the poet, Claudia Emerson, in person by clicking on -

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