Archive for March, 2007

Today, I was in a state, as they say,
fit to be tied.
My arm, I wore it like a long noose
Tucked under my neck,
The elbow up high
Pointing at God.

Today, I was tied in knots,
as they say, I found
I had beaten the great
Mohammed Ali
Out of a lifespan.

Today, I sprung to action
My feet waltzed beneath me
The pavement danced,
Two-stepped with
An iron banjo.

I had no right to give
in this life,
but I did
and it became like a song
that kept me alive.

-Nina Alvarez


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How Poetry Comes to Me

It comes blundering over the
Boulders at night, it stays…

-Gary Snyder

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The Little Mute Boy

The little boy was looking for his voice.
(The king of the crickets had it.)
In a drop of water
the little boy was looking for his voice…

-Frederico Garcia Lorca

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If You Forget Me

I want you to know
one thing.

You know how this is:
if I look
at the crystal moon, at the red branch…

-Pablo Neruda

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The Pardon

My dog lay dead five days without a grave
In the thick of summer, hid in a clump of pine…

-Richard Wilbur

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I do not want to be reflective any more
Envying and despising unreflective things…

-Louis MacNeice

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Ice and rain may cover the Northeast this weekend to such a degree that I won’t be able to travel to Morgantown and give my paper at the African Literature Association’s 33rd annual conference. In rueful honor of this, today’s poem:

Fire and Ice

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

-Robert Frost

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from Song of Myself

I Celebrate myself, and sing myself,

And what I assume you shall assume,

For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.

I loafe and invite my soul,

I lean and loafe at my ease observing a spear of summer grass.

My tongue, every atom of my blood, form’d from this soil,

this air,

Born here of parents born here from parents the same, and

their parents the same,

I, now thirty-seven years old in perfect health begin,

Hoping to cease not till death.

Creeds and schools in abeyance,

Retiring back a while sufficed at what they are, but never


I harbor for good or bad, I permit to speak at every hazard,

Nature without check with original energy.

-Walt Whitman

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O me! O life! 

O me! O life!… of the questions of these recurring;
Of the endless trains of the faithless–of cities fill’d with the foolish;
Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?)
Of eyes that vainly crave the light–of the objects mean–of the struggle ever renew’d;
Of the poor results of all–of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me;
Of the empty and useless years of the rest–with the rest me intertwined;
The question, O me! so sad, recurring–What good amid these, O me, O life?


That you are here–that life exists, and identity;
That the powerful play goes on, and you will contribute a verse.

-Walt Whitman

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The Waking

I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I feel my fate in what I cannot fear.

-Theodore Roethke

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