Category Archives: Poem of the Week

Poem of the Week: What to Do, by Joyce Sutphen via Poetry Mistress Alison McGhee

What to Do, by Joyce Sutphen


Wake up early, before the lights come on
in the houses on a street that was once
a farmer’s field at the edge of a marsh.

Wander from room to room, hoping to find
words that could be enough to keep the soul
alive, words that might be useful or kind

in a world that is more wasteful and cruel
every day. Remind us that we are
like grass that fades, fleeting clouds in the sky,

and then give us just one of those moments
when we were paying attention, when we gave
up everything to see the world in

a grain of sand or to behold
a rainbow in the sky, the heart
leaping up.

For more information about Joyce Sutphen, please click here.
alisonmcghee.com

A big thanks to Alison for finding and sharing these beautiful poems.

Leave a comment

Filed under Poem of the Week

Poem of the Week: Things My Son Should Know After I’ve Died, by Brian Trimboli via Poetry Mistress Alison McGhee

 was young once. I dug holes
near a canal and almost drowned.
I filled notebooks with words
as carefully as a hunter loads his shotgun.
I had a father also, and I came second to an addiction.
I spent a summer swallowing seeds
and nothing ever grew in my stomach.
Every woman I kissed,
I kissed as if I loved her.
My left and right hands were rival.
After I hit puberty, I was kicked out of my parents’ house
at least twice a year. No matter when you receive this
there was music playing now.
Your grandfather isn’t
my father. I chose to do something with my life
that I knew I could fail at.
I spent my whole life walking
and hid such colorful wings.

For more information about Brian Trimboli, please click here.
alisonmcghee.com

Thank you Alison for these poems.

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reviews, Poem of the Week

Poem of the Week: Antidotes to Fear of Death, by Rebecca Elson via Poetry Mistress Alison McGhee

Antidotes to Fear of Death, by Rebecca Elson

Sometimes as an antidote
to fear of death,
I eat the stars.

Those nights, lying on my back,
I suck them from the quenching dark
til they are all, all inside me,
pepper hot and sharp.

Sometimes, instead, I stir myself
into a universe still young,
still warm as blood:

No outer space, just space,
the light of all the not yet stars
drifting like a bright mist,
and all of us, and everything
already there
but unconstrained by form.

And sometime it’s enough
to lie down here on earth
beside our long ancestral bones:

to walk across the cobble fields
of our discarded skulls,
each like a treasure, like a chrysalis,
thinking: whatever left these husks
flew off on bright wings.

For more information on Rebecca Elson, please read her fascinating obituary.
alisonmcghee.com
Words by Winter: my new podcast

Thanks so much to Alison for curating these beautiful poems.

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reviews, Poem of the Week

Poem of the Week: Gravity by Kim Addonizio via Poetry Mistress Alison McGhee

Gravity, by Kim Addonizio

Carrying my daughter to bed
I remember how light she once was,
no more than a husk in my arms.
There was a time I could not put her down,
so frantic was her crying if I tried
to pry her from me, so I held her
for hours at night, walking up and down the hall,
willing her to fall asleep. She’d grow quiet,
pressed against me, her small being alert
to each sound, the tension in my arms, she’d take
my nipple and gaze up at me,
blinking back fatigue she’d fight whatever terror
waited beyond my body in her dark crib. Now
that she’s so heavy I stagger beneath her,
she slips easily from me, down
into her own dreaming. I stand over her bed,
fixed there like a second, dimmer star,
though the stars are not fixed: someone
once carried the weight of my life.

For more information about Kim Addonizio, please click here.
A big thanks to Alison for the beautiful poems.
alisonmcghee.com
Words by Winter: my new podcast

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reviews, Poem of the Week

Poem of the Week: Ars Poetica, by Aracelis Girmay via Poetry Mistress Alison McGhee

Ars Poetica, by Aracelis Girmay

May the poems be
the little snail’s trail.
 
Everywhere I go,
every inch: quiet record
 
of the foot’s silver prayer.
I lived once.
Thank you.
It was here.

Thanks to Alison for finding and sharing these beautiful poems.

For more information on Aracelis Girmay, please click here.

alisonmcghee.com

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reviews, Poem of the Week

Poem of the Week: The Copper Beech, by Marie Howe via Alison McGhee Poetry Mistress

The Copper Beech, by Marie Howe

Immense, entirely itself,
it wore that yard like a dress,

with limbs low enough for me to enter it
and climb the crooked ladder to where

I could lean against the trunk and practice being alone.

One day, I heard the sound before I saw it, rain fell
darkening the sidewalk.

Sitting close to the center, not very high in the branches,
I heard it hitting the high leaves, and I was happy,

watching it happen without it happening to me.

 

A big thank you to Alison for finding and sharing these beautiful poems.

For more information about Marie Howe, please check out her website.

My website.

My podcast.

My Facebook page.

@alisonmcgheewriter

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reviews, Poem of the Week, Uncategorized

Poem of the Week: Calling Him Back from Layoff, by Bob Hicok via Poetry Mistress Alison McGhee

Calling Him Back from Layoff, by Bob Hicok

I called a man today. After he said
hello and I said hello came a pause
during which it would have been

confusing to say hello again so I said
how are you doing and guess what, he said
fine and wondered aloud how I was

and it turns out I’m OK. He
was on the couch watching cars
painted with ads for Budweiser follow cars

painted with ads for Tide around an oval
that’s a metaphor for life because
most of us run out of gas and settle

for getting drunk in the stands
and shouting at someone in a t-shirt
we want kraut on our dog. I said

he could have his job back and during
the pause that followed his whiskers
scrubbed the mouthpiece clean

and his breath passed in and out
in the tidal fashion popular
with mammals until he broke through

with the words how soon thank you
ohmyGod which crossed his lips and drove
through the wires on the backs of ions

as one long word as one hard prayer
of relief meant to be heard
by the sky. When he began to cry I tried

with the shape of my silence to say
I understood but each confession
of fear and poverty was more awkward

than what you learn in the shower.
After he hung up I went outside and sat
with one hand in the bower of the other

and thought if I turn my head to the left
it changes the song of the oriole
and if I give a job to one stomach other

forks are naked and if tonight a steak
sizzles in his kitchen do the seven
other people staring at their phones

hear?

 

A big thanks to Alison for sharing these heartbreaking poems.

For more information on Bob Hicok, please click here.

To listen to Words by Winter, my new poem and storytelling podcast, click here.

My website.

My Facebook page.

Instagram: @alisonmcgheewriter

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reviews, Poem of the Week, Uncategorized

Poem of the Week: True Enough, by Jim Moore via Poetry Mistress Alison McGhee

True Enough, by Jim Moore

I have forgotten many things.
But I do remember
the bank of clover along the freeway
we were passing thirty years ago
when someone I loved made clear to me
it was over.

 

For more information about poet Jim Moore, please check out his website.

Thanks as always to Alison for sharing these beautiful poems. Visit Alison here.

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reviews, Poem of the Week

Poem of the Week: Sorrow Is Not My Name, by Ross Gay delivered via Poetry Mistress Alison McGhee

Sorrow Is Not My Name, by Ross Gay

—after Gwendolyn Brooks

No matter the pull toward brink. No
matter the florid, deep sleep awaits.
There is a time for everything. Look,
just this morning a vulture
nodded his red, grizzled head at me,
and I looked at him, admiring
the sickle of his beak.
Then the wind kicked up, and,
after arranging that good suit of feathers
he up and took off.
Just like that. And to boot,
there are, on this planet alone, something like two
million naturally occurring sweet things,
some with names so generous as to kick
the steel from my knees: agave, persimmon,
stick ball, the purple okra I bought for two bucks
at the market. Think of that. The long night,
the skeleton in the mirror, the man behind me
on the bus taking notes, yeah, yeah.
But look; my niece is running through a field
calling my name. My neighbor sings like an angel
and at the end of my block is a basketball court.
I remember. My color’s green. I’m spring.

for Walter Aikens

For more information about Ross Gay, please check out his website.

Thanks to Alison for being such a fine treasure hunter.

Find out more about Alison here.

.

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reviews, Poem of the Week

Poem of the Week: Hanging out with musicians, still in my suit, by Tom Sastry

IMG_2194

Hanging out with musicians, still in my suit, by Tom Sastry

He said fucking and that was important:
“We’re all fucking broken.”
He said it gently
like a priest, soothing the smart of sin.

I hadn’t heard about it before
this shared brokenness
and it was new to me, this idea
that being in pieces could bring us together

so my mind worked through all the things he might mean
and
like the fourteen-stone word-association machine that I am
I remembered all the world’s once-complete, now-shattered things

until I couldn’t get it out of my head
that we were broken like jigsaws
fucking broken like fucking jigsaws
and it felt right and wise and true.

​For more information about Tom Sastry, please click here.

Thanks to Alison for always sharing these amazing poems. Visit her here –My websiteMy blogMy Facebook page.

Twitter and Instagram: @alisonmcgheewriter

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reviews, Poem of the Week