This poem is beautiful, heartbreaking, insightful, amazing.
A Good Day
– Kait Rokowski
Yesterday, I spent 60 dollars on groceries,
took the bus home,
carried both bags with two good arms back to my studio apartment
and cooked myself dinner.
You and I may have different definitions of a good day.
This week, I paid my rent and my credit card bill,
worked 60 hours between my two jobs,
only saw the sun on my cigarette breaks
and slept like a rock.
Flossed in the morning,
locked my door,
and remembered to buy eggs.
My mother is proud of me.
It is not the kind of pride she brags about at the golf course.
She doesn’t combat topics like, ”My daughter got into Yale”
with, ”Oh yeah, my daughter remembered to buy eggs”
But she is proud.
See, she remembers what came before this.
The weeks where I forgot how to use my muscles,
how I would stay as silent as a thick fog for weeks.
She thought each phone call from an unknown number was the notice of my suicide.
These were the bad days.
My life was a gift that I wanted to return.
My head was a house of leaking faucets and burnt-out lightbulbs.
Depression, is a good lover.
So attentive; has this innate way of making everything about you.
And it is easy to forget that your bedroom is not the world,
That the dark shadows your pain casts is not mood-lighting.
It is easier to stay in this abusive relationship than fix the problems it has created.
Today, I slept in until 10,
cleaned every dish I own,
fought with the bank,
took care of paperwork.
You and I might have different definitions of adulthood.
I don’t work for salary, I didn’t graduate from college,
but I don’t speak for others anymore,
and I don’t regret anything I can’t genuinely apologize for.
And my mother is proud of me.
I burned down a house of depression,
I painted over murals of greyscale,
and it was hard to rewrite my life into one I wanted to live
But today, I want to live.
I didn’t salivate over sharp knives,
or envy the boy who tossed himself off the Brooklyn bridge.
I just cleaned my bathroom,
did the laundry,
called my brother.
Told him, “it was a good day.”
For more information on Kait Rokowski, please click here.
This poem takes my breath away.
– Ada Limon
After the birthing of bombs of forks and fear,
the frantic automatic weapons unleashed,
the spray of bullets into a crowd holding hands,
that brute sky opening in a slate metal maw
that swallows only the unsayable in each of us, what’s
left? Even the hidden nowhere river is poisoned
orange and acidic by a coal mine. How can
you not fear humanity, want to lick the creek
bottom dry to suck the deadly water up into
your own lungs, like venom? Reader, I want to
say, Don’t die. Even when silvery fish after fish
comes back belly up, and the country plummets
into a crepitating crater of hatred, isn’t there still
something singing? The truth is: I don’t know.
But sometimes, I swear I hear it, the wound closing
like a rusted-over garage door, and I can still move
my living limbs into the world without too much
pain, can still marvel at how the dog runs straight
toward the pickup trucks break-necking down
the road, because she thinks she loves them,
because she’s sure, without a doubt, that the loud
roaring things will love her back, her soft small self
alive with desire to share her goddamn enthusiasm,
until I yank the leash back to save her because
I want her to survive forever. Don’t die, I say,
and we decide to walk for a bit longer, starlings
high and fevered above us, winter coming to lay
her cold corpse down upon this little plot of earth.
Perhaps, we are always hurtling our body towards
the thing that will obliterate us, begging for love
from the speeding passage of time, and so maybe
like the dog obedient at my heels, we can walk together
peacefully, at least until the next truck comes.
A big thanks to Alison McGhee for finding and sharing these treasures.
For more information on Ada Limon, please click here.
Dear One Absent This Long While
– Lisa Olstein
It has been so wet stones glaze in moss;
everything blooms coldly.
I expect you. I thought one night it was you
at the base of the drive, you at the foot of the stairs
you in a shiver of light, but each time
leaves in wind revealed themselves,
the retreating shadow of a fox, daybreak.
We expect you, cat and I, bluebirds and I, the stove.
In May we dreamed of wreaths burning on bonfires
over which young men and women leapt.
June efforts quietly.
I’ve planted vegetables along each garden wall
so even if spring continues to disappoint
we can say at least the lettuce loved the rain.
I have new gloves and a new hoe.
I practice eulogies. He was a hawk
with white feathered legs. She had the quiet ribs
of a salamander crossing the old pony post road.
Yours is the name the leaves chatter
at the edge of the unrabbited woods.
For more information on Lisa Olstein, please click here.
Thanks to Alison for finding these beautiful poems and sharing them with the world.
– Joyce Sutphen
Our fathers, who lived all their lives on earth—
are going now. They have given us all
we need, and when we asked, they gave us more.
Their names are beautiful to us, holy
as the names of stars, as familiar
as the roads we traveled, falling asleep
on the way from one farm to another.
Their kingdoms were small; they were never
interested in more than one homestead,
and as for evil: although they could not
keep it from us, they tried to keep us from
temptation, though we were like all children
and wanted our own power and glory,
world without end, forever and amen.
For more information on Joyce Sutphen, please click here.
Thanks always to Alison for curating and sharing these beautiful word sculptures.Visit her web site here. https://alisonmcghee.com/
Flossie at School
– Alden Nowlan
Five laths in a cotton dress
was christened Flossie
and learned how to cry,
her eyes like wet daisies
behind thick glasses.
She was six grades ahead of me
and wore bangs; the big boys
called her “The Martian,”
they snowballed her home,
splashed her with their bicycles,
left horse dung in her coat pockets.
She jerked when anyone spoke to her,
and when I was ten
I caught up with her one day
on the way home from school,
and said, Flossie I really like you
but don’t let the other kids know I told you,
they’d pick on me, but I do like you,
I really do, but don’t tell anybody.
And afterwards I was ashamed
for crying when she cried.
For more about Alden Nowlan, click here.
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The Laughing Heart
– Charles Bukowski
your life is your life
don’t let it be clubbed into dank submission.
be on the watch.
there are ways out.
there is light somewhere.
it may not be much light but
it beats the darkness.
be on the watch.
the gods will offer you chances.
you can’t beat death but
you can beat death in life, sometimes.
and the more often you learn to do it,
the more light there will be.
your life is your life.
know it while you have it.
you are marvelous
the gods wait to delight
For more information on Charles Bukowski, please click here.
This poem found it’s way to me via Alison McGhee – poetry mistress.