— Robert Hass in an excerpt from “Meditation at Lagunitas”
When I say that she was the greatest,
I mean that she resembled a circus.
She was not brightly colored,
nor was she composed
of three rings, but
under a tent in the middle of
a starlit field
on a summer night,
you could see her
in just a t-shirt
and forget how unhappy
the elephants were.
— Jeanette Winterson in “Written on the Body”
Screw poetry, it’s you I want,
your taste, rain
on you, mouth on your skin.
Margaret Atwood in “Late Night”
It’s about the blood
banging in the body
and the brain
lolling in its bed
like a happy baby.
At your touch, the nerve
that volatile spook tree
vibrates. The lungs
take up their work
with a giddy vigor.
Tremors in the joints
in the canister of sugar.
The coil of ribs,
heats up, begins
to glow. Come
Blood spiller, blood drinker, a heart of flame,
Who quarrels with the sky and fights with fate,
Who burns like fire on the rushing sea."
jar of octopus, cuckoo’s cry, 5-7-5,
but now I want a Russian novel,
a 50-page description of you sleeping,
another 75 of what you think staring out
— Dean Young, excerpt from “Changing Genres”
— F. Scott Fitzgerald, This Side of Paradise
accepts me foolish and free
all I want is a room up there
and you in it
and even the traffic halt so thick is a way
for people to rub up against each other…"
— Frank O’Hara in “Steps”