A Heaven In The Ghetto: Poems of Truth, Love and Honor
Religion teaches us to be grateful. Fuck religion. Another friend died today. Drugs and illness killed him. He took drugs because he was depressed. When society tells you what you are is wrong, this does something to you. Somebody once close to me insisted that bad medical care was the main cause of his death. Years before the drugs, my friend was plumper, gossipy and kind. He just needed me to know.
The conductor of the choir declined to attend his funeral. Living fills me with disappointment that I learned to accept—even use. My holes are merging into one. Christian women rang our bell to evangelise after noticing a portrait of Hanuman hanging above our door. You gave me a look that stopped me from cursing at them. I love my anger and sorrow as much as my need to love. If I become unfeeling, it still means I care, but differently.
Does this make you unhappy? Bonny Hicks: I think and feel, therefore I am. Poetry is not just the way I prefer to organise my thoughts; it has been my way of moving beyond thinking and feeling. Hicks, again: When we take embodied thinking rather than abstract reasoning as a goal for our mind, then we understand that thinking is a transformative act.
The mind will not only deduce, speculate, and comprehend, but it will also awaken … and inspire. I think only when vanishing down these lines. To almost see the goodness you see in me. I have discovered its secrets and I want to spread the word. Clues Full moon penetrates dour field. Beneath — separate, avoiding society — sad pine ages, ravaged of agile greenness, recalling time of sun beams, scent of flowers gasped and held in a tempest, vacuous beauty of steady flame.
Answers Court under blue moon Foliage emits bouquet inhaled by lover. Clues Naval commander heard calling for antique glass.
Watchman, stooge in striped cotton clothes, alien among sailors, sounds warning as open boat, fashioned from soft naked pinewood, parts current. Boat comes around island, and tails British fleet. Answers Seeking old-fashioned seersucker jackets for launch of new yacht rock band. Clues Woman of the house listens to insects sing nonsense syllables and three-part harmony, calm cut off from trouble. No fear, not before dusk. Gingerly, tender lips split: new note enters general cloud around mid-afternoon croakers. Hot cry, and quiet.
Spring, too, comes from a desire. Clues Wine-soaked bride and groom, day and place for the afterglow — cold ice ridge. Blustering man embraces silence, kindling romance with close friend. Home is love and husband, seed of no consequence without God to plunder or covet. Rambling dirge for the mountains consumes birds soft and airy. Concealed by tupelo, noiselessly approaching drop of fat berries, ruinously ripe after endless June, one hart turned, identifying new sounds.
Splendid sound, damn rain stirs up refined rage on pitching fruit ship in bloom. Jarred tangle of hooks below top-deck. Keep south in boat turning into the wind, buffeted by lurches at the start — hold! Ship exits locks in possession of trunks, and leaves. Answers Rain kidnapped perfect mandarin orange blossom, shook down gust-blown trees. Clues Stray midnight carol: braying of cat on a log. It croaks like a queen in confusion. Raised again, forlorn yell — no, eruption — hovered. Then quiet, defeat. Answers Sing, atonal frog! Clues Fight for change is interrupted by conservative joiner.
- Alfred Lord Tennyson!
- Ode To The World IV.
- Meet the Mets.
Answers Altercation with patriots occupying wildlife refuge. Clues Dark daydream limited, unfinished, grace remains. It comes in winter, vision that all may see: many birds moving together, listening to Chinese whispers, free but somehow united so that two wings, growing dimmer in a jumble of kin, ranged over sound and heath. Answers Moonless December ghost murmuration untied to darkening moor. Clues Its choir gets boisterous with famous verse on northern shire, jewel of the eccentric paler races: flowers, cloaked in dew of fall, transform town wrapped up in domesticity, hypnotic love, constant doubt.
Tread easily to market left to the dockyard. One of the pillars of traditional Japanese poetry, the renga consists of verses alternating between a haiku and a couplet. In gatherings of poets, the renga was often employed as a form of play, with each poet adding one verse to the chain that ultimately formed the complete renga. With the permission of the poets involved, we reproduce here the renga that took shape that afternoon. English was offered as enrichment; some people are their own identifiers. Stop reprimanding her for painting the subway or claiming the abandoned money.
She was just doing the bare minimum under improvised provinces; promises stepping over city lines. Europe, the paper weight, overshared. I built a pool between the rich and one digit. Shut up the conjunctions. They wrote through thunder. Either might itch. The traditional kind of baby advertises itself. I took a bath underground, listening to the city stomp.
Clean—but still itchy—I chose the stairs. So many people turn to inanimate objects. They answer but insist—in perfect Mandarin—on English. Your sidewalk tomb fire was happening tomorrow, but I never left the last night. Sitting still? Citizen journalists admit that there is not just one system swimming.
You were quiet when it rained. Our eyes sat on you. Your mother would draw me a bath in her massive tub I wonder if she hoped I would come out a girl worth calling daughter sometimes we would eat so much that I felt drunk in the lotus bud coconut jelly shark fin stew wishing that someone would please speak English with me ashamed to favor a language what kind of scholar does that make me?
At the night market once I saw a couple like us wanted to scream out help us choose we are too indecisive and enamored with our idiosyncrasies a pleasured mouth does not need to speak. I forgive myself. In that practical small city,. This is what the. It is true the trees cannot sleep,. Somewhere on this island. They say he imported large animals. The things rich men do. How sovereign even their whims. Imported by helicopter, not the sick,. Even in zoos,. No grey manes.
George Clooney. He could have afforded. He took the infirm, not needing to, and. At the funeral, five hundred people. Each one with mouth bursting. The secrets. Not the grand surgery but the slow. What we do when. Let the bird fly beyond clouds and the sun that hang loosely in air far and high to places where thunders rest in summer. So that when it tumbles to earth its nose must dive into sands and whispers of rivers its wreckage twined with bones and skulls of seas for the fish and sea monsters to drink from its veins and forever be the red strip of sea which the sun bounces off.
This place is void There was a well once Where dust crams the seat It rested from morning till night Giving life to thirsty passersby But death came knocking one dark night The rest you will read on terrazzo at the grave. Yet here we are, caged in this brutish world Its ends so intent on getting us locked on its islands Of war, murder and treachery. With lies of horizons that stretch to as far as they can And the end meeting the beginning. Where earth Stands still. Someone has to play the dog on a leash. Small pink shoes and baggy tube shirt skirt.
A European family of five locks eyes with the least interesting thing on the street: French bistro. How much fun is it to edit your food and face? Curious, they got their phones out. Maybe it was smoke. I massaged my own back with a pissed fist. I guessed how to speak second language sign language. No one noticed the pig in misery while they took pictures with the midget puppy. I heard of a girl without lobes who buys hoops just for fun. The hardest part of miming is keeping symmetry in air.
Please do not smoke during the entire flight. Her arms gesture above the cobalt neck noose, the bow. Patterns folding inside, themselves fat in a core. Some vowels you have to send. Everything you ever wanted to know about animals. Underwater, Gilgamesh stole the vibrator. He was the strongest; I was the one killing villains. The crab king and I alternated wins; his legs were his downfall. It took a lot of work to crush a crustacean.
Old skin slid off the shelled sea mammoth. The ocean ate it. Gilgamesh was the last whale there. Other species are a mystery. Snakes will not seem to be handicapped. Their soft underbelly is their soft underbelly. Do beavers use sonar? Let this be self-evident: cats can hear death.
Everything you see could be remembered. Are salmon bottom feeders? I first noticed the circles in your neck when it became clear you were like one of those priests, treating all prey the same. You want one? Cannot, got fine. Fine how much money ah? You know, we used to live in Sembawang, it was a slice of kampung life, a village of unending chatter a village moved into newly built flats.
But it is quiet where I stay now. No one talks. Doors open and close. Train moves on. Do you know? I want to move to Yishun. Nearer to my sister. Many urns on this hill. He was seven that year, when his father fell down at home, he picked up the phone, not panicking at all. His mother, a painter, remarried a retired general, while he chose to avoid enlistment through self-mutilation. He came from Daejeon, South Korea. In the taxi he gave me an unexpected kiss, then became distant again, like a stone evaporating from a stone. Finally leaving China, in an airport hotel, he decided to once more experience the thrill of a stranger.
Back then my family lived near the reservoir, my father a lumberjack, my mother a small grocer, her trips into town to restock would sometimes keep her late, and when her ferry reached the center of the lake, the engine switched off, we would quietly float. Countless egrets engulfed the shore, while the flooded houses would occasionally emerge, covered in soggy weeds. Other than the older ones , no one blinked. I asked what you had for lunch and you said it was some kind of rubric; where the snow fell hard, I ate in yellow.
I somehow hated even your chuckle.
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- From Good Schools to Great Schools: What Their Principals Do Well.
Your shorthand stretched. You were giving them orders. I tapped on the window since the door was locked. I made it a calm tap, like all I wanted was the attention of a bird. The crazy that comes from posture. The silent crazy, the one you just see. Her weight balances on one foot, her neck twists. There are rules about how much space has to be between people in a car and people on the street.
Her hand breaks them and slams itself on the window. Her head seems to grow. If you fall, the baby falls. You were never gullible. She smashed the glass and used it on you. Opening your mouth hurt. Some people blamed heavy winds for her broken foot. The last thing you were was surprised. When she felt nervous she vomited entrance.
Her phlegm was an escalator. Everyone stood still and descended. Traded tips. Advice about stocks. Slime metal edged along. The man next to her spoke into his left ear, convincing himself to invest. They were getting lower as her blood rose. The bottom was somewhere to be from instead of toward, she thought. Her gut protested. The headset men stomped on spiked stair metal.
Month: February 2018
Something flipped; the ceiling was coming down. They started to die noticeably.
Life left that underground. She was the only one still living in the sand lamp. Carved her name into the last raw stomach, and she, the blonde girl no one knew, finally made friends. Her loyal group, her gold trophies. Ode To Armadillo. Little armored thing. Show me your cheek teeth. How many weapons could I make from your carcass?
I was always your claw but in death it was you who dug me. End of story quick change. You were alone unless it was breeding season. I knew you were getting younger when you got loose skin, reaching sexual maturity at nine weeks. You were the comfortably disheveled sort. If pursued, the armadillo changes from its normal shifting shuffling to a scuttle, eventually reaching a gallop with remarkable speed.
It was hard work but eventually I caught up to you.
Played the cheetah. I never thought revenge was an ugly word until I started wearing it. Stop complaining, I only took your tail. The teat in my fist squirts, misses steel, hits straw. I am as thirsty for lost milk as the calf mewling in its stall. Too long have I lingered in the scriptorium and mistaken the glowering spines for young British art.
Poetry | Literary Shanghai
These days I use an Oreo wrapper as a bookmark: its ultramarine like the angels in the Wilton Diptych. Demurring, I reject the edicts that issue from the Hegelian hivemind. Instead, the silverfish purr and unmake knowledge out of circulation. Now keep your volume down lest you arouse the class consciousness. The story of my life has been a burr on shimmering copper. In the new shelving system, poetry is beside the dissident history of dry-cleaning. A youth corps is always handy. This one makes sense, at last. When I approach the threshold, sickness muddles my intestine warfare.
The dire stillness of Sunday leaves me gasping against the parquet. Road-widening continues.
Ulysses - Poem by Alfred Lord Tennyson
Ma is getting her hair done again. In Bukit Merah, a man fitfully pisses into a storm drain. Soft fruit is stepped on, a gravelly paste on gravel. They say fried chicken has never been so widely available. Parliament is closed today, but so are KTV lounges. When is the next election, asked nobody. At the market, the uncle is somewhat ethnocentric.
This new development combines retail, petroleum refining and jazz. Buy low and sell before the ICBM is fired. I deny everything, even my denials. I wish to make a living writing haikus on teabags. Like everyone else, I cried. I get up from the floor and make myself a highball. I changed shoes for the burial.
The earth, soft from rain, was hungry for the black stems of my funeral heels. It was hungry for you too, waiting only for lurid green turf to give way to reality, a hole gouged in a field. The funeral director looked away; your brothers pulled back plastic ground, took up shovels.
The men stood silent. Dark sifted through cold, a halo of shadow around downed towers. The city waited. The country waited. Hogs lay frozen against the ditch, smelling of snow, flesh crystallized beneath skin. We waited for the ground to thaw. I saw the stars tonight, and know they saw us just as we see them: as pinpoints of light in a vast pointillist canvas. As their earthly parallel made by the same master but of different material: they: of dying light, us: of living pulses.
And just as some stars burn brighter than others, so it is true of you: the focus of their lofty perspective, their Polaris, their Sigma Octantis. Without you, unanchored by your glow they would wander aimlessly, lose themselves in their heavenly sea, unraveling the constellations, leaving gaping holes through which we would fall each night we gazed up at the sky, swallowed by the ever-expanding darkness, consumed by nothingness.
First, all was nothing: darkness upon darkness. We should have remained in the darkness, the only forms in the formlessness, to undulate endlessly as the substance of dreams. So much is hidden by our mother, in closets behind cans and boxes. So much that he loves— Mallomars , Mr. Chips , Hostess Twinkies. We hear him rummaging, rummaging, the cans clinking, the boxes tearing open, and his hands, his thick callused hands ripping through wax paper and plastic packaging. Hear the refrigerator suck open sense its light through the cracks of our bedroom doors.
When I was sixteen years old and did not need sleep to feel rested, or a job for money, I joined the veterans outside the Camp Street Blood Bank at 7 a. They wiped their mouths on the greasy sleeves of fringed jackets or jungle cammies, looking for a piece of cardboard or some old magazine to slap on the spit and piss and vomit laminating the sidewalks they slept on.
I did not feel soiled by the filth on their fingernails, the grease in their hair, or the gravel in their throats. As if I believed them, too. Inside the clinic we reclined on hard gurneys, flies lining the rims of Dixie cups filled with urine. They pushed thick cold cannulas in our arms and our bloods drained into plastic tubing. Arterial blood, slow and thin. Blood over the legal limit, blood so dirty it had fleas.
Blue notes from clarinets and guitars joining the termites spinning in the halos of street lamps, go-cups crowning the trash cans and dribbling into the gutter with the butts and the oysters and the sweat off the shower-capped jheri-curled tap dancer from Desire Project scraping spoons across the slats of a metal scratchboard. Hawkers barking at the swarms of tourists gawking at strippers in storefront displays, and the runaway girls at the topless shoeshine spit-shining white loafers on the feet of insurance agents from Mutual of Omaha. At dawn the gulls laugh again. Pink light separates the gray sky from the gray sea.
Enormous clouds form like the aftermath of great explosions. How pensive this daybreak, a grenade without a pin. Pelicans lift from the pylons. The Cuban whore retreats up the Bluff Road, her sandals dangling from a finger. Once on a moonless night I lost my companions. So sadly familiar— things I desire withdrawing, their forms disappearing the instant I extend a hand.
The reef folding into itself like a fist. Then, from the stacks of plate coral, the arm of an octopus slid, and another, two more, reaching for my fingertips, my palm. The soft sack of the octopus followed, inching nearer, her tentacles assessing the flesh of my wrist, my arm. My heart pounding. At my armpit, she tucked in, sliding her arms around my neck and shoulder, her skin becoming the blue and yellow of my dive skin.
She stayed with me such a short time, her eyes, those narrow slits, heavy with trust, and my breath so calm, so easy. Above, my companions banged on their tanks, summoning me to ascend. When the water came I was alone hiding, taking cover, anticipating that the roofing might not hold, worried of dying. The water came the strong winds howling, shaking the whole place, white mist like needles piercing through my skin. Later our neighbors came scampering climbing shouting panicking.
Before the giant claw came, I was inside the comfort room with my grandmother. She was praying the whole time. My parents called us to transfer to a safer room, but the winds kicked up, slamming on our door. The wind was like a drunken man punching the door, kicking it, trying to rip it apart. Then suddenly, I felt water on the floor. It started to rise, to our knees, our waist, our chin. Salt water. How was it possible?
The sea was almost a kilometer away! Then, the giant claw came. Among the pines chancing upon old inscriptions, Ignoramuses stop crowing my remove to northern mountains. The man now comes forth not without purpose — such as apes, cranes, never could understand. By Chow Teck Seng The car keeps backing into position, no return, no regret — no longer possessing the shiny shards of youth.
The rocket has landed. The memory has wandered off. Plato, like a flyaway brolly. The carpark frequently disguises itself as a full stop. Habitually buckling up the seatbelt preparing to enjoy a repetitive miniseries during the journey — the wiping effect makes me think of this as a nostalgic film. Premonition is a xeroxed sea. There lies the port; the vessel puffs her sail; There gloom the dark, broad seas. My mariners, Souls that have toil'd, and wrought, and thought with me,-- That ever with a frolic welcome took The thunder and the sunshine, and opposed Free hearts, free foreheads,-- you and I are old; Old age hath yet his honor and his toil.
Death closes all; but something ere the end, Some work of noble note, may yet be done, Not unbecoming men that strove with Gods. The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks; The long day wanes; the slow moon climbs; the deep Moans round with many voices. Come, my friends. Push off, and sitting well in order smite The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down; It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles, And see the great Achilles, whom we knew. Tho' much is taken, much abides; and tho' We are not now that strength which in old days Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are,-- One equal temper of heroic hearts, Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield. Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will To strive, to seek, to find, and to yield. Well expressed and communicated.
Good delivery. Such a beautiful poem with brilliantly worded ending that's just perfection. Sublime encouragement for a 74 year old Report Reply. It little profits that an idle king, By this still hearth, among these barren crags, Match'd with an aged wife, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , outstanding!
Report Reply. The quest for love and peace with life supports. Great poem. We all miss Troy. To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield. Nice words! Well communicated! Sylva Report Reply. An inspiring poem teaching mankind to live life to the lees, every word teaches us to strive, seek, find, and not to yield till you achieve.
It adds a new hope towards success and greater confidence in me. This man no fine artist. His words do not teach, inspire or hold the readers interest. His writings long as he must think the tree worthless to die for such doodlings. Of Tennyson's many, I still think this one is his best - unsentimental, regularly iambic but simulating plain speech, simple and accessible, but thoughtful and rather sophisticated. To have written one such poem is to have earned the reputation of a genuine poet.
And, of course, Tennyson has many, many others. A great poem by a genius poet. Only recently discovered this gem and was so taken with it that within a week I had memorized it. It must be an age thing but I doubt if I could have resonated with this poem 40 years ago when I was taking English Literature in university. What a timely find.