Allowables

I killed a spider
Not a murderous brown recluse
Nor even a black widow
And if the truth were told this
Was only a small spider
Sort of papery spider
Who should have run
When I picked up the book
But she didn't
And she scared me
And I smashed her

I don't think
I'm allowed

To kill something

Because I am

Frightened.

― Nikki Giovanni, Chasing Utopia: A Hybrid

Via Goodreads

R.I.P. Peter Orlovsky

Allen Ginsberg with partner Peter Orlowski, Fr...

Poet and Ginsberg Muse is dead at 76: “Peter Orlovsky, who inspired Beat writers like Allen Ginsberg, with whom he had a romantic partnership for decades, and who wrote emotionally naked, loopy and occasionally luminescent poetry of his own, died in Williston, Vt., on Sunday. He was 76, and lived in St. Johnsbury, Vt.” (New York Times )

Going to Bed

I check the locks on the front door

and the side door,

make sure the windows are closed

and the heat dialed down.

I switch off the computer,

turn off the living room lights.

I let in the cats.

Reverently, I unplug the Christmas tree,

leaving Christ and the little animals

in the dark.

The last thing I do

is step out to the back yard

for a quick look at the Milky Way.

The stars are halogen-blue.

The constellations, whose names

I have long since forgotten,

look down anonymously,

and the whole galaxy

is cartwheeling in silence through the night.

Everything seems to be ok.

— George Bilgere

Diagnosis

By the time I was six months old, she knew something

was wrong with me. I got looks on my face

she had not seen on any child

in the family, or the extended family,

or the neighborhood. My mother took me in

to the pediatrician with the kind hands,

a doctor with a name like a suit size for a wheel:

Hub Long. My mom did not tell him

what she thought in truth, that I was Possessed.

It was just these strange looks on my face—

he held me, and conversed with me,

chatting as one does with a baby, and my mother

said, She’s doing it now! Look!

She’s doing it now! and the doctor said,

What your daughter has

is called a sense

of humor. Ohhh, she said, and took me

back to the house where that sense would be tested

and found to be incurable.

`– Sharon Olds, from One Secret Thing. © Random House, Inc., 2009.

Story

Silver Moon

“I don’t know what made me do it. It was like getting up late at night and going out to find the moon, hung full, at the end of the block. Framed, between the low row of houses. As if it had been there, waiting, all the time.

When I came back inside, there was my life, enormous about me. It hung, as in a story, and then started to shrink. A girl with pigtails came into the room and reached up and grabbed the thing like the moon and started swaying with it back and forth, tossing it up and down.

I lay down, letting the page turn, for choice. Letting the light come up, as a decision. When I woke, you were there, at the head-end of the crib, still in your blankets. A small form. Your breath like someone escaping, then being caught.

As if this time it will be different. Up in the sky, intact. A small stranger opening her arms. Letting the thin silver slip through into the blank before the hands can clasp. Or, in the undergrowth, the little squirrels, or in the dark burrows, beneath the house.” — Nadia Herman Colburn (RealPoetik)

What I Understood by Katha Pollitt


When I was a child I understood everything

about, for example, futility. Standing for hours

on the hot asphalt outfield, trudging for balls

I'd ask myself, how many times will I have to perform

this pointless task, and all the others? I knew

about snobbery, too, and cruelty—for children

are snobbish and cruel—and loneliness: in restaurants

the dignity and shame of solitary diners

disabled me, and when my grandmother

screamed at me, “Someday you'll know what it's like!”

I knew she was right, the way I knew

about the single rooms my teachers went home to,

the pictures on the dresser, the hoard of chocolates,

and that there was no God, and that I would die.

All this I understood, no one needed to tell me.

the only thing I didn't understand

was how in a world whose predominant characteristics

are futility, cruelty, loneliness, disappointment

people are saved every day

by a sparrow, a foghorn, a grassblade, a tablecloth.

This year I'll be

thirty-nine, and I still don't understand it.

Amor Fati by Katha Pollitt


Everywhere I look I see my fate.

In the subway. In a stone.

On the curb where people wait for the bus in the rain.

In a cloud. In a glass of wine.

When I go for a walk in the park it's a sycamore leaf.

At the office, a dull pencil.

In the window of Woolworth's my fate looks back at me

through the shrewd eyes of a dusty parakeet.

Scrap of newspaper, dime in a handful of change,

down what busy street do you hurry this morning,

an overcoat among overcoats,

with a train to catch, a datebook full of appointments?

If I called you by my name would you turn around

or vanish round the corner,

leaving a faint odor of orange-flower water,

tobacco, twilight, snow?

Today is political commentator and poet Katha Pollitt‘s 60th birthday. Many happy returns!