Looking atthe photograph is somehow not unbearable: My friends, two dead, one low
on T-cells, his white T-shirt an X-ray
screen for the virus, which I imagine as a single, swimming paisley, a sardine
with serrated fins and a neon spine.
I’m on a train, thinking about my friends
and watching two women talk in sign language. I feel the energy and heft their talk
generates, the weightof their words in the air
the same heft as your presence in this picture,
boys, the volume of late summer air at the beach.
Did you tea-dance that day? Write poems
in the sunlight? Vamp with strangers? There is
sun under your skinlike the gold Sula
found beneath Ajax’s black. I calibrate
the weight of your beautiful bones, the weight
of your elbow, Melvin,
on Darrell’s brown shoulder.
“At the Beach” by Elizabeth Alexander. From Body of Life, published by Tia Chucha Press. Copyright 1996 Elizabeth Alexander. Used by permission of the author. Source: Body of Life (Tia Chucha, 1996)
Much as he left it when he went from us Here was the room again wherehe had been So long that something of him should be seen, Or felt-and so it was. Incredulous, I turned about, loath to be greeted thus, And there he was in his old chair, serene As ever, and as laconic as lean As when he lived, and as cadaverous. Calm as he was of old when we were young, He sat there gazing at the pallid flame Before him. ‘And how far will this go on?’ I thought. He felt the failure of my tongue, And smiled: ‘I was not here until you came; And I shall not be here when you are gone.’
i want someone to guess what’s underneath, past the glitter i want to confirm your worst, to show you i care except i find that this world cries and cries and i’ll be damned they bury me
A “Found” or “Blackout” Poem based on the second best poem according to 100.Best-Poems.net.
What Do Women Want? by Kim Addonizio I want a red dress. I want it flimsy and cheap, I want it too tight, I want to wear it until someone tears it off me. I want it sleeveless and backless, this dress, so no one has toguess what’s underneath. I want to walk down the street past Thrifty’s and the hardware store with all those keys glittering inthe window, past Mr. and Mrs. Wong selling day-old donuts in their café, past theGuerra brothers slinging pigs from the truck and onto the dolly, hoisting the slick snouts over their shoulders. I want to walk like I’m the only woman on earth and I can have my pick. I want that red dress bad. I want it to confirm your worst fears about me, to show you how little I care about you or anything except what I want. When I find it, I’ll pull that garment from its hanger like I’m choosing a body to carry me into this world, through the birth-criesand the love-cries too, andI’ll wear it likebones, like skin, it’ll be the goddamned dress they bury me in.
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