Dear Someone by Deborah Landau from the Spring 2010 Issue 192 of The Paris Review
A poem about not being empty.
If Briefly by Allen Edwin Butt from the June 2010 issue of Poetry Magazine
A long, sexually explicit poem which is anything but explicit, written by a male poet whose female narrator is anything but sexual.
Theatre by Robert Farnsworth from the Spring 2010 issue of Ploughshares
About theatre. Sort of. It’s a good one.
His Daughter, Again and In the Forest by Erika Moya from the Spring 2010 issue of The 2River View
Two very different poems at first glance. Take a second one if you have the time.
If Men Wore Lip Paint by Bernard Henrie from the Winter 2010 issue 23 of La Petite Zine
Written by a “currency trader living in Los Angeles.” I know that’s the wrong way to introduce you to him but I can’t help myself.
I love this poem. I love how in attempting to describe the impossibility of describing what he wants to describe, he comes close to describing it.
A horse hair falls into the water and grows into an eel.
Even Aristotle believed that frogs
formed from mud,
that mice sprouted like seedlings in the damp hay.
I used to believe the world spoke
in code. I lay awake
and tried to parse the flashes of the streetlight—
obscured by the wind-sprung tree.
Stranded with you at the Ferris wheel’s apogee
I learned the physics
of desire—fixed at the center,
it spins and goes nowhere.
Pliny described eight-foot lobsters
on the banks of the Ganges. The cuckoo devouring
its foster mother. Bees alighting
on Plato’s young lips.
In the Andes, a lake disappears overnight, sucked
through cracks in the earth.
How can I explain
the sunlight stippling your face in the early morning?
Why not believe that the eye throws its own light,
that seeing illuminates
On the moon,
astronaut David Scott drops a hammer and a falcon feather,
and we learn nothing
we didn’t already know.
Across a Great Wilderness without You
The deer come out in the evening.
God bless them for not judging me,
I’m drunk. I stand on the porch in my bathrobe
and make strange noises at them—
if language can be a kind of crying.
The tin cans scattered in the meadow glow,
each bullet hole suffused with moon,
like the platinum thread beyond them
where the river runs the length of the valley.
That’s where the fish are.
I’ll scoop them from the pockets of graveled
stone beneath the bank, their bodies
desperately alive when I hold them in my hands,
the way prayers become more hopeless
when uttered aloud.
The phone’s disconnected.
Just as well, I’ve got nothing to tell you:
I won’t go inside where the bats dip and swarm
over my bed. It’s the sound of them
shouldering against each other that terrifies me,
as if it might hurt to brush across another being’s
But I carry a gun now. I’ve cut down
a tree. You wouldn’t recognize me in town—
my hands lost in my pockets, two disabused tools
I’ve retired from their life of touching you.
When I first read this poem, having never heard of the poet, the words felt like they were coming out of a man. That may be the point.