Elliott at The Green Line Cafe Reading Series March 18th!

Friends and Fans, I’ve been invited to be a featured reader at the Green Line Cafe reading series on Tuesday, March 18th. Put it on your calendars now! I’ve not done a full reading in a long long time, and am really looking forward to the evening.

Details and Location, Location, Location:
Event: Green Line Cafe Reading Series, hosted by Leonard Gontarek and Lillian Dunn
Time: 7 PM
Place: Green Line Cafe at 4426 Locust Street in West Philly (there are other Cafe locations, but we’ll be at this one)

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At the Touch of You

At the Touch of You
Witter Bynner

At the touch of you,
As if you were an archer with your swift hand at the bow,
The arrows of delight shot through my body.

You were spring,
And I the edge of a cliff,
And a shining waterfall rushed over me.

This poem came through my mailbox from Poem-a-day. And wow, is it ever lovely. Posting it here so I can keep coming back to it.

About This Poem

“At the Touch of You” was published in Witter Bynner’s collection Grenstone Poems; a sequence (Frederick A. Stokes, 1917).

#poetrylive “Journal Entry: Love”

from Laura Madeline Wiseman, Queen of the Platform, section I

Journal Entry: Love
1899

You kissed me hard after you said the word. It floated
on the surface, on the lake—like a male swan, like an edge
walked to—it’s o a wedding ring, a life ring, thrown far
into the water, the second consonant vibrating, a ripple.

When you say do I, when you grab my hand
and pull me to you, when you recite “Song of Myself”
into my ear, pressing against me on the footpath
in a waltz under the moonlight and live oaks

after having five minutes of the word in my mouth
I laugh, throaty and effervescent,
all the while feeling the l down the length of my body
like a purring, a tuning fork, and that e
silent, soft, sliding off into breath.

Fukushima – new poem card

From my on-going grief and fear about what Fukushima means for our oceans, our planet, all the animals and ecosystems with no power to stop human poison, came a poem trying to find words for the immensity of the grief. The poem is now available to purchase as a glossy poetry postcard using the link below.

fukushima

Fukushima

I can’t hold this grief today
all containment shattered spilling pouring pluming out
currents of currents of eddies of currents of riptides of
fallout of rain acid of rain nuclear of rain that doesn’t fall Oh drought
of grief oh flood of grief oh wall of grief washing down mountains washing
away the house and the child and the barn and the henhouse leaving one
perfect egg unbroken but no hen
to warm it to life

That egg is my grief today
dying in its wholeness

Fukushima Poem Card

Next up at #poetrylive – Laura Madeline Wiseman

Happening now at #poetrylive via @thisfrenzy is Queen of the Platform by Laura Madeline Wiseman from Anaphora Literary Press. I first met Madeline at a Split This Rock workshop she ran which gave me starts on 3 different poems. Then two sections of my long piece “Wanting a Gun” were accepted for her amazing anthology Women Write Resistance: Poets Resist Gender Violence. And now I have her newest chapbooks in my happy fan hands and wow, I’m full in from the first poem.

Follow along as I read, sharing lines and images and poems that move me, startle me, shake me up!

Wiseman - Cover - 9781937536541.indd

From the cover copy:

These poems are based on the life of Laura Madeline Wiseman’s great-great-great-grandmother, the nineteenth century lecturer, suffragist, and poet, Matilda Fletcher Wiseman (1842-1909) and the men in her life: her brother, George W. Felts (1843-1921), a civil war solider who was later charged with murder, her first husband, John A. Fletcher (1837-1875), a school teacher and a lawyer, and her second husband, William Albert Wiseman (1850-1911), a minister who became her agent. Like her seven brothers who served in the Civil War, Matilda chose the public sphere. After the death of her only child, Matilda joined the lecture circuit. She spoke to support herself and her first husband, until his death. On the stage she spoke among other lecturers of her time, such as Susan B. Anthony.

Angelina Weld Grimké “El Beso”

mygodhowdidInotknowthispoem?????
Now I have to go order whatever of her work is still in print.

El Beso
Angelina Weld Grimké

Twilight‒and you
Quiet‒the stars;
Snare of the shine of your teeth,
Your provocative laughter,
The gloom of your hair;
Lure of you, eye and lip;
Yearning, yearning,
Languor, surrender;
Your mouth,
And madness, madness,
Tremulous, breathless, flaming,
The space of a sigh;
Then awakening‒remembrance,
Pain, regret‒your sobbing;
And again, quiet‒the stars,
Twilight‒and you.

Angelina Weld Grimké (February 27, 1880 – June 10, 1958) was an African-American journalist, teacher, playwright and poet who was part of the Harlem Renaissance; she was one of the first African-American women to have a play publicly performed.

“El Beso” was first published in 1909 and became Grimké’s first widely anthologized poem. This lyric meditation expresses a sense of isolation and desire.

that blue blazer

I know this is an odd kind of detail, an intrusive kind of detail a detail of a loss that wasn’t my own that I only know about through a poem

But my mind is stuck on the blazer that blue blazer the blue blazer the blazer that came to Maxine Kumin after Anne Sexton died the blue blazer Maxine would don when, in my imagination, the silence at the other end of their line grew unbearable the blue blazer on which the dog could still sniff the missing poet

the blue blazer that Maxine must have worn how many times how many times did she wear it before she washed it did she ever wash it or did it go on with the scent of Anne as long as it had scent at all or did Maxine’s own scent get all caught up in those long blue fibers to create the blue blazer of AnneSextonandMaxineKumin

calming Maxine’s dog who had been confused when the scent of Anne lingered on but Anne came to the house no more

When did that dog die? Did that dog pass its excitement over the blue blazer on to the next dog and the next, is there still a dog excited by the idea of the blue blazer because that’s what dogs here do?

Where is that blazer now, Anne’s blue blazer that become Maxine’s blue comfort?

Where do memories go when the person who remembers them is gone?

aaaannnnndddd this is why all mankind sighed with relief when I came out

a poem written sometime during my undergraduate career…

Jennifer Lynn Brown, 18 and pregnant

If I were married I’d be a good wife
surrender my job and stay with the kids
such a sweet wife, so worthy of trust
until tired at last I’d slice open your back.

And when I stabbed you I’d use a steak knife,
having laid out my plans I’d be laid up myself
I would call the police and the medics and all
and greet them myself in your blood at our door.

The lawyers would come with a great many bids
to fight for film rights and their own careers.
In my sixth child’s sixth month the jury’s verdict would be
innocent by insane. Oh I’d act quite quite mad.

I’d then be locked up in a madhouse to rust
with every test tried and every test failed.
I’d bear there the child to be taken away,
to live with your mother who wanted me dead.

I’d be kept there for years, my mind lost on the rack
until no longer a threat they’d release me at last
and get me a job scrubbing stairs, washing johns.
I would, in the end, live alone.

Opus from Space

a poem I had photocopied and stuck in a file of Important Stuff I’d Want to See Again Some Day:

OPUS FROM SPACE
Pattiann Rogers

Almost everything I know is glad
to be born—not only the desert orangetip,
on the twist flower or tansy, shaking
birth moisture from its wings, but also the naked
warbler nestling, head wavering toward sky,
and the honey possum, the pygmy possum,
blind, hairless thimbles of forward,
press and part.

Almost everything I’ve seen pushes
toward the place of that state as if there were
no knowing any other—the violent crack
and seed-propelling shot of the witch hazel pod,
the philosophy implicit in the inside out
seed-thrust of the wood sorrel. All hairy
saltcedar seeds are single-minded
in their grasping of wind and spinning
for luck toward birth by water.

And I’m fairly shocked to consider
all the bludgeonings and batterings going on
continually, the head-rammings, wing-furors,
and beak-crackings, fighting for release
inside gelatinous shells, leather shells,
calcium shells or rough, horny shells. Legs
and shoulder, knees and elbows flail likewise
against their womb walls everywhere, in pine
forest niches, seepage banks and boggy
prairies, among savannah grasses, on woven
mats and perfumed linen sheets.

Mad zealots, every one, even before
beginning they are dark dust-congealings
of pure frenzy to come into light.

Almost everything I know rages to be born,
the obsession founding itself explicitly
in the coming bone harps and ladders,
the heart-thrusts, vessels and voices
of all those speeding with clear and total
fury toward this singular honor.

Copyright 1997 by Pattiann Rogers, Eating Bread and Honey, Milkweed Editions of Minneapolis, Minnesota.