life-saving tru…


life-saving truths from Linda Ramsey of Brooklyn Women’s Martial Arts:

1. any choice you make to survive is the right choice
2. It’s better to know it and not need it than to need it and not know it
3. Fight with confidence and conviction and do whatever it takes to survive
4. It’s better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6

passed on to me from a friend who heard this at a National Women’s Martial Arts Federation special training


“Mid-February” – a poem for Maxine Kumin by Alicia Ostriker

for Maxine Kumin

The mare rears, she has almost thrown her rider.
It’s the thaw, it’s the scent of spring,
The animals know it before we do.
While we still shiver and worry ourselves over aging,
In the sickroom, the patient begins to heal.
Inside here, the windows are steaming up
But a path runs through the woods,
Half dirty snow, half mud
With the stones sticking through
And the snapped branches lying across, the ones
That were ready to die
And gave themselves to the wind.

Friend, it’s a day for a walk.
Are we going to walk it?

Alicia Ostriker No Heaven (University of Pittsburgh Press ©2005)

Poems in Conversation

andrea blancas beltran

Conversation Piece by Juan Munoz (1999)
I’ve been devouring Jane Hirshfield’s Nine Gates: Entering the Mind of Poetry. Her chapter on translation is insightful and the poems she’s selected as examples are moving, especially this one:

Lying alone,

my black hair tangled,


I long for the one

who touched it first.

– Izumi Shikibu, translated by Jane Hirshfield and Mariko Aratani

Hirshfield writes, “Japanese critics have long pointed out that Shikibu’s tangled black hair is one of very few references to the details of physical life in all Japanese poetry.” Reading Shikibu’s poem made me think of Jack Gilbert’s poem “Married,” one of many poems in The Great Fires that made me realize I couldn’t live without poetry:


I came back from the funeral and crawled

around the apartment, crying hard,

searching for my wife’s hair.

For two months got them from the drain,

from the vacuum cleaner, under the refrigerator,

and off…

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