Women who lie alone at midnight, spurting unjustified tears,the kind that run sideways never reaching the mouth, the kind you cannot swallow.
- Women in Labor by Mary Ruefle
Still there’s a beautifulness about California. It’s based on the way each eyeblink toward the palms & into the orange grove leads backstage into the onionfields. Unreachable, winter happens inside you. Your unshaded eyes dilate at the spectacle. You take trips to contain the mystery. -One West Coast by Gordon Lapides
The difficulty with love, I want to say, is sometimes you only know afterwards that it’s arrived or left. Love is the elephant and we are the blind mice unable to understand the whole. I want to say love is this desire to help even when I know I can’t, just as I couldn’t explain electricity, stars, the color of the sky, baldness, tornadoes, fingernails, coconuts, or the other things she has asked about over the years, all those phenomena whose daily existence seems miraculous. - How you know by Joe Mills
I try to be like the pink and purple flowers– Divided.
that bloom outside my window,
But pretty as they may be, their roots are fake.
Or do I remain the flower, which however beautiful,
needs constant watering and care?
Its a tangled bed of flowers, which one would
you pick, do I dare ask.
I can be the pink and purple flower for you,
But I will fail. I will fail.
I feel myself excluded from all real life. I am quite isolated. I sit in a glass ball. I see people through a glass wall, their voices come to be muffled…I stretch out my arms toward them; but my hands merely beat against the walls of my glass ball.– Ellen West.
First they came first for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist. Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up.
- They came by Martin Niemöller.
God, grant me a brighter myself.
Each breath, a game called Live Forever.
I am small. Don’t ask me to reconcile
one shadow with another. I admit—
paint the dead pink, it does not make
them sunrise. Paint the living blue,
it does not make them sky, or sea,
a berry, clapboard house, or dead.
God, leave us our costumes,
don’t blow in our noses,
strip us to the underside of skin.
Even the earth claims color
once a year, dressed in red leaves
as the trees play Grieving
- Make up by Dora Malech
Some second-guesser in you finds untruethe echo of your own voice in your ears,and wants to ask which one most sickens you:the voice that whines with neediness and fears,
Or one no doubts can ever undermine,that speaks before a general assembly,proclaiming loudly what to do with thineown hand (or his, or mine), should it offend thee?
Cast Off by Belle Randall
In downtown windows where late sunlight glares,you see yourself, as if you’d never met. Who is this rumpled lookalike who wears a blouse like yours, the armpits dark with sweat?
Your eighth grade diary still makes you cringesaved—for what?—that you might now despise pages time has lent a jaundiced tingepouring forth their daisy-dotted i’s?
- Cast off by Belle Randall
Even my hand– Letter by Jean Valentine
over the page adds to the ‘room tone’: the little
constant wind. The effort of becoming. These words
are my life. The effort of loving the un-become.
To make the suffering visible.
The un-become love: What we
lost, a leaf, what we cherish, a leaf.