Zócalo Public SquarePoetry – Zócalo Public Square http://www.zocalopublicsquare.org Ideas Journalism With a Head and a Heart Fri, 24 Nov 2017 08:01:46 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8 WHEN I LIVED IN NEW YORKhttp://www.zocalopublicsquare.org/2017/11/24/lived-new-york/chronicles/poetry/ http://www.zocalopublicsquare.org/2017/11/24/lived-new-york/chronicles/poetry/#respond Fri, 24 Nov 2017 08:01:05 +0000 By Alicia Jo Rabins http://www.zocalopublicsquare.org/?p=89557 This matzah ball soup
Reminds me of my grandmother
I’m so close to her here in Brooklyn city of her birth

Darling as she called everyone
Let’s be sentimentalists together
And forget about her personality disorder

Forget her in the attic on St Marks Avenue
Thinking her baby was a bouquet of flowers
Instead regard the mama bird

Feeding her openmouthed chicks
Who is the worm I am the worm
Who is the mother I am the mother

Juggling too many lifetimes to count
So I let them drop like planets
Marbles falling on the carpet of ocean

If I were a nightingale
I’d always say the right thing
Instead I am hedgehog sweetgum ball prickly pear

And I stick my edges into the bullshit
Politeness of the West Coast
When I lived in New York I kept my exterior polished

I thought the pigeons were nightingales
Reflection friend past

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This matzah ball soup
Reminds me of my grandmother
I’m so close to her here in Brooklyn city of her birth

Darling as she called everyone
Let’s be sentimentalists together
And forget about her personality disorder

Forget her in the attic on St Marks Avenue
Thinking her baby was a bouquet of flowers
Instead regard the mama bird

Feeding her openmouthed chicks
Who is the worm I am the worm
Who is the mother I am the mother

Juggling too many lifetimes to count
So I let them drop like planets
Marbles falling on the carpet of ocean

If I were a nightingale
I’d always say the right thing
Instead I am hedgehog sweetgum ball prickly pear

And I stick my edges into the bullshit
Politeness of the West Coast
When I lived in New York I kept my exterior polished

I thought the pigeons were nightingales
Reflection friend past self in the subway glass
O the mornings I wasted

Reading about how to give birth

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Aesthetic Translationhttp://www.zocalopublicsquare.org/2017/11/17/aesthetic-translation/chronicles/poetry/ http://www.zocalopublicsquare.org/2017/11/17/aesthetic-translation/chronicles/poetry/#respond Fri, 17 Nov 2017 08:01:30 +0000 By Natalie Scenters-Zapico http://www.zocalopublicsquare.org/?p=89404

 
*This poem includes text in italics from “Drug War on Doorsteps All Over Ciudad Juárez,” by Stephen Holden and “Ciudad Juárez, a Border City Known for Killing, Gets Back To Living,” by Damien Cave, both published in The New York Times.

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*This poem includes text in italics from “Drug War on Doorsteps All Over Ciudad Juárez,” by Stephen Holden and “Ciudad Juárez, a Border City Known for Killing, Gets Back To Living,” by Damien Cave, both published in The New York Times.

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Virgil Avenue & Other Geographieshttp://www.zocalopublicsquare.org/2017/11/10/virgil-avenue-geographies/chronicles/poetry/ http://www.zocalopublicsquare.org/2017/11/10/virgil-avenue-geographies/chronicles/poetry/#respond Fri, 10 Nov 2017 08:01:54 +0000 By Lynne Thompson http://www.zocalopublicsquare.org/?p=89294 I

It was a beginning like any other which isn’t
quite the way it was. With beginnings,

where to start? The house that was my first
was a house that Daddy brought to Virgil

atop a flatbed truck. He made his boys fix
it to the foundation, then do whatever else

was necessary to create a kind of permanence.
I wasn’t there then. Then I was, driving Daddy

through the old neighborhood where the house was,
as memories tend to be, smaller than he remembered.

II

I was part of his vision of a wind-whipped Schwinn,
part get-away, part stay-put, all pout and tough rules,
Dragnet and Jack Benny. But I had a mind, and I began
to pursue the life of it. Only half-present, only vaguely
aware of something beyond presence. Of those years,
I recall a boy—Henry—not as I knew him then, but
the way I knew

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I

It was a beginning like any other which isn’t
quite the way it was. With beginnings,

where to start? The house that was my first
was a house that Daddy brought to Virgil

atop a flatbed truck. He made his boys fix
it to the foundation, then do whatever else

was necessary to create a kind of permanence.
I wasn’t there then. Then I was, driving Daddy

through the old neighborhood where the house was,
as memories tend to be, smaller than he remembered.

II

I was part of his vision of a wind-whipped Schwinn,
part get-away, part stay-put, all pout and tough rules,
Dragnet and Jack Benny. But I had a mind, and I began
to pursue the life of it. Only half-present, only vaguely
aware of something beyond presence. Of those years,
I recall a boy—Henry—not as I knew him then, but
the way I knew him when I was never to see him
again, realizing too late his Armenian surname had
been thrown on a heap. You might ask why he never
told me. You might ask why everyone is always looking
behind; perhaps it is

III

…because it is all ephemeral by which I mean to say
every one of us gets suckered by the gods. California,

for example, the first of the fifty states to honor an insect—
a Dogface butterfly with a glide-range that can’t

outspread the topograph’s shifting, golden borders—
it’s bluish-black, sulfur-yellow insufficient to hoodwink

impermanence with its showy display in the chaparral of
the southern Santa Anas. Tribe: coliadini; genus: z. Eurydice.

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Contingencieshttp://www.zocalopublicsquare.org/2017/11/03/contingencies/chronicles/poetry/ http://www.zocalopublicsquare.org/2017/11/03/contingencies/chronicles/poetry/#respond Fri, 03 Nov 2017 07:01:28 +0000 By Nicholas Reiner http://www.zocalopublicsquare.org/?p=89180 We cross the Vincent Thomas bridge
in our Hyundai Santa Fe. We’re on our way
to my grandparents’ house
& then the market to get husks for the tamales.
Our car begins to shake
& the ground beneath seems to wiggle.
It is time for the bridge to collapse
after 83 years. Cars begin careening
off, some hang over the edge like they’re about
to go skydiving but not quite ready to jump. Some zoom right
off like they’re racing. All the cars
have noise-canceling interiors so
it is silent. You & me knew
this would happen eventually
& we are prepared. We press the
“Fly” button in our car
& soon the red car is lifted
off the crumbling ground
not by wings. We are not scared. This is happening
at the crest of the bridge. The cars
below are becoming smaller
& to our right
there are five

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We cross the Vincent Thomas bridge
in our Hyundai Santa Fe. We’re on our way
to my grandparents’ house
& then the market to get husks for the tamales.
Our car begins to shake
& the ground beneath seems to wiggle.
It is time for the bridge to collapse
after 83 years. Cars begin careening
off, some hang over the edge like they’re about
to go skydiving but not quite ready to jump. Some zoom right
off like they’re racing. All the cars
have noise-canceling interiors so
it is silent. You & me knew
this would happen eventually
& we are prepared. We press the
“Fly” button in our car
& soon the red car is lifted
off the crumbling ground
not by wings. We are not scared. This is happening
at the crest of the bridge. The cars
below are becoming smaller
& to our right
there are five seagulls
flying almost together.
They do not look at us
in our flying sedan
because what are we to them?
Do you want to hold hands now? I don’t need
to have them on the wheel.

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The Beginning of the Endhttp://www.zocalopublicsquare.org/2017/10/27/the-beginning-of-the-end/chronicles/poetry/ http://www.zocalopublicsquare.org/2017/10/27/the-beginning-of-the-end/chronicles/poetry/#respond Fri, 27 Oct 2017 07:01:07 +0000 By Sarah Louise Garrido http://www.zocalopublicsquare.org/?p=89026 Stitch up the trees,
tripping over
the end of time.

Could it be jubilant
to come apart?

Earth to fire to air
in a brilliant instant,
nuclear alchemy
splitting the bone.

I try to remind myself
how petty we are
in the face of life’s evaporation.

Captured by tides:
resistance // embrace.

An ocean growing slowly between us.

Spouting from secret wells,
glimpses of terror
at 2:30 p.m.: will you leave will you
love will you believe in me even now.

These small stakes break us,
make sure we don’t hear

the winds beginning
to pick up, the light shifting,
the branches cracking.

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Stitch up the trees,
tripping over
the end of time.

Could it be jubilant
to come apart?

Earth to fire to air
in a brilliant instant,
nuclear alchemy
splitting the bone.

I try to remind myself
how petty we are
in the face of life’s evaporation.

Captured by tides:
resistance // embrace.

An ocean growing slowly between us.

Spouting from secret wells,
glimpses of terror
at 2:30 p.m.: will you leave will you
love will you believe in me even now.

These small stakes break us,
make sure we don’t hear

the winds beginning
to pick up, the light shifting,
the branches cracking.

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62http://www.zocalopublicsquare.org/2017/10/20/62-2/chronicles/poetry/ http://www.zocalopublicsquare.org/2017/10/20/62-2/chronicles/poetry/#respond Fri, 20 Oct 2017 07:01:38 +0000 By Parker Tettleton http://www.zocalopublicsquare.org/?p=88896 I dream about you during the work week with teddy bears in my mouth &
you with a sword impossible to own. The second sentence is love isn’t
loving anyone for less than your entire life if you want your life to last that
long
. We come together for the sake of not knowing what else to do. The
words are the ones, along with the sounds, that define us & lay us down to
rest. The living part of me believes the earth is a chapel.

The post

62
appeared first on Zócalo Public Square.

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I dream about you during the work week with teddy bears in my mouth &
you with a sword impossible to own. The second sentence is love isn’t
loving anyone for less than your entire life if you want your life to last that
long
. We come together for the sake of not knowing what else to do. The
words are the ones, along with the sounds, that define us & lay us down to
rest. The living part of me believes the earth is a chapel.

The post

62
appeared first on Zócalo Public Square.

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22http://www.zocalopublicsquare.org/2017/10/13/22/chronicles/poetry/ http://www.zocalopublicsquare.org/2017/10/13/22/chronicles/poetry/#respond Fri, 13 Oct 2017 07:01:43 +0000 By Celina Su http://www.zocalopublicsquare.org/?p=88763 His ardor turned into an antelope-shaped ice sculpture, its taste and shape memorialized
at film festivals all over Spain. Hers fossilized into ambivalent scorn, trapped under a notebook
in Arkansas.

Whenever you wish to, you may conjure me. If I were little beside these digital images,
serving as half-erased traces of whatever latest—or oldest—interpretation you attempt to
inscribe in pixilated ink.

Global landscapes are not altered alone, or via central planning. Think of the big bowl in
Brasília, the Cross-Bronx Expressway, the route between kitchen and bathroom where you
live. I see the steps we have taken; our gloves sit listlessly at the bottoms of our drawers,
bins, knapsacks. My hands are frostbitten, his bear the burns from last summer. Still, this is
migration, this is the making of homes.

These days, Beijing counts the number of “blue sky days” each year on a single hand. Acrid
yellow sandstorms from

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His ardor turned into an antelope-shaped ice sculpture, its taste and shape memorialized
at film festivals all over Spain. Hers fossilized into ambivalent scorn, trapped under a notebook
in Arkansas.

Whenever you wish to, you may conjure me. If I were little beside these digital images,
serving as half-erased traces of whatever latest—or oldest—interpretation you attempt to
inscribe in pixilated ink.

Global landscapes are not altered alone, or via central planning. Think of the big bowl in
Brasília, the Cross-Bronx Expressway, the route between kitchen and bathroom where you
live. I see the steps we have taken; our gloves sit listlessly at the bottoms of our drawers,
bins, knapsacks. My hands are frostbitten, his bear the burns from last summer. Still, this is
migration, this is the making of homes.

These days, Beijing counts the number of “blue sky days” each year on a single hand. Acrid
yellow sandstorms from Ulaanbaatar lash against Tokyo, against Juneau, against San
Francisco. The waters no longer sing.

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Toward a Weddinghttp://www.zocalopublicsquare.org/2017/10/06/toward-a-wedding/chronicles/poetry/ http://www.zocalopublicsquare.org/2017/10/06/toward-a-wedding/chronicles/poetry/#respond Fri, 06 Oct 2017 07:01:49 +0000 By Jordan Nakamura http://www.zocalopublicsquare.org/?p=88581

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We Eat Like Kingshttp://www.zocalopublicsquare.org/2017/09/29/eat-like-kings/chronicles/poetry/ http://www.zocalopublicsquare.org/2017/09/29/eat-like-kings/chronicles/poetry/#respond Fri, 29 Sep 2017 07:01:55 +0000 By Marc Malandra http://www.zocalopublicsquare.org/?p=88220 Briny and smiling, he stood
in the kitchen, pulled me over
to the pot, lifted the lid:
an odd insect with pomegranate-
seed eyes waved its feelers
like awkward chopsticks.
I pitied this fish-knight,
fully armored and fallen
into a boiling, iron bay.
As teenagers we poach lobster
after midnight to slip Gamies,
craft traps in the canyon,
smuggle them aboard our skiff,
bait chum and let them sink.
By dark we hoist stuffed
lobster pots up from the coves,
spider crabs, leopard sharks,
captives thrashing or side
-stepping across the deck, eels
slipping from traps like tongues
cut loose from a jaw. Reaching
in for gold, we twist off tails,
count each one as cash
in town where we sell bugs
secretly to restaurants. We
eat like kings all summer:
lobster & steak, lobster & eggs,
our hands swollen and scarred,
our eyes tired and belying a double
life

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Briny and smiling, he stood
in the kitchen, pulled me over
to the pot, lifted the lid:
an odd insect with pomegranate-
seed eyes waved its feelers
like awkward chopsticks.
I pitied this fish-knight,
fully armored and fallen
into a boiling, iron bay.
As teenagers we poach lobster
after midnight to slip Gamies,
craft traps in the canyon,
smuggle them aboard our skiff,
bait chum and let them sink.
By dark we hoist stuffed
lobster pots up from the coves,
spider crabs, leopard sharks,
captives thrashing or side
-stepping across the deck, eels
slipping from traps like tongues
cut loose from a jaw. Reaching
in for gold, we twist off tails,
count each one as cash
in town where we sell bugs
secretly to restaurants. We
eat like kings all summer:
lobster & steak, lobster & eggs,
our hands swollen and scarred,
our eyes tired and belying a double
life that might cage us.

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TINIEST FLIGHT OF SPEECHhttp://www.zocalopublicsquare.org/2017/09/22/tiniest-flight-speech/chronicles/poetry/ http://www.zocalopublicsquare.org/2017/09/22/tiniest-flight-speech/chronicles/poetry/#respond Fri, 22 Sep 2017 07:01:16 +0000 By Stacey Tran http://www.zocalopublicsquare.org/?p=88114 I cough the sun out of its sky. Letters of the alphabet hurt toward the end. Can we go on without
pronouns? There are at least five ways to say aunt which depend on age. I tear a page out of the
phonebook & place it on my chest. Wind moves through a place other than trees. When we want to
learn a language, what we find to say first indicates where our urgencies lie. There is a difference
between how lovers speak & how I would tell my mother I love her. You get the accent right
because you sing.

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I cough the sun out of its sky. Letters of the alphabet hurt toward the end. Can we go on without
pronouns? There are at least five ways to say aunt which depend on age. I tear a page out of the
phonebook & place it on my chest. Wind moves through a place other than trees. When we want to
learn a language, what we find to say first indicates where our urgencies lie. There is a difference
between how lovers speak & how I would tell my mother I love her. You get the accent right
because you sing.

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