Pablo Neruda

Lemon slices background

A Lemon

Out of lemon flowers
loosed
on the moonlight, love’s
lashed and insatiable
essences,
sodden with fragrance,
the lemon tree’s yellow
emerges,
the lemons
move down
from the tree’s planetariumDelicate merchandise!
The harbors are big with it-
bazaars
for the light and the
barbarous gold.
We open
the halves
of a miracle,
and a clotting of acids
brims
into the starry
divisions:
creation’s
original juices,
irreducible, changeless,
alive:
so the freshness lives on
in a lemon,
in the sweet-smelling house of the rind,
the proportions, arcane and acerb.Cutting the lemon
the knife
leaves a little cathedral:
alcoves unguessed by the eye
that open acidulous glass
to the light; topazes
riding the droplets,
altars,
aromatic facades.So, while the hand
holds the cut of the lemon,
half a world
on a trencher,
the gold of the universe
wells
to your touch:
a cup yellow
with miracles,
a breast and a nipple
perfuming the earth;
a flashing made fruitage,
the diminutive fire of a planet.

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Anne Sexton

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(self portrait)

“Death’s a sad bone; bruised, you’d say,

and yet she waits for me, year after year, 

to so delicately undo an old wound, 

to empty my breath from its bad prison.

Balanced there, suicides sometimes meet, 

raging at the fruit a pumped-up moon, 

leaving the bread they mistook for a kiss,

leaving the page of the book carelessly open, 

something unsaid, the phone off the hook 

and the love whatever it was, an infection.”

Rich Ferguson

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(Photo of Rich Ferguson courtesy of Cat Gwynn)

Plug yourself into the electric present moment jukebox, sing yourself into the total sensurround sounds of now. Wash your hair with sudsy, bubbly playgrounds of wow; give your scalp a good laugh. Imitate a ringing phone; see how long it takes for someone to pick you up. Allow music, merriment & the moon to always find you, no matter how far you may sometimes fall inside yourself. Spread some traffic jam on a piece of toast; take a bite, swallow it without an ounce of road rage as a chaser. Sit peacefully with your hands on life’s steering wheel. Rest assured your heart is your copilot.

Eve Brandstein

Between Jacob & Benjamin

Between Jacob and Benjamin

In the kitchen in the middle of the night

between two bedrooms

my son sleeps in one, my father in the other

while my concern moves between

his limp & his lunch

his repetitions & his why

his criticism & his acceptance

his love & his love.

These two men eighty years apart

& me in the middle

between answers still asking questions

wanting to be understood & getting told what to do

telling my son its time to go & being told I shouldn’t by my father.

In the middle of the night in the kitchen

I peel an apple

watching 4 AM traffic 21 floors below Queens Boulevard

so far away from my home in California

& my birth in Eastern Europe

the end of his story

the beginning of his

worried awake by some haunting

or something I haven’t done

being in the middle of everything

the night

the passage

the place between these two men.

I eat the apple bit by bit

without a sound the traffic slips

into the middle of summer

I hear him stir & him snore

& watch the morning amber press against the cobalt

finally feeling the sleep I need

ready for surrender

I leave the last of skin and seeds

on the table in the kitchen

between parent & child.

– Eve Brandstein

Jack Grapes

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Photo by Alexis Rhone Fancher

( The haiku are from Jack’s forthcoming book,
WIDE ROAD TO THE EDGE OF THE WORLD:
301 haiku.)

*
Hearing Mom and Dad
fighting in the bedroom room.
Outside, the red moon.

*
I lost who I was.
Then I found who I would be.
Only who I was knew.

*
In the safe darkness
of the theatre I find truth:
Annie gets her gun.

*
There’s Charlie Chaplin
running but getting nowhere—
a plan for a life

*
falling in rhythm
to the buzzing of the bees
over something dead

*
Would that I was wise,
not this enlightened monkey
wearing monkey mask

*
They open my chest
and then put my heart on ice
while my brain simmers.

*
To write War and Peace:
In the stationary store
ask for more paper.

*
Poetry kills me.
I can’t face its stern demands,
heart filled with cobwebs.

*
When I’m gone, I’ll sure
miss that dove whose song wakes me,
but will she miss me?

*
Fortune cookie says,
“You will go on long journey.”
Pay check. Leave at once.

*
How to eat this life?
Break the past into pieces,
eat one piece at a time.

*
I love this sharp knife.
How it cuts the red pepper.
Salad filled with blood.

*
My childhood is gone.
I don’t want to go back there.
Too much mystery.

*
Once I was a dog.
No one was afraid of me.
I licked people’s hands.

*
I’m a proud Virgo.
One day I’ll be organized,
surrounded by worms.

*
Some things are too sad
to write about on paper.
My closed mouth writes too.

*
Poems not money
give such meaning to my life.
Sometimes meaning sucks.

*
Shakespeare, bricklayer.
Dante, the wise carpenter.
Me? Corn to chickens.

*
At a loss for words?
Call Jack Grapes, home or office,
day or night, for help.

*
I’ve squandered so much,
and given less than I could,
asleep in the rain.

*
Sit still a minute.
Now, let your heart open wide
and see what falls in.

Jack Grapes

 

Fruit for Thought…

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photo-126

 

Photo by L.K. Thayer

“It’s the action, not the fruit of the action, that’s important. You have to do the right thing. It may not be in your power, may not be in your time, that there’ll be any fruit. But that doesn’t mean you stop doing the right thing. You may never know what results come from your action. But if you do nothing, there will be no result.”
― Mahatma Gandhi

Eugene O’Neill

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(Eugene O’Neill & Carlotta Monterey)

A Regular Sort Of Guy

He fights where the fighting is thickest
And keeps his high honor clean;
From finish to start, he is sturdy of heart,
Shunning the petty and mean;
With his friends in their travail and sorrow,
He is ever there to stand by,
And hark to their plea, for they all know that he
Is a regular sort of a guy.

He cheers up the sinner repentant
And sets him again on his feet;
He is there with a slap, and a pat on the back,
For the lowliest bum on the street;
He smiles when the going is hardest,
With a spirit no money can buy;
And take it from me, we all love him ’cause he
Is a regular sort of a guy.

I don’t care for the praise of the nations,
Or a niche in the great hall of fame,
Or that posterity should remember me
When my dust and the dust are the same;
But my soul will be glad if my friends say
As they turn from my bier with a sigh
“Though he left no great name, yet he played out the game
Like a regular sort of a guy.”

Eugene O’Neill