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.”

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Rich Ferguson

Rich Ferguson1

(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

Fruit for Thought…

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Photo by L.K. Thayer

“The seasonal urge is strong in poets. Milton wrote chiefly in winter. Keats looked for spring to wake him up (as it did in the miraculous months of April and May, 1819). Burns chose autumn. Longfellow liked the month of September. Shelley flourished in the hot months. Some poets, like Wordsworth, have gone outdoors to work. Others, like Auden, keep to the curtained room. Schiller needed the smell of rotten apples about him to make a poem. Tennyson and Walter de la Mare had to smoke. Auden drinks lots of tea, Spender coffee; Hart Crane drank alcohol. Pope, Byron, and William Morris were creative late at night. And so it goes.”
― Helen Bevington