August 20, 2010

Love Letter

by Melissa Stein

I don’t know when the boys
began to walk away with parts of myself
in their sticky hands; when loving
became a process of subtraction. Or why,
having given up what seems so much,
I’m willing to lose even more — erasing
all this body’s known, relearning it with you.

August 08, 2010

What They Mean

by me

I wish to use words
like javelins, like jagged
glass, like teeth. Like salt
and tree branches and the
hands of infants. Like oceans
and birdsong and cement. I want
to cup each word in my palms,
a tiny arsenal, and launch them
like bullets at passersby
so they know the sting, the throb,
the awe and the glory, the
beauty that feels like
pain, the quiet and the
rest. The meaning.
I want them all to know
the meaning like they know
the morning fog, like they know
that stretch of blacktop highway,
like they know the outline
of clouds against the sky.

August 05, 2010

A Greeting of Books

by Lex Runciman

Importunate, mild, ineffable, unknown and clear,
Each at home, the most composed of guests --
Books lean at you. From their rooms of utterance,
They proclaim all manner of human invitation.

Keeping what the endlessly old world gives
To the endlessly arriving now, they would inquire:
They wish to know your questions --
The ones asleep and those awake.

They ask what you assume obvious, hence sure.
What in your breathing the day's air announces.
What and whom you would wish and claim and keep.
Read: their answers are their answers.

But yours are this week's, inchoate, unuttered -- not yet.
A library's quiet is their answers waiting on yours.
And in their diffident, ever-curious chorus,
They encourage you: understand the dense and airy,

Consequential and not, dry and wet --
The water on your tongue. Understand the night
And all its stories. Listen, speak all,
And understand the day.

August 04, 2010

Insomnia, BBC World Service

by Lex Runciman

Because I could not sleep, I listened.
A woman's undulant voice spoke of her rape
three years past, a tactic of war,
the child of that afternoon asleep in her arms
until its crying interrupts the translator's English.
What happened to your husband?
They made him watch, then killed him.

Mark Twain said, "the world owes you
nothing -- it was here first."
But he had not heard this woman
singing to her waking boy.