Poem of the Week (excerpt), by Diane Wakoski

My new poems podcast, Words by Wintercan be found here.

Me to the elementary or high school students I sometimes visit in person or via Zoom: Sometimes does it feel like your feelings are too big to hold inside? Like you might explode because life feels so overwhelming?

Heads nod. Hands go up.

Maybe you do something when you feel that way. Maybe some of you run and run, maybe some of you put your music on loud and dance and dance, maybe some of you . . . write?

Everyone always turns quiet. They nod. Maybe we all need a way out, a way to channel and calm and transform the giantness of what it is to be alive in a body in the world. I feel this poem in my very bones.

Thanking My Mother for Piano Lessons (excerpt), by Diane Wakoski

The relief of putting your fingers on the keyboard,
as if you were walking on the beach
and found a diamond
as big as a shoe;

as if
you had just built a wooden table
and the smell of sawdust was in the air,
your hands dry and woody;

as if
you had eluded
the man in the dark hat who had been following you
all week;

the relief
of putting your fingers on the keyboard 





For more information about Diane Wakoski, please click here.   

alisonmcghee.com
Words by Winter: my new podcast

Poem of the Week, by Kari Gunter-Seymour

My new poems podcast, Words by Wintercan be found here.

Yesterday my parents sent photos of the dairy farm on McGhee Hill Road, in downstate New York, where my father grew up and where my sisters and I spent a lot of time as children. I drove by it last year, after visiting my grandparents in Irondale Cemetery, pulled into the long driveway, and started to cry. So many memories all wrapped up in that old farmhouse, that barn. The still-there, although barely noticeable, remnants of my grandmother’s giant flower garden. Their dog Jody, who ate the same dinner we did every night, warmed up in his very own frying pan with a rich brown gravy. The upstairs bedroom with the yellow curtains where I slept and woke to the smell of scrambled eggs made only the way my grandmother made them. The bookcases filled with the heavy anthologies she taught at her second job as a high school English teacher. At age ten, when they sold the place, I cried and cried.

I Come From A Place So Deep Inside America It Can’t Be Seen, by Kari Gunter-Seymour
       

White oaks thrash, moonlight drifts
the ceiling, as if I’m under water.
Propane coils, warms my bones.

Gone are the magics and songs,
all the things our grandmothers buried—
piles of feathers and angel bones,

inscribed by all who came before.
When I was twelve, my cousins
called me ugly, enough to make it last.

Tonight a celebrity on Oprah
imagines a future where features
can be removed and replaced

on a whim. A moth presses wings
thin as paper against my window,
more beautiful than I could ever be.

Ryegrass raise seedy heads
beyond the bull thistle and preen.
Everything alive aches for more.

For more information on Kari Gunter Seymour, please check out her website: https://www.karigunterseymourpoet.com/bio

Poem of the Week, by May Swenson

My new poems podcast, Words by Wintercan be found here.

 

Last week I woke up on a cold and windy day and did my own tiny triathlon: jog, kayak, bike. I did this only for myself, for the hell of it, no time pressure, no expectations, no one watching. The jog went well. The kayaking was hard (the wind was so strong it was all I could do to keep from going backward). By the time I got to the bike portion I decided to keep it simple and just ride around the same lake four times like a hamster on a wheel, which was ridiculous and made me laugh. But when I finished my tiny anonymous tri I felt so unexpectedly happy. So grateful for these muscles and bones and heart and lungs. How great and wonderful it is to be alive inside a body.

 

Question, by May Swenson

Body my house
my horse my hound
what will I do
when you are fallen

Where will I sleep   
How will I ride   
What will I hunt

Where can I go
without my mount   
all eager and quick   
How will I know   
in thicket ahead
is danger or treasure   
when Body my good   
bright dog is dead

How will it be
to lie in the sky
without roof or door   
and wind for an eye

With cloud for shift   
how will I hide?

For more information on May Swenson, please click here.

alisonmcghee.com
Words by Winter: my new podcast

Poem of the Week, by Aracelis Girmay

My new poems podcast, Words by Wintercan be found here.

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A few days ago I was walking past Lakewood Cemetery when I saw a fresh grave, covered with dirt, through the tall iron fence. A young man and woman sat next to it with flowers, talking quietly. Something about them –their youth, their sadness–stopped me. Was the person in the grave their mother or father? A boyfriend or girlfriend? A sister or brother? A friend? 

My heart hurt for them. And there was also something beautiful about the fact they were there, wanting to be at the grave, abiding by the body of someone they loved. The young man glanced up and saw me. I blew them a kiss, pressed my hands to my heart, and walked on. 

Ars Poetica, by Aracelis Girmay

May the poems be
the little snail’s trail.
 
Everywhere I go,
every inch: quiet record
 
of the foot’s silver prayer.
I lived once.
Thank you.
It was here.

For more information on Aracelis Girmay, please click here.

alisonmcghee.com