when we look up :: denise levertov

He had not looked,
pitiful man whom none

pity, whom all
must pity if they look

into their own face (given
only by glass, steel, water
barely known) all
who look up

to see-how many
faces? How many

seen in a lifetime? (Not those that flash by, but those

into which the gaze wanders
and is lost

and returns to tell
Here is a mystery,

a person, an
other, an I?

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without discussion :: samuel amadon

What people said, what left the table dark.
None stayed inside the house, nor close around.
Each direction its direction bound.
Like when you leave the arcing thing to arc.
Like papers gather papers in the park.
We note the wind is what can’t hold the ground.
While hearing transfer stations fill with sound.
And let the city alter a remark
a little further from explaining what
was meant. A creak again or just a creak
right then. Like leaning forward on the cart.
A structure falls to stay its every strut.
I’d like to speak. I said I’d like to speak.
And someone sighs, they broke the silent part.

unit of measure :: sandra beasley

All can be measured by the standard of the capybara.
Everyone is lesser than or greater than the capybara.
Everything is taller or shorter than the capybara.
Everything is mistaken for a Brazilian dance craze
more or less frequently than the capybara.
Everyone eats greater or fewer watermelons
than the capybara. Everyone eats more or less bark.
Everyone barks more than or less than the capybara,
who also whistles, clicks, grunts, and emits what is known
as his alarm squeal. Everyone is more or less alarmed
than a capybara, who–because his back legs
are longer than his front legs–feels like
he is going downhill at all times.
Everyone is more or less a master of grasses
than the capybara. Or going by the scientific name,
more or less Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris
or, going by the Greek translation, more or less
water hog. Everyone is more or less
of a fish than the capybara, defined as the outermost realm
of fishdom by the 16th-century Catholic Church.
Everyone is eaten more or less often for Lent than
the capybara. Shredded, spiced, and served over plantains,
everything tastes more or less like pork
than the capybara. Before you decide that you are
greater than or lesser than a capybara, consider
that while the Brazilian capybara breeds only once a year,
the Venezuelan variety mates continuously.
Consider the last time you mated continuously.
Consider the year of your childhood when you had
exactly as many teeth as the capybara–
twenty–and all yours fell out, and all his
kept growing. Consider how his skin stretches
in only one direction. Accept that you are stretchier
than the capybara. Accept that you have foolishly
distributed your eyes, ears, and nostrils
all over your face. Accept that now you will never be able
to sleep underwater. Accept that the fish
will never gather to your capybara body offering
their soft, finned love. One of us, they say, one of us,
but they will not say it to you.

(via Poetry, via Metafilter.)

the gods are not large :: jane hirshfield

But perhaps
the heart
does not want
to be understood.
Your shadow
falls on its pond
and the small fish
hurry away.
They have
their own lives
which they love.

And if to you
it is anger,
bewilderment,
grief,
to then
it is simply life:
their mouths
open and close,
their gills,
they are fed,
they breathe.

The gods
are not large
outside us.
They are the fish
going on
with their own
concerns.

Courtesy of E.W.

be glad your nose is on your face :: jack prelutsky

Be glad your nose is on your face,
not pasted on some other place,
for if it were where it is not,
you might dislike your nose a lot.

Imagine if your precious nose
were sandwiched in between your toes,
that clearly would not be a treat,
for you’d be forced to smell your feet.

Your nose would be a source of dread
were it attached atop your head,
it soon would drive you to despair,
forever tickled by your hair.

Within your ear, your nose would be
an absolute catastrophe,
for when you were obliged to sneeze,
your brain would rattle from the breeze.

Your nose, instead, through thick and thin,
remains between your eyes and chin,
not pasted on some other place–
be glad your nose is on your face!

poet as immortal bird :: ron padgett

A second ago my heart thump went
and I thought, “This would be a bad time
to have a heart attack and die, in the
middle of a poem,” then took comfort
in the idea that no one I have ever heard
of has ever died in the middle of writing
a poem, just as birds never die in mid-flight.
I think.

the piano speaks :: sandra beasley

      After Erik Satie

For an hour I forgot my fat self,
my neurotic innards, my addiction to alignment.

For an hour I forgot my fear of rain.

For an hour I was a salamander
shimmying through the kelp in search of shore,
and under his fingers the notes slid loose
from my belly in a long jellyrope of eggs
that took root in the mud. And what

would hatch, I did not know—
a lie. A waltz. An apostle of glass.

For an hour I stood on two legs
and ran. For an hour I panted and galloped.

For an hour I was a maple tree,
and under the summer of his fingers
the notes seeded and winged away

in the clutch of small, elegant helicopters.