Monday, September 21, 2015

After A While by Veronica A. Shoffstall

After a while you learn
the subtle difference between
holding a hand and chaining a soul
and you learn
that love doesn’t mean leaning
and company doesn’t always mean security.
And you begin to learn
that kisses aren’t contracts
and presents aren’t promises
and you begin to accept your defeats
with your head up and your eyes ahead
with the grace of woman,
not the grief of a child
and you learn
to build all your roads on today
because tomorrow’s ground is
too uncertain for plans
and futures have a way of falling down
in mid-flight.
After a while you learn
that even sunshine burns
if you get too much
so you plant your own garden
and decorate your own soul
instead of waiting for someone
to bring you flowers.
And you learn that you really can endure
you really are strong
you really do have worth
and you learn
and you learn
with every goodbye, you learn…

~1971, Veronica A. Shoffstall~

Monday, July 6, 2015


At a certain point, I looked at your hair,
the scar on your back where I had kissed after I
flipped you over, just to pretend
that I am a generous lover. At a certain point, when
I hadn’t yet reached climax, I thought about the
the dinner I would skip to look thinner, the people
who would roll joints after seven-thirty on this bed, the bottle of
wine I would buy, the train I would board
to reach home. Loveless. At a certain point
I was glad it didn’t last longer than three hours, that I
didn’t have to act anymore that it is good, not great.
At a certain point when you were biting my right nipple,
I wasn’t sure if I should pretend to respond at all, should
bite back when I didn’t want to because I had come
already, and was waiting for you to; quid pro quo.
Loveless. When you spread your legs, did you look at the ceiling?
Did you look at the moving fan, the moss on the next house that
stood with its ugly water-pipe? At a certain point
though I knew you were just one of those hook-ups
cold like night stones, knew
what another stranger’s body can do to destress you,
make you happy-tired happy-achy, but I also knew that
if the ropes that bound your soul were my wrists,
I wouldn’t cut them; you are not the one, not the
one who I would do that for.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

More Lies by Karin Gottshall

Sometimes I say I’m going to meet my sister at the café—
even though I have no sister—just because it’s such
a beautiful thing to say. I’ve always thought so, ever since
I read a novel in which two sisters were constantly meeting
in cafés. Today, for example, I walked alone
on the wet sidewalk, wearing my rain boots, expecting
someone might ask where I was headed. I bought
a steno pad and a watch battery, the store windows
fogged up. Rain in April is a kind of promise, and it costs
nothing. I carried a bag of books to the café and ordered
tea. I like a place that’s lit by lamps. I like a place
where you can hear people talk about small things,
like the difference between azure and cerulean,
and the price of tulips. It’s going down. I watched
someone who could be my sister walk in, shaking the rain
from her hair. I thought, even now florists are filling
their coolers with tulips, five dollars a bundle. All over
the city there are sisters. Any one of them could be mine.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Lose Something Everyday by Elizabeth Bishop

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster of lost door keys, the hour badly spent
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.
Then practice losing farther, losing faster:places, and names, and where it was you meant to travel.
None of these will bring disaster.
I lost my mother’s watch. And look!
My last, or next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.
I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn’t a disaster.
Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture I love)
I shan’t have lied. It’s evident
the art of losing’s not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.

- Elizabeth Bishop

Monday, February 23, 2015

WILD GEESE by Mary Oliver

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

Friday, January 23, 2015

How the Body Prepares Itself by Gary Hardaway

My death is close enough now
that it corrupts the smells

and flavors of the world
and plants its swollen face

at the edge of every
view and vista.

So this is how the body
prepares itself to leave—

by spoiling the here and now

with chronic ill at ease.