Friday, July 25, 2014


it was a normal day 

full of bees we killed an hour saying a lot of nothing trying to say something and the weather was perfect. 
the children were getting hurt it wasn’t too sunny or hot or anything like that and the clover pulled at our bees inside it was painful for a minute saying all that nothing over and through all the something like honey seeping out. sappy children with their contusions and tantrums they brought perfect purple blossoms even with tears and the leaves broken it was such a beautiful day for crying in the park and i can’t lie it seemed like your bees were really fat loud flies and my bees were bees.

-Iris Appelquist

Monday, April 28, 2014



Grampa (or not) Woody, who rode
the old trails from Tahlequah
to the stone bones of the Rocky's,
listened to the storyteller
tell the tale of how Coyote
stole fire from three witches,
three witches with three black
nails that gave the chipmunks

their three black stripes,
and how Coyote finally hid fire
in wood for the people to use.

Woody smiles a crooked brown
smile, just like Coyote.

Later, while tending his rattlesnakes
-snakes that cannot hear their own rattle-
Woody tells me another part
of that tale that few knew
-like the paths he took-

How the running Coyote
came across brother Snake,
who said he could hide the fire
in his den under the earth.

"It's worth a try..." Said Coyote,
but Snake, who in those days
had a magnificent pelt of soft fur,
burned with fire instead,
and became the hairless, hard-scaled one
with the shaking tail,
shaking to escape the fire
to this day.

On the western plains of Kansas
they are using the fire to burn off
last year's crop, Coyote's gift
and Snake's bane, a miles-long
ribbon of fire, curling,
shaking a thousand tails.

Somewhere Snake watches, terrified,
envious of his failed bravery
and his lost innocence, transfixed.

To this day, only witches
and snakes know
the real secret of fire:

We all want to hold it,
but forget we have to burn.

-Brandon Whitehead

Thursday, February 20, 2014


Reading An Anthology Of Chinese Poems
Of The Sung Dynasty, I Pause To Admire
The Length And Clarity Of Their Titles

It seems these poets have nothing
up their ample sleeves
they turn over so many cards so early,
telling us before the first line
whether it is wet or dry,
night or day, the season the man is standing in,
even how much he has had to drink.

Maybe it is autumn and he is looking at a sparrow.
Maybe it is snowing on a town with a beautiful name.

"Viewing Peonies at the Temple of Good Fortune
on a Cloudy Afternoon" is one of Sun Tung Po's.
"Dipping Water from the River and Simmering Tea"
is another one, or just
"On a Boat, Awake at Night."

And Lu Yu takes the simple rice cake with
"In a Boat on a Summer Evening
I Heard the Cry of a Waterbird.
It Was Very Sad and Seemed To Be Saying
My Woman Is Cruel--Moved, I Wrote This Poem."

There is no iron turnstile to push against here
as with headings like "Vortex on a String,"
"The Horn of Neurosis," or whatever.
No confusingly inscribed welcome mat to puzzle over.

Instead, "I Walk Out on a Summer Morning
to the Sound of Birds and a Waterfall"
is a beaded curtain brushing over my shoulders.

And "Ten Days of Spring Rain Have Kept Me Indoors"
is a servant who shows me into the room
where a poet with a thin beard
is sitting on a mat with a jug of wine
whispering something about clouds and cold wind,
about sickness and the loss of friends.

How easy he has made it for me to enter here,
to sit down in a corner,
cross my legs like his, and listen.

-Billy Collins