you will pay for your coffee
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no hat is right for every occasion
when you hear a bird call, give it a name
cows kills more people each year than sharks do
few can name the sixty-some English names for pink
death does not rhyme with health, but wealth rhymes with stealth
many writers composed their best work during pandemics
when your read a poem, your audience may think bear foot when you say barefoot
one of the greatest poets wrote an ode to salt
the world’s largest salt mine is 1,800 feet under Lake Huron
tears evaporate unless you catch them
when praise is needed, do not hesitate
embrace yourself as both title and footnote
learn from the wind’s scansion of a noble fir in a squall
It is an hour before sunrise on the western edge of the Salton Sea. The moon has set this early January morning and the stars are either falling in or away—depending on how long you look.
To the east the horizon seems two-dimensional, like black gauze draped over a thin line of light in pale yellow and salmon. In the foreground, silhouettes of long dead trees add the illusion of dimension and mark the drowning of a former shoreline. Where I stand, a foot of water covers two feet of soft, silty mud.
Silence, like a downdraft from the cosmic void above, creates an auditory setting that is equivalent to white noise. Then, from a mile away, a dog’s barking arrives with such clarity that I can tell which way he is facing. When silence resumes, my self-awareness comes into question as I am without sensory input—save the fantasy of vision.
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Each quarter-turn carries an invitation.
Spring’s on-again, off-again wind calls for séance,
candlesticks and musky incense, perhaps sage.
My mug of coffee cools fast. I do not fight
in-between-ness, transience set in scarcity.
No angels, fireworks, zombies or astronomers’
star stampedes. The clay pots hold slime browns
of marigolds and geraniums that bloomed
last August. The glass table for al fresco July
dining is spread in algae scum. Alder catkins
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clog the birdbath. A one-inch Japanese maple
sprouts from the pot that once waved gold feather grass.
The anniversary of his death is the cruelest fishhook. Yanking us back, violently. When the days turn crisp, as they have now, when summer fades and autumn crawls into our tiny farming town—that’s when we most grieve our fallen classmate. One year we tried to ignore the date, but the hook came anyway and somehow was even more brutal. So now we meet it head on: we make a day of it. The downtown is strewn with somber-black ribbon. Coffee is shared and then, later, whiskey. We pass the yearbook, we muse, we moan. If a stranger such as you wanders by, the story is told in fullest detail.
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Coffee Unctuous First sip, last drip, scrumptious No drink can comfort, the parched dry mouth Recover from mornings, the sentient self Quite like the demon bean Devilishly moreish, whoreish even as I sip her wares With cinnamon toast for company Not love, nor utopia compares Arabica, I shout, the cavernous yawn expectant Smells the roast, hears the china cup And like magic the corpse is resurrectant Then with a thank you God and a splash of cream I do baptize the demon bean
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The resemblance another existential morning and I’m having a coffee peering through the blinds at the chittering sparrows surveying the camellia bush at the centre of my lawn which the gardener has shaped into a giant ball dotted with blooms pink buds quivering like sea-anemone in the mild April breeze then it strikes me in […]
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Patti Smith (Lost Objects) kitchen shrinks the mind small framed pantry quietly slowing tiny black fish breathe briny oxygen alive frying in the pan sound scratched lungs aplenty but minute breath sink drips sit herself stay herself smaller sippy widen water hotter daughter husband coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee small photograph for the camera sit […]
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Personify Me The trees speak in Shakespearean sonnets; The tulips write short memoirs. The honeysuckles smell of metaphors and similes, Vines are smirking complex sentences. The sun has these exotic eyes— The moon tells of faraway lands; The ocean never leaves you… Grass has flushed secrets. This earth keeps you stirring coffee. The seeds have […]
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Helena Lipstadt was born in Berlin and lives in Los Angeles and Blue Hill, Maine. Lipstadt’s poems have been featured in Rattling Wall, Lilith, Bridges, Sinister Wisdom, Trivia: Voices of Feminism, Medium and Common Lives, Lesbian Lives. Her writing has also appeared in the following anthologies: The Challenge of Shalom, From Memory to Transformation, and Every Woman I’ve Ever Loved: Lesbian Writers on Their Mothers, Lipstadt is […]
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Glenn Ingersoll works for the Berkeley Public Library where he hosts Clearly Meant, a reading & interview series. He has two chapbooks, City Walks (broken boulder) and Fact (Avantacular). He keeps two blogs, LoveSettlement and Dare I Read. Recent work has appeared in Poetry East, Askew, and Hearty Greetings. The Rarity of Snakes Once […]
Read more "The Rarity of Snakes"