Freedom and Chance
September 15, 2011

She says, there is another city, exactly like this: same sardonic cat, complacent dog, fat-chested sparrow trilling its brains out before daybreak, identical abandon and thrilling sorrow, familiar machinery chuffing in darkness—belt sander, leaf blower, radial arm saw. But that world is Queens, this is Brooklyn. The law is like wind; it has no self.  There Frank Viola stars, here Julio Franco. Here light is a wave, there a particle. Here we marry, we grow old in a tiny house with a porch swing and complicated locks. There, you plod through deserted chain stores in search of someone you cannot

To My Cat William
September 14, 2011

Mr Boo, be still It’s 3 a.m. Furhead simulacrum of my restive heart You do, you do, you do as you will Bother, bother ... Poppa, Poppa! Transformado en mi gato Oh, mi Dios The things night brings us Am I dreaming Are you really you, or you Companion on this distressed plot Your wakefulness, health Mine not The broken-up bits of me Scattered, shivering like mercury Tickletickle Pother, pother Willie Nocturnes’s now my father Hullo, Poppa Hullo, Sonny Say, wasn’t that you I saw in the funnies Mr.

The Everyday Enchantment of Music
September 14, 2011

  A rough sound was polished until it became a smoother sound, which was polished until it became music. Then the music was polished until it became the memory of a night in Venice when tears of the sea fell from the Bridge of Sighs, which in turn was polished until it ceased to be and in its place stood the empty home of a heart in trouble.

Flesh and Beyond
August 30, 2011

Despite his social poetics, Moss is not a widely read American poet. He is instead “American poetry’s best-kept secret” as John Ashbery says. I suspec

Ostia Antica
July 28, 2011

Down the Decumanus Maximus             till the rutted cobbles give way, just as so many lives have gone before this,             past the stubs of the insulae, while each Airbus at Fiumicino            heaves itself aloft over the beach umbrellas in row on row           where the Tyrrhenian Sea laps, soft; and I, too, have felt Rome drop astern           of that imperative bound west, have settled back and been home by afternoon.           But this time I smell the dust and heat as I walk an open field           to Room 16, Trench 3, Layer 3 where he works, my tousle-headed man-child,        

July 28, 2011

Near his death Chuang Tzu’s disciples asked why he chose tree burial in the ancient style instead of a dignified grave.

July 14, 2011

i. That summer of rain I was a seminarian and visited the Osborn State Correctional Facility. Metal gates opened, closed, like legs crossed and uncrossed. On the mental health ward, behind a small meshed window, a naked man, wrapped in a bed sheet, posed like Constantine crossing the Milvian Bridge. Men hummed in their cells, sticky, strong from barbells. The men had black, brown and white skin, many covered with intricate tattoos like road maps. One seminarian collapsed and was taken to the nurse’s office.

Memorial Day
June 09, 2011

Behind the banyan trees, the mansions. Behind the mansions, the             lagoon—. In the lagoon, a mooring of sailboats. Wind in the rigging. Hull-slap and groan.                                                                  Where is everybody? The sound of people playing in their pools—well ..., there Isn’t any; the streets  Are empty—, the moon, like a moon Jelly, beating its slow float in the not-  Quite-dark. In the gardens of the Moorings Country Club, The lights have come on, rice paper lanterns on which are  Printed cherry blossoms. O—this un- Starred sky.

May 11, 2011

The animals in Paul Muldoon’s poems do not tell us how we should act, but they do allow us to “glimpse the possibility of what we might become.” His n

April 26, 2011

Les Murray's latest book, the decidedly minor Taller When Prone, testifies to Murray’s full poetic recovery, and also to a kind of liberation from the