Archive for Poetry


Posted in Poetry with tags , , , , , , on May 15, 2008 by Ryan Sanford Smith

Naked Vision (a poem by Gwen Harwood)

I was sent to fetch an eye
promised for a fresh corneal graft.
At the doctor’s rooms nurse gave me
a common paper bag;
in that, a sterile jar;
in that, the disembodied eye.

I sat in Davey Street
on a low brick garden wall
and looked. The eye looked back.
It gazed, lucid and whole,
from its colourless solution.
The window of whose soul?

Trees in St. David’s Park
refreshed the lunchtime lovers:
riesling gold, claret dark;
late flowers flaunted all colours.
But my friend and I had eyes
only for one another.


Posted in Poetry with tags , , , , , , , on May 13, 2008 by Ryan Sanford Smith

The Current (a poem by Raymond Carver)

These fish have no eyes
these silver fish that come to me in dreams,
scattering their roe and milt
in the pockets of my brain.

But there’s one that comes–
heavy, scarred, silent like the rest,
that simply holds against the current,

closing its dark mouth against
the current, closing and opening
as it holds to the current.


Posted in Poetry with tags , , , , , on May 12, 2008 by Ryan Sanford Smith

Them (a poem by C. X. Hunter)

I stole anything useless
made my lair in the basement
diddled in the junk
on the floor in the closet
listened to show tunes
on a wooden radio
licked the dust from the windows
hid from the crow
hid from the bluebird
imagined bugs in the plumbing
dreaded the ring
of a big black telephone
feared I might be related
to a family of monsters
went without sleep for
fourteen years


Posted in Poetry with tags , , , , , , on May 8, 2008 by Ryan Sanford Smith

Fidelity (a poem by Mark Halliday)

The things we could do
with certain lovely others
are weapons we keep loaded
or at least near the ammo box
in a drawer behind socks,
there to pull out and polish occasionally
as at a party or dinner
when a smile or drifting fingertip
whispers richly of imaginable beds–
our brandishing when it’s right
being a truly amorous blood-quickener,
a way of saying It’s all for you, my beauty,
and don’t you forget it.


Posted in Poetry with tags , , , , , on May 4, 2008 by Ryan Sanford Smith

Hive (a poem by Nick Flynn)

What would you do inside me?
You would be utterly

lost, labyrinthine.

comb, each corridor identical, a
funhouse, there, a bridge, worker

knit to worker, a span
you can’t cross. On the other side

the queen, a fortune of honey.

Once we filled an entire house with it,
built the comb between floorboard

& joist, slowly at first, the constant

buzz kept the owners awake, then
louder, until honey began to seep

from the walls, swell
the doorframes. Our gift.

They had to burn the house down
to rid us.


Posted in Poetry with tags , , , , , , on May 3, 2008 by Ryan Sanford Smith

Aubade On East 12th Street (a poem by August Kleinzahler)

The skylight silvers
and a faint shudder from the underground
travels up the building’s steel.

Dawn breaks across this wilderness
of roofs with their old wooden storage tanks
and caps of louvered cowlings

moving in the wind. Your back,
raised hip and thigh
well-tooled as a rounded baluster

on a lathe of shadow and light.


Posted in Poetry with tags , , , , , , , , on May 2, 2008 by Ryan Sanford Smith

Until the day I will return (an untitled poem by Cesar Vallejo, as translated by Clayton Eshleman and Jose Rubia Barcia)

Until the day I will return, from this stone
my definitive heel will be born,
with its set of crimes, its ivy,
its dramatic stubbornness, its olive tree.

Until the day I will return, continuing,
with the frank uprightness of a bitter cripple,
my periplus, from well to well, I understand
that man will have to be good, notwithstanding.

Until the day I will return and until
the animal I am walks, among his judges,
our brave little finger will be big,
dignified, an infinite finger among fingers.


Posted in Poetry with tags , , , , , , on May 1, 2008 by Ryan Sanford Smith

Aviators (a poem by Jon Anderson)

We learned, and slowly, only
that we fell in the high spiral

of confusion. The millionth run–
and now our lives unwound.

Well, we had always had bright flak at heart.
And when we stalled our bomber under

the new moon, and emerged–who could have known?
In that music dangle jukebox angels

fed us their sweet compassionate bread.
Our bellies grew round as the red moon,

and we starved. Who could survive
desire? They have wired

our wild hearts for sound. We are falling down
forever toward your blue receding town.


Posted in Poetry with tags , , , , , , on April 28, 2008 by Ryan Sanford Smith

Portofino (a poem by Spencer Reece)

Promise me you will not forget Portofino.
Promise me you will find the trompe l’oeil
on the bedroom walls at the Splendido.
The walls make a scene you cannot enter.

Perhaps then you will comprehend this longing
for permanence I often mentioned to you.
Across the harbor? A yellow church. A cliff.
Promise me you will witness the day diminish.

And when the roofs darken, when the stars drift
until they shatter on the sea’s finish,
you will know what I told you is true
when I said abandonment is beautiful.


Posted in Poetry, Prose, Quotes with tags , , , , , , on April 27, 2008 by Ryan Sanford Smith

Letters To a Young Poet (an excerpt from the collected letters of Rainer Wilke)

You ask whether your verses are good. You ask me. You have asked others before. You send them to magazines. You compare them with other poems, and you are disturbed when certain editors reject your efforts. Now (since you have allowed me to advise you) I beg you to give up all that. You are looking outward, and that above all you should not do now. Nobody can counsel and help you, nobody. There is only one single way. Go into yourself. Search for the reason that bids you write; find out whether it is spread out its roots in the deepest places of your heart, acknowledge to yourself whether you would have to die if it were denied you to write. This above all–ask yourself in the stillest hour of the night: must I write?