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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Great Poems' LiveJournal:

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Monday, November 24th, 2014
5:21 am

I lost my way
But i will just go on
I lost something important
But i will just go on
I lost,i lost,i lost
I definitely losing myself.

Sunday, June 1st, 2008
10:32 am
I heard this this on NPR: writer's almanac originally and it stuck with me for a couple months, bouncing around in my head. i eventually want to make this meal.


You made crusty bread rolls...

by Gary Johnson

You made crusty bread rolls filled with chunks of brie
And minced garlic and drizzled with olive oil
And baked them until the brie was bubbly
And we ate them thoughtfully, our legs coiled
Together under the table And then salmon with dill
And lemon and whole-wheat cous cous
Baked with garlic and fresh ginger, and a hill
Of green beans and carrots roasted with honey and tofu.
it was beautiful, the candles and linens and silver,
The winter sun setting on our snowy street,
Me with my hand on your leg, you, my lover,
In your jeans and green T-shirt and beautiful feet.
How simple life is. We buy a fish. We are fed.
We sit close to each other, we talk and then we go to bed.
Saturday, May 17th, 2008
10:42 pm
Also, I loved by James Finnegan
Also, I loved
Hard River

I pulled back
the jaundiced curtains
of the room rented
for four weeks in Wichita.
I didn't care
that the only thing I could see
from the window was the highway,
because I would watch the highway
the way I used to watch the river
with a six of beer and nowhere to go
after work, just watch
the cars and trucks
flow on and on, heading home
or to work or nowhere in particular,
knowing out there somewhere
someone was listening to the radio,
the same station I was listening to
with this man talking, just talking
into space, wavelengths over furrows
in the wide stretches of farmland,
knowing no one cares
about what he's saying,
still he talks and syllables and seconds
and dust settle like silt in the open air,
a child asleep across the backseat
of a car, tires throbbing over
slabs of pavement, no spare
in the trunk and two hundred miles
from here to wherever is there
on the hard river that carries them along
and if they're lucky
takes them home.
Thursday, February 7th, 2008
1:27 pm
Villanelle by William Empson
It is the pain, it is the pain endures.
Your chemic beauty burned my muscles through.
Poise of my hands reminded me of yours.

What later purge from this deep toxin cures?
What kindness now could the old salve renew?
It is the pain, it is the pain endures.

The infection slept (custom or changes inures)
And when pain's secondary phase was due
Poise of my hands reminded me of yours.

How safe I felt, whom memory assures,
Rich that your grace safely by heart I knew.
It is the pain, it is the pain endures.

My stare drank deep beauty that still allures.
My heart pumps yet the poison draught of you.
Poise of my hands reminded me of yours.

You are still kind whom the same shape immures.
Kind and beyond adieu. We miss our cue.
It is the pain, it is the pain endures.
Poise of my hands reminded me of yours.
Sunday, February 3rd, 2008
8:02 am
The Witch's Life
The Witch's Life

When I was a child
there was an old woman in our neighborhood
whom we called The Witch.
All day she peered from her second story window
from behind the wrinkled curtains
and sometimes she would open the window
and yell: Get out of my life!
She had hair like kelp
and a voice like a boulder.

I think of her sometimes now
and wonder if I am becoming her.
My shoes turn up like a jester's.
Clumps of my hair, as I write this,
curl up individually like toes.
I am shoveling the children out,
scoop after scoop.
Only my books anoint me,
and a few friends,
those who reach into my veins.
Maybe I am becoming a hermit,
opening the door for only
a few special animals?
Maybe my skull is too crowded
and it has no opening through which
to feed it soup?
Maybe I have plugged up my sockets
to keep the gods in?
Maybe, although my heart
is a kitten of butter,
I am blowing it up like a zeppelin.
Yes. It is the witch's life,
climbing the primordial climb,
a dream within a dream,
then sitting here
holding a basket of fire.

-Anne Sexton
from The Awful Rowing Toward God
Saturday, December 22nd, 2007
5:50 am
"Tension" by Billy Collins

“Never use the word suddenly just to create tension.”
- excerpt from Writing Fiction

Suddenly, you were planting some yellow petunias
outside in the garden,
and suddenly I was in the study
looking up the word oligarchy for the thirty-seventh time.

When suddenly, without warning,
you planted the last petunia in the flat,
and I suddenly closed the dictionary
now that I was reminded of that vile form of governance.

A moment later, we found ourselves
standing suddenly in the kitchen
where you suddenly opened a can of cat food
and I just as suddenly watched you doing that.

I observed a window of leafy activity
and, beyond that, a bird perched on the edge
of the stone birdbath
when suddenly you announced you were leaving

to pick up a few things at the market
and I stunned you by impulsively
pointing out that we were getting low on butter
and another case of wine would not be a bad idea.

Who could tell what the next moment would hold?
Another drip from the faucet?
Another little spasm of the second hand?
Would the painting of a bowl of pears continue

to hang on the wall from that nail?
Would the heavy anthologies remain on their shelves?
Would the stove hold its position?
Suddenly, it was anyone’s guess.

The sun rose ever higher.
The state capitals remained motionless on the wall map
when suddenly I found myself lying on a couch
where I closed my eyes and without any warning

began to picture the Andes, of all places,
and a path that led over the mountain to another country
with strange customs and eye-catching hats
suddenly fringed with little colorful, dangling balls.

Current Mood: awake
Monday, November 19th, 2007
3:18 pm
You heard the man you love - Margaret Atwood
You heard the man you love
talking to himself in the next room.
He didn't know you were listening.
You put your ear against the wall
but you couldn't catch the words,
only a kind of rumbling.
Was he angry? Was he swearing?
Or was it some kind of commentary
like a long obscure footnote on a page of poetry?
Or was he trying to find something he'd lost,
such as the car keys?
Then suddenly he began to sing.
You were startled
because this was a new thing,
but you didn't open the door, you didn't go in,
and he kept on singing, in his deep voice, off-key,
a purple-green monotone, dense and heathery.
He wasn't singing for you, or about you.
He had some other source of joy,
nothing to do with you at all—
he was an unknown man, singing in his own room, alone.
Why did you feel so hurt then, and so curious,
and also happy,
and also set free?
Friday, November 9th, 2007
11:27 pm
"The First Time" by Karl Shapiro
The First Time

Behind shut doors, in the shadowy quarantine,
There shines the lamp of iodine and rose
That stains all love with its medicinal bloom.
This boy, who is no more than seventeen,
Not knowing what to do, takes off his clothes
As one might in a doctor's anteroom.

Then in a cross-draft of fear and shame
Feels love hysterically burn away,
A candle swimming down to nothingness
Put out by its own wetted gusts of flame,
And he stands smooth as uncarved ivory
Heavily curved for some expert caress.

And finally sees the always open door
That is invisible till the time has come,
And half falls through as through a rotten wall
To where chairs twist with dragons from the floor
And the great bed drugged with its own perfume
Spreads its carnivorous flower-mouth for all.

The girl is sitting with her back to him;
She wears a black thing and she rakes her hair,
Hauling her round face upward like moonrise;
She is younger than he, her angled arms are slim
And like a country girl her feet are bare.
She watches him behind her with old eyes,

Transfixing him in space like some grotesque,
Far, far from her where he is still alone
And being here is more and more untrue.
Then she turns round, as one turns at a desk,
And looks at him, too naked and too soon,
And almost gently asks: Are you a Jew?
Saturday, July 28th, 2007
9:02 am
Almost by Rae Armantrout
Almost all the words we’ve said to one another are gone
and if they were retrieved, verbatim, we might not acknowledge them.
But the tenor of our talk
has been constant across the years!
(Tenor is what we meant by ‘soul.’)
For instance,
The way we joke
by using non-sequiturs, elliptical remarks
which deliberately suppress context
in advance
of time’s rub-out.

“When size really counts,”
the billboard says
showing the product
in one corner,
so we need to search for it.

Come find me.
I stand
behind these words.
Sunday, March 25th, 2007
12:11 am
California Swimming Pool (Sharon Olds)
On the dirt, the dead live-oak leaves
lay like dried-out turtle shells,
scorched and crisp, their points sharp as
wasps' stingers. Sated mosquitoes
hung in the air like sharks in water,
and when you hold up a tuna sandwich
a gold sphere of yellow-jackets
formed around your hand in the air
and moved when you moved. Everything circled
around the great pool, blue and
glittering as the sacred waters at
Crocodilopolis, and the boys
came from underwater like that
to pull you down. But the true center was the
dressing rooms: the wet suits,
the smell of chlorine, cold concrete,
the splintered pine wall, on the other
side of which were boys, actually
naked there in air clouded as the
shadows at the bottom of the pool, where the crocodiles
glistened in their slick skins. All summer
the knothole in the wall hissed at me
come see, come see, come eat and be eaten.
Thursday, March 22nd, 2007
11:27 pm
EAST COKER (No. 2 of 'Four Quartets') by T. S. Eliot

In my beginning is my end. In succession
Houses rise and fall, crumble, are extended,
Are removed, destroyed, restored, or in their place
Is an open field, or a factory, or a by-pass.
Old stone to new building, old timber to new fires,
Old fires to ashes, and ashes to the earth
Which is already flesh, fur and faeces,
Bone of man and beast, cornstalk and leaf.
Houses live and die: there is a time for building
And a time for living and for generation
And a time for the wind to break the loosened pane
And to shake the wainscot where the field-mouse trots
And to shake the tattered arras woven with a silent motto.

In my beginning is my end. Now the light falls
Across the open field, leaving the deep lane
Shuttered with branches, dark in the afternoon,
Where you lean against a bank while a van passes,
And the deep lane insists on the direction
Into the village, in the electric heat
Hypnotised. In a warm haze the sultry light
Is absorbed, not refracted, by grey stone.
The dahlias sleep in the empty silence.
Wait for the early owl.

In that open field
If you do not come too close, if you do not come too close,
On a summer midnight, you can hear the music
Of the weak pipe and the little drum
And see them dancing around the bonfire
The association of man and woman
In daunsinge, signifying matrimonie—
A dignified and commodiois sacrament.
Two and two, necessarye coniunction,
Holding eche other by the hand or the arm
Whiche betokeneth concorde. Round and round the fire
Leaping through the flames, or joined in circles,
Rustically solemn or in rustic laughter
Lifting heavy feet in clumsy shoes,
Earth feet, loam feet, lifted in country mirth
Mirth of those long since under earth
Nourishing the corn. Keeping time,
Keeping the rhythm in their dancing
As in their living in the living seasons
The time of the seasons and the constellations
The time of milking and the time of harvest
The time of the coupling of man and woman
And that of beasts. Feet rising and falling.
Eating and drinking. Dung and death.

Dawn points, and another day
Prepares for heat and silence. Out at sea the dawn wind
Wrinkles and slides. I am here
Or there, or elsewhere. In my beginning.

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Monday, March 19th, 2007
8:43 am
After an Absence by Linda Pastan
After an Absence

After an absence that was no one's fault
we are shy with each other,
and our words seem younger than we are,
as if we must return to the time we met
and work ourselves back to the present,
the way you never read a story
from the place you stopped
but always start each book all over again.
Perhaps we should have stayed
tied like mountain climbers
by the safe cord of the phone,
its dial our own small prayer wheel,
our voices less ghostly across the miles,
less awkward than they are now.
I had forgotten the grey in your curls,
that splash of winter over your face,
remembering the younger man
you used to be.

And I feel myself turn old and ordinary,
having to think again of food for supper,
the animals to be tended, the whole riptide
of daily life hidden but perilous
pulling both of us under so fast.
I have dreamed of our bed
as if it were a shore where we would be washed up,
not this striped mattress
we must cover with sheets. I had forgotten
all the old business between us,
like mail unanswered so long that silence
becomes eloquent, a message of its own.
I had even forgotten how married love
is a territory more mysterious
the more it is explored, like one of those terrains
you read about, a garden in the desert
where you stoop to drink, never knowing
if your mouth will fill with water or sand.
Wednesday, March 7th, 2007
1:39 pm
i carry your heart with me
e.e. cummings

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)
Saturday, January 13th, 2007
2:34 pm
Shinto by Jorge Luis Borges
When sorrow lays us low
for a second we are saved
by humble windfalls
of mindfulness or memory:
the taste of a fruit, the taste of water,
that face given back to us by a dream,
the first jasmine of November,
the endless yearning of the compass,
a book we thought was lost,
the throb of hexameter,
the slight key that opens a house to us,
the smell of a library, or of sandalwood,
the former name of a street,
the colors of a map,
an unforseen etymology,
the smoothness of a filed fingernail,
the date we were looking for,
the twelve dark bell-strokes, tolling as we count
a sudden physical pain.

Eight million Shinto deities
travel secretly throughout the earth.
Those modest gods touch us--
touch us and move on.
Saturday, December 9th, 2006
11:58 pm
He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven, W.B. Yeats
He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven
- W.B. Yeats, 1899

Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

Current Mood: calm
Saturday, September 16th, 2006
2:25 pm
Uncle Eggplant by Jeffrey McDaniel
Uncle Eggplant

When I was a teenager,
my parents would go away
and stick me with the job
of watching blind Uncle Harry.

I'd buckle him in the front
seat of my Chevy Nova
and take him with me
on drug runs into the city.

Okay, Har, you wait here--
I'm gonna dash into this flower
shop and pick up the azaleas.
One day, I returned to the car,

and Harry was gone. I sped
home, placed an eggplant
on his pillow, and told my
parents I found him this way.
Tuesday, September 5th, 2006
5:19 pm
because I still like William Wordsworth...

The Forsaken - William Wordsworth

The peace which other seek they find;
The heaviest storms not longet last;
Heaven grants even to the guiltiest mind
An amnesty for what is past;
When will my sentence be reversed?
I only pray to know the worst;
And wish as if my heart would burst.

O weary struggle! silent year
Tell seemingly no doubtful tale;
And yet they leave it short, and fear
And hopes are strong and will prevail.
My calmest faith escapes not pain;
And, feeling that the hope in vain,
I think that he will come again.
Saturday, June 24th, 2006
11:50 pm
Longie but a goodie
Wenas Ridge
by Raymond Carver

The seasons turning. Memory flaring.
Three of us that fall. Young hoodlums -
shoplifters, stealers of hubcaps.
Bozos. Dick Miller, dead now.
Lyle Rousseau, son of the Ford dealer.
And I, who'd just made a girl prgenant.
Hunting late into that golden afternoon
for grouse. Following deer paths,
pushing through undergrowth, stepping over
blow-downs. Reaching out for something to hold onto.

At the top of Wenas Ridge
we walked out of pine trees and could see
down deep ravines, where the wind roared, to the river.
More alive then, I thought, than I'd ever be.
But my whole life, in switchbacks, ahead of me.

Hawks, deer, coons we looked at and let go.
Killed six grouse and should have stopped.
Didn't, though we had limits.

Lyle and I climbing fifty feet or so
above Dick Miller. Who screamed - "Yaaaah!"
Then swore and swore. Legs numbing as I saw what.
That fat, dark snake rising up. Beginning to sing.
And how it sang! A timber rattler thick as my wrist.
It'd struck at Miller, but missed. No other way
to say it - he was paralyzed. Could scream, and swear,
not shoot. Then the snake lowered itself from sight
and went in under rocks. We understood
we'd have to get down. In the same way we'd got up.
Blindly crawling through brush, stepping over blow-downs,
pusing through undergrowth. Shadows falling from trees now
onto flat rocks that held the day's heat. And snakes.
My heart stopped, and then started again.
My hair stood on end. This was the moment
my life had prepared me for. And I wasn't ready.

We started down anyway. Jesus, please help me
out of this, I prayed. I'll believe in you again
and honor you always. But Jesus was crowded out
of my head by the vision of that rearing snake.
That singing. Keep believeing in me, snake said,
for I will return. I made an obscure, criminal pact
that day. Praying to Jesus in one breath.
To snake in the other. Snake finally more real
to me. The memory of that day
like a blow to the calf now.

I got out, didn't I? But something happened.
I married the girl I loved, yet poisoned her life.
Lies began to coil in my heart and call it home.
Got used to darkness and its crooked ways.
Since then I've always feared rattlesnakes.
Been ambivalent about Jesus.
But someone, something's responsible for this.
Now, as then.

Current Mood: content
Monday, May 22nd, 2006
11:54 pm
Notes on Revising Last Night's Dream - Ben Greenman
Notes on Revising Last Night's Dream

Talking parrot needs to lose Ricky Ricardo accent.

Old girlfriend who has moved on to date other men should not look so beautiful.

Replace man wearing black hat (trite!) with woman wearing red shoes (cinematic!).

Tibet has no stock-car racing.

Knife next to breakfast plate need not bloom into flowers.
Thursday, May 4th, 2006
3:37 pm
On Turning Ten by Billy Collins
Just turned this one up. Hope you enjoy it.

On Turning Ten

The whole idea of it makes me feel
like I'm coming down with something,
something worse than any stomach ache
or the headaches I get from reading in bad light--
a kind of measles of the spirit,
a mumps of the psyche,
a disfiguring chicken pox of the soul.

You tell me it is too early to be looking back,
but that is because you have forgotten
the perfect simplicity of being one
and the beautiful complexity introduced by two.
But I can lie on my bed and remember every digit.
At four I was an Arabian wizard.
I could make myself invisible
by drinking a glass of milk a certain way.
At seven I was a soldier, at nine a prince.

But now I am mostly at the window
watching the late afternoon light.
Back then it never fell so solemnly
against the side of my tree house,
and my bicycle never leaned against the garage
as it does today,
all the dark blue speed drained out of it.

This is the beginning of sadness, I say to myself,
as I walk through the universe in my sneakers.
It is time to say good-bye to my imaginary friends,
time to turn the first big number.

It seems only yesterday I used to believe
there was nothing under my skin but light.
If you cut me I could shine.
But now when I fall upon the sidewalks of life,
I skin my knees. I bleed.

Billy Collins
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