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mika_ added 1 item to Read in 2016 list
Lucifer at the Starlite: Poems

11 months, 4 weeks ago
mika_ added 1 item to Read in 2016 list
Tell Me (American Poets Continuum)
Excerpt from "The Numbers" "How many prayers are there tonight, how many of us must stay awake and listen?" "A Childhood" "Our drinks came with paper umbrellas. My mother put on tennis whites. My father went to the bar the way he always did. My mother put on tennis whites. My brother threw me against a wall the way he always did. I believed in my guardian angel. My brother threw my mother against a wall. I walked in my sleep. I believed in my guardian angel. I woke up far from the house. I walked in my sleep. My mother read fairy tales and sang to me. I woke up far from the house. My mother was old, my father dead. My mother read fairy tales and sang to me. My father and brother crashed through the door. My mother was old, my father dead along with my guardian angel. My father and brother crashed through the door. I went to the bar along with my guardian angel and our drinks came with paper umbrellas." Excerpt from "New Year's Day" "Today I want to resolve nothing. I only want to walk a little longer in the cold blessing of the rain, and lift my face to it." Excerpt from "Generations" "I walk the night city, looking up at lit windows, and there is no table set for me, nowhere I can go to be filled. This is the city of grandparents, immigrants, arrivals, where I’ve come too late with my name, and empty plate. This is the place." "'What Do Women Want?'" "I want a red dress. I want it flimsy and cheap, I want it too tight, I want to wear it until someone tears it off me. I want it sleeveless and backless, this dress, so no one has to guess what’s underneath. I want to walk down the street past Thrifty’s and the hardware store with all those keys glittering in the window, past Mr. and Mrs. Wong selling day-old donuts in their café, past the Guerra brothers slinging pigs from the truck and onto the dolly, hoisting the slick snouts over their shoulders. I want to walk like I’m the only woman on earth and I can have my pick. I want that red dress bad. I want it to confirm your worst fears about me, to show you how little I care about you or anything except what I want. When I find it, I’ll pull that garment from its hanger like I’m choosing a body to carry me into this world, through the birth-cries and the love-cries too, and I’ll wear it like bones, like skin, it’ll be the goddamned dress they bury me in."
12 months ago
mika_ added 1 item to 100 Favorite Books of Poetry list
Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror: Poems (Poets, Penguin)
"As One Put Drunk into the Packet-Boat" I tried each thing, only some were immortal and free. Elsewhere we are as sitting in a place where sunlight Filters down, a little at a time, Waiting for someone to come. Harsh words are spoken, As the sun yellows the green of the maple tree.... So this was all, but obscurely I felt the stirrings of new breath in the pages Which all winter long had smelled like an old catalogue. New sentences were starting up. But the summer Was well along, not yet past the mid-point But full and dark with the promise of that fullness, That time when one can no longer wander away And even the least attentive fall silent To watch the thing that is prepared to happen. A look of glass stops you And you walk on shaken: was I the perceived? Did they notice me, this time, as I am, Or is it postponed again? The children Still at their games, clouds that arise with a swift Impatience in the afternoon sky, then dissipate As limpid, dense twilight comes. Only in that tooting of a horn Down there, for a moment, I thought The great, formal affair was beginning, orchestrated, Its colors concentrated in a glance, a ballade That takes in the whole world, now, but lightly, Still lightly, but with wide authority and tact. The prevalence of those gray flakes falling? They are sun motes. You have slept in the sun Longer than the sphinx, and are none the wiser for it. Come in. And I thought a shadow fell across the door But it was only her come to ask once more If I was coming in, and not to hurry in case I wasn't. The night sheen takes over. A moon of cistercian pallor Has climbed to the center of heaven, installed, Finally involved with the business of darkness. And a sigh heaves from all the small things on earth, The books, the papers, the old garters and union-suit buttons Kept in a white cardboard box somewhere, and all the lower Versions of cities flattened under the equalizing night. The summer demands and takes away too much, But night, the reserved, the reticent, gives more than it takes.
12 months ago
mika_ added 1 item to Read in 2016 list
Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror: Poems (Poets, Penguin)
"As One Put Drunk into the Packet-Boat" "I tried each thing, only some were immortal and free. Elsewhere we are as sitting in a place where sunlight Filters down, a little at a time, Waiting for someone to come. Harsh words are spoken, As the sun yellows the green of the maple tree.... So this was all, but obscurely I felt the stirrings of new breath in the pages Which all winter long had smelled like an old catalogue. New sentences were starting up. But the summer Was well along, not yet past the mid-point But full and dark with the promise of that fullness, That time when one can no longer wander away And even the least attentive fall silent To watch the thing that is prepared to happen. A look of glass stops you And you walk on shaken: was I the perceived? Did they notice me, this time, as I am, Or is it postponed again? The children Still at their games, clouds that arise with a swift Impatience in the afternoon sky, then dissipate As limpid, dense twilight comes. Only in that tooting of a horn Down there, for a moment, I thought The great, formal affair was beginning, orchestrated, Its colors concentrated in a glance, a ballade That takes in the whole world, now, but lightly, Still lightly, but with wide authority and tact. The prevalence of those gray flakes falling? They are sun motes. You have slept in the sun Longer than the sphinx, and are none the wiser for it. Come in. And I thought a shadow fell across the door But it was only her come to ask once more If I was coming in, and not to hurry in case I wasn't. The night sheen takes over. A moon of cistercian pallor Has climbed to the center of heaven, installed, Finally involved with the business of darkness. And a sigh heaves from all the small things on earth, The books, the papers, the old garters and union-suit buttons Kept in a white cardboard box somewhere, and all the lower Versions of cities flattened under the equalizing night. The summer demands and takes away too much, But night, the reserved, the reticent, gives more than it takes." "Forties Flick" "The shadow of the Venetian blind on the painted wall, Shadows of the snake-plant and cacti, the plaster animals, Focus on the tragic melancholy of the bright stare Into nowhere, a hole like the black holes in space. ‘In bra and panties she sidles to the window: Zip! Up with the blind. A fragile street scene offers itself, With wafer-thin pedestrians who know where they are going. The blind comes down slowly, the slats are slowly titled up. Why must it always end this way? A dais with woman reading, with the ruckus of her hair And all that is unsaid about her pulling us back to her, with her Into the silence that night alone can’t explain. Silence of the library, of the telephone with its pad, But we didn’t have to reinvent these either: They had gone away into the plot of a story, The “art” part—knowing what important details to leave out And the way character is developed. Things too real To be of much concern, hence artificial, yet now all over the page, The indoors with the outside becoming part of you As you find you had never left off laughing at death, The background, dark vine at the edge of the porch." Excerpt from "Grand Galop" "The names we stole don't remove us" "The One Thing That Can Save America" "Is anything central? Orchards flung out on the land, Urban forests, rustic plantations, knee-high hills? Are place names central? Elm Grove, Adcock Corner, Story Book Farm? As they concur with a rush at eye level Beating themselves into eyes which have had enough Thank you, no more thank you. And they come on like scenery mingled with darkness The damp plains, overgrown suburbs, Places of known civic pride, of civil obscurity. These are connected to my version of America But the juice is elsewhere. This morning as I walked out of your room After breakfast crosshatched with Backward and forward glances, backward into light, Forward into unfamiliar light, Was it our doing, and was it The material, the lumber of life, or of lives We were measuring, counting? A mood soon to be forgotten In crossed girders of light, cool downtown shadow In this morning that has seized us again? I know that I braid too much on my own Snapped-off perceptions of things as they come to me. They are private and always will be. Where then are the private turns of event Destined to bloom later like golden chimes Released over a city from a highest tower? The quirky things that happen to me, and I tell you, And you know instantly what I mean? What remote orchard reached by winding roads Hides them? Where are these roots? It is the lumps and trials That tell us whether we shall be known And whether our fate can be exemplary, like a star. All the rest is waiting For a letter that never arrives, Day after day, the exasperation Until finally you have ripped it open not knowing what it is, The two envelope halves lying on a plate. The message was wise, and seemingly Dictated a long time ago, but its time has still Not arrived, telling of danger, and the mostly limited Steps that can be taken against danger Now and in the future, in cool yards, In quiet small houses in the country, Our country, in fenced areas, in cool shady streets."
12 months ago
mika_ added 1 item to Read in 2016 list
Facts About the Moon: Poems
"Facts About the Moon" "The moon is backing away from us an inch and a half each year. That means if you’re like me and were born around fifty years ago the moon was a full six feet closer to the earth. What’s a person supposed to do? I feel the gray cloud of consternation travel across my face. I begin thinking about the moon-lit past, how if you go back far enough you can imagine the breathtaking hugeness of the moon, prehistoric solar eclipses when the moon covered the sun so completely there was no corona, only a darkness we had no word for. And future eclipses will look like this: the moon a small black pupil in the eye of the sun. But these are bald facts. What bothers me most is that someday the moon will spiral right out of orbit and all land-based life will die. The moon keeps the oceans from swallowing the shores, keeps the electromagnetic fields in check at the polar ends of the earth. And please don’t tell me what I already know, that it won’t happen for a long time. I don’t care. I’m afraid of what will happen to the moon. Forget us. We don’t deserve the moon. Maybe we once did but not now after all we’ve done. These nights I harbor a secret pity for the moon, rolling around alone in space without her milky planet, her only love, a mother who’s lost a child, a bad child, a greedy child or maybe a grown boy who’s murdered and raped, a mother can’t help it, she loves that boy anyway, and in spite of herself she misses him, and if you sit beside her on the padded hospital bench outside the door to his room you can’t not take her hand, listen to her while she weeps, telling you how sweet he was, how blue his eyes, and you know she’s only romanticizing, that she’s conveniently forgotten the bruises and booze, the stolen car, the day he ripped the phones from the walls, and you want to slap her back to sanity, remind her of the truth: he was a leech, a fuckup, a little shit, and you almost do until she lifts her pale puffy face, her eyes two craters, and then you can’t help it either, you know love when you see it, you can feel its lunar strength, its brutal pull." "What's Broken" "The slate black sky. The middle step of the back porch. And long ago my mother’s necklace, the beads rolling north and south. Broken the rose stem, water into drops, glass knobs on the bedroom door. Last summer’s pot of parsley and mint, white roots shooting like streamers through the cracks. Years ago the cat’s tail, the bird bath, the car hood’s rusted latch. Broken little finger on my right hand at birth— I was pulled out too fast. What hasn’t been rent, divided, split? Broken the days into nights, the night sky into stars, the stars into patterns I make up as I trace them with a broken-off blade of grass. Possible, unthinkable, the cricket’s tiny back as I lie on the lawn in the dark, my heart a blue cup fallen from someone’s hands." Excerpt from "For Matthew Shepard" "O Shakespeare didn’t care if a hobo wore a dress, a crown, as long as the day was long, lovely. Each word a cut rhinestone. Each touch, kiss, a dab of perfume, cologne." "Afterlife" "Even in heaven, when a former waitress goes out for lunch, she can’t help it, can’t stop wiping down the counter, brushing crumbs from the bottoms of ketchup bottles, cleaning the chunky rim around the cap with a napkin, tipping big. Old habits die hard. Old waitresses die harder, laid out in their cheap cardboard coffins in their lacy blue varicose veins, arches fallen like grand cathedrals, a row of female Quasimodos: each finely sprung spine humped from a lifetime hefting trays. But they have smiles on their faces, feet up, dancing shoes shined, wispy hair nets peeled off and tossed in the trash, permed strands snagged in the knots. You hover over their open caskets with your fist full of roses and it’s their hands you can’t stop staring at. Hands like your, fingers scarred, stained, rough, muscles plump between each knuckle, tough as a man’s, useless now, still as they never were even at shift’s end, gnarled wings folded between the breasts of faceless women done with their gossip, their earthly orders, having poured the days dark brew into the last bottomless cup, finished with mice in the rice bags, roaches in the walk-in, their eyes sealed shut, deaf forever to the clatter, the cook, the cries of the living. Grateful as nuns. Quite dead."
12 months ago
mika_ added 1 item to 100 Favorite Books of Poetry list
The Book of Men: Poems

12 months ago
mika_ added 1 item to Read in 2016 list
The Book of Men: Poems
Excerpt from "Juneau" "I slept in my small room and all night — or what passed for night that far north – the geography of the world outside my window was breaking, changing shape. And I woke to it and looked at it and didn’t speak." "Learning to Drive" "The long miles down the back road I learned to drive on. The boy riding shotgun. his hand on my hand on the gear shift knob, our eyes locked on the dusty winshield, the cracked asphalt, old airstrip, the nothing spreading for miles: scrub brush, heat waves, sky, a few thin contrails. His patience endless. My clumsiness: the grinding gears, the fumbled clutch. The wrench of it popped like an arm from its socket, his blue, beloved ‘57 Ford lurching, stalled in the dirt. I was 16, he was older, his football-player shoulders muscular, wide. Where did he get his kindness? Why spend it on a girl like me: skinny, serious, her nails bitten, her legs bruised. Hours under summer’s relentless heat, his car stumbling across the barren lot until I got it, understood how to lift my left foot, press my right hand, in tandem, like dancing, which I never learned to do, never wanted to turn circles on the polished floor of a dark auditorium, the bleachers hemming me in. I drove toward the horizon, gravel jitterbugging under his tires. Lizards skittering. Jays rising to the buzz of telephone wires. He taught me how to handle a car, how to downshift into second, peel out from a dead stop. His fist hung from the open window, knuckles clamped on a lit cigarette, dragging smoke, we couldn’t guess where we were going. He didn’t know he was flying to Vietnam and I was learning how to get out of there, The Byrds singing “Eight Miles High” when he turned up the radio and told me to brake, opened his door, slid out and stood on the desert road to let me go it alone. his back pressed against all that emptiness." "Men" "It's tough being a guy, having to be gruff and buff, the strong silent type, having to laugh it off—pain, loss, sorrow, betrayal—or leave in a huff and say No big deal, take a ride, listen to enough loud rock and roll that it scours out your head, if not your heart. Or to be called a fag or a poof when you love something or someone, scuffing a shoe across the floor, hiding a smile in a muffler pulled up nose high, an eyebrow raised for the word quaff used in casual conversation—wine, air, oil change at the Jiffy Lube—gulping it down, a joke no one gets. It's rough, yes, the tie around the neck, the starched white cuffs too long, too short, frayed, frilled, rolled up. The self isn't an easy quest for a beast with balls, a cock, proof of something difficult to define or defend. Chief or chef, thief or roofer, serf or sheriff, feet on the earth or aloof. Son, brother, husband, lover, father, they are different from us, except when they fall or stand alone on a wharf." Excerpt from "Dark Charms" "We continue to speak, if only in whispers, to something inside us that longs to be named. We name it the past and drag it behind us, bag like a lung filled with shadow and song, dreams of running, the keys to lost names."
12 months ago
mika_ added 1 item to 100 Favorite Fantasy Books list
The Elephant Vanishes: Stories

1 year ago
mika_ added 1 item to Read in 2016 list
The Haunted Woman (Canongate Classics)

1 year ago
Lullaby

1 year ago
Lullaby
 Lullaby 3/10
1 year ago
mika_ added 1 item to Read in 2016 list
Lullaby

1 year ago
A.S. Byatt
 A.S. Byatt 9/10
1 year ago
mika_ added 1 item to 50 Favorite Authors list
1 year ago
mika_ added 1 item to Read in 2016 list
The Children
"The young desired to be free of the adults, and at the same time were prepared to resent any hint that the adults might desire to be free of them."
1 year ago
mika_ added 1 item to Read in 2016 list
Waiting for the Barbarians: A Novel
"'You think you know what is just and what is not. I understand. We all think we know.' I had no doubt, myself, then, that at each moment each one of us, man, woman, child, perhaps even the poor old horse turning the mill-wheel, knew what was just: all creatures come into the world bringing with them the memory of justice. 'But we live in a world of laws,' I said to my poor prisoner, 'a world of the second-best. There is nothing we can do about that. We are fallen creatures. All we can do is to uphold the laws, all of us, without allowing the memory of justice to fade.'" "I truly believe I am not afraid of death. What I shrink from, I believe, is the shame of dying as stupid and befuddled as I am."
1 year, 1 month ago
mika_ added 1 item to 100 Favorite Sci Fi Books list
Lake of the Long Sun (Book of the Long Sun)

1 year, 1 month ago
mika_ added 1 item to 100 Favorite Fantasy Books list
Lake of the Long Sun (Book of the Long Sun)

1 year, 1 month ago
mika_ added 1 item to Read in 2016 list
Lake of the Long Sun (Book of the Long Sun)
"'Innocence is something one chooses, and something one chooses for the same reason one chooses any other thing--because it seems best.'"
1 year, 1 month ago
mika_ added 1 item to Favorite Plays list
Talk Radio

1 year, 1 month ago
mika_ added 2 items to Read in 2016 list
The Essential Bogosian: "Talk Radio", "Drinking in America", Funhouse", "Men Inside"
Talk Radio

1 year, 1 month ago
mika_ added 2 items to their collection
Talk Radio

owned

7/10

The Essential Bogosian: "Talk Radio", "Drinking in America", Funhouse", "Men Inside"

5/10


1 year, 1 month ago
mika_ added 1 item to Read in 2016 list
Dream Work
Excerpt from "Dogfish" "You don’t want to hear the story of my life, and anyway I don’t want to tell it, I want to listen to the enormous waterfalls of the sun." Excerpt from "The Chance to Love Everything" "Fear defeated me. And yet, not in faith and not in madness but with the courage I thought my dream deserved, I stepped outside."
1 year, 1 month ago
Dream Work
 Dream Work 4/10
1 year, 1 month ago

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