Katy's Favorite Poems

Pornography and Silence (excerpt)
Susan Griffin

To make love is to become like this infant again. We grope with our mouths toward the body of another being, whom we trust, who takes us in their arms. We rock together with this loved one. We move beyond speech, our bodies move past all the controls we have learned. We cry out in ecstasy, in feeling. We are back in a natural world before culture tried to erase our experience of nature. In this world, to touch another is to express love: there is no idea apart from feeling, and no feeling which does not ring through our bodies and our souls at once.
This is eros. Our own wholeness. Not the sensation of pleasure alone, nor the idea of love alone, but the whole experience of human love.

After Love
Maxine Kumin

Afterwards, the compromise.
Bodies resume their boundaries

These legs, for instance, mine.
Your arms take you back in.

Spoons of our fingers, lips
admit their ownership

The bedding yawns, a door
blows aimlessly ajar

and overhead, a plane
singsongs coming down.

Nothing is changed, except
there was a moment when

the wolf, the mongering wolf
who stands outside the self

lay lightly down, and slept.

The Hug (excerpt)
Tess Gallagher

A woman is reading a poem on the street and another woman stops to listen. We stop too, with our arms around eachother. The poem is being read and listened to out here in the open. Behind us no one is entering or leaving their houses. Suddenly a hug comes over me and I'm giving it to you, like a variable star shooting light off to make itself more comfortable, then subsiding. I finish but keep holding you.

A Visit (edited for Angelfire)
George Ella Lyon

I was securing the pin in the diaper
when someone banged on the door
and it was this guy
in an orange fishnet Florida Interstate
holding his bike helmet and saying

Hi, I'm the Muse.


Yeah, name's Floyd.

Well, come on in. I'm in the middle
of a bunch of things.

Best place to begin. Now---

No. I mean I'm fixing dinner,
my little boy's awake, and---

Lady, Lady, Lady,
you'll never get off the fucking ground like that.
What're you cooking?


God, the Lady eats like a bird.
Honey, you gotta have meat to make poems,
takes blood to make blood sing.

Be that as it may---

I can see you're not serious.
You got anything to drink?


That'll do.

Here you go. You know
it came to me in the kitchen
with you here, maybe I could
do some work. Dinner's ready for the oven,
my little boy's been changed
Could you watch him awhile?

The MUSE a fucking babysitter?
Who do you think you are?
I'm sacred shit, remember?
I'm holy shit---

Well, how are you going to help me
sucking on a bottle of beer?

Baby, I can take you to Bliss City
in one spin on my machine.
When I've finished, you'll be so inspired
your tits will blow up balloons.

Great. What about my son?

Ditch the kid awhile.
You can't fool around
wiping asses
when I'm ready to fly.

Fly? What about writing?
Remember words,
those heavy things---?

Jeez, she's climbing on her soapbox.
Go on then. Who cares?
Scrape your life from mayonnaise jars.
You won't see me again.


The Friend
Marge Piercy

We sat across the table.
he said, cut off your hands.
they are always poking at things.
they might touch me.
I said yes.

Food grew cold on the table.
he said, burn your body.
it is not clean and smells like sex.
it rubs my mind sore.
I said yes.

I love you, I said.
that's very nice, he said.
I like to be loved,
that makes me happy.
Have you cut off your hands yet?

Love Should Grow Up Like a Wild Iris in the Fields
Susan Griffin

Love should grow up like a wild iris in the fields, unexpected, after a terrible storm, opening a purple mouth to the rain, with not a thought to the future, ignorant of the grass and the graveyard of leaves around, forgetting its own beginning. Love should grow like a wild iris but does not.
Love more often is to be found in kitchens at the dinner hour, tired out and hungry, lingers over tables in houses where the walls record movements; while the cook is probably angry, and the ingredients of the meal are budgeted, while a child cries feed me now and her mother not quite hysterical says over and over, wait just a bit, just a bit love should grow up in the fields like a wild iris but never does really startle anyone, was to be expected, was to be predicted, is almost absurd, goes on from day to day, not quite blindly, gets taken to the cleaners every fall, sings old songs over and over, and falls on the same piece of rug that never gets tacked down, gives up, wants to hide, is not brave, knows too much, is not like an iris growing wild but more like staring into space
in the street
not quite sure
which door it was, annoyed at the sidewalk being slippery, trying all the doors, thinking if love wished the world to be well, it would be well.
Love should grow up like a wild iris, but doesn't, it comes from the midst of everything else, sees like the iris of an eye, when the light is right, feels in blindness and when there is nothing else is tender, blinks, and opens face up to the skies.

In Blackwater Woods
Mary Oliver

Look, the trees
are turning
their own bodies
into pillars

of light,
are giving off the rich
fragrance of cinnamon
and fulfillment.

the long tapers
of cattails
are bursting and floating away over
the blue shoulders

of the ponds,
and every pond,
no matter what its
name is, is

nameless now.
Every year
I have ever learned

in my lifetime
leads back to this: the fires
and the black river of loss
whose other side

is salvation,
whose meaning
none of us will ever know.
To live in this world

you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it

against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.