Poetry | February 2021 | Poetry | Hudson Valley | Chronogram Magazine
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Poetry | February 2021 

Last Updated: 02/05/2021 3:25 pm

Wildfire

These mornings I wake with an alarm bell
in my throat, wild

with dread. Two thousand miles
away, the sky turns orange

and then black with smoke.
When my mother calls to tell me

the ranchers set all their fifty horses free
along the highway, police cars

ushering their frightened shapes across
the lanes through the dark mouth

of the canyon, away from the flames
I am in my kitchen in New York

holding in my hands an egg
I am afraid to break

and afraid to set back down.
I hold it as though the rain

depends on it.

—Kate Levin


Deer in the Yard

I once heard someone say they’re nothing
but giant rats with hooves. He has a point.
They’re pests all right. They eat practically
everything, including what the gardening
books say they don’t. And there’s no denying
that they’re hazards on the roads. I see them
everywhere, especially now in the middle
of autumn, their dead bodies contorted every
which way. But look at this one. Look at
how she looks at me. Look at how she stands
there. Look at how she holds her ground.
Look at how the right foreleg starts to move,
then stops moving. Look at how she wants
to take one step forward, one step toward me,
but doesn’t. This is my ground, she says.
Look at how I hold it.

—JR Solonche


The Beauty of Resilience

My son once found
A cherry tomato plant
Growing out of the cracks
Of a sidewalk at the
Local chain department store
He thought it was
The most beautiful thing
Like what I see
When I look at him

—Jason Gabari


Today Only One Face (11/3/2020)

What happens if all rumors are true.
Don’t ask me where it comes from.
It is in the smell of morning air.

In the silence, conscience speaks out.
Something in the throat.
Line after line, are they in the same boat?

Many voices: howls, murmurs, whispers.
Many colors: white, black, yellow, brown...
Many ages: young, old, very old.

Many faces,
and each person wears many of them.
Today, only the same year-long worn-out face;
Like hat, dust laden, rugged trace of washing,
like shoe, uneven bottom,
cushion depressed, suffocated, air is gone.
Like pant, seams split, thread disappears.
Like glove, fingers poking out of holes.
Like old clothes,
like that everyday jacket, color faded.
Like old zipper, out of half step.
Like hair, decide to bid farewell
and you wish the good-bye hug
will last longer.
Like saggy sock.
Like beaten-down brush of toothbrush.
Like mirror, always numerous spots.
Like that very old car, maybe next year.

Many voices, many colors,
many ages, many faces.

It has been a long journey.
Today, only one face.

—Livingston Rossmoor


Overlook

Sometimes, moving up the mountain alone,
I stop and listen to the wind in the tops of the trees.
It doesn’t reach me, here, on my sweaty face
But that hand up there pushing makes the taller pines
Groan with the stretch of their wooden weight.
On the head of Mount Overlook and combed by the breeze—
That’s what height is for, some perks of grandeur
And the celebrated view, though it’s really nothing more
Than a hill compared to an Everest or an Alp.

The first time was different, I was a boy
And accorded the walk its monumental terms:
A Mountain. A Day. I might’ve used the word summit
Had I known it then. Yet even as I’ve grown,
Mount Overlook remains as big as when
I was shown the way up by much longer legs.
All the legends—oracles, visions, knowledge apprehended
And handed down—I’ve realized, in hiking up here
So many times, why they’re still around.

At the right age a secret is attaining wisdom
And to me one was given, a reward
On entry into the elevated order:
The location of a spring very near the top.
My uncle brought me to the spot, parting briar tangles
As we went. Just yards off the trail but well hidden,
There’s a cold little pool that spills quietly
Into lush, sloping grass. I seized on that fountain
Intuitively. An oak leaf swam over rusting summers.

I’ve seen far greater heights that held out nothing in return,
And here I am, back on the mountain with its spring
Like a barely heard whisper. I make a cup of my hands.

—Patrick Walsh


It Is Better To Be Angry

people make me angry
but it is better to be angry at people
than to rail at clouds
or at gods
isn't it
because if a man sees your anger
he might regret what he did
that brought your anger on
next time he won't do that thing
whereas a cloud
goes on about its business
indifferent
to your emotions
gods, I'm told
really, really care
what you think of them
whether you—at the most basic—even believe
in their existence
whether you—and this seems to be the demand—love
them
praise
them
surrender yourself
to them
and don't ever fucking get angry with
them
because otherwise or else you know
it's you who'll regret it
right?
so it's better to be angry at people
this logic goes
than to be angry at gods
or at clouds

–Glenn Ingersoll


Low Level Prophet

I’m not even
a low-level
bargain basement prophet.
I can’t see into the future at all.
The best I can do
is look at a calendar.

Okay, how about the past?
I can see into
the past a little bit.
I can see it clearly
every time I watch TV
especially, re-runs.

It’s the present
I’m having problems with.
What is happening now,
that’s what I can’t explain.

—John Blandly


The Changing Season
For My Mother

Winter trees
resting bare and
emaciated against
a white sheltering moon

Alone
on your pillow
generations you
mothered gather

Feed and toilet
keep you warm
In your house
reduced to one room

In the next room
a tv distant baby laughter
kitchen pots rattle
you remember

You and starving birds
somehow know
the changing season
god’s indifference

Is waxing
like a hunger
cold almost reachable
your fingers fragile broken twigs.

—Daniel Brown


Dream On

Suddenly, in the middle of the night—
to be Clutched like a Pen,
and hear the Celestial Voices
Sweetly Singing through your Nerves—
with such Richness and Splendor,
as could never be truly represented
in any Earthly Form… and then,
To slowly Awaken as this Vision
is Dissolving, and to know full well that—
The Greatest Foolishness of all
would be trying to write it down…

—Bob Grawi


This Season

the metal is cold
so cold it burns
it turns the skin red
brings upon that dry scale
one more season I tell myself
this is the last one
but here we are
the last one

—Cody McAvey


Things

Things hide…
Behind doors,
Under shelves,
Between couch pillows…

But worst of all,
In plain sight!

Alas, the brain
when under strain
Goes ever so gently
Down the drain.

—James Lichtenberg


Seeing You Makes Me Happy

I want to reach through the screen and hug you.
To squeeze you and kiss you and tell you I love you.
I see you on the screen and hear you through the speaker.
But it’s not the same.

You run around with laughter and sing out loud.
I see you at the table doing homework and I’m so proud.
You ask me questions and I answer.
But it’s not the same.

Every morning I awake with the thought of you.
Every night I fall asleep with the thought of you.
Every day I can’t wait to see you on that screen and hear you through that speaker.
But it’s not the same.

The saving grace is that I know you are safe.
You are loved by those who love you most.
And cared for by those that care the most.

That thought quiets my sadness and softens my heart.

I wait for the day I can see you and hug you.
To tell you how much I love you.
And to thank and hold the ones that took such good care of you.
Seeing you makes me happy.

—Michael Hargrove


Evrythng

i am
everything all of the time
except when
you are on my mind
and
everything is
your eyes
your skin
your love

oh how
now
everything is
a
disintegration loop

i see a ladybug
and
crumble

—Randy C. A. Grimshaw

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