July 23, 2024

Mary Meriam

ARS POETICA

She took me home—or what I thought was home,
but was in fact a hell she made for us.
We left The Sound of Music with the fuss
that I was making, working out my poem

in sobs. She asked me what was wrong. I said,
“I want to be there,” in the Alps, singing,
twirling with her in sunshine. I was clinging
to song, with nothing real to hold instead.

She gave me pain—no comforting the way
most mothers do, I guess. And so I wept
like no tomorrow, out of love. We left
for rainy sidewalks to the car, the day

falling in dusk, the pity I had to make,
the bleak, deserted street I had to take.

from Rattle #48, Summer 2015

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Mary Meriam: “The scene in ‘Ars Poetica’ has been haunting me for a long time, so it’s a relief to have finally brought that ghost to the light of day. Now some of the pain I felt has been transformed into the formal pleasures of a sonnet.” (web)

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July 22, 2024

Cindy Gore

GHAZAL FOR BREVITY

A mantra sets in with just one word.
A dream can end with just one word.
 
A human’s lifetime of asking questions
—why?—will begin with just one word.
 
The babysitter fastened baby’s diaper
and made him grin with just one word.
 
A rude, intrusive busybody got under
the neighbor’s skin with just one word.
 
Tell the bartender pouring gin and tonic
“how many parts gin” with just one word.
 
As the crescendo builds, the wicked villain
in the film commits sin with just one word.
 
Teacher, you have learned over and over
that one fails to listen with just one word.
 

from Rattle #84, Summer 2024
Tribute to the Ghazal

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Cindy Gore: “Although I had read the word ghazal in poem titles before, I was unfamiliar with the particulars of the form because I’ve never been formally trained in poetry. I became interested in learning more when poet Campbell McGrath commented about Alexis Sears’s ‘Heartbreak Ghazal’ on the Rattlecast after the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas.”

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July 21, 2024

Annette Makino

HAIKU

 
 
 
 
dry thunder
the latest polls
roll in
 
 
 
 

from Poets Respond

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Annette Makino: “I’m spending the week at a cabin on the Klamath River in Northern California, where a summer storm surprised us on Monday. It’s beautiful here, but dry thunder—and dry lightning—are very ominous in this rugged, mountainous region prone to wildfires. The weather seemed to echo my sense of dread from the political news.” (web)

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July 20, 2024

Annika Ziff Glueck (age 12)

WE HAVE SAID SO MANY GOODBYES

for my grandmother lost to Alzheimer’s

Today we remember you.
And will always remember you,
Even though we said many goodbyes
These past years.
 
Goodbye to the last time you’ll remember my name,
The last time you’ll read me a book,
The last time you’ll play a game with me,
The last time you’ll join family dinner,
The last time I will hear your words,
The last time you’ll walk with me,
The last time I’ll make you laugh,
The last time you’ll hear my voice 
and respond.
 
And now this last goodbye, 
As we lay you to rest,
Free to be your whole self again.
After so many goodbyes.
 

from 2024 Rattle Young Poets Anthology

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Why do you like to write poetry?

Annika Ziff Glueck: “I started writing poetry when I was younger, and my grandmother Anne encouraged me to keep going. I love to curl up and read, but for me, writing is hard some days. I love poetry as a way to share my ideas and emotions, and communicate my voice.”

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July 19, 2024

Staci Halt

MY SON SAYS THANK YOU WHEN I SAY I LOVE YOU

It happened one time, then again;
I am certain whatever it indicates—
 
embarrassment, or maybe
he’s unearthed quietly
the fact that I am difficult
 
to love, and responds
in the only reasonable way he can—
 
the new exchange cemented itself
into our routines         around the time
of the divorce.
 
I’ve heard children will often
punish the mother.         Why shouldn’t they
unload their righteous little arsenals?
 
There must be another version of our life.
One where we never have to leave
the farm by the woods,
where the trampoline
springs never rust,
 
the Japanese maple has grown enormous,
and the forsythia I planted,
rampant—it has so wildly
taken over, that after a long day
 
when we pull in the winding drive
towards home, we can’t remember
 
why we are so sad,
because everything is a clamor
of yellow yellow yellow—
 
the house, the yard, the barn,
even the pine-choked sky.
 

from Rattle #84, Summer 2024

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Staci Halt: “I am a writer near Boston and mother of six wonderful humans and several pets. My poems often come through a speaker who faces or reflects on terrifying circumstances; the poems end up serving as a sort of container for something that demands containment or would otherwise be unbearable.” (web)

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July 18, 2024

Terry's Keys by Kim Beckham, photograph of keys hanging on a fence at a beach

Image: “Terry’s Keys” by Kim Beckham. “Bigger Than Us” was written by Emily Walker for Rattle’s Ekphrastic Challenge, June 2024, and selected as the Artist’s Choice.

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Emily Walker

BIGGER THAN US

we ran out shrieking
leaving our mark as
footprints in the sand
only stopping to
plant our keys on the fence
like a flag on the moon
terry, her short hair,
her red face,
said we owned the beach
and we could’ve
but the black-backed gulls
who mimicked our screeches,
they were thieves
the dunes were our country
the waves, our closest friends
the sun burnt us in continents
drawing maps on our backs and
painting our hair with streaks
of light, of day, of promise.
stay forever, we swore and
locked our pinkies till they bled
 

from Ekphrastic Challenge
June 2024, Artist’s Choice

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Comment from the artist, Kim Beckham: “‘We ran out shrieking.’ I really like that the poet created characters and a world to fit the scene. They truly captured all of the senses in the images, sounds, and heat of Terry’s day at the beach. It felt really tight with the perfect image to punctuate the ending. Pinky swear!”

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July 17, 2024

Siddharth Dasgupta

METROPOLIS WITH GHAZAL

Come walk with me through the bones of this bustling city.
Time hedges its bets in the spit-spatter of this hustling city.
 
On the streets, fragrance is rampant. Catharsis of us, strained
through the finely-woven forgetfulness of this muslin city.
 
A silent movie plays at the Regal. Speak to me of silence,
lest I scream mercy in the bare fangs of this cuspid city.
 
You and me at the speed of sound. Leave behind a note
for me in the rich, riotous libraries of this lovesick city.
 
There is a war on TV. The ratings are high. Lay down
your arms for me, in the bravado of this muscling city.
 
Mythology’s all the rage. The disco dance of antiquities.
It prospers florid as the footnotes to this tussling city.
 
Jesus speaks to me from a mosque that peals with temple
bells, deep in the wide-eyed throb of this puzzling city.
 
Siddharth, you should leave prophecy behind. Sing, write,
scream, prosper. Tonight, dream up this druglicked city.
 

from Rattle #84, Summer 2024
Tribute to the Ghazal

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Siddharth Dasgupta: “As an Indian writer, to write the ghazal is to follow in a centuries-long tradition—from the ache of Amir Khusrow, the twin longings of Jan Nisar Akhtar and Faiz Ahmad Faiz, and the revered mysticism of Mirza Ghalib, to the more contemporary English explorations of Agha Shahid Ali and Jeet Thayil. This ghazal then is one leaf in a long line of flourishing forests, infused with an ethnic heartbeat and existential ache that keep time to lost cities, bars filled with anonymous jazz, and love that knows no agenda.” (web)

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