Current Poetry

Tell Me a Lie

Xinyu Luo

About the Author

Xinyu Luo is an XE graduate student.

Tell Me a Lie2022-01-20T18:24:06+00:00

Fever-Dream, A Poem

Kenneth Butterfield

I.

How quickly can a little nation die?
As quickly as she can let down her hair.
It isn’t right; but then, life isn’t fair,
And someone else’s nonsense isn’t mine.
I’ll keep to me, and you to thee and thine.
And if you fancy, in those sandy lands,
That Ghani should have bloodied his own hands,
Perhaps you’re right—but, you must know, no one
Has a monopoly, when all is done,
On what is really right or really wrong.

Fever-Dream, A Poem2022-01-20T10:04:41+00:00

Dear Joe

Kenny Likis

We meet at last.  

I heard your name for decades but never took you seriously. I thought of you as a minor artist who  had a bunch of famous poets for friends. 

Oh to be a minor artist with famous poets for friends! 

I’ve spent lots of time reading poems by Frank O’Hara, John Ashbery, and Kenneth Koch, but I  never met them for lunch. I get a buzz picturing it. 

Ron Padgett, Ted Berrigan, and you each came from Tulsa to NYC. You were […]

Dear Joe2022-01-20T22:52:41+00:00

Kepler—16b

Eli Coyle

Two suns like art you rose again                         In the daylight of tangerines
Beneath the binaries of mandarins                    I brought you rocks and flowers
Each month ripe and heavy                                 No matter how often
On the branch, irrefutably                                   You wore the jackets I left
Painting your […]

Kepler—16b2022-01-20T10:09:02+00:00

Come Daughter, Enter My Kiln

Mary Ellen Talley

I have never been satisfied with my own pieces

See how rough and thick the saucers are

I see my script embellishes your jacket
gloves pants cap mask frosted gray hair
and hiking boots.

Be my guest
lay your clay bowls
beside mine
Set cups vases plates
on the soon hot shelf

Yours will be better–come step inside

Slide your fingers along the dry heat walls

Bisque
is formed
of spinning clay

Claim the brash flash
blue glaze earthen cup

It will not crumble
for I remembered
to raise the
temperature slowly.

I bequeath this kiln to you
built brick by brick

by brick hard thick […]

Come Daughter, Enter My Kiln2022-01-20T10:03:21+00:00

Updates Are Crucial to Our Survival

Haley L. Johannesen

the birds from yesterday
the ones living in the skull
                                                beaks up, fuzz all over their spring bodies,
are gone
                they must have learned how to fly
                                                […]

Updates Are Crucial to Our Survival2022-01-20T10:14:25+00:00

They Pronounced Her in Society That Has No Fringe

Eli Coyle

they pronounced her
salt hay and clay

whale and wooden wharf
apartment block and city

a place in the obscure books
by the ocean

the speaker begins
with observations

casting aloe and sunburn
in the years

they pronounced her
refined rock and persimmon

arm socks and summer linen
            drying on the line

They Pronounced Her in Society That Has No Fringe2022-01-20T10:12:36+00:00

Zunguka Zunguka

Frederick Livingston

Ruti began with a reed in each hand.
She wove strands up and down
around and around,
zunguka zunguka.

Her mother was glad
to see Ruti give up her daydreaming
“we always need another basket,
it seems.”

Ruti’s circles grew larger and larger
until she could only hold the edge
and turn her work as she wove,
zunguka zunguka.

Her brother, in passing,
admired her work,
“A fine grass mat
for our cold floor.”

Zunguka Zunguka2022-01-20T10:15:06+00:00

Sphinxed

Mary Warner

Did you hear
about the sphinx
in the high school basement?
She says she’s been
collecting dust among gym mats
and second place tennis trophies for
the past three millennia. 

That might be why she’s kind
of a bitch.
It must suck to eat rats
and listen to high schoolers
whine and wane

Sphinxed2022-01-20T10:11:58+00:00

Fujita 5

Lara Hamidi-Ismert

My father used to warn me
about tornado-people—
those addicted to breaking
precious things. He said
they are sometimes unaware
but sometimes all-knowing.
They’ll bury anyone in their path. 

I remember, so young,
one coming, a tornado
from the east, screaming
higher-pitched than the sirens.
My mother took me down
to the basement, and we listened,
my bladder full as it approached, 

but I knew not to move until
we heard dishes breaking, a […]

Fujita 52022-01-20T10:05:20+00:00