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Quotes tagged “Poetry”
Before the hanging cross, the girls
take turns standing at attention before
us with eyes closed or hands clasped,
headbands bright green or bangles
yellow, glints that fill the silence like
falling snow. They recite poems they
have carried in their mouths for days,
and my desire to go back, to be one
among these slender, long-haired girls
is a thistle, sharp and twisting at my
side. The words psalm, blessing, lord
rise in me like bees heavy with pollen,
and the teenager I once was unzips
herself from me, shows up, a crocus
bristling through snow. She’s back
in the old chapel where the priest
again lifts into the air the Bible,
declaims about the kingdom of God,
gifts promised only the righteous—
the girl I was, heavy and slow in her
thick glasses, knew she would never
enter heaven, never be these pretty girls
singing, arms pale and slim as the white
birch whose branches, dappled with gold,
shade the stained glass window. In Pamuk’s
novel, Snow, the headscarf girls in Eastern Turkey
hang themselves rather than go uncovered,
and still I want that certainty of conviction,
even as the self beside me pulls on her hair,
sucks long strands of it deep into her mouth—
so I gather her in my arms, shake her, tell
her to listen, that the sky will always happen,
these branches. Sometimes, it causes me
to tremble, tremble, she sings beside these
girls who will grow into or away from their
bodies, and I know I must push the heavy
amber of her back inside me. Help me, Lord.
There are so many bodies inside this one.”
what happens when a pendulum
hangs from a pendulum?
How does gravity work then?
We were studying invisible forces
and left the classroom, heading into
the world with just our two bodies,
which were to be both string and bob.
In the woods behind school, he climbed into a tree
and lowered himself down,
holding a branch.
I reached up to his thin ankles
and lifted my bare feet off the ground.
Someone must have been there to try to make us swing,
record the harmonic oscillations,
and take the polaroids,
still stapled to this yellowed lab report.
It’s haunting to discover it now, to see in the photos
how we hung there smiling, white,
safe and dumb.
How little history we knew.
If only all feet could come back
to stand on the ground,
not get buried under it,
left to hang above, left outside
in the told and untold,
in the toll of hot municipal suns.
We didn’t understand much of anything
but completed the assignment,
typed up the results, passed physics,
went to college and typed and typed
and never took another science class,
we were humanities majors.
Sometimes when I’m not typing now
I run lines with an actor friend
and can’t get them out of my head.
Another heavenly day,
says Winnie as the curtain rises.
She’s buried to her waist in earth
and for a while you think it can’t get any worse.
What are they, really?
Don’t let me sleep on.”
what I saw on the long walk
away from you
I couldn’t eat
and didn’t sleep
for an entire week
I can hardly picture any of it now
save the fox I thought
was in the grass but wasn’t
I remember him quiet
as a telescope
tiny as a Plutonian moon
was wilding around us
the sky and the wind
the riptides and
the rogue comet
blasting toward earth
do you remember this
I introduced myself
by one of the names
I kept back then
the fox was so still
I could have called him anything”
The past is a fox the hunters are flaying.
Nothing unspoken goes without saying.
Love’s a casino where lovers risk playing.
The future’s a marker our hearts are prepaying.
The future’s a promise there’s no guaranteeing.
Today is a fire the field mice are fleeing.
Love is a marriage of feeling and being.
The past is a mirror for wishful sightseeing.
Nothing goes missing without absenteeing.
Nothing gets cloven except by dividing.
The future is chosen by atoms colliding.
The past’s an elision forever eliding.
Today is a fog bank in which I am hiding.
Love is a burn forever debriding.
Love’s an ascent forever plateauing.
Nothing is granted except by bestowing.
Today is an anthem the cuckoos are crowing.
The future’s a convolute river onflowing.
The past is a lawn the neighbor is mowing.
The past is an answer not worth pursuing,
Nothing gets done except by the doing.
The future’s a climax forever ensuing.
Love is only won by wooing.
Today is a truce between reaping and rueing.”
comes back to get his money,
leaves the car. With filthy rags
we rub it down until it doesn’t shine
and wipe your blood into
the seams of the seat.
Each snowflake stirs before
lifting into the sky as I
learn you won’t be dead.
The unsuffering ends
when the mess of your head
pulls together around
a bullet in your mouth.
You spit it into Dad’s gun
before arriving in the driveway
while the evening brightens
and we pour bag after bag
of leaves on the lawn,
waiting for them to leap”
Better Off Dead, it’s like 7 a.m.
and I confess I’m looking
over my shoulder once or twice
just to make sure no one in Brooklyn
is peeking into my third-floor window
to see me in pajamas I haven’t washed
for three weeks before I slide
from sink to stove in one long groove
left foot first then back to the window side
with my chin up and both fists clenched
like two small sacks of stolen nickels
and I can almost hear the silver
hit the floor by the dozens
when I let loose and sway a little back
and just like that I’m a lizard grown
two new good legs on a breeze
-bent limb. I’m a grown-ass man
with a three-day wish and two days to live.
And just like that everyone
knows my heart’s broke and no one is home.
Just like that, I’m water.
Just like that, I’m the boat.
Just like that, I’m both things in the whole world
rocking. Sometimes sadness is just
what comes between the dancing. And bam!,
my mother’s dead and, bam!, my brother’s
children are laughing. Just like—ok, it’s true
I can’t pop up from my knees so quick these days
and no one ever said I could sing but
tell me my body ain’t good enough
for this. I’ll count the aches another time,
one in each ankle, the sharp spike in my back,
this mud-muscle throbbing in my going bones,
I’m missing the six biggest screws
to hold this blessed mess together. I’m wind—
rattled. The wood’s splitting. The hinges are
falling off. When the first bridge ends,
just like that, I’m a flung open door.”
But I was busy making a list: good dog, bad citizen, short
skeleton, tall mocha. Typical Tuesday.
My mother was in the hospital & no one wanted to be her friend.
Everyone wanted to be soft cooing sympathies. Very reasonable
pigeons. No one had the time & our solution to it
was to buy shinier watches. We were enamored with
what our wrists could declare. My mother was in the hospital
& I didn’t want to be her friend. Typical son. Tall latte, short tale,
bad plot, great wifi in the atypical café. My mother was in the hospital
& she didn’t want to be her friend. She wanted to be the family
grocery list. Low-fat yogurt, firm tofu. She didn’t trust my father
to be it. You always forget something, she said, even when I do the list for you. Even then.”
almost every afternoon while
they napped or later sat
upstairs with homework.
She listened to the scrape
of desk chairs on the ceiling
while she measured and blended,
hummed from oven
to sink, redolence rising
in a sweet promise she thought
was required, didn’t know
how to live without,
all her life afraid
to be left empty-handed.”
But it’s not a joke.
I bought coffee there
Small, with milk.
It’s never a joke
to walk in or out of a shop
unharmed. It’s easy
you aren’t a person
being shot at.
I wasn’t, though
I was there,
and I never knew it.
Did not once
Thinking it now
the moment thins,
and I move back to
other coffee shops
where I never fell, or bled,
I sit for a while
with my regular cup
and feel things collapse
or go on, I can’t tell.”
took the hammer right out his hand
and bent it and twisted it into a fine necklace
and took him to a real nice dinner.
Koko Taylor had twelve thousand wigs.
One she never wore. Just kept at home.
Was enchanted, spun from gold and full of rubies,
and sang to her at night in the voice of her mother.
Koko Taylor wrote songs with a blue ink pen.
Koko Taylor wrote rivers with a blue ink pen.
Koko Taylor wrote the Illinois Central Rail line with a blue pen.
Just got right on her knees and scratched it into the ground.
Koko Taylor was the ghostwriter of seventeen Beatles songs.
Koko Taylor was the inventor of the icebox.
Koko Taylor could play chess with checkers.
Koko Taylor could bake a pound cake in the palm of her hand by winking.
Koko Taylor flew from Memphis to Chicago on a jukebox.
The jukebox could grant three wishes.
Koko Taylor wished for lipstick the color she saw in a dream.
She wished to be born again, under a good sign.
She wished for a better jukebox.”
in and out, morning and night. they were
a pile of dirty sheets at the foot of a bed,
gnarled broomsticks, dustpans, and sooty vacuums,
her hands were soiled rags in yellow gloves,
they were two pillows beaten of mites
and dead skin, her hands were paper towels
and windex on greasy mirrors.
they were many rooms each day.
her hands were a slice of wonder bread
dipped in dark coffee with sugar,
they were cinnamon sticks oozing in farina,
they were ketchup squeezed over a plate
of scrambled eggs and white rice
they were what fed and cleansed
her hands were my hands
rushing to school before work.”
and the soul is like an animal–hunted and slow–
this buffalo walks through me every night as if I was
some kind of prairie and hunkers against the cold dark,
snorting under the stars while the fog of its breathing
rises in the air, and it is the loneliest feeling I know
to approach it slowly with my hand outstretched
to tenderly touch the heavy skull furred and rough
and stroke that place huge between its ears where
what I think and what it thinks are one singing thing
so quiet that, when I wake, I seldom remember
walking beside it and whispering in its ear quietly
passing the miles, the two of us, as if Cheyenne or
the lights of San Francisco were our unlikely destination
and sometimes trains pass us and no one leans out hard
in the dark aiming to end us and so we continue on
somehow and today while the seismic quietness of
the earth spun beneath my feet and while the world
I guess carried on, that lumbering thing moved heavy
thick and dark through the dreams I believe we keep
having whether we sleep or not and when you see it
again say I’m sorry for things you didn’t do and
then offer it some sweet-grass and tell it stories
you remember from the star-chamber of the womb
or at least the latest joke, something good to keep it
company as otherwise it doesn’t know you are here
for love, and like the world tonight, doesn’t really
care whether we live or die. Tell it you do and why.”
About The Authors
This page was created by our editorial team. Each page is manually curated, researched, collected, and issued by our staff writers. Quotes contained on this page have been double checked for their citations, their accuracy and the impact it will have on our readers.
Kelly Peacock is an accomplished poet and social media expert based in Brooklyn, New York. Kelly has a Bachelor's degree in creative writing from Farieligh Dickinson University and has contributed to many literary and cultural publications. Kelly assists on a wide variety of quote inputting and social media functions for Quote Catalog. Visit her personal website here.
Kendra Syrdal is a writer, editor, partner, and senior publisher for The Thought & Expression Company. Over the last few years she has been personally responsible for writing, editing, and producing over 30+ million pageviews on Thought Catalog.