IN THE END
In the end, there are five bear cubs underneath your porch. You name them after U.S. Presidents. Taft dies of starvation. Carter disappears into the flowers. Hoover is carried away by hawks. Roosevelt digs into the ground to get away from ghosts. Lincoln grows up. Lincoln becomes a mother, with five cubs of her own. You are very proud of Lincoln. After Lincoln eats you, you adapt to your new life. You are still so proud of the bears you have given names to. Maybe they were dogs.
Maya Angelou is a rapper now. The late writer’s poems have been layered with hip-hop beats for a new album, Caged Bird Songs. The album uses previous recordings of Angelou and a few made last year. ”She saw (hip-hop) as this generation’s way of speaking and conveying a message,” her grandson Colin A. Johnson said. Pair with: Our tribute to Angelou.
It’s been a year since Nobel laureate and Irish poet Seamus Heaney passed away. His publishers are releasing a final collection of his poetry in November. In The Irish Independent, a brief retrospective on Heaney’s legacy, which includes his wife’s unique way of expressing her gratitude to his friends. You could also read Trent Morris’s tribute to Heaney for The Millions.
Despite several irate comments regarding the article from New Hampshire residents, pointing out correctly that most of that wine bought in New Hampshire is most likely consumed in bordering states and by vacationers from as far as Canada passing through who can’t resist our low prices, there’s no doubt in my mind that the consumption of wine has gone up in the forty-one years since I’ve settled in New Hampshire. Once the state allowed the selling of wines not just in its own liquor stores, but in supermarkets, small groceries, filling stations, and even in drug stores, it became clear that the locals too were drinking wine. My other piece of evidence comes from our town dump, where the empty wine bottles are separated into their own bins and into which I take a peek every week while dropping my own empties. What became obvious over the years is not just the increase in quantity, but the improved quality of the wines that are being drunk. Since I associate wine with good life and civilization, knowing that everyone from the old Greek and Romans to our Founding Fathers drank it too, Benjamin Franklin even claiming that wine is a proof that God loves us, I find this to be a most felicitous development.
I have tried them all,
The cotton, the nylon,
absorbing water, rolling in sand,
sticky flakes of broken glass.
We all drown in the end.
Fifty years ago, Frank O’Hara released Lunch Poems, a collection of remarkably informal poetry that rebuked the more academic verse of his day. As a tribute, Dwight Garner writes about the importance of the book in the Times, arguing that O’Hara’s grasp of the zeitgeist is the reason he appeared on Mad Men. For more on the poet’s legacy, take a look at Christopher Richards on O’Hara’s lessons for being gay.
I’m always inspired because I’m alive. It’s a gift to be able to do this. I don’t need outside inspiration. I need time. And if, and when, I get it, I use it. It would scare me to have all day long to write. I need pockets of time, spaces where it is tempting to write before the clock strikes the end. That’s where poems are born for me, when time is so compressed that the idea sparks out.