Confidentially Inga

if only to disagree with some passage the page opens more than we come expecting, now let us mud-wrestle and- see what we hate in the Lamb’s War (Ephesians) taken to your closet, taken to the street, this is not law but essential life drama where everyone’s unmasked in the story to embrace a more open stance than I’ve grown accustomed to greeting when some own up to privation lest they finally examine the Bible without the snobbery of Baltimore toward Indiana, :still there’s less resistance in burnished Boston amid some faithful, ahem, affectionately, then, let the red ink dry first

Chorro Ferdy

with neglected stretches afoot this past so jammed with rocks juts up between ferns and trees tensing into some ongoing anxiety of unseen opportunities in the day and a traipse around the Quaker burial ground in Ellicott City perceives the stone meetinghouse now a private residence : suspect it was called Elk Ridge Meeting but no proof yet : even boulders where elk roamed or buffalo now a stone enclosure under fieldstone forest before a floating worship the midweek turn here tomorrow night’s a blessing while my suburban exile draws to some close : humbly all we still share

Just listen to some powerful lines from the bared heart

The best poem I’ve ever read in nearly six decades of the New Yorker is one that wasn’t even presented as one of its two weekly poetry selections.

Instead, it appeared recently within a theater review, where the play under consideration reminded the critic “of the late poet Essex Hemphill, a master of frank desire whose smart, life-hungry speakers toss of lines like these:

I am lonely for past kisses,
for wild lips certain streets
breed for pleasure.
Romance is a foxhole.
This kind of love frightens me.
I don’t want to die sleeping with soldiers
I don’t love.”

A bit later comes a couplet from a different Hemphill poem:

I am beautiful.
I will endure.


My, how I admire the directness of those lines, their acerbic observations unencumbered by literary aspirations.

Yes, he skirts the imagist realm of so much of my own verse but somehow, to my eyes, averts any preachiness that can come from the subjects he’s examining.

What hits me the most is the clarity and intensity of his self-examination.

Yes, each time I return to these.