“I shall speak about women’s writing: about what it will do. Woman must write her self: must write about women and bring women to writing, from which they have been driven away as violently as from their bodies—for the same reasons, by the same law, with the same fatal goal. Woman must put herself into the text—as into the world and into history—by her own movement”
Helene Cixous, “The Laugh of Medusa.”
“Do you hear what I am saying? It is raining
inside my dream of you. The only true saints won’t let the heart
raffle off their desires. Once we could trust the simple spinning
of the planet to bring us back. But to where?”
Richard Jackson, from “Benediction,” Heartwall (University of Massachusetts Press, 2000).
Would ever have thought
The body could be poured? Like anything else?
Who would have supposed
The body pouring out of the body in the stench
Of resurrection?”
Larry Levis, “The Space.”
“And when two people have loved each other
see how it is like a
scar between their bodies,
stronger, darker, and proud;
how the black cord makes of them a single fabric
that nothing can tear or mend.”
Jane Hirshfield, “For What Binds Us” from Of Gravity & Angels.
“Do you imagine at night someone
going to bed the very moment
you are going to bed? Turning
out the light?
And isn’t it so quiet you swear
the heart is telepathic.
Isn’t it—”
Beckian Fritz Goldberg, from “Eros in His Striped Shirt,” In the Badlands of Desire (Cleveland State University Poetry Center, 1993)
“Many nights
now, when he stares there, he gets angry:—
something unfulfilled there, something dead
to what he once thought he surely could be—
Now, just the glamour of habits …

Once, instead,
he thought insight would remake him, he’d reach
—what? The thrill, the exhilaration
unravelling disaster, that seemed to teach
necessary knowledge … became just jargon.

Sick of being decent, he craves another
crash. What reaches him except disaster?”
Frank Bidart, “Self-Portrait, 1969” from In the Western Night: Collected Poems 1965-1990.
“I think of how the mystics read
by the light of their own bodies.
What a world of darkness that must have been
to read by the flaming hearts
that turn into heaps of ash on the altar,
how everything in the end is made
equal by the wind.”
Timothy Liu, excerpt from “Vox Angelica,” The New Young American Poets (Southern Illinois University, 2000 (via apoetreflects).

(via apoetreflects)

“To understand a profound thought is to have, at the moment one understands it, a profound thought oneself; and this demands some effort, a genuine descent to the heart of oneself … Only desire and love give us the strength to make this effort. The only books that we truly absorb are those we read with real appetite, after having worked hard to get them, so great had been our need of them.”
“The head alone is able to burst
into flame, on contact
with hard reality.”
Francis Ponge, “L’Allumette / The Match,” Poetry (SEPTEMBER 1952). 
It came to me one night as I was falling asleep
that I had finished with those amorous adventures
to which I had long been a slave. Finished with love?
my heart murmured. To which I responded that many profound discoveries
awaited us, hoping, at the same time, I would not be asked
to name them. For I could not name them. But the belief that they existed—
surely this counted for something?

The next night brought the same thought,
this time concerning poetry, and in the nights that followed
various other passions and sensations were, in the same way,
set aside forever, and each night my heart
protested its future, like a small child being deprived of a favorite toy.
But these farewells, I said, are the way of things.
And once more I alluded to the vast territory
opening to us with each valediction. And with that phrase I became
a glorious knight riding into the setting sun, and my heart
became the steed underneath me.

I was, you will understand, entering the kingdom of death,
though why this landscape was so conventional
I could not say. Here, too, the days were very long
while the years were very short. The sun sank over the far mountain.
The stars shone, the moon waxed and waned. Soon
faces from the past appeared to me:
my mother and father, my infant sister; they had not, it seemed,
finished what they had to say, though now
I could hear them because my heart was still.

At this point, I attained the precipice
but the trail did not, I saw, descend on the other side;
rather, having flattened out, it continued at this altitude
as far as the eye could see, though gradually
the mountain that supported it completely dissolved
so that I found myself riding steadily through the air—
All around, the dead were cheering me on, the joy of finding them
obliterated by the task of responding to them—

As we had all been flesh together,
now we were mist.
As we had been before objects with shadows,
now we were substance without form, like evaporated chemicals.
Neigh, neigh, said my heart,
or perhaps nay, nay—it was hard to know.

Here the vision ended. I was in my bed, the morning sun
contentedly rising, the feather comforter
mounded in white drifts over my lower body.
You had been with me—
there was a dent in the second pillowcase.
We had escaped from death—
or was this the view from the precipice?”
LOUISE GLÜCK, “An Adventure.”
“More and more frequently
the edges
of me dissolve.”
Margaret Atwood, “More and More.”


I have little to offer in this time when nothing lasts,
only that desire
to which you come as to a well.
Even the language tells it:
to satisfy and sadness rooted on one stock,
the faithful breathing back towards shadow
of everything that once bent to the sun.

Jane Hirshfield, from “Toward the Solstice,” Of Gravity & Angels (Wesleyan, 2011)

(via memoryslandscape)

Then the stone page they raised over her head.
Then the page made of grass which goes on.

Exit Beauty.

Then the page someone folded to mark her place.
Then the page on which nothing happens.
The page after this page.

Then the transcript.
Knocking within.

Interpretation, then harvest.

Exit Want.
Then a love story.

Then a trip to the ruins.
Then & only then the violet agenda.

Then hope without reason.
Then the construction of an underground passage between us.

Srikanth Reddy, “Burial Practice” from Facts for Visitors.
“Fathom me—

… I am a known depth. I’m a
Definition easy: a man, a mortal man.

A man with five needles on each hand
Pointing heavenward. Heed me. I’m lost.”
Dan Beachy-Quick, “Ishmael, or The Orphan” from Spell.