“Bread” (Russell Edson)


I like good looking bread. Bread that’s willing. The kind of bread that’s found in dreams of hunger.

And so it was that I met such a bread. I had knocked on a door (I sometimes do that to keep my knuckles in shape), and a women of huge doughy proportions (she had that unbaked, unkneaded look) appeared holding a rather good-looking loaf of bread.

I took a bite and the loaf began to cry…

—Russell Edson
from The Prose Poem #5

"Dictionary Addition" by Ines Seidel

“The pregnancy of words” (Bob Hicok)

“The pregnancy of words”

Eros scrabbles to rose and rage
to gear or gare, as in Gare du Nord,
where I trained in to Paris from not
smoking pot in Master Mad, I’m sorry,
Amsterdam, with its canals
called grachts and clocks
that bonged my homesick hours
at different times. Which is smite
for you violet types, a flower
that says “love it” if you listen. Me, I do
and don’t feel it matters that evil thrives
in live, that we tinker and smash
everything down to bits and then
try to patch a path back home, it’s our lotto
in life, to have no clue
what a natural disaster is
when that disaster is us. That’s what I love
about the shrug, it says zilch
sans le mouth and becomes
more aerobic the more you admit
the less you know, you know? It’s a jumble
out there, kids, with slips and slides
and elide’s eally ool, depending
what’s lopped off, as in light of   hand
or slight of and, but I better spot
before you pots how sparse
this parsing is. Besides, what can I say
about language other than it’s an anal egg
in need of one glorious u. Words
or sword—pick your poisson. Every time
I try to peak into speaking, the bag
of gab to learn what our noodles
are really up to, I get flummoxed
that the tools I use
are the stool I stand on
to see a way in or out. I can’t even tell
if  I’m more trapped or rapt,
if meaning’s mean or play’s
a dumb waiter riding numbly
up and down. But have you noticed
read becomes dear
if you ignore the world
as you find it and find it in you
to swirl the word, in the way
solve and loves are the same
bones, different skeletons.

—Bob Hicok
from Poetry Magazine (May 2014)

Photo (“Dictionary Addition”) by Ines Seidel

W. H. Auden

from “Goodbye to Mezzogiorno” (W. H. Auden)

…We are rather shocked
But we need shocking: to accept space, to own

That surfaces need not be superficial,
Nor gestures vulgar, cannot really
Be taught within earshot of running water
Or in sight of a cloud. As pupils

We are not bad, but hopeless as tutors: Goethe
Tapping homeric hexameters
On the shoulder-blade of a Roman girl, is
(I wish it were someone else) the figure

Of all our stamp. No doubt he treated her well,
But one would draw the line at calling
The Helena begotten on that occasion,
Queen of his Second Walpurgisnacht,

Her baby: between those who mean by a life a
Bildungsroman and those to whom living
Means to-be-visible-now, there yawns a gulf
Embraces cannot bridge…

—from “Goodbye to Mezzogiorno” by W.H. Auden
found in Collected Poems

Mark Twain

on Jane Austen (Mark Twain)

“I haven’t any right to criticize books, and I don’t do it except when I hate them. I often want to criticize Jane Austen, but her books madden me so that I can’t conceal my frenzy from the reader; and therefore I have to stop every time I begin. Every time I read ‘Pride and Prejudice,’ I want to dig her up and hit her over the skull with her own shin-bone.” —Mark Twain

Creative Commons licensed image by Michael Donovan

Paul Bowles (1949)

on the inexhaustible well (Paul Bowles)

“Because we don’t know when we will die, we get to think of life as an inexhaustible well. Yet everything happens only a certain number of times, and a very small number really. How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood, some afternoon that is so deeply a part of your being that you can’t even conceive of your life without it? Perhaps four or five times more, perhaps not even that. How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty. And yet it all seems limitless.”

—Paul Bowles
from The Sheltering Sky

Photo (Paul Bowles, 1949) by poorusher