DON’T RUIN IT

When hair hides a beautiful woman’s face

I curse hair and desire and the human race.

I curse beauty and desire and my disgrace

When hair hides a woman’s face.

Don’t ruin it, I said to myself, which you always do.

Oh God look at her. She’s loving you.

Don’t give me Rumi or politics or science.

Give me a beautiful woman’s face.

Don’t give me biblical injunctions and wisdom and advice.

Really. You are thoughtful and nice.

But I will love her at my own pace.

When a song comes into your head,

Record the melody softly. Don’t add a drum.

Beauty must be gently fed.

Time is the same for everyone.

She’s yours. Don’t throw a fit.

Don’t ruin it.

 

WHY DO YOU RUN FROM MY POEM?

Why do you run from my poem?

In it, you can be fulfilled.

In my poem you can never be

Misunderstood or killed.

You love photographs?

But in these photographs you come across as self-willed.

Poetry is trending—poetry is the new way

For one to get attention. What do you say?

In my poem you can never die.

Look, there is no evil eye—

In my poem no false eye stares you down

As you look fake in your red makeup,

Or moan in your stiff white gown.

You will be glorious in my poem. You will never die.

You will be hidden from every monster

And look pretty when you cry.

Why do you run from my poem?

Things will turn out well.

I control everything. The heaven of your being

Avoiding the grasp of hell.

What I say goes. Nothing else gets in

To change my poem—or ruin your skin.

You want to look good? You will never look better.

I can make you beautiful

With a word, or grace you with a letter.

You reside here, where there are no tombs.

Lillys on the hills surround your life.

There are roses in your rooms.

 

 

 

 

 

 

IF YOU DON’T REMEMBER

If you don’t remember
How we loved and kissed,
Since obviously you were out of your mind,
I will tell you—and if there’s any hatred or sadness I’ve missed
You can tell me later, if you are still feeling unkind.

My poetry always knew what I loved and whom I loved
And when I wrote my poems to you,
That was the first act of love, remember?
That was how you and I knew,
If that helps you to remember.

The red envelope
With the poem within
Was the start of a love
That ended in sin.

If there is one kind of sin I wish to remember,
It is the one that travels in mist and wind,
And blows lovers about.
The first time you let me kiss your lips
There was never any doubt.

I had to kiss you again and again,
Whether the weather was cold, or dry, or wet.
You had a face, and a chin, and breasts
Which I cannot forget.

But if you cannot remember,
I’ll tell you what I’ll do.
I’ll remember for both of us.
My mind, to live, will divide in two,
As that shady garden grew, when the lovers went
Into the garden’s shadows, and love seemed to end,
And even sorrow seemed to be spent.

 

IF SHE DOESN’T LOVE YOU

If she doesn’t love you,

Watch her get old.

Time’s her new lover.

Time loves her slowly

The way she likes. You were too bold.

You wrote her poems and proclaimed

Your love and felt a love for her like death.

Now time is the one who feeds on her breath.

She was not a poet and didn’t want to be told

She was one. That just got old.

You heaped too much praise on her days.

She wants that friendly style,

Of friends, who tell her she’s a doofus with a smile.

You were too bold. Retreat, and watch her get old.

Time is hers. Time is the one she gets to hold.

 

THOMAS BRADY UNLEASHED

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The spirit who guides Scarriet

This poem, To ____ was published on Scarriet in April of last year— here read aloud by Thomas Graves.

This poem, Beauty Is Wrong, also comes from April, 2015.  A reading by Thomas Graves.

Eleanor Windsor.  A new version of the song. Recorded by Brady very recently on his phone with acoustic guitar.  Points for anyone who knows who the person is in the photograph standing next to JFK.

I Had A Dog.  A cheesy, moody rock tune, showing that Brady can do, well, anything.

Beautiful Indian Girl with Cat is one of our personal favorites:

Fantasy for Strings.  What is Brady doing here?  Classical music? What is classical music?

And finally, Now That The Night Is Falling.

 

THE DAY IS A POEM

jaho window

The day is a poem. I cannot write one.
I’ll tell you why the day is a poem. Okay. So:
It has some wind, clouds, rain: a warm January day;
It was a warm December, bereft of snow,
So this day symbolizes, with its warm cloudiness,
The whole winter so far: everything is going to be okay.
The shortness of the day provides a certain gloom,
The darkness from the clouds feels a little sad,
The kind you get in a warm, dimly-lighted room,
And the dampness is like a melody in a minor key,

But if there is a poem here, today is its tomb
And that’s what I need to explain:
I don’t want you to think my poem and day agree;
There isn’t any trick this poem is playing.
The “Bottled Liquors” sign of the liquor store
Across the street as I sit with my coffee here,
Slouching and writing, is not what I’m saying.
This windy day prevents a poem, not because there is more
Poetry in it than I can capture; there’s poems in this day,
And theater—tables with Greek chorus—in this café, sure.
But what I mean by: “this day is a poem. I cannot write one,”
Is a truth not always so, and it may not be true tomorrow.
It has to do with me, and my feelings. Probably my sorrow.

 

 

 

 

 

I DIDN’T LOVE

I didn’t love, because things weren’t ready.
I didn’t love, because things weren’t there.
I had to have an agent and a manager.
I had to prepare.

Someone said love was simple,
Sitting with a poem on his bed,
Writing his own simple music.
I adored him for everything he said.

I didn’t love, because I couldn’t rest
Before the simplicity of love’s stare.
I had to have clouds, shadows and mountains
Before I could care.

I didn’t love, because there were others,
I didn’t love, because love isn’t fair.
I had to be the one. The only one.
So I didn’t dare.

I didn’t love because poetry is dying,
The arts and civilities are lying.
How can one trust lust?
My little life said, beware.

Because lives move,
I didn’t love.

 

 

 

HOT! HOT! HOT! SCARRIET POETRY HOT 100! HAPPY 2016!

  1. BEN MAZER –Simply the best poet writing today. Keeping John Crowe Ransom and Landis Everson alive, too. “all is urgent, just because it gives, and in the mirror, life to life life gives.”
  2. CLAUDIA RANKINE–“How difficult is it for one body to see injustice wheeled at another?”
  3. ROBIN COSTE LEWIS–Winner of the 2015 National Book Award in Poetry with Voyage of the Sable Venus.
  4. BILLY COLLINS–There’s only one Billy Collins. You will know him by his bathrobe and slippers.
  5. SHARON OLDS–Plain-spoken poignancy.
  6. JOHN ASHBERY–Essentially French
  7. KENNETH GOLDSMITH–We don’t see how he can redeem himself.
  8. TERRANCE HAYES–Highbrow examination of prejudice.
  9. ALICE NOTLEY–2015 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize
  10. SARAH HOWE–her debut book, Loop of Jade, wins 2016 T.S. Eliot Prize.
  11. CHUMKI SHARMA–“After every rain I leave the place for something called home.”
  12. SEAN O’BRIEN–“‘People’ tell us nowadays these views are terribly unfair,/But these forgiving ‘people’ aren’t the ‘people’ who were there.”
  13. MELISSA STEIN–because she wrote the poem, “never said.”
  14. MARY ANGELA DOUGLAS–“till the larks cry out/and not with music”
  15. DORIANNE LAUX–because she wrote the poem, “Facts About the Moon.”
  16. MAURA STANTON–“Who made me feel by feeling nothing”
  17. MOLLY BRODAK–“boundlessness secretly exists, I hear”
  18. TRACI BRIMHALL–“I broke a shell to keep it from crying out for the sea”
  19. CATE MARVIN–because she wrote the poem, “The Readership.”
  20. BETSY SHOLL–because she wrote the poem, “The Sea Itself.”
  21. SJOHNNA MCCRAY–2015 Walt Whitman Award winner for Rapture
  22. CHARLES HAYES–“her sweaty driver knows his load is fair”
  23. BRIAN BRODEUR–his blog is “How A Poem Happens”
  24. MELISSA GREEN–“They’ve mown the summer meadow”
  25. RICK BAROT–because he wrote the poem, “Reading Plato.”
  26. ALLEN PROWLE–Do we live in the Age of Plagiarism?
  27. VANESSA PLACE–What do you think, Vanessa?
  28. LORI JAKIELA–“In Pittsburgh, we have 2 dreams…go to Vegas to live…go to Florida to die”
  29. CONNIE VOISINE–“The oleanders are blooming and heavy with hummingbirds”
  30. SHARA LESSLEY–because she wrote the poem, “Advice From The Predecessor’s Wife.”
  31. ALFRED CORN–because he wrote “An Xmas Murder.”
  32. WILLIAM LOGAN–“The critic is a Diogenes in a world where everyone is Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm” (Battersea Review) Are there poets on Sunnybrook Farm?
  33. MARJORIE PERLOFF–Are there so many poets, that reviewers and critics no longer exist?
  34. DAVID HUDDLE–because he wrote the poem, “Men’s Sauna.”
  35. TIM LIARDET–“Its windows look through us, as if we offer a view.”
  36. BOB HICOK–because he wrote the poem, “The Active Reader.”
  37. LOUISE GLÜCK–because she wrote the poem, “A Fantasy.”
  38. CHARLES SIMIC–because he wrote the poem, “So Early in the Morning”
  39. DANA GIOIA–because he wrote the poem, “The Angel with the Broken Wing”
  40. DONALD HALL–“To grow old is to lose everything.”
  41. LAURA KASISCHKE–because she wrote the poem, “For the Young Woman I Saw Hit by a Car While Riding Her Bike.”
  42. CODY WALKER–because he wrote the poem, “Trades I Would Make.”
  43. DERRICK MICHAEL HUDSON–Will he be remembered?
  44. DAVID LEHMAN–Editor of Best American Poetry series has a soft spot for Tin Pan Alley.
  45. CARL DENNIS–2002 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry
  46. MARK JARMAN–narrative poet is a professor at Vanderbilt.
  47. KUSHAL PODDAR–Bold, intriguing, WC Williams-like poet in English from Bengal.
  48. VALERIE MACON–Briefly poet laureate from North Carolina
  49. GARRISON KEILLOR–Good for good poems.
  50. PHILIP NIKOLAYEV–Confounding the experts by drawing.
  51. JUAN FELIPE HERRERA–California laureate to U.S. Laureate.
  52. RON SILLIMAN–Hates Republicans.
  53. EILEEN MYLES–I Must Be Living Twice is her latest book.
  54. PATRICIA LOCKWOOD–Twitter poet with two books, a Best American Poetry regular, and a viral poem.
  55. TONY HOAGLAND–because he wrote the poem, “Lucky.”
  56. STEPHEN DUNN–2000 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry
  57. STEPHEN BURT–Critic at Harvard with an eye on the new.
  58. W.S. MERWIN–“you know there was never a name for that color”
  59. RICHARD WILBUR–“not vague, not lonely, not governed by me only”
  60. JOE GREEN–Limerick Homer. Yes, this is for real. Homer translated into limericks.
  61. ROBERT HASS–“So the first dignity, it turns out, is to get the spelling right.”
  62. NAOMI SHIHAB NYE–“If you love Jesus you can’t love anyone else”
  63. RODNEY JONES–“I happily took myself into the darkness of the underground, where I was king”
  64. GERALD STERN–because he wrote the poem, “Waving Goodbye.”
  65. JORIE GRAHAM–“A rooster crows all day from mist outside the walls”
  66. DAVID KIRBY–because he wrote the poem, “Broken Promises.”
  67. BARBARA HAMBY–“carrying around a copy of Being and Nothingness so boys will think you have a fine mind.”
  68. LISA LEWIS–“I knew it was love when I didn’t want to close my eyes.”
  69. SUSAN WOOD–“The simple fact is very plain. They want the bitterness to remain.”
  70. BRENDA HILLMAN–“Talking flames get rid of hell.”
  71. LUCIA PERILLO–because she wrote the poem, “Early Cascade.”
  72. STEPHEN STURGEON–“City busses are crashing and I can’t hear Murray Perahia”
  73. JESSE BALL–because he wrote the poem, “Lester, Burma.”
  74. CHARLES BERNSTEIN–Attack of the Difficult Poems was published in 2011.
  75. GEORGE BILGERE–The new Billy Collins. Featured on Garrison Keillor’s show.
  76. LES MURRAY–“Everything except language knows the meaning of existence.”
  77. SURAZEUS SIMON SEAMOUNT–Epic poems of the ancient philosophers.
  78. ALAN CORDLE–Foetry.com founder. Scarriet was his idea as a reply to Blog Harriet.
  79. NATHANIEL MACKEY–Reynolds Price Professor of Creative Writing at Duke University.
  80. AMY KING–received MFA in Poetry from Brooklyn College and MA in Poetics from SUNY Buffalo.
  81. LAWRENCE FERLINGHETTI–Presenter at mass S.F. protest (“Human Be-In”) in January, 1967, when LSD was banned in California in 1966.
  82. PETER GIZZI–“No isn’t it amazing, no none of that”
  83. DEBORAH LANDAU–“I don’t have a pill for that”
  84. SARAH ARVIO–In 2015 Best American Poetry
  85. MARK DOTY–His book Deep Lane was short-listed for 2016 T.S. Eliot Prize.
  86. MARY OLIVER–“You do not have to be good”
  87. DAN CHIASSON–because he writes for the New Yorker
  88. MARILYN HACKER–National Book Award for Poetry in 1975.
  89. A.E. STALLINGS–she rhymes.
  90. HAROLD BLOOM–does he still hate Poe?
  91. ANNE CARSON–“don’t keep saying you don’t hear it too
  92. RITA DOVE–U.S. Poet Laureate 1993-95.
  93. DON SHARE–“A brown bust of a sad man”
  94. HELEN VENDLER–The Ocean, the Bird, and the Scholar: Essays on Poets and Poetry was published in April, 2015
  95. CATHY PARK HONG–Teaches creative writing at Sarah Lawrence.
  96. SIMON ARMITAGE–chosen to succeed Geoffrey Hill as Oxford Professor of Poetry
  97. VICTORIA CHANG–“The boss tells me of the billionaire who likes me”
  98. MARILYN CHIN–wins Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for Hard Won Province, first time for a book of poetry.
  99. DAVID BIESPIEL–Writes for The Rumpus.
  100. KAY RYAN–doesn’t like being compared to Emily Dickinson; “would you like to be compared to God?” —Paris Review interview

HER NAME IS SORROW

For A.

Her name is sorrow, which I whisper in fragmentary dreams.

Dreams of her are fragmentary when I wake to find my dreams

Are dreams; sadly, only dreams—

Nothing but fragmentary dreams—dreams of dreams,

Dreams dreams are dreaming; so fragmentary, she is not even real in dreams, unreal

Even in dreams, in vivid dreams that are almost life, so real these dreams,

Even in dreams as real as this, she is not real in the most fragmentary dream that seems.

She doesn’t want to be real for me, she is unreal even in the sweet reality of dreams.

She reviles me with such surety, because in life I included her in schemes.

She refuses even to seem as she seems to appear in dreams.

 

THE ONE WE LOVE THE MOST

Blind! Blind! We run to the feast!
The one we love the most is the one we know the least.

Stems and flowers! Orange flowers and roots in the way
And the dark forest blooms in darkness and the darkness breathes
And the blues singer sings: “Do you know what I say?”
Do you know what I say?

The round darkness hurries overhead
To eternity—an eternity not quite dead,
An eternity that curls and purrs and lies on the floor
With you, and you whisper, and there is always more.
There is always more.

You were good for me and I was good for you.
It was because we were bodies believing they were new.

Trapped between narcissism and the unique,
I found you so beautiful and strange, I could hardly speak.

Blind! Blind! We draw near the feast!
The one we love the most is the one we know the least.

THERE ARE LOTS OF THINGS WE LIKE AND ENJOY

chumki

There are lots of things we like, and enjoy,
But the truth of all we adore is this: what we like
Is a brief gift and distracts us from the truth
That life is painful and brief,
And pleasure dies in the arms of grief.

We knew what we liked would never last,
And this made us think we liked it more
As it made us forget the truth, underlying:
The thing loved is the thing dying.
This is why the lovers are lying.

Do you hear the thrill in my voice?
It is not because I am glad—
No, no, it is because I am sad.
If I love you, if you see me loving you like mad,
It is not because—it is not because I am glad.

I am kissing you, and you are kissing me,
As if otherwise drowning were our fate, and we
Breathe each other—for the time being, kisses being free—
As the air once was, or time, or the rolling sea,
As love once was, and nothing, you almost nothing to me.

I BEGAN WITH EMOTION

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I began with emotion

And what does emotion know?

Emotion is the result

Of thinking that is slow,

So an anxious mind

Has a feeling the world’s unkind—

What’s thought killed by what’s felt.

And there I saw you, with a sad face,

And said hello. Isn’t the world an emotional place?

I didn’t hear a word you said.

I wish love were music instead.

EVENING PIANO

image

Her hands remember the piano

And soon she is remembering her sorrow

As he, who is older, smiles without regrets

And listens to her music her music forgets.

The evening does not see the evening,

The world cannot see the world.

He smiles, remembering when she was a girl

And he worried about everything.

Her sorrow is surprised how much her sorrow seems

To be the music she is playing for him—who loves to sleep, a sleep lovely for its dreams.

THERE IS ONE LOVE LOVELIER THAN YOU

There is one love lovelier than you.

She kisses me with a face

So beautiful, all ugliness is gone without a trace.

She is beautiful and because she is beautiful, true.

Beauty is good—not for what it is, but for what it can erase.

She kisses me with a beautiful face

Born in darkness, from shadows born,

From atmospheres, from no ordinary mother torn,

Born from mist, by the ether kissed,

Mist drifting from the misty river this morning, early,

A morning that is still night, and still forlorn,

Especially sad, but sadness without worry,

Hanging by the river bank, never in a hurry,

From untroubled shadows lingering, she was born,

And she kisses me, who am forlorn, with kisses true.

There is one love lovelier than you.

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