The sewing needle rests next to my eighth
vertebrate. I cannot feel it but know
it is there. The thread circles my kidneys
like amber capillaries. A sloping
row of real pearl buttons, tiny full moons,
bump into my small intestine. Silk blocks
wrap the ligaments of my arms, as if
my bones are on fire and must be bandaged
by something cool. A piece of lace crumpled
into a triangle lines my womb. All
that I am, all of my tools and notions,
I have swallowed and absorbed. I now leave
their world. I open the door to the night
and drink my thimbles before I run out.


–Shaun Perkins

(Tam Lin)


Unscrew the locks!

Somewhere in the middle of his vast, joyous, brutal, democratic, and American poem, Walt Whitman said:

Unscrew the locks from the doors!
Unscrew the doors themselves from their jambs!

Whoever degrades another degrades me;
And whatever is done or said returns at last to me.

We are all here together for a time on this planet, and our lives affect each other. Facebook is the ubiquitous  example of that. What we say, what we do, what we post, how we respond, how we don’t respond: these all illustrate our inescapably interwoven lives.

Old Walt’s poetry was a song for the removal of barriers between people, no matter how different, evil, good, hopeless, or rotten. He believed in the essential goodness of humans, yet was not surprised when he didn’t always find it.

To be in love with the world and unsurprised by its brutality at the same time . . . that is my wish for us all. Unscrew the locks from your doors and your hearts and see what happens.


The Position of the Stars

Miniskirt held down with laughter,
My arms full of the blue quilt
And package of cherry licorice,
You had the 6-pack of a beer
Only teenagers and drunks would buy.
We ran through the dark cow pasture
To the very center
Or what we thought might be
And still laughing, we stumbled down
Over the remains of alfalfa stalks,
The blanket and licorice beneath us
And the dark expanse of Oklahoma sky above us.

Continue reading “The Position of the Stars”


A Lovely Thing

“Look for a lovely thing and you will find it,” Sara Teasdale said. Indeed. What you see is often not in what is actually there but in . . . what you see.

People are often aggravated by poetry because they “can’t see” what’s in it or they have been taught that they have to look for something in it. But really . . . “look for a lovely thing and you will find it.”

People who see evil in everything are no different from the people who see good in everything. Both can’t see the truth because they are too busy looking for it (or its opposite).

They both have sight corrupted by foresight. Instead, if we relied on insight more often, we would see more lovely things.