Muse Magazine

Sunday, July 31, 2011

I have eight poems up here

Notes from packing my books for the move to Brooklyn

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

1.  I used to be so careful.  Tiny handwriting.  Blank sheets of paper folded into exact fourths and stuck into books to be found ten or eleven years later.  That trick.

2.  Dear American authors of the nineteenth century.  Dear Whitman.  Dear Poe.  Stop calling people "half-breeds."

3.  "Bolt upright in my bed that night/ I saw my father flying;/ the wind was walking on my neck,/ the windowpanes were crying."  --Stanley Kunitz

4.  You once sent me a large shoe box of poetry books you were finished with.  Most of them were creased and smudged and had receipts stuck in them because you used to carry poetry books everywhere in the large pockets on your shorts.  In one you had written a note to yourself:  "The exalted calm."

5.  Now in my author bio, I can be like all those other people and go, "Joanna Penn Cooper was born in 1980.  She lives in Brooklyn."  Part of it will be accurate.  The Brooklyn part.

To Whom It May Concern

Friday, July 15, 2011

I'm writing to inform you of my qualifications on this sunny day inside
wearing silent headphones, a small white feather stuck to one foot.
I can hear that tree clearing its throat outside my fifth floor walk-up.
I can see all this packing and half unpacking of boxes as a compulsive
metaphor for how we're all of us always moving, always learning
it all the freaking time:  How to lose how to lose how to lose.
How to know the dark leather gloss of July leaves and let them go.
How to wear the crown of love and fresh pita for lunch and let it go.
My life is not a plastic hamster ball.  My life is not that refugee song.
Not any more than anyone else's.  I've cured myself of being
so meta, or else I've embraced it.  Either way I'm wearing
the crown. Either way, we're all wearing the crown.

Happy birthday, Linda Ronstadt

Friday, July 15, 2011

Authors I Am Not (2)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Hemingway never actually ran with the bulls in Pamplona.
But I used to ride my bike along a somewhat busy street in St. Paul
to get to the smoothie place.

Authors I Am Not (1)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

[Image source:]
If I were H.D., I'd be all
mythic oracular and Woman.
Today I feel more like a worried cat.


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Mid-July and here I sit looking up "scrimshaw" to write a not-great metaphor about an 18 year-old Nantucket sailor from the 1830s and this tree next to my window.  Both of them in full sail, wind in hair.  Anything could happen-- fog and white-shrouded figures; tea; scrimshaw.  All this blue. 

Loving Cup

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Poem Partly Composed While Half-Watching Wimbledon

Monday, July 04, 2011

[Image source: Reuters]

You are prone to good streaks when you let the racquet do the work,
prone to a landscape of secret suffering in other languages,
followed by bird wit and eucalyptus.  Your youth and stoicism
the best kind of wasted youth, everyone on the edge of their seats
to see if you remember what comes next.  Now it's all, "Have I
made the finals?  Is this really the game?  What is the salary
of the ticket-taker on the commuter train?  Who is she later
at home when she takes off that hat?"  You've glided through
on your metaphorical Raleigh bike, unaware of the forces
surrounding you, keeping you upright.  Getting to the finals
is encouragement enough.  Beginning to feel your dark night
of the soul is a bit silly is encouragement enough.  You can
make up a new game in the middle of their game.  Call it
"art."  You're all jacks and sack cloth.  You're a fighter.
Your'e a doll.
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