"Further Reflections on the Mirror Stage" - Gregory de Rocher

"Further Reflections on the Mirror Stage" - Gregory de Rocher


It can happen

while we apply our favorite mascara

or press our freshly-covered lips

to that band of triple-folded tissue.

And for others of us

while we shave stubbled cheeks

or trim ragged beards.


Our eyes meet our eyes.


In that moment

brief but uncanny

we are face to face

with what allows us to see us be,

mystified by our hidden insides,

frozen by fear of its inevitable loss,

and above all

hurried in our flight

to find another subject

upon which to fix our startled gaze.
Illustration: "Denise at Her Dressing Table," Mary Cassatt [1909]

"Today I played at loving everyone I met" - David Noah

"Today I played at loving everyone I met" - David Noah

Today I played at loving everyone I met
forgetting for an hour the limits of desire,

imagining myself the secret silent heart
of anyone who crossed my path or touched my hand.

I gave my love to women selling gasoline,
I let my eyes slide down the cheeks of grocery men,

thinking, What if you mean everything to me
and I to you but chance or destiny required

we never speak of it at all. And say the same
for every man and woman riding on the world.

A planet full of lovers, silent and amazed.

"South Mason Street, 1976" - Robert Lee Kendrick


"South Mason Street, 1976" - Robert Lee Kendrick

My mother’s first name was dammittohell.
Her middle was Pearl.
She filled afternoons with Winston 100s,
South Pacific,& Carousel,
singing the female leads to her vacuum.
My father came home from General Electric
& closed the garage door behind him
spending his evenings with chisel & saw,
cutting joints to lock wood at right angles,
setting them with the force of a vise.
I’d pedal from Bloomington Jr. High
to the pond at the end of the street,
traded cigarettes stolen from mom
for Hustler pages from Doug next door.
Dinners were quiet & short.
I cleaned the table & rinsed the plates
while he went back to his shop or Miller’s Tap,
& she sat by herself on the porch.
He kept his bench swept of sawdust,
polished his plate with a fistful of bread,
wiped his ’66 Coronet’s blue vinyl seats
clear of late night semen & sweat.
She folded my clothes in squares
& stacked them in boxes from Kroger,
filling the back of her Pinto.
One weekend a month I joined him
in his shop, building tables
to bring other families together,
beds for sleep & for love.
"South Mason Street, 1976" by Robert Lee Kendrick first appeared in San Pedro River Review.

"What does happiness look like? You in your red coat" - Carol Ann Duffy

"What does happiness look like? You in your red coat" - Carol Ann Duffy

What does happiness look like?
You in your red coat.
Where does it go for a drink?
To bed, on Sundays.

What does happiness sound like?
The purr of an unhooked phone.
What does it do for a living?
It has private means.

What does happiness feel like?
The barehanded planting of bulbs.
What is its home address?
Yours, sweetheart.

Does happiness have a scent?
The sea, the air, the earth.
Where did you see it last?
Under the bedclothes, laughing.

What taste does happiness have?
That of a long, slow kiss.
And how does happiness write?
Badly, like this.

This poem by Carol Ann Duffy appeared on her blog. Thanks to Ciera Durden for sharing her discovery.

"Red White Yellow Blue" - Sam Lane

Blue sky / red sunset
make / the purple horizon
a royal cushion and / the earth
reminds me we / were slaves before we
to the universe / cried out
our name is  / which separates us
little / from the humble
The sugar / diabetes
the sweetness / is peeing a lot
to have tingling fingers / blurry vision
I honestly didn’t know / I was sick
I thought I was in love
Synthetic / green leaves
removable / flower tops
in my blue flower pot / don’t speak
that yellow plastic / reminds me of
replacing life with our wish: / to make things
       things that don’t decay
baby toes / new skin
old cut / thread
bring flowers / mother used
bruised pomgranate / chalk flavored hearts
eyes after / long light

"The end of winter" - M. Bromberg

March 20: There is still

a chill wind that makes me wish
I'd worn long sleeves 
under the old coat.
Already the Bradford pear trees
dust the landscape with white petals
under a blue sky.

Along Hawthorne the crape myrtles,
later blooms, have yet to show.
Their shade is for deeper summer.
Today the sun coaxes heat
into the pale air.
I carry my groceries
with a steady rhythm,
almost exercise:
I'll be warm by the time I reach home.

Mark Bromberg is tonight's featured reader at Word of Mouth's monthly open mic. Sign-up begins at 7 pm downstairs at the bar, and readings begin upstairs at 8.