Sunday, June 19, 2016

Four Poems from Lyn Lifshin

When Glass Can't Stay Glass

and tea cups shatter
as birds swoop and tear
a school girl's glasses.
When you can't see
thru cracked glass
any more with an
eye that's only a socket.
When a woman enters
a local bar with huge
glass windows where
a drunk lounges at
one end of the bar
and a bird expert
sneers birds don't
have enough intelligence
to have an attack as
another suggests
humans take up guns
and wipe birds off
the face of the earth,
scavengers mostly,
you know you're not
in Kansas anymore

The Woman Who Talked to Hitchcock's Birds

she said she could
take to them, they knew
she could understand.
She said they'd been
patient but they had
issues, they'd waited,
they just wanted
freedom.  But they had
had enough, they
wanted revenge, they
wanted justice.  She
was bird like in her own
way, a beak of a nose,
panicky motions like
a scared bird.  They
related to her, not to
those who stole their
feathers for hats,
shot them down.  One
said her mate had been
shot down, cooked
and eaten.  Some were
plucked for pillows
and coats, the trim on
designer dresses.
Enough was enough.
And what of the birds
in cages, cooed over
but never allowed
a free life?  They'd
been given warning:  a
rush of feathers
down a chimney, a
sea gull swooping down
for a peck.  It wasn't
enough.  It was hardly
noticed.  People flock
to the country, slash down
trees we nest in.  Do
they care about a trail of
eggshells, the smog and
wires our radar can't work
in?  And they call a few
smashed windows, a few
shattered cups terror and chaos?


      Eva Hesse

shells of something are hanging
What there is, what's
left is withering thin
could dissolve or shatter
won't hold up

or last   you can't
take it in your arms
or bite down on it

it's like a tooth of
spun sugar underwater,
something sliding out of a body
toward black holes in October

somewhere, dreams of teeth
that fall out, clot
in your mouth
wake you up coughing

gagging on what
is like a cat that won't
come in or stay out
prefers rubbing against the
door frame

ease is the mole the
cat falls asleep
clutching in its paws
or inches away on the

it seems dead then
like the way you feel.
Something twitches
you see red    claws at
what's escaping

For Much of the Morning, December 18, 2014, Paris

faces peered from open
windows above the empty street.
School was cancelled, some
would not be able to reach class
anyway.  The streets outside
the apartment remained
blockaded while dozens of
forensic investigators
in full body suits and blue
booties picked up the debris.
The street in front of the house
was covered in shattered glass.
Bloody carnage resembling
part of the police dog killed by
the suspects of the raid
lay in the street

Lyn Lifshin has published over 140 books and chapbooks and edited three anthologies of women's writing including Tangled Vines that stayed in print 20 years, And Ariadne's Thread from HBJ, and Unsealed Lips, from Capra Press.  She has several books from Black Sparrow books:  Cold Comfort, Before It's Light, Another Woman Who Looks Like Me.  Her web site,, shows the variety of her work from the equine books, The Licorice Daughter:  My Year with Ruffian and Barbara:  Beyond Brokenness, to the most recent book:  Secretariat:  The Red Freak, The Miracle, all from Texas Review Press and on Amazon, as all her other books are.  Recent books about dance include:  Ballroom, Knife Edge and Absinthe:  The Tango Poems.  Other new books include:  For the Roses, poems for Joni Mitchell, All the Poets Who Touched Me, Living and Dead All True, Especially the Lies.  Most recently:  Girl Goes Into the Woods from New York Quarterly Books; Malala, from Poetic Matix; Tangled as the Alphabet:  The Istanbul Poems from NightBallet, and out most recently from Glass Lyre Press:  Femme Eterna:  Enheducanna, Scheherazade and Nefertiti.  Forthcoming books include Degas' Little Dancer, Through Stained Glass, and Maple.  She has given readings and workshops around the country and has had fellowships to Yaddo, Millay Colony and MacDowell colony.  She is the recipient of many awards including Bread Loaf scholarships, The Kerouac Prize and a New York State Caps grant, etc.  

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