The Collected #PoemMonday Poems 2017

Pictures of the drafts from Poem MondayIn what is sure to be the biggest poetry chapbook of the holiday season, here are all the poems written for #PoemMonday. These were all written by PSB booksellers, especially for the individual orders. Some of them, connect directly to the books that were ordered, while others...drift...a bit from the source material. Enjoy.

A Different Kind of Cold 
As it drifted through space 
momentum without friction 
more darkness than light 
more distance than place 
more mass than gravity 
the probe discovered an observation within itself
that its instruments were not prepared to analyze: 
This cold is different from the cold in Norway.

Partial Inventory 
Are bears and woods still here? Are eggs and birds? 
Are sun-dappled valleys? Puddles? Music? Words? 
Some things are gone for certain: Kleenex. Rome. 
The feeling you've left the oven on at home. 
But other things move on a grander scale of time: 
The soundless revolving stars Struggling to rhyme.

A Map of the Future 
Here is a map of the future 
The world is an archipelago. Seas are rising 
Ice caps melt, the continents drift apart and 
Rejoin Atlantis 

Migratory requiem sharks now swim through 
Ruined cities, peopled by giant clams and 
Silvery sea bass 

This is all a million years from now, 
Or ten. Or twenty. No one on Earth 
Will see this. 

So then, perhaps, we're lucky. 
For us, the ocean came early.

A Closer Target
The target we focus on feels 
so far beyond our reach 
that too often we don't even throw, 
while at each pause in our effort 
the tide pulls us further from the shore. 
There is always a closer 
target right on the tip 
of your nose 
under your shirt 
at your feet to start with. 

The Lines on the Notebook 
In trying to write it all down 
everything seen, heard, heard about, done, imagined, feared and denied, 
everything thought or dreamed 
by anyone thinking and dreaming
on this planet Earth 
the letters had to be so small and so crammed together 
that they became solid black lines 
along the white surface
of our potential and where we attempted 
to create a record 
instead there was a fresh page
of lined notebook paper
waiting for whatever we would think of next. 

The Last Mile 
There never seemed to be the time 
but we wrote letters any way. 
If not every day, then certainly every week. 
It wasn't so much what we said 
or how we said it. 
About the course of our days since we last talked. 
But about that moment 
when I knew my letter to you 
was just one mile away.

Jazz Pun 
Hey man, 
how long did you have chase down 
that solo for 
before you brought that beat back
to the one gone note? 
Miles, man. 
Miles and Miles and Miles.

The Feather Cloud 
The air is denser 
than air usually is 
with power and protest keeping the feathers 
of the migrating flocks 
in the air so long 
they become clouds 
waiting for the right kind front 
--hot or cold-- 
to rain.

If Yeats Were an Aliebn 
There has been no change in the forecast 
Only cold, then colder 

The streams are silver in the loam. The trout 
Gone for good 
Capricorn and cancer on a collision course. 
We've come untethered, we are wanderers, 
Our trajectory smeared across the sky like a 
Cricket on a windshield 

There are so many unseen eyes. there are so many mouthless whispers 
And whisperless mouths. There are lights in the water 
Reflected now in the flat void beyond. 
I remember waiting for summer to come-- 

But if it must snow we will build snowmen.

Zeno’s Fires
There is a smaller fire within 
every fire and a smaller fire within 
every smaller fire 
and on and on until 
there is a fire with 
no space that is still fire. 

Little fires all the way down 
so you can burn as bright 
as you please.

Addendum to Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening 
Those miles went by a lot faster than I expected 
so that finding myself 
before my bed 
and the contract made with myself fulfilled 
there is a sense of miles still 
between the door to the bedroom and the bed 
between where I'm standing and the bed 
between the night stand and the bed 
and it feels like there are 
more miles more and more miles 
before I can sleep. 
Even though the work is never done enough 
work is done for today.

Do They Want Peace? 
Maybe they will be weightless, clear 
As formless and unthinking as 
A jellyfish. Maybe they'll fear 
Us more than we fear them. Who has 

Even an inkling what strange form 
Or figure life could take beyond 
Our sapphire skies and thunderstorms? 
What monstrous beings had nature spawned 

On other worlds? Do they want peace? 
Do they love bouncy castles and trees??

A Crisis of Modernity 
Eliot woke up one morning 
and discovered he had transformed into a pair of ragged claws 
scuttling across the floors of silent seas 
as he had forced J. Alfred Prufrock 
to consider in his love song. 

After a moment accommodating himself 
to his new stature 
he realized being a pair of claws 
was both not really all that bad considering 
and far, far worse than 
he could have ever imagined.

Ink & Paper Wings 
To stand beneath cathedral skies 
And see the vaulted ceilings rise 
Of russet waves all edged with gold 

Or on a Spring night, to behold 
Each star revolving in its sphere 

Or on a winter evening, hear 
Each snowflake as it comes to rest 
Upon a frozen mountain's crest-- 

Someday I'll do all this and more. 
But for today, each distant shore 
Is closer than my bedroom door 
On ink and paper wings I'll soar.

The Absent Mountain 
On their migration south 
from Canada to Mexico 
while crossing Lake Superior monarch butterflies, 
clearly in no hurry, 
swing East, adding miles and miles 
to their already long journey. 
This detour was caused by a mountain 
that has long since fallen into the lake. 
A mountain, that now exists to us 
Only as the part of Lake 
over which monarchs will not fly.

The Note Wendy Left Taped to the Motorcycle's Gas Tank 
Thanks for the ride, 
and the sodas and snacks along the way. 
I'll pay you back 
just as soon as I've finished 
taking over the world.

Take Me To Your Leader 
Every day, once a day, 
she forgot everything she ever knew, 
every name, 
every instruction, 
every flavor. 

Every day, once a day 
she found herself an alien 
suddenly arriving in existence 
And though, every day, once a day 
she wished her first thought was "why?" 
it was almost always "huh?"

The Unwritten Anthology Inspired by Hieronymus Bosch 
It was never a project meant to be finished 
but still she thought there was some value 
in writing a short story about every person 
in The Garden of Earthly Delights. 

She wanted to imagine how they got there 
and what it felt like to be there 
and what it felt like to live in hell 
She got so far as to put a poster of it on her wall with a cork board behind it 
so she could throw a dart 
and start with whoever was closest to the impact 

But as the news rolled on 
and as the headlines felt more and more 
like set ups to punchlines 
she'd resolve in her stories 
she decided to spend her energy elsewhere

Short Ode to a Cyborg 
When I said you really touched a nerve 
I didn't mean wire me to your 
central processing unit. 
But now that my nerves have been wired 
to your central processing unit 
it's not as bad as I expected. 
Through these rogue receptors 
the smooth jazz playing in the background 
is even tolerable.

The Dinner Party 
Interviewers always ask that question 
What famous writer living or dead would you have a dinner party? 
As if that were somehow impossible 
as if you couldn't just stack up their books 
on the table 
peek at them while you finish the risotto 
and dine with the best 
their minds already 
offered to the world.

A Sip of Grace 
So thirsty after being 
in the desert for so long 
it felt like even the taste of water had been forgotten 
the texture of water 
the feel of water 
the taste of water. 
But then to finally get a sip 
and it's not just life that floods back into you
but memory of what it felt like to be 
alive like that. 
Grace can be sipped the same way.

Etymology of Cacophony 
Sometimes it's easy to trace the meaning of words. 
"Cacophony" for example 
just combines the Greek "kakos" 
which means "bad" 
and the Greek "phone" 
which means "sound." 

As easy as it is to think of our cacophonous world
as filled with "bad sounds," 
it's even more fun to imagine 
how a toddler might use this information
and shout 
when your phone buzzes another series of notifications from our noisy, noisy world, 
"It's the kaka-phone again!"

The Arrival 
Everyone else moved so quickly 
it was like they lived under a lighter gravity than I did
and the buildings were so tall 
and the clothes so strange 
and the languages so different 
and the smells so different 
and the streets so different 
and everything so different 

Why wouldn't we use the same word 
for people who arrive from other planets 
and people who arrive from other countries.