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Bob Kaufman

In order to exist I hide behind stacks of red and blue poems And open little sensuous parasols — Bob Kaufman, from “Afterwards They Shall Dance,” Solitudes Crowded with Loneliness. (New Directions, January 17, 1965) Advertisements

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Saeed Jones

Her blue dress is a silk train is a river is water seeps into the cobblestone streets of my sleep, is still raining is monsoon brocade, is winter stars stitched into puddles is good-bye in a flooded, antique room, is good-bye in a room of crystal bowls and crystal cups, is the ring-ting-ring of water… Continue reading Saeed Jones

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Rita Dove

Describe Yourself in Three Words or Less I’m not the kind of person who praises openly, or for profit; I’m not the kind who will steal a scene unless I’ve designed it. I’m not a kind at all, in fact: I’m itchy and pug-willed, gnarled and wrong-headed, never amorous but possessing a wild, thatched soul.… Continue reading Rita Dove

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Langston Hughes

Hold fast to dreams, For if dreams die Life is a broken-winged bird, That cannot fly. —  Langston Hughes, from “Dreams,” The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes. (Vintage; 1st Vintage classics ed edition, October 31, 1995) Originally published November 15th 1994.

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Claudia Rankin

Yes, and the body has memory. The physical carriage hauls more than its weight. The body is the threshold across which each objectionable call passes into consciousness-all the unintimidated, unblinking, and unflappable resilience does not erase the moments lived through, even as we are eternally stupid or everlastingly optimistic, so ready to be inside, among,… Continue reading Claudia Rankin

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Tracy K. Smith

When Your Small Form Tumbled into Me I lay sprawled like a big-game rug across the bed: Belly down, legs wishbone-wide. It was winter. Workaday. Your father swung his feet to the floor. The kids upstairs dragged something back and forth On shrieking wheels. I was empty, blown-through By whatever swells, swirling, and then breaks… Continue reading Tracy K. Smith

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Audre Lorde

Do not remember me as disaster nor as the keeper of secrets I am a fellow rider in the cattle cars watching you move slowly out of my bed saying we cannot waste time only ourselves. — Audre Lorde, from “Movement Song,” The Collected Poems of Audre Lorde (W. W. Norton and Company Inc. 1997)

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