Arkiv för maj 2013

Muriel Rukeyser – The Ballad of Orange and Grape   Leave a comment

Muriel Rukeyser reads her poem The Ballad of Orange and Grape

Ballad of Orange and Grape
After you finish your work
after you do your day
after you’ve read your reading
after you’ve written your say —
you go down the street to the hot dog stand,
one block down and across the way.
On a blistering afternoon in East Harlem in the twentieth century.

Most of the windows are boarded up,
the rats run out of a sack —
sticking out of the crummy garage
one shiny long Cadillac;
at the glass door of the drug-addiction center,
a man who’d like to break your back.
But here’s a brown woman with a little girl dressed in rose and pink, too.

Frankfurters, frankfurters sizzle on the steel
where the hot-dog-man leans —
nothing else on the counter
but the usual two machines,
the grape one, empty, and the orange one, empty,
I face him in between.
A black boy comes along, looks at the hot dogs, goes on walking.

I watch the man as he stands and pours
in the familiar shape
bright purple in the one marked ORANGE
orange in the one marked GRAPE,
the grape drink in the machine marked ORANGE
and orange drink in the GRAPE.
Just the one word large and clear, unmistakable, one each machine.

I ask him: How can we go on reading
and make sense out of what we read? —
How can they write and believe what they’re writing,
the young ones across the street,
while you go on pouring grape into ORANGE
and orange into the one marked GRAPE —?
(How are we going to believe what we read and what we write and we hear and we say and we do?)

He looks at the two machines and he smiles
and he shrugs and smiles and pours again.
It could be violence and nonviolence
it could be black and white women and men
it could be war and peace or any
binary system, love and hate, enemy, friend.
Yes and no, be and not-be, what we do and what we don’t do.

On a corner in East Harlem
garbage, reading, a deep smile, rape,
forgetfulness, a hot street of murder,
misery, withered hope,
a man keeps pouring grape into ORANGE
and orange into the one marked GRAPE,
pouring orange into GRAPE and grape into ORANGE forever.

muriel-rukeyser

W. B. Yeats – The Lake Isle of Innisfree   Leave a comment

W.B. Yeats reads his poem The Lake Isle of Innisfree.

The Lake Isle of Innisfree
I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made:
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee;
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet’s wings.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart’s core.

yeats-reading

Anne Sexton – Self in 1958   Leave a comment

Anne Sexton reads her poem Self in 1958

Self in 1958
What is reality?
I am a plaster doll; I pose
With eyes that cut open without landfall or nightfall
Upon some shellacked and grinning person,
Eyes that open, blue, steel, and close.
Am I approximately an I. Magnum transplant?
I have hair, black angel,
Black-angel-stuffing to comb,
Nylon legs, luminous arms
And some advertised clothes.

I live in a doll’s house
With four chairs,
A counterfeit table, a flat roof
And a big front door.
Many have come to such a small crossroad.
There is an iron bed,
(Life enlarges, life takes aim)
A cardboard floor,
Windows that flash open on someone’s city,
And little more.

Someone plays with me,
Plants me in the all-electric kitchen,
Is this what Mrs. Rombauer said?
Someone pretends with me—
I am walled in solid by their noise—
Or puts me upon their straight bed.
They think I am me!
Their warmth? Their warmth is not a friend!
They pry my mouth for their cups of gin
And their stale bread.

What is reality
To this synthetic doll
Who should smile, who should shift gears,
Should spring the doors open in a wholesome disorder,
And have no evidence of ruin or fears?
But I would cry,
Rooted into the wall that
Was once my mother,
If I could remember how
And if I had the tears.

anne-sexton1