Aristotle by Billy Collins

This is the beginning. 
Almost anything can happen. 
This is where you find 
the creation of light, a fish wriggling onto land, 
the first word of Paradise Lost on an empty page. 
Think of an egg, the letter A, 
a woman ironing on a bare stage 
as the heavy curtain rises. 
This is the very beginning. 
The first-person narrator introduces himself, 
tells us about his lineage. 
The mezzo-soprano stands in the wings. 
Here the climbers are studying a map 
or pulling on their long woolen socks. 
This is early on, years before the Ark, dawn. 
The profile of an animal is being smeared 
on the wall of a cave, 
and you have not yet learned to crawl. 
This is the opening, the gambit, 
a pawn moving forward an inch. 
This is your first night with her, 
your first night without her. 
This is the first part 
where the wheels begin to turn, 
where the elevator begins its ascent, 
before the doors lurch apart.

This is the middle. 
Things have had time to get complicated, 
messy, really. Nothing is simple anymore. 
Cities have sprouted up along the rivers 
teeming with people at cross-purposes— 
a million schemes, a million wild looks. 
Disappointment unshoulders his knapsack 
here and pitches his ragged tent. 
This is the sticky part where the plot congeals, 
where the action suddenly reverses 
or swerves off in an outrageous direction. 
Here the narrator devotes a long paragraph 
to why Miriam does not want Edward’s child. 
Someone hides a letter under a pillow. 
Here the aria rises to a pitch, 
a song of betrayal, salted with revenge. 
And the climbing party is stuck on a ledge 
halfway up the mountain. 
This is the bridge, the painful modulation. 
This is the thick of things. 
So much is crowded into the middle— 
the guitars of Spain, piles of ripe avocados, 
Russian uniforms, noisy parties, 
lakeside kisses, arguments heard through a wall— 
too much to name, too much to think about.

And this is the end, 
the car running out of road, 
the river losing its name in an ocean, 
the long nose of the photographed horse 
touching the white electronic line. 
This is the colophon, the last elephant in the parade, 
the empty wheelchair, 
and pigeons floating down in the evening. 
Here the stage is littered with bodies, 
the narrator leads the characters to their cells, 
and the climbers are in their graves. 
It is me hitting the period 
and you closing the book. 
It is Sylvia Plath in the kitchen 
and St. Clement with an anchor around his neck. 
This is the final bit 
thinning away to nothing. 
This is the end, according to Aristotle, 
what we have all been waiting for, 
what everything comes down to, 
the destination we cannot help imagining, 
a streak of light in the sky, 
a hat on a peg, and outside the cabin, falling leaves.

https://wordpress.com/post/africmglinchey.wordpress.com/1771

Why You Should Never Marry a Poet by Heather Bell

Think about it – the way that credit cards, bougainvillea,
vacations, dictionaries, the road on the way to work will

all never be enough. The poet wishes
with her deepest bones
and writes that she wishes
she had killed you

in the supermarket. She wonders why
she ever loved you in song. 

She publishes book after book. Each line detailing
how your hair is ugly and monstrous in the morning. And how,
like moss, you cling to her
so piteously. 

But you marry her anyway.
and she looks like a roar of snow
in white. You figure she will read a poem about you
that day in front of everyone: her throat

is, after all, a stamen
or matchstick. 

But she is silent, says only the I DO’s
and a few Bible verses. 

The poet loves with a most violent
heart. What you have not known-
she has wanted to tell you the truth
all of these years,

but grew silent as an old lover does
at eighty. There is no way to say

how one loves the ache of your cracked lips,
the heavy belly of your tongue, the years she spent
feeling not loved,
but still loving. Think about it-

the poet is fearful of others knowing and finding your mouth.

She is frightened of you –
realizing you could have been
loved better or harder
or with real words.

Previously published in @Tender