Skip to main content

NYUL Reading Poems

I recently read with some undergraduate students at New York University in London, based in Bloomsbury, and was taken by their talent, energy and performance ability.  Here are four poems by four of the five poets who I read with that night.  The fifth is currently reworking the poems they read.  Maybe later.


ANDREW KARPAN

Andrew Karpan is in his second year at New York University.


London


Waiting in the cue in Pentonville.
Hearing me, begins: “You’re not from here, are you?”
Genuine gut post-colonial interest; can’t help asking

“No, no, you got to go to south London.”
She’s been here a while: wants to help,
Breasts diligently seeming to pop right out of her shirt.
She’s a humanitarian; I listen attentively.
The same voice teaches elementary school kids in Croydon.
“That’s the real London.”

Drinks: tequila shots, and a pint of the cheapest beer I can find for her.
Upstairs: I Bet You Look Good On The Dance Floor.
I try to impress her, screaming sets of clever words.
But they spill out, all across
Dirty, sticky, booze-stained dance floor.

She says she writes poetry.
Adores: Plath, Kerouac.
Right now, she’s wearing metaphors.
Her purple cocktail dress: a stand in for all the characters
In her unpublished novels.

Tomorrow morning she’s a bobbing head
Swimming from King’s Cross to Euston.
Tonight her name is -
I can feel it on the tip of my tongue, can’t say it, lest it slip away.

Later she spells it out when I ask,
Next to her number.
She puts mine on a colorful piece of construction paper
That she pulls from her purse
Right before she disappears.


ARIEL HAIRSTON

Ariel Hairston is in the Core Liberal Studies Program at New York University and spent her first year studying in London.


Bible


Leather-bound, white, and covered in a thin film of dust. It's faded like those jeans you've washed fifteen times too many, the ones that barely fit but you keep in the back of your closet.

Through the haze, you can just barely see the glint of gold letters on its surface: B- I -B -L -E. If you were to touch it, you'd realize the word is engraved deep within the fabric of the cover. Even in the darkness of the room, under the layers of years, you know what it is.

If you flipped the cover back, you'd hear the faint crack of a book that's never been opened. It was never meant to be opened. As a child, you shifted through three different homes, caught in the blur of changing addresses, land-lines, and living rooms. In the midst of this fluid want for stability sat the unmoving Bible on display for everyone to see.

Somewhere between your first boyfriend and your first car, someone packed it away. They carefully wrapped it in thick bubble-wrap, stuffing it into a recycled brown box. But it was never unpacked.

You happened to stumble upon it years later, haphazardly cutting the box open with the expectation of finding the old Christmas lights. You held the Bible in your hands, surprised at how heavy it had become. Leather-bound, white, covered in a thin film of dust. 



SHANNAGH ROWLAND 
Shannagh Rowland is from Ireland and is studying at New York University. She plans to major in English Literature and minor in a media subject.


Nostalgia

And yet
All this eternity and youth,
Love and noise
Means seldom to a young heart,
But is simply immeasurable to homely bones.
Tilled skin, ancient limbs
Whose lives are now antique cabinets.
The skeletons are locked within.
All we have are butterflies in jars.

All poems published online with permission of the authors, who retain their copyright.
Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

AMERICA PSYCHO

According to the latest CBS, ABC, etc, polls, Clinton is still likely to beat Trump - by percentile odds of 66% to 33% and change. But the current popular vote is much closer, probably tied with the error of margin, around 44% each. Trump has to win more key battleground states to win, and may not - but he is ahead in Florida...

We will all know, in a week, whether we live in a world gone madder, or just relatively mad.

While it seems likely calmer heads will prevail, the recent Brexit win shows that polls can mislead, especially when one of the options is considered a bit embarrassing, rude or even racist - and Trump qualifies for these, at least.

If 42-45% of Americans admit they would vote for Trump, what does that say about the ones not so vocal? For surely, they must be there, as well. Some of the undecided will slide, and more likely they will slide to the wilder and more exciting fringe candidate. As may the libertarians.

Eyewear predicts that Trump will just about manage to win th…

DANGER, MAN

Like a crazed killer clown, whether we are thrilled, horrified, shocked, or angered (or all of these) by Donald Trump, we cannot claim to be rid of him just yet. He bestrides the world stage like a silverback gorilla (according to one British thug), or a bad analogy, but he is there, a figure, no longer of fun, but grave concern.

There has long been a history of misogynistic behaviour in American gangster culture - one thinks of the grapefruit in the face in The Public Enemy, or Sinatra throwing a woman out of his hotel room and later commenting he didn't realise there was a pool below to break her fall, or the polluted womb in Pacino'sScarface... and of course, some gangsta rap is also sexist.  American culture has a difficult way with handling the combined aspects of male power, and male privilege, that, especially in heteronormative capitalist enclaves, where money/pussy both become grabbable, reified objects and objectives (The Wolf of Wall Street for instance), an ugly fus…

OSCAR SMOSHCAR

The Oscars - Academy Awards officially - were once huge cultural events - in 1975, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr, Shirley MacLaineandBob Hope co-hosted, for example - and Best Picture noms included The Conversation and Chinatown. Godfather Part 2 won. Last two years, movies titled Birdman and Spotlight won, and the hosts and those films are retrospectively minor, trifling. This year, some important, resonant films are up for consideration - including Hidden Figures and Moonlight, two favourites of this blog. Viola Davis and Denzel Washington will hopefully win for their sterling performances in Fences. However, La La Land - the most superficial and empty Best Picture contender since Gigi in 1959 (which beat Vertigo) - could smite all comers, and render this year's awards historically trivial, even idiotic.

The Oscars often opt for safe, optimistic films, or safe, pessimistic films, that are usually about white men (less often, white women) finding their path to doing the right thin…