Showing 671 - 680 of 729 Poetry annotations
Summary:An old, man--a Chinese immigrant to America--is dying in Chinatown, "a sick dog" who yearns for his homeland and for the wife "who died waiting / in the home of my province . . . . " He can't relate to the young political activists who want him to join in protest against "this gray life"--a life which has never really engaged him. He imagines his ashes being carried by the waterways to join the ashes of his wife; she is the helmsman who will lead him back to comfort and joy.
Summary:A daughter is haunted by recollections of strife between her parents, now dead. She sides with her mother in the weekly disputes over money--the overt manifestations of a difficult marital relationship and a life lived on the edge of poverty. But in the end, she recognizes that her father "was the son of a needy father" and that her parents "were each other's bad bargain, not mine."
Summary:The speaker in this poem provides a vivid portrayal of the recovery room experience from the perspective of an articulate patient. Where he had been warned about the room's brightness, he was unprepared for the keening woman in the adjacent bed and the "false and stark balm delivered to her crumpled ear" by the nurse. He and other "freshly filleted" and "drug-docile" visitors to this room wait in the anesthetized setting of otherness or in-between for release. The patient feels like a "diver serving time against the bends" or like one of eight piano keys parallely parked. While waiting for the return of sensation in his lower body, he imagines that he is like a "truculent champagne" loosening off "petulant bubbles," a few at a time.
Summary:The "muck" stirred up in the deadwater of a murky lake is a metaphor for the stirring up of old hostilities between a mother and her now adult child. This subtle poem strikingly evokes the psychological history of a difficult family relationship and the precariousness of an adult truce, "a cloud of silt endlessly / raining itself out."
Summary:An African-American physician from Louisiana provides care to patients whose ideas of traditional healing conflict with those of Western medicine. An observer describes how this Parish Doctor negotiates a compromise between his formal training and the beliefs and expectations of his patients. He accepts their black hens and claims to have "conjuh knowledge" while providing competent care.
Summary:Chana Bloch's series of eight cancer poems, collectively entitled “In the Land of the Body,” focuses on the experience of ovarian cancer, from diagnosis to surgery and beyond. The poems provide a loose narrative of illness and treatment, but each of them represents a slightly different approach to the inner life of illness. They are episodic; several evoke scenes--in the doctor's office before the X-ray machine, at home, watching her children color, in the hospital before surgery, and finally out of doors among the pines, released as “cured,” reveling in the qualified hope that they got it all.
Summary:The speaker is poor, homeless, and desperate. The place is Minnesota, the season winter. He cries out, "I am a full-blooded Sioux Indian." He is about to go hungry and "to leap barefoot through gas-fire veils of shame . . . . " Yet, the man acknowledges, "my life was never so precious / To me as now." He will learn anything, do anything, be anything, for the sake of his precious "secret, / My life."
Summary:This poem is essentially a list of the splendid variety of shit in the world. It begins: "You'll rejoice at how many kinds of shit there are . . ." and continues the catalog for 45 lines, from gosling shit, through cricket and mandrell shit, ending with "the shit of the wasteful gallinule."
Summary:A man speaks to his six-months pregnant wife. He says she lures him "to our conjugal bed / to use each other gently . . . . " He imagines "eyes staring at me from / deep inside" that "say we are captured . . . . " He concludes "We are / too sure we need each other / to let go."
The patient is lying on the table under an x-ray machine. He observes carefully the details of the machine above him--the three cables, the "crayon’s nose-cone," the traces of the electric tape that once bound the darker cable to the others. Now it is held by "serrated plastic ties." Everything is ready to "look into / whatever’s next, whatever it is I’m in for." What will appear on the film does not appear outside "under plain old sky," where it is "just beginning to snow."