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Two poems by Kim Addonizio

On Opening a Book of Photographs
I look at them until I feel immune,

a pile of bodies photographed by Lee

Miller, nineteen forty-five, their strewn

limbs, at first random, now obviously

framed — four legs, like spokes, ray out

across the page. That checkered rag — a dress,

maybe, or only a piece of cloth — I doubt

it covers a woman. The others’ sex

is easy: they’re men; their faces, and

two exposed penises, nested in shadowed

groins, look tender, peaceful, like that hand

curled on a chest, as if it knows

where it rests. But it doesn’t. However I

tell this, they’re not redeemed. There they lie.

Man on a Corner
The man with the golden retriever is still sitting

Against the bank’s brick wall on his blanket, while

all along the street the store owners are quitting,

a florist carrying in bouquets, the mild

fragrance of the flowers a brief antidote

to the exhaust of a bus, just releasing

its passengers; they swirl around him, like notes

of some random music, scattering in the increasing

dusk. Now the prone dog lifts its head

and looks at him, as though a sudden thought’s

occurred to it; the man still slumps, dead

or dreaming, figure in a drama not

of the dog’s making, but all it knows

of love; it shifts, sighs, lays its head close.

Kim Addonizio is the author of two novels, two books about writing poetry, and several collections of poetry, one of which, Tell Me, was a National Book Award finalist. These two contemporary sonnets are from Kim Addonizio’s collection The Philosopher’s Club, published by BOA Editions and reprinted by permission.

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On Opening a Book of Photographs
I look at them until I feel immune,

a pile of bodies photographed by Lee

Miller, nineteen forty-five, their strewn

limbs, at first random, now obviously

framed — four legs, like spokes, ray out

across the page. That checkered rag — a dress,

maybe, or only a piece of cloth — I doubt

it covers a woman. The others’ sex

is easy: they’re men; their faces, and

two exposed penises, nested in shadowed

groins, look tender, peaceful, like that hand

curled on a chest, as if it knows

where it rests. But it doesn’t. However I

tell this, they’re not redeemed. There they lie.

Man on a Corner
The man with the golden retriever is still sitting

Against the bank’s brick wall on his blanket, while

all along the street the store owners are quitting,

a florist carrying in bouquets, the mild

fragrance of the flowers a brief antidote

to the exhaust of a bus, just releasing

its passengers; they swirl around him, like notes

of some random music, scattering in the increasing

dusk. Now the prone dog lifts its head

and looks at him, as though a sudden thought’s

occurred to it; the man still slumps, dead

or dreaming, figure in a drama not

of the dog’s making, but all it knows

of love; it shifts, sighs, lays its head close.

Kim Addonizio is the author of two novels, two books about writing poetry, and several collections of poetry, one of which, Tell Me, was a National Book Award finalist. These two contemporary sonnets are from Kim Addonizio’s collection The Philosopher’s Club, published by BOA Editions and reprinted by permission.

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Comments
2

Her most famous poem, and one of my favorites:

What Do Women Want http://poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/16213

April 15, 2010

Cuddles

it's just the best poem...so i put it up here so maybe a few others can read it

it's strawberries picked

on a sinful sultry day

with that succulent slight pain

beckoning in the small of your back

but worthy of the taste

of the juice trickling down your chin

when earthy sweat smells sweet

and smooth legs harbor the kiss

of the summer sun

By Nan

http://poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID...

What Do Women Want

I want a red dress. I want it flimsy and cheap, I want it too tight, I want to wear it until someone tears it off me. I want it sleeveless and backless, this dress, so no one has to guess what's underneath. I want to walk down the street past Thrifty's and the hardware store with all those keys glittering in the window, past Mr. and Mrs. Wong selling day-old donuts in their café, past the Guerra brothers slinging pigs from the truck and onto the dolly, hoisting the slick snouts over their shoulders. I want to walk like I'm the only woman on earth and I can have my pick. I want that red dress bad. I want it to confirm your worst fears about me, to show you how little I care about you or anything except what I want. When I find it, I'll pull that garment from its hanger like I'm choosing a body to carry me into this world, through the birth-cries and the love-cries too, and I'll wear it like bones, like skin, it'll be the goddamned dress they bury me in.

April 17, 2010

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