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Josh Simmons

Joined 6 months ago

Technicolor geek. Slow reader. Main social presence: /

I try to post a poem every day.

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Josh Simmons's books

Currently Reading (View all 53)

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Queer Nature (2022, Autumn House Press) No rating

The Rock by Henri Cole

It's nice to have a lake to love me, which can see under all my disguises— where there is only animal survival and the brutality of the unconscious— and still love me and give me focus and intensity, like a robin listening to dirt for worms (those birds have talents I don't: flying around with one eye closed and half their brain asleep). Alone, I like to swim (with no goggles, cap, or board) out where I can see, high up, the white cedars, and beyond that only the della Robbia blue. On the other shore, a white pelican sits on a rock, and, sometimes, feeding him— beside the sign that says: DO NOT FEED THE PELICAN— I think about all the dogmas and traditions that are like well-made beds, with fitted sheets and tucked-in hospital corners, to die in. On my rock, it's as if everything is lit from below or from within. There's no hierarchy with pelican, water, rock, cedar, sky, and me. A sense that all's right with the world prevails here— and some kind of rock language, with crude dents pressing my flesh, and little fishes kissing my submerged feet.

Queer Nature by  (Page 76)

Queer Nature (2022, Autumn House Press) No rating

I Know My Soul by Claude McKay

I plucked my soul out of its secret place, And held it to the mirror of my eye, To see it like a star against the sky, A twitching body quivering in space, A spark of passion shining on my face. And I explored it to determine why This awful key to my infinity Conspires to rob me of sweet joy and grace. And if the sign may not be fully read, If I can comprehend but not control, I need not gloom my days with futile dread, Because I see a part and not the whole. Contemplating the strange, I'm comforted By this narcotic thought: I know my soul.

Queer Nature by  (Page 192)

Devotions (Paperback, 2020, Penguin Books) No rating

Wild Geese by Mary Oliver

You do not have to be good. You do not have to walk on your knees for a hundred miles through the desert repenting. You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves. Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine. Meanwhile the world goes on. Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain are moving across the landscapes, over the prairies and the deep trees, the mountains and the rivers. Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air, are heading home again. Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, the world offers itself to your imagination, calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting— over and over announcing your place in the family of things.

Devotions by  (Page 347)

Happy Earth Day, beautiful people ✨

Bright dead things (2015) No rating

"Bright Dead Things examines the chaos that is life, the dangerous thrill of living in …

Drift by Ada Limón

Some blur of a bird makes a kid-like laugh out of sea air and we, heart-hardy, kick a crack-up back at it like the opposite of throwing stones. Like releasing tiny hot air balloons up, moon-bound and hell-bent on defying the usual gravity of this spin. Sky, here, we toss a bone into your open endlessness, the sound of crackle, a timbre of animal-warmth. Oh let us be a bird flying wholly for the sake of flying, to be that breath- machine that even the anchored earth-bound wavers want to root for, want to look up and say, Rally, rally, win.

Bright dead things by  (Page 71)

Black nature (2009, University of Georgia Press) No rating

Monument by Natasha Trethewey

Today the ants are busy beside my front steps, weaving in and out of the hill they're building. I watch them emerge and—

like everything I've forgotten—disappear into the subterranean—a world made by displacement. In the cemetery last June, I circled, lost—

weeds and grass grown up all around— the landscape blurred and waving. At my mother's grave, ants streamed in and out like arteries, a tiny hill rising

above her untended plot. Bit by bit, red dirt piled up, spread like a rash on the grass; I watched a long time the ants' determined work,

how they brought up soil of which she will be part, and piled it before me. Believe me when I say I've tried not to begrudge them

their industry, this reminder of what I haven't done. Even now, the mound is a blister on my heart, a red and humming swarm.

Black nature by  (Page 175)

Half of the world in light (2008, University of Arizona Press) No rating

The Man with the Cactus Heart by Juan Felipe Herrera

Political meetings cabbage and richman's literature (oh, yes, and altar boys)

abolish them. Immediately.

I want to go to Milano. Eat chocolate.

You with music— a crescendo.

These are the principal things; a condensed century

for my thirst. Reach into me.

I beg you, open this shirt pressing violently, breathe into me.

Half of the world in light by  (Page 50)

Given Sugar, Given Salt (Paperback, 2002, Harper Perennial) No rating

In this luminous and authoritative new collection, Jane Hirshfield presents an ever-deepening and altering comprehension …

Poem with Two Endings by Jane Hirshfield

Say "death" and the whole room freezes— even the couches stop moving, even the lamps. Like a squirrel suddenly aware it is being looked at.

Say the word continuously, and things begin to go forward. Your life takes on the jerky texture of an old film strip.

Continue saying it, hold it moment after moment inside the mouth, it becomes another syllable. A shopping mall swirls around the corpse of a beetle.

Death is voracious, it swallows all the living. Life is voracious, it swallows all the dead. Neither is ever satisfied, neither is ever filled, each swallows and swallows the world.

The grip of life is as strong as the grip of death.

(but the vanished, the vanished beloved, o where?)

Given Sugar, Given Salt by  (Page 55)

Devotions (Paperback, 2020, Penguin Books) No rating

I Don't Want to Be Demure or Respectable by Mary Oliver

I don't want to be demure or respectable. I was that way, asleep, for years. That way, you forget too many important things. How the little stones, even if you can't hear them, are singing. How the river can't wait to get to the ocean and the sky, it's been there before. What traveling is that! It is a joy to imagine such distances. I could skip sleep for the next hundred years. There is a fire in the lashes of my eyes. It doesn't matter where I am, it could be a small room. The glimmer of gold Böhme saw on the kitchen pot was missed by everyone else in the house.

Maybe the fire in my lashes is a reflection of that. Why do I have so many thoughts, they are driving me crazy. Why am I always going anywhere, instead of somewhere? Listen to me or not, it hardly matters. I'm not trying to be wise, that would be foolish. I'm just chattering.

Devotions by  (Page 18)

Tiny Journalist (2019, BOA Editions, Limited) No rating

Stun by Naomi Shihab Nye

Who's remembering Yemen had the most amazing architecture in the world?

Yeminis remember. No one mentions this on the news. Bomb explodes, bus of schoolchildren. Their glory also unmentioned.


Sometimes I just call out to Dubai. Dubai! I say. If you can build new buildings like that, can't you help us?


We stood in the parking lot of the hospital after Daddy died.

I couldn't remember how to open a car door.

Tiny Journalist by  (Page 80)

Devotions (Paperback, 2020, Penguin Books) No rating

Spring by Mary Oliver

All day the flicker has anticipated the lust of the season, by shouting. He scouts up tree after tree and at a certain place begins to cry out. My, in his black-freckled vest, bay body with red trim and sudden chrome underwings, he is dapper. Of course somebody listening nearby hears him; she answers with a sound like hysterical laughter, and rushes out into the field where he is poised on an old phone pole, his head swinging, his wings opening and shutting in a kind of butterfly stroke. She can't resist; they touch; they flutter. How lightly, altogether, they accept the great task, of carrying life forward! In the crown of an oak they choose a small tree-cave which they enter with sudden quietness and modesty. And, for a while, the wind that can be a knife or a hammer, subsides. They listen to the thrushes. The sky is blue, or the rain falls with its spills of pearl. Around their wreath of darkness the leaves of the world unfurl.

Devotions by  (Page 201)

Black nature (2009, University of Georgia Press) No rating

Spring Dawn by George Marion McClellan

There comes to my heart from regions remote A wild desire for the hedge and the brush, Whenever I hear the first wild note Of the meadow lark and the hermit thrush.

The broken and upturned earth to the air, By a million thrusting blades of Spring, Sends out from the sod and everywhere Its pungent aromas over everything.

Then it's Oh, for the hills, the dawn, and the dew, The breath of the fields and the silent lake, And watching the wings of light burst through The scarlet blush of the new daybreak.

It is then when the earth still nestles in sleep, And the robes of light are scarce unfurled, You can almost feel, in its mighty sweep The onward rush and roll of the world.

Black nature by  (Page 334)

Happy vernal equinox to my siblings here in the northern hemisphere 🌱

This Many Miles from Desire (Paperback, 2007, WordTech Communications) No rating

Beauty (My Plain Idea) by Lee Herrick

Is the dirt you shake from the root— not the part closest to heaven (the petal),

not even the aphids having their way. Beauty is forgetting how

the root hangs on but the dirt lets go.

Tonight, I dream about water: drowning in it, floating on it, the particles we cannot see:

all the body's water keeping us alive, the ghosts in every room.

Tonight, I weigh their echoes. I wonder if good fortune means a bird

who remembers you, a ghost in the room approving the lines you write, how your birth was a death

nearly delivered, how you recover and become a believer. The blooming flowers around

you have all the answers. Be quiet. You should

hear them aspiring under this very floor.

This Many Miles from Desire by  (Page 46)