Promises Like Pie-Crust
by Christina Rossetti
Promise me no promises,
So will I not promise you:
Keep we both our liberties,
Never false and never true:
Let us hold the die uncast,
Free to come as free to go:
For I cannot know your past,
And of mine what can you know?
You, so warm, may once have been
Warmer towards another one:
I, so cold, may once have seen
Sunlight, once have felt the sun:
Who shall show us if it was
Thus indeed in time of old?
Fades the image from the glass,
And the fortune is not told.
If you promised, you might grieve
For lost liberty again:
If I promised, I believe
I should fret to break the chain.
Let us be the friends we were,
Nothing more but nothing less:
Many thrive on frugal fare
Who would perish of excess.
* * *
A Poem for Speculative Hipsters
He had got, finally,
to the forest
of motives. There were no
owls, or hunters. No Connie Chatterleys
on their backs, having casually
and their opposites
he was really
* * *
Visit the poet’s official site at http://www.amiribaraka.com
She – because of ways
wilder than – ran past
in only snood and left
a kiss of Coan stuff.
He chased her
with a shovel
of pink marijuana
screaming – “LOOK,
there’s still the Blues
& New Orleans Jazz &
Greenwich Village,” as
she lept on the black
jasmine splashed on
* * * * *
taken from ukanhavyrfuckinciti bak
originally collected and edited by rjs and
published by t.l. kryss, GHOST PRESS CLEVELAND, 1967
since d.a. levy rejected copyright as “copyrot,” you may freely reproduce and pass on his work
To view an inspired video of Jesus Crisis reading levy’s work please visit
For more d.a. levy, check out the page clevelandmemory.org has devoted to him.
Another excellent resource can be found at www.clevelandpoetryarchive.com
for even more by or about d.a. levy, please check out these:
God lay dead in heaven;
Angels sang the hymn of the end;
Purple winds went moaning,
Their wings drip-dripping
That fell upon the earth.
It, groaning thing,
Turned black and sank.
Then from the far caverns
Of dead sins
Came monsters, livid with desire.
Wrangled over the world,
But of all sadness this was sad —
A woman’s arms tried to shield
The head of a sleeping man
From the jaws of the final beast.
* * * * *
By Kevin Eberhardt, included in the Crisis Chronicles Library by permission.
For more Kevin Eberhardt work, please check out his blog:
as well as
and several issues of
The City Poetry (www.thecitypoetry.com).
His work can also be found accompanying images
by London photographer Richard Byerley at
Contact northern Ohio poet Kevin Eberhardt at email@example.com.
The world vibrates, my sleepless nights
discovered. The air conditioner hummed;
I turned it off. The plumbing
in the next apartment sang;
I moved away, and found a town
whose factories shuddered as they worked
all night. The wires on the poles
outside my windows quivered in an ecstasy
stretched thin between horizons.
I went to where no wires were; and there,
as I lay still, a dragon tremor
seized my darkened body, gnawed
my heart, and murmured, I am you.
[by John Updike, first published in Telephone Poles and other poems, 1963]
* * *
For more by John Updike, please check out these volumes:
My Life had stood–a Loaded Gun–
In Corners–till a Day
The Owner passed–identified–
And carried Me away–
And now We roam in Sovereign Woods–
And now we hunt the Doe–
And every time I speak for Him–
The Mountains straight reply–
And do I smile, such cordial light
Upon the Valley glow–
It is as a Vesuvian face
Had let its pleasure through–
And when at Night–Our good Day done–
I guard My Master’s Head–
‘Tis better than the Eider-Duck’s
Deep Pillow–to have shared–
To foe of His–I’m deadly foe–
None stir the second time–
On whom I lay a Yellow Eye–
Or an emphatic Thumb–
Though I than He–may longer live
He longer must–than I–
For I have but the power to kill,
Without the power to die–
Ode on a Grecian Urn
Thou still unravished bride of quietness,
Thou foster child of silence and slow time,
Sylvan historian, who canst thus express
A flowery tale more sweetly than our rhyme:
What leaf-fringed legend haunts about thy shape
Of deities or mortals, or of both,
In Tempe or the dales of Arcady?
What men or gods are these? What maidens loath?
What mad pursuit? What struggle to escape?
What pipes and timbrels? What wild ecstasy?
Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard
Are sweeter; therefore, ye soft pipes, play on;
Not to the sensual ear, but, more endeared,
Pipe to the spirit dities of no tone.
Fair youth, beneath the trees, thou canst not leave
Thy song, nor ever can those trees be bare;
Bold Lover, never, never canst thou kiss,
Though winning near the goal—yet, do not grieve;
She cannot fade, though thou hast not thy bliss
Forever wilt thou love, and she be fair!
Ah, happy, happy boughs! that cannot shed
Your leaves, nor ever bid the Spring adieu;
And, happy melodist, unweari-ed,
Forever piping songs forever new;
More happy love! more happy, happy love!
Forever warm and still to be enjoyed,
Forever panting, and forever young;
All breathing human passion far above,
That leaves a heart high-sorrowful and cloyed,
A burning forehead, and a parching tongue.
Who are these coming to the sacrifice?
To what green altar, O mysterious priest,
Lead’st thou that heifer lowing at the skies,
And all her silken flanks with garlands dressed?
What little town by river or sea shore,
Or mountain-built with peaceful citadel,
Is emptied of this folk, this pious morn?
And, little town, thy streets for evermore
Will silent be; and not a soul to tell
Why thou art desolate, can e’er return.
O Attic shape! Fair attitude! with brede
Of marble men and maidens overwrought,
With forest branches and the trodden weed;
Thou, silent form, dost tease us out of thought
As doth eternity. Cold Pastoral!
When old age shall this generation waste,
Thou shalt remain, in midst of other woe
Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou say’st,
“Beauty is truth, truth beauty”—that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.
* * *
Steven B. Smith outside Cleveland’s Brandt Gallery, July 2008
photo by Jesus Crisis
A lady poet followed me home
And asked if I could keep her
It must be denied
For I had no room in my freezer
She engineered her stay
Of relocation with play
Charm and elocution
Praised this and that
Allowed a wee pat
Counted on evolution
I may be cheap
And easy too
But for female I’m hard-wired
It’s sort of cool
This once being the one that’s desired
Though I question her taste
Her need of rat waste
A too hasty fade
Will shatter shades
I cannot replace
Best to see
What she reweaves
What treasure in her trundle
Though it fracture my plan
I am but man
And man is meant to bundle
[© by Steven B. Smith]
* * * * * * * *
Smith’s poems used with his permission.
For more, visit Smith’s renowned art and poetry website at www.agentofchaos.com
Follow his and his wife Lady’s excellent adventures at www.walkingthinice.com
Contact Smith on MySpace at http://www.myspace.com/smithcrimes
Get over 44 years of poetry and collages by Smith in Zen Over Zero (http://www.lulu.com/content/4265160)
Smith and Lady will be featured poets at Lix and Kix in Cleveland on 19 May 2009
Read a Jesus Crisis blog about Smith at S is for Smith (my favorite poets from A to Z – volume 19)