Favorite Poems

John Hershman


A Strong Male Rain 

Menacing dark clouds
Navajo rain fell over red canyons
Lightning to breathe white fear
. . . Thunder followed . . .
and somewhere nearby is a Jewish Kugelblitz. 

I knew the rain storm was coming
The air danced with wet sand off golden dunes
The horse began to get excited
from the whispers of rolling thunder in the distance
I had a small phobia of thunderstorms. 

Slowly he crawled across the sky, angry
he's large and bumpy with thick strapping gray muscles
This storm cloud was male, that's what Grandma says
"When the clouds gather anger they cry thunder and rain,
this is the male rain." 

The sudden winds kicked up sand into my eyes, I blinked
In a drying puddle from yeserday's storm I see Darcy's face
Darcy is a Jewish girl from Phoenix
She's a friend who's also afraid of the male rain
her brother Ean brought on her fears. 

Grandma brought on my fear of storms
She told us kids to sit still and don't talk during a storm
or we'd get struck by lightning for disobeying
When Darcy was young, she used to sit at the window
and watch the lightning show during monsoon season. 

Ean walked to his sister by the window
He grinned his teen-age teeth and said
"You know if you stand too close to the window,
a Kugelblitz will get you."
"A Kugelblitz?" she asked questioningly. 

"Yeah, a ball of lightning to chase you."
She never watched the light show again
Instead during stormy nights, she silently cried in bed
Little Jewish tears added to the monsoon's rain
She told me this story one rainy night when we were alone. 

I told her about the male rain and what not to do during a storm
She told me about Ean and his sadistic tale of the Kugelblitz
I guess Jews and Navajos aren't all that different
We were both afraid of thunderstorms
We had other past storms we were afraid of too,
She had the Holocaust
And I had America. 

...Lightning flashed...Thunder followed...
I began whipping my horse trying to escape the storms. 

Lyn Lifshin


Blue Tattoo

On each arm

a seven-digit number.

It hurts a little

as the flesh is pricked.

Blue fog

Men are made to run barefoot

on blue iced snow at dawn.

Hydrogen cyanide.

Bluish pellets of Zyklon B gas,

Effective in large rooms.

Men, women, children, babies,

Stripped, crowded,

packed into the chamber.

Blue fog.

Families holding hands

stiffened in death,

no room to fall down.

It is difficult

to tear them apart

to empty the chamber

for the next load

for more blue tattoos.

But Instead Has Gone into Woods

A girl goes into the woods
      and for what reason
      disappears behind branches
      and is never heard from again.
      We don’t really know why,
      she could have gone shopping
      or had lunch with her mother
      but instead has gone into
      woods, alone, without the lover,
      and not for leaves or flowers.
      It was a clear bright day
      very much like today.
      It was today. Now you might
      imagine I’m that girl,
      it seems there are reasons. But
      first consider: I don’t live
      very near those trees and my
      head is already wild with branches

Richard Brautigan



Land of the Rising Sun


Flying from Japanese night,

We left Haneda Airport in Tokyo

Four hours ago at 9:30 P.M.

June 30th

And now we are flying into the sunrise

Over the Pacific that is on its way

To Japan

Where darkness lies on the land

And the sun is hours away

I greet the sunrise of July 1st

For my Japanese friends

Wishing them a pleasant day

The sun is on its


For Fear of Being Alone

For fear of being alone

You do so many things

That aren’t you at all.

Just Because

Just because 

People love your mind,

Doesn’t mean they

Have to have

Your body


The Memoirs of Jesse James

I remember all those thousands of hours

That I spent in grade school watching the clock

Waiting for recess or lunch or to go home

Waiting. For anything but school

My teachers could have easily ridden with Jesse James

For all the time they stole from me

I’ll Affect You Slowly

I’ll affect you slowly

As if you were having 

A picnic in a dream

There will be no ants.

It won’t rain.

Tupac Shakur



The Rose That Grew From Concrete

Did u hear about the rose
that grew from a crack
in the concrete
Proving nature's laws wrong  
It learned to walk
Without having feet
It learned 2 breathe fresh air
Long live the rose
That grew from concrete
When no one else even care

Bob Dylan



"Blowin' In The Wind"

How many roads must a man walk down
Before you call him a man?
How many seas must a white dove sail
Before she sleeps in the sand?
Yes, and how many times must the cannonballs fly
Before they're forever banned?

The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind
The answer is blowin' in the wind

"Girl From The North Country"

If you're traveling the north country fair
Where the winds hit heavy on the borderline
Remember me to one who lives there
For she once was a true love of mine

If you go when the snowflakes storm
When the rivers freeze and summer ends
Please see if she has a coat so warm
To keep her from the howlin' winds

Please see if her hair hangs long
If it rolls and flows all down her breast
Please see for me if her hair's hanging long
For that's the way I remember her best

I'm a-wonderin' if she remembers me at all
Many times I've often prayed
In the darkness of my night
In the brightness of my day

So if you're travelin' in the north country fair
Where the winds hit heavy on the borderline
Remember me to one who lives there
She once was a true love of mine

Gary Snyder



Three Deer One Coyote Running In The Snow

First three deer bounding

and then coyote streaks right after

tail flat out

I stand dumb a while two seconds

blankly black-and-white of trees and snow

Coyote's back!

good coat, fluffy tail,

sees me: quickly gone.


I walk through where they ran

to study how that news all got put down.


Lay down these words

Before your mind like rocks.

placed solid, by hands

In choice of place, set

Before the body of the mind

in space and time:

Solidity of bark, leaf, or wall

riprap of things:

Cobble of milky way.

straying planets,

These poems, people,

lost ponies with

Dragging saddles –

and rocky sure-foot trails.

The worlds like an endless


Game of Go.

ants and pebbles

In the thin loam, each rock a word

a creek-washed stone

Granite: ingrained

with torment of fire and weight

Crystal and sediment linked hot

all change, in thoughts,

As well as things.

Favorite Poems

John Trudell



A man a woman a sort of love

She was beautiful woman
But he did a lot of ugly things
To turn her world around
In his own way he loved her too
Trying to be his own man
Conquer the world when he couldn't
She became his last stand
He was Cowboys she was Indians

Some beauty fades
Into many ugly scenes
Glows from flush of love
Turn to flickering hopes
Falling from the clouds
When somebody leans
Today too early for the future
Too late for the past
What happens to love
The kind that lasts

She wanted what she needed
He needed what he wanted
Being in two worlds existing as one
Confined in the walls
Of their relationship
Becoming hammers tearing the walls down

Once the shared the same dream
Ends up they both had canvas of
Their own and their own paint
Then they saw
They only brought one frame
Her part of the dream alone
Was bigger than that

A man a woman a sort of love

Lou Reed


 Perfect Day


Just a perfect day
Drink Sangria in the park
And then later
When it gets dark, we go home

Just a perfect day
Feed animals in the zoo
Then later
A movie, too, and then home

Oh, it's such a perfect day
I'm glad I spent it with you
Oh, such a perfect day
You just keep me hanging on
You just keep me hanging on

Just a perfect day
Problems all left alone
Weekenders on our own
It's such fun

Just a perfect day
You made me forget myself
I thought I was
Someone else, someone good

Oh, it's such a perfect day
I'm glad I spent it with you
Oh, such a perfect day
You just keep me hanging on
You just keep me hanging on

You're going to reap just what you sow
You're going to reap just what you sow
You're going to reap just what you sow
You're going to reap just what you sow



I've Noticed a Paradox


I've noticed a paradox
In this cold world where strangers seldom speak
And Heaven forbid should they ever touch
But on a dance floor when slow music plays
Two strangers can come together
Without questions
Without lies
And while the music is playing
They can express a basic human need
To hold
And be held

And somehow I can't help but believe
That the whole world
Should learn to play
A little more
"Slow Music"

Leonard Cohen


Everybody Knows

Everybody knows that the dice are loaded
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed
Everybody knows that the war is over
Everybody knows the good guys lost
Everybody knows the fight was fixed
The poor stay poor, the rich get rich
That's how it goes
Everybody knows
Everybody knows that the boat is leaking
Everybody knows that the captain lied
Everybody got this broken feeling
Like their father or their dog just died

Everybody talking to their pockets
Everybody wants a box of chocolates
And a long stem rose
Everybody knows

Everybody knows that you love me baby
Everybody knows that you really do
Everybody knows that you've been faithful
Ah give or take a night or two
Everybody knows you've been discreet
But there were so many people you just had to meet
Without your clothes
And everybody knows

Everybody knows, everybody knows
That's how it goes
Everybody knows

Everybody knows, everybody knows
That's how it goes
Everybody knows

And everybody knows that it's now or never
Everybody knows that it's me or you
And everybody knows that you live forever
Ah when you've done a line or two
Everybody knows the deal is rotten
Old Black Joe's still pickin' cotton
For your ribbons and bows
And everybody knows

And everybody knows that the Plague is coming
Everybody knows that it's moving fast
Everybody knows that the naked man and woman
Are just a shining artifact of the past  

Robert Frost


The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, 

And sorry I could not travel both 

And be one traveler, long I stood 

And looked down one as far as I could 

To where it bent in the undergrowth; 

Then took the other, as just as fair, 

And having perhaps the better claim, 

Because it was grassy and wanted wear; 

Though as for that the passing there 

Had worn them really about the same,


And both that morning equally lay 

In leaves no step had trodden black. 

Oh, I kept the first for another day! 

Yet knowing how way leads on to way, 

I doubted if I should ever come back. 

I shall be telling this with a sigh 

Somewhere ages and ages hence: 

Two roads diverged in a wood, and 

I— I took the one less traveled by, 

And that has made all the difference.

Joy Harjo



Either a snail’s moist web
of moonlight, or someone’s
hot breath at four a.m.
when the night has been
too much, has eaten
you whole.
This is my life.
It has been
sifted through the bones
of my body, through
It is all that
I have.