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The Poems of Catherine Barnett

ae poetry1Editor’s note:  Catherine Barnett is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Whiting Writers Award, and a Pushcart Prize. Her first book of poems, “Into Perfect Spheres Such Holes Are Pierced,” was published in 2004 by Alice James Books. Her second poetry collection, “The Game of Boxes,” was just released by Graywolf Press. Barnett works as an independent editor and teaches at Barnard College, The New School, and New York University.

In the Cabinet of What’s Expired:
Salves, creams, dreams in their shiny metal tins:
the balm of yes
is now the balm of no—

But it’s a pretty silver hope,
and I still swallow it—
I let it wash down my throat,

ae GameofBoxes2my chest,
down my desire vortex
to my smooth wild feet,

I let it wash my feet—

 

Prima Materia
He still doesn’t believe in the soul
so when I say again
marvel at the visible, he looks away
and closes his eyes
until practicing what not to say
and how not to say it

I don’t tell him how his own eyes,
open or closed, bored, resigned,
consigned to his fate,
are extraordinary,
how even the vagrancies in their place
come to beauty there.

 

Old Story
The clock doesn’t have an amygdala
so it doesn’t worry, it tells
its own quick trickle-down story
of now and now and now until
neither yesterday nor tomorrow
is where it should be.
Welcome, traveler!
You might as well stay a while
and kneel to Happiness
and its hymns and its cross.

Photo: Jacqueline Mia Foster

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Sun in Leo, Rosy Star, Venus and Uranus Retrograde

Three major celestial events occur this week. Wednesday, the Sun enters Leo, highlighting the heart center of everyone. Leo is a sign of deep sensitivity (along with Cancer). Wednesday is also the feast day of St. Mary Magdalene, one of the most misunderstood women in the Bible. Saturday, July 25, Venus turns stationary retrograde at 0 Virgo (progressed Regulus, the Law, Hall of Records). Venus retrogrades for 44 days and nights, forming one petal of a five-pointed rosy star (pentagram) in the sky (five retrogrades over eight years = star). Venus retrograde turns values upside down. Our usual sense of beauty, values, the real price of things, relationships—all turn into a bundle of confusion. We don’t seem to know anything. Luxury goods are mispriced, values are jumbled, we wonder who that person is we’re in relationship with. We don’t know where our money is or where it’s gone. Venus, in daily life, represents values (resources, money, possessions and quality of relationships). Venus retrograde asks, “What do I value?” Venus retrograde puts us in touch with what has changed and what is truly of value in our lives. Venus retrogrades from 0 Virgo to 14 degrees Leo (July 25-Sept. 6). Leo is about the self and our creativity, which is how we come to know and value ourselves. We “know ourselves through what we create.” In Venus (values) retrograde (inner focus) we will ask, “What are values (not just money and finances)? What are my values? What do I create? How do I value my creations? Do I value myself?” Sunday, Uranus—planet of all things new, revelatory and revolutionary—also retrogrades (from 20 to 16 degrees Aries) until the full moon of Christmas Day. Five months of Uranus retrograde. In July and continuing on through the following months we have many planets retrograding. Things therefore slow down. Everyone’s focus becomes subjective, hidden by veils and curtains. A time when inner reserves of strength are available. A time of protection.

 

The New Tech Nexus

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