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Oct 09th
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The Poems of Priscilla Becker

ae_poetryEditor’s notes: In this week’s Poetry Corner, we feature the work of Priscilla Becker’s second book of poems, “Stories That Listen,” which is newly out from Four Way Books. Her poems have appeared in Fence, Open City, The Paris Review, Boston Review, American Poetry Review, Verse, and The Swallow Anthology of New American Poets, among others. She teaches poetry at Pratt Institute, Columbia University, and in her apartment.


I thought of a paralysis

a stiffening of the ligaments

so that the hand looked

in a shock. At first I only

mourned the loss of curl

around my coffee cup, the warmth

within my palm.

But soon I thought of other

horror, and also of the way that it

occurs—in increments, a segment

here or there.

I’ve never seen it whole.



The songs wore out; they rusted

the radio. The singers began to die.

I left my toenails at the beach, hoping

they would grow another body.

I would return with a better,

more expressive face.

I loved it when you said my name.

When you didn’t, I listened

to the sounds the world made.

The trees especially injured me,

though they wouldn’t have known.

When the wind arrives, it upsets them.

I would return with sand in my hair.

The silence, I expected.



If I tell another

language, watch its

blonde eyebrows quake, its

impassive face

My simple phrases, rudimentary

hands pointing away

You will think

I can be fooled

I chose a mountain

place. Mineral cures, mine

baths, vapor caves.

I speak in fog



It's easier now, removed

from the temporary

scaffolding of your bones

besides, there was something

unreliable and I never walked

entirely below. It is an average day,

perhaps a birthday of someone

neither young nor old

Comments (1)Add Comment
I love Becker but....
written by Ginab, November 27, 2010

...I cannot imagine the must have been dizzying work to decide finality in the lines, as what I really love about her work is that I can do this:

I can be fooled
My simple phrases, rudimentary
hands pointing away
You will think

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Mercury Direct in Libra, Columbus Day, Libra New Moon

Mercury completes its retrograde Friday, poised stationary direct Friday evening at zero degrees Libra. Mercury begins its journey through Libra once again, completing its retrograde shadow Oct. 12. Things should be a bit less complicated by then. Daily life works better, plans move forward, large purchases can be made, and communication eases. Everything on hold during the retrograde is slowly released. Since we eliminated all thoughts and ideas no longer needed (the purpose of Mercury’s retrograde) during the retrograde, we can now gather new information—until the next retrograde occurs on Jan. 5, 2016 (1.3 degrees Aquarius), retrograding back to 15 degrees Capricorn on Jan. 25. It’s good to know beforehand when Mercury will retrograde next—Jan. 5, the day before Epiphany. On Monday is Columbus Day, when the sailor from Genoa arrived in the new lands (Americas), Oct. 12, 1492. This discovery by Columbus was the first encounter of Europeans with Native Americans. Other names for this day are “Discovery Day, Day of the Americas, Cultural Diversity Day, Indigenous People’s Day, and Dia de la Raza.” Italian communities especially celebrate this day. Oct. 12 is also Thanksgiving Day in Canada. Monday is also the (19 degrees) Libra new moon festival. Libra’s keynote while building the personality is, “Let choice be made.” Libra is the sign of making life choices. Often under great tension of opposing forces seeking harmony and balance. There is a battle between our lower (personality) and higher selves (soul). We are tested and called to cultivate right judgment and love. When we align with the will-to-good, right choice, then right judgment and love/wisdom come forth. Our tasks in Libra. 


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