There was the day we swam in a river, a lake, and an ocean.
And the day I quit the job my father got me.
And the day I stood outside a door,
and listened to my girlfriend making love
to someone obviously not me, inside,

and I felt strange because I didn't care.

There was the morning I was born,
and the year I was a loser,
and the night I was the winner of the prize
for which the audience applauded.

Then there was someone else I met,
whose face and voice I can't forget,
and the memory of her
is like a jail I'm trapped inside,

or maybe she is something I just use
to hold my real life at a distance.

Happiness, Joe says, is a wild red flower
plucked from a river of lava
and held aloft on a tightrope
strung between two scrawny trees
above a canyon
in a manic-depressive windstorm.

Don't drop it, Don't drop it, Don't drop it—,

And when you do, you will keep looking for it
everywhere, for years,
while right behind you,
the footprints you are leaving

will look like notes
of a crazy song.


About Tony Hoagland


He was born in Fort Bragg, North Carolina. His father was an Army doctor, and Hoagland grew up on various military bases throughout the South. He was educated at Williams College, the University of Iowa (B.A.), and the University of Arizona (M.F.A.). According to the novelist Don Lee, Hoagland "attended and dropped out of several colleges, picked apples and cherries in the Northwest, lived in communes, \[and\] followed the Grateful Dead . . ." He currently teaches in the University of Houston creative writing program. He is also on the faculty of the Warren Wilson low-residency MFA program. In an... Read more...

Poet of the day

Edward George Dyson was an Australian poet, journalist and short story writer.

He was born at Morrisons near Ballarat in March 1865. His father, George Dyson, arrived in Australia in 1852 and after working on various diggings became a mining engineer, his mother came from a life of refinement in...
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Poem of the day


J'aime ton nom d'Apollonie,
Echo grec du sacré vallon,
Qui, dans sa robuste harmonie,
Te baptise soeur d'Apollon.

Sur la lyre au plectre d'ivoire,
Ce nom splendide et souverain,
Beau comme l'amour et la gloire,
Prend des résonances d'airain.

Classique, il fait plonger les...
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