April 28 – #NPM17

they set my aunts house on fire
i cried the way women on tv do
folding at the middle
like a five pound note.
i called the boy who use to love me
tried to ‘okay’ my voice
i said hello
he said warsan, what’s wrong, what’s happened?

i’ve been praying,
and these are what my prayers look like;
dear god
i come from two countries
one is thirsty
the other is on fire
both need water.

later that night
i held an atlas in my lap
ran my fingers across the whole world
and whispered
where does it hurt?

it answered
everywhere
everywhere
everywhere.

Warsan Shire – “What They Did Yesterday Afternoon”
Read more about Warsan Shire here.

 



Dominique Christina – “For Emmett Till”
@nyarloka

April 27 – #NPM17

In god’s gleaming empire, herds of triceratops
lunge up on their hind legs to somersault
around the plains. The angels lie in the sun
using straight pins to eat hollyhocks. Mostly
they just rub their bellies and hum quietly

to themselves, but the few sentences
they do utter come out as perfect poems.
Here on earth we blather constantly, and
all we say is divided between combat
and seduction. Combat: I understand you perfectly.
Seduction: Next time don’t say so out loud.
Here the perfect poem eats its siblings

in the womb like a sand shark or a star turning
black hole, then saunters into the world
daring us to stay mad. We know most of our
universe is missing. The perfect poem knows
where it went. The perfect poem is no bigger
than a bear. Its birthday hat comes with
a black veil which prattles on and on about

comet ash and the ten thousand buds of
the tongue. Like people and crows, the
perfect poem can remember faces and hold
grudges. It keeps its promises. The perfect
poem is not gold or lead or a garden gate
locked shut or a sail slapping in a storm.
The perfect poem is its own favorite toy.

It is not a state of mind or a kind of doubt
or a good or bad habit or a flower of any
color. It will not be available to answer
questions. The perfect poem is light as dust
on a bat’s wing, lonely as a single flea.

Kaveh Akbar – “The Perfect Poem”
@KavehAkbar

 



Sarah Kay – “Private Parts”
@kaysarahsera

April 26 – #NPM17

It never ends, the bruise
of being—messy,
untimely, the breath

of newborns uneven, half
pant, as they find
their rhythm, inexact

as vengeance. Son,
while you sleep
we watch you like a kettle

learning to whistle.
Awake, older,
you fumble now

in the most graceful
way—grateful
to have seen you, on your own

steam, simply eating, slow,
chewing—this bloom
of being. Almost beautiful

how you flounder, mouth full, bite
the edges of this world
that doesn’t want

a thing but to keep turning
with, or without you—
with. With. Child, hold fast

I say, to this greening thing
as it erodes
and spins.

 

Kevin Young – “Greening”
@Deardarkness

 



Lacey Roop – “A Lesson Learned From 3rd Graders”
@LaceyRoop

April 25 – #NPM17

Your hand sails its gold ship around the small of my back
and the streetlights blush, oranges peeling into their more naked selves.

With you, it’s always this tender and waiting, the entire city opening
just to close us in together. I mean it’s New York, New York isn’t it? and

This has always been its story. You’re not from around here, and I’m
always about to leave, and these cobblestones collide around us,

roads pressing into roads as people walk past us, their heads thrown back
in laughter, mouths all spit and fire, new tar forming from the oil of their sneakers.

I don’t know how to fall in love here. It’s never quiet enough to know
what I’m thinking when you pull your hair back and smile, but I know

that I don’t want to leave, not you, not here, not with this, with everything
feeling so delicate, the space between us a branch I’m not sure is worth breaking.

And we are standing at Allen Street, and I’m not asking you to stay but
I’m holding an apple to your mouth and saying Bite, and so you bite,

and I wipe the sweet juice from the side of your mouth, and an old mister calls out:
You better treat this girl right, boy! and you laugh – What else can you do?

This is New York, New York, remember? – and neither of us will be here for long.
So we pull a little closer. The bough bending before it breaks, and when it does,

Some light in me snaps —
pink, pulse-pulse, and hold.

Shinji Moon – We Make Our Land on Allen Street”
More on Moon here.

 


Shane Koyczan & Hannah Epperson – “Remember How We Forgot”
@Koyczan and @hannah_epperson

April 24 – #NPM17

I couldn’t tell you in any of the ways I knew how, it was strange because I spoke too often and so loud you often told me to shut up, but when I opened my mouth, I was always distracted. Your cheeks looked like freshly picked apples in the light, I wanted to sink my teeth into them. On Monday morning I felt the words rising in my throat like bile only I was stupid enough to look at you and I swear that I forgot what day it was because you were so fucking beautiful standing in the light falling from the open kitchen windows that God himself couldn’t have forced the sentiment from my mouth. And that’s how it went, I tried and I lost it, there was always something to derail me and I could never explain to you how even the spread of freckles across your nose turned my stomach so heavily that I couldn’t remember what languages I’d learned. Sometimes I whispered them to you in Bengali at night whilst you were lying across my stomach, over and over again like the lyrics from a favorite song and you’d ask me in your sleepy voice what I meant and all I could say was ‘I’m asking if you’ll make me a sandwich.’ You’d pinch my stomach and roll your eyes until your lashes fluttered against my skin and curse in frustration. Sometimes you kissed me so hard I wondered if you were trying to lick the words out of my mouth.

I tried to tell you in other ways, quietly and gently, I bought your favorite blend of chocolate milk and didn’t let anyone drink it because when your stomach hurt you’d put your head on my shoulder and cradle the cup in your hands. I learned your favorite song on guitar and it took me three whole weeks to pluck up the courage to show you but I peeked under my lashes when I was playing and your smile, boy, it looked like rain on desert and it was worth the sore nails. You asked me to play on Saturday night, you told me that you wished I could say it, but I couldn’t so I strummed it through my fingers instead and let you eat the last slice of cake. You must have known then, when I shook for you at night and held your hands until my nails were tattoos on your skin, when I sat through hours of Lord of the Rings for you, that even though you hadn’t heard me say it yet, I was still telling you in a thousand different ways, I was still telling you.

 

Azra Tabassum – from the book “Shaking the Trees”
@TarinTabassum

 



Asia Samson – “Alive”
@TheAsiaProject

April 23 – #NPM17

I am not the first person you loved.
You are not the first person I looked at
with a mouthful of forevers. We
have both known loss like the sharp edges
of a knife. We have both lived with lips
more scar tissue than skin. Our love came
unannounced in the middle of the night.
Our love came when we’d given up
on asking love to come. I think
that has to be part
of its miracle.
This is how we heal.
I will kiss you like forgiveness. You
will hold me like I’m hope. Our arms
will bandage and we will press promises
between us like flowers in a book.
I will write sonnets to the salt of sweat
on your skin. I will write novels to the scar
of your nose. I will write a dictionary
of all the words I have used trying
to describe the way it feels to have finally,
finally found you.

And I will not be afraid
of your scars.

I know sometimes
it’s still hard to let me see you
in all your cracked perfection,
but please know:
whether it’s the days you burn
more brilliant than the sun
or the nights you collapse into my lap
your body broken into a thousand questions,
you are the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.
I will love you when you are a still day.
I will love you when you are a hurricane.
Clementine von Radics – “Mouthful of Forevers”
@Clementinevr

 



Amin Drew Law – “Unsaid”
@AminDrewLaw

April 22 – #NPM17

There are many reasons — the promise
of water, to offer one example —

but none burns so blood
as the good work of muscles pumping freight
over the earth; as the fact of engine in my knees
and all my lover’s inexplicable flesh
churning wind beside me.

The work of love
becomes its own reason; like the heart’s
relentless feedback loop, which is infinite
until it isn’t; like sweat, being only
(miraculously) itself, and worth it;

like the ocean, having been the ocean
long before we arrived, each wave
newborn and buried at once; like us,
standing breathless at the edge,
astonished by our own lungs.

Franny Choi – “Why We Biked Forty Miles to Narragansett”
@fannychoir

 


Guante – “Ten Responses to the Phrase ‘Man Up'”
@elguante

April 21 – #NPM17

Listen. I can never be anyone’s home.
There is almost always too much growl.
Always too much room for ache,
not enough speak.
Listen. This is language
tucked under the tongue.
This is too many folds of skin
and not enough let me in.

See this: a forest in the core of the bones,
our winged truths trapped amid the overgrowth.
See this: chest brimming with ghosts.

Here is a question without the mark.
Here is me listening for the sound of want.

This is a hand with too much tremble,
too much shake,
and not enough mouth for saying,
Listen. How beautiful we’d sound
if you stay.

Jamela Dabuet – “Language Tucked Under the Tongue”
See Jamela’s Facebook page

 


 

Phil Kaye – “Camaro”
@phil_kaye

April 20 – #NPM17

It is only September.
I don’t know how many seasons
I will be allowed to love you yet.
What I do know is that you have flown
one thousand Miles to stand in my kitchen,
dropping chocolate chips into pumpkin pancakes
like arranging freckles for the face of a perfect child.
Feeding me the extra semisweet moles.
I don’t yet know for how many years
you might flip me pancakes for.
If you will still love me when that blonde tree
sheds her Hollywood wig. If we will make it
to the season of the blueberries, but I don’t care.
The tree is a pin-up girl posing outside my window
and you’re only looking at me. Every latte in this city
smells like the only fruit in the world
we carve faces from. Tell me
might that be something?

Megan Falley – “A Simple Love Poem”
@megan_falley

 



Jamaal May – “Sky Now Black With Birds”
@JamaalMay

April 19 – #NPM17

Last night, I dreamt of you with purple in your hair.
It did not hurt to think of you and it did not hurt

to see you and I let myself hold your face like two

fat peonies and pull each petal to my lips, thoughtless,
simple, like passing the doorway of a childhood home.

I belong here. Soon, I would wake and for the first time

all summer not slump at the weight of remembering.
I did not go brittle counting the days since your mouth

was last part of my body. Things are what they are and

no longer are. The bloom of your cheeks (like all living
things) had a season. I lived here once. I need not return.

Sierra DeMulder – “Acceptance”
@sierrademulder

 



Sam Sax – “Learning to Breathe Water”
@samsax1