Posts Tagged ‘tony hoagland’

Quote of the Day: FLORIDA

May 1, 2017

FLORIDA

I just got back from the Florida Panhandle, near Pensacola, and to me it was something like poetry. On the one hand, the reality of the Arby’s and the parking lots and the tattoo parlors and the clam shacks. One hundred feet away, on the other hand, was the beach, the impossible sugar-white sand, and the turquoise, crystal-clear ocean. It was spring break and I know that, a block away, a sophomore named Nancy from Tallahassee was vomiting under a Ferris wheel, and some other kid named Todd was jumping off the balcony of his third-floor room into the hotel swimming pool, and the ambulance was already on its way, and the blue blue ocean was minding its own eternal business. That catches the coexistence of the sacred and profane, which makes the world and makes poetry too. That juxtaposition of beauty and ugliness, of the precious and the appalling, is really important to my poetry. It’s a description of the world, and, to me, also a description of human nature, of psychological reality.

–Tony Hoagland

Quote of the day: FETCH

November 24, 2015

FETCH

Who knew that the sweetest pleasure of my fifty-eighth year
would turn out to be my friendship with the dog?

That his trembling, bowlegged bliss at seeing me stand there with the leash
would give me a feeling I had sought throughout my life?

Now I understand those old ladies walking
their Chihuahuas in the dusk, plastic bag wrapped around one hand,

content with a companionship that, whatever
else you think of it, is totally reliable.

And in the evening, at cocktail hour,
I think tenderly of them

in all of those apartments on the fourteenth floor
holding out a little hotdog on a toothpick

to bestow a luxury on a friend
who knows more about uncomplicated pleasure

than any famous lobbyist for the mortal condition.
These barricades and bulwarks against human loneliness,

they used to fill me with disdain,
but that was before I found out my metaphysical needs
could be so easily met

by the wet gaze of a brown-and-white retriever
with a slight infection of the outer ear
and a tail like a windshield wiper.

I did not guess that love would be returned to me
as simply as a stick returned when it was thrown

again and again and again—
in fact, I still don’t exactly comprehend.

What could that possibly have to teach me
about being human?

–Tony Hoagland

tony hoagland

Quote of the day: PLEASURE

September 10, 2011

PLEASURE

“The Word”

Down near the bottom
of the crossed-out list
of things you have to do today,

between “green thread”
and “broccoli,” you find
that you have penciled “sunlight.”

Resting on the page, the word
is beautiful. It touches you
as if you had a friend

and sunlight were a present
he had sent from someplace distant
as this morning—to cheer you up,

and to remind you that,
among your duties, pleasure
is a thing

that also needs accomplishing.
Do you remember?
that time and light are kinds

of love, and love
is no less practical
than a coffee grinder

or a safe spare tire?
Tomorrow you may be utterly
without a clue,

but today you get a telegram
from the heart in exile,
proclaiming that the kingdom

still exists,
the king and queen alive,
still speaking to their children,

—to any one among them
who can find the time
to sit out in the sun and listen.

— Tony Hoagland

Quote of the day: HATE

October 18, 2010

HATE

“Hate Hotel”

Sometimes I like to think about the people I hate.
I take my room at the Hate Hotel, and I sit and flip
through the heavy pages of the photographs,
the rogue’s gallery of the faces I loathe.

My lamp of resentment sputters twice, then comes on strong,
filling the room with its red light.
That’s how hate works—it thrills you and kills you

with its deep heat.
Sometimes I like to sit and soak
in the Jacuzzi of my hate, hatching my plots

like a general running his hands over a military map—
and my bombers have been sent out
over the dwellings of my foes,
and are releasing their cargo of ill will

on the targets below, the hate bombs falling in silence
into the lives of the hate-recipients.

From the high window of my office
in the Government of Hate,
where I stay up late, working hard,
where I make no bargains, entertain no
scenarios of reconciliation,

I watch the hot flowers flare up all across
the city, the state, the continent—
I sip my soft drink of hate on the rocks
and let the punishment go on unstopped,

—again and again I let hate
get pregnant and give birth
to hate which gets pregnant
and gives birth again—

and only after I feel that hate
has trampled the land, burned it down
to some kingdom come of cautery and ash,
Only after it has waxed and waned and waxed all night
only then can I let hate

creep back in the door. Curl up at my feet
and sleep. Little pussycat hate. Home sweet hate.

— Tony Hoagland

Quote of the day: NATURE

October 1, 2010

NATURE

Outside the youth center, between the liquor store
and the police station,
a little dogwood tree is losing its mind;

overflowing with blossomfoam,
like a sudsy mug of beer;
like a bride ripping off her clothes,

dropping snow white petals to the ground in clouds,

so Nature’s wastefulness seems quietly obscene.
It’s been doing that all week:
making beauty,
and throwing it away,
and making more.

— Tony Hoagland, “A Color of the Sky”

NATURE

Outside the youth center, between the liquor store

and the police station,

a little dogwood tree is losing its mind;

overflowing with blossomfoam,

like a sudsy mug of beer;

like a bride ripping off her clothes,

dropping snow white petals to the ground in clouds,

so Nature’s wastefulness seems quietly obscene.

It’s been doing that all week:

making beauty,

and throwing it away,

and making more.

— Tony Hoagland, “A Color of the Sky”

%d bloggers like this: