John Levy

Me Me Me

I look up at the slab of night, aware

of my allotment of them. I have not been
on earth long, compared to some

mountains, for example. I have no memory

of being a fetus, just as I imagine
I’ll have no memory of being dead.

I am a thread, or less than one, in any

cosmic accounting (shall we
quibble rather than squabble?). A line


in an aerial photo I imagine taking of
where sea meets shore

allows me to imagine I’m flying, as I did

in at least one dream I remember.
I flew over a Greek village, Meligalas.

Stars are the sleep of nobody.

Zoe from Minneapolis

But if I could be calm
and grieve in this poem
for my mother. Mom,

whose name Zoe was uncommon
in 1923, when she was born and

rare enough so that for my first
20 years I didn’t know any other
Zoe. I stand within how her name



I’ve been bumblebee and
a bumblebee of lead,

shout and vacuum, blackboard
and moonless


and crumbling


leaf, I’ve been

and a piece of
music, born

and daybreak, born

and tree
stump, been grief

and coastline 

No Rider (1985)

on a storm-darkened narrow road
in the Taygetos Mountains to the east of Kalamata
we were the only car driving through the downpour

heading up through the dark on the sleek
wet road with drenched wall of rock to our left

and lightning flashing the trees to our right
into branching ghosts
when a big white horse galloped down toward us

in the center of the road, passed us speeding down

charging more powerfully than reality

With Built-in Dreams

I like to think of myself as a colorful but small
mortal near the daily

quicksand. I like to think of myself

free at last, an enthusiast,
filling my gratitude


with collages. I like being alive, a rope
nearby for someone to throw me when I’m halfway

down in the quicksand. I

think the most accurate epitaph for me will be:
He bought books.

My daily aspirations, simple

as they are, include repeated
memories─monuments, really,

in an otherwise flattened past.

Olivia Blossom Levy, 5/2/22
If you could speak to us today, you would be wrong
if you remarked, “I wasn’t born yesterday.”
I’m writing this on May the first, 2022, a day, Olivia, you
won’t remember (unless you’re one of those people
who do remember their birth, their first and second
day on Earth, and
how thrilled their parents were, as yours were and
are). But it’s unlikely you’ll remember today and
this poem isn’t going to help you do that. This poem
is neither a self-help poem nor a help-anyone poem, it’s
a Welcome poem. Welcome, that is, to your loving
mother and father, welcome
to skies, birds and birdsongs, trees, oceans, dawns,
fairy tales, hugs, laughter (and you will have plenty
with your parents!). Welcome
to Earth, welcome to the universe, welcome
to dreams, to love, to music, to silences and peace, to
your cousin Mathias, to your aunts and uncles and grand-
parents, to playgrounds, constellations, flowers, to
your life. Yes, you were
born yesterday and the people who know and love your mother
and father already love you. Olivia Blossom, your name itself
a two-word melody and poem.


John Levy lives on the outskirts of Tucson.
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Blogger Sheila Murphy said...

Glorious and fresh, welcome poems, John. Thanks. Sheila

4:28 AM  
Blogger Jack Galmitz said...

The poem to your mother is very touching, John.
Thank you for shaking some emotions from me.

7:52 AM  
Blogger vazambam (Vassilis Zambaras) said...

Again, another fine batch of poems from you; thanks!

6:17 PM  

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