Borrowed Words: by Bonnie McClellan

•October 5, 2016 • 2 Comments


Adam to Eve, later in life,
after babel’s tower fell,
began his speech with borrowed words:
“Oh, my love!”
What world would I not give now
for that eternal, ancient fantasy:
“A loaf of bread, a jug of wine, and thou!”
In the shade of Kunitz’ VERY TREE,
the gentle spark released beneath
lithe pressure of your palm
above my heart
which would break
its fragile net of bone to rest
that narrow distance
closer to your flesh.
Now distracted by quick thoughts
of two french words: “chair” for flesh and “peau” for skin.
The first implying something
more animal/essential; the second softer,
more sensual than elemental:
“chair de ma chair.”
“os de mon os.”
ossature de ma vie.
bone network, calcite frame.
like bread,
like wine;
in my bones singing:
“sang de mon sang”
with each red cell
new marrow-minted.

The Housewife’s Lament: Laundry – by Bonnie McClellan

•August 22, 2016 • 1 Comment


The washing rustles its sorry story:
table stains and grey dust
leave off
hanging on
by a thread.

The Housewife’s Lament: Guest – by Bonnie McClellan

•August 20, 2016 • 1 Comment

Having left my eyes ajar,
night falls in:
drunk and tired as ever,
asking me to tend
the electric altar of his current stars.

It’s been days since
you packed up the suitcase
of your kiss.
I’m here with the night,
catching the anti-meridian in my arms.

Solareclipse 2105

Sonnet on Descartes’ Vinyard / Sonetto sul Vigneto di Cartesio: by Bonnie McClellan

•August 18, 2016 • 2 Comments


Paesaggio trascrive in polvere il fantasma del tempo
Tratto manomesso; friabile, reticolo evidente.
Maledizione di Jahweh, o di Minerva fatidico dono
Nudo frutto d’Eden, nel lavoro ridefinito.
Asse cartesiana della mente ben ordita
Contro il caos verdeggiante; la ruota della ragione.
EGO SUM dell’uomo tirato in campo ardente
Morbida, intransigente linea infinita.

Cosa abbiamo perso in questo mondo ben composto,
Arato dalla nostra razza divisa e consapevole?
Beatitudine incolta, dura, senza nome;
Primo bacio selvaggio tra Adamo ed Eva d’ossa fine;
Frusciante betulla sbiancata, mai scritta;
Panno primale della lingua, tessuto ma ancora spiegato.

*****     *****     *****


Landscape writes out in dust the ghost of time
Well-fingered tract; friable, forceful grid.
Yahweh’s curse or Minerva’s fateful gift
Naked fruit of Eden, in labour, redefined.
Cartesian axle of the ordered mind
Brought against verdant chaos, reason’s wheel.
Man’s own I AM scratched out in burning field
Soft, intransigent infinity of line.

What have we lost in this well-structured world
Ploughed out by our sentient, divided kind?
A hard, unnamed, uncultivated bliss;
Adam and fine-boned Eve’s first savage kiss;
Clattering, chalky aspen undescribed;
Primal cloth of language, woven, yet unfurled.

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The Housewife’s Lament: Calliope

•July 29, 2016 • Leave a Comment


The circus of your funeral came to town
with show posters
and the cacophony of bells pealing
down to the quick
insistent, pacing, rhythm;
The priest’s nasal bullhorn prayers appealing
down the night’s procession.


Your show posters remain. Peeling
down at the corner.
Not firmly affixed or
not enough to hold.

La Mamma: di Robin Kay Broussard

•May 8, 2016 • 1 Comment

A poem written for me on mother’s day by my daughter, Robin Kay Broussard. She’s in the 3rd grade and they gave the kids a choice of copying down a poem or making up their own. Robin chose the latter and I’m quite proud of her. In Italian it’s in rhyming couplets; my translation doesn’t achieve the same but I’ve done my best.


Translated it’s a bit like this:

You are mine

dear Mama,

with you

in my heart a breadth is born.

I love you very much,

both on days stormy and those serene.

From my heart to my fingertips,

you are the queen of my life.

You’re pretty and laughing,

full of life, content and smiling.

Robin Kay Broussard (9 years old)

The Bones of Time: Liliane Richman

•April 25, 2016 • 1 Comment

bones of time

IPM may have taken a break in 2016

…but our poets haven’t!

After working for the last several years, popular IPM poet Liliane Richman has published her memoirs this month. It’s the story not only of her own astonishing life but how it intertwined with the lives of her family. Much of the narrative takes place over the course of the the turbulent 1930s and 40s which was deeply marked by the war and, for Liliane herself, by her sojourn in southwestern France where she was sent to safety as a small child. When she returned to post-war Paris, and against all odds the family was reunited, Richman recounts in crystalline detail the difficult dynamics of a city and a family working out how to go on living.

Full of the resonant, clear-eyed imagery that you’ll recall from her poetry, Liliane’s book is full of memorable landscapes and portraits that convey the essence of the people and the times that formed the ‘bones’ of the woman and the writer she has become.

The Bones of Time is available on

as well as from: Barnes and Nobles

“Love emerges as the theme and driving perspective of this witness
to suffering and survival, making it one of the most beautiful and
haunting memoirs I’ve ever read.”

—Edie Brickell, Songwriter and Performer—


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