Ralph Angel

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March 23, 2018 Angel Ralph



Day as in backwards


as in wisps of rain and a two-room flat against the sea


I loved the long flights of stairs
and the high-sided streets and the well-worn shoes just inside
the door


I loved the love that walked in alone and took a table
near the window




Lay down your hollow sound my cuckoo


We are singing opera in the kitchen with the owner and the chef
A dozen trout are fished out back
Stars get strung


beneath us
as in one true sentence at a time



Like someone who finished a story
begun long ago


When it storms the rooftops and the cliffs


Pigeons walk the pavement
A taxi hisses by


Where the last
bare trees


open to the plaza
only you


can hear it







Like someone clearing his throat before dawn.


When the cabby says “Are you crying?” because you really are crying, you say



A boy comes in with a tray of glasses. His sister leaves the door ajar.


Like an orchid bruised the moment you touch it. You know why you’re doing it

and how.


Like someone shaving across the courtyard, and singing.


Or sidewalk tables cradled in light, if that’s what you’re asking.


Or the smell of palm trees, and of the empty courtyard. Or the first raindrops, and

then their spattering.







Ralph Angel’s latest collection, Your Moon, was awarded the 2013 Green Rose Poetry Prize. Exceptions and Melancholies: Poems 1986-2006 received the 2007 PEN USA Poetry Award, and his Neither World won the James Laughlin Award of The Academy of American Poets. In addition to five books of poetry, he also has published an award-winning translation of the Federico García Lorca collection, Poema del cante jondo / Poem of the Deep Song. Angel is the recipient of numerous honors, including a gift from the Elgin Cox Trust, a Pushcart Prize, a Gertrude Stein Award, the Willis Barnstone Poetry Translation Prize, a Fulbright Foundation fellowship and the Bess Hokin Award of the Modern Poetry Association. He lives in Los Angeles, and is Edith R. White Distinguished Professor at the University of Redlands, and a member of the MFA in Writing faculty at Vermont College of Fine Arts.