tarot poems

Sunday Service

Sunday Service: Sophia Le Fraga poem and Jay Deshpande poem


should they may
be could you would
she called me up in
may and thought
she should but I would
not. can I may

could you might
then we fight —

he said should she
would she could but
which they might
and she could see there
only what she looked at
which was not there.

New York based Sophia Le Fraga holds a B.A. in Linguistics and Poetry from New York University. Her poetry has appeared in Lambda Literary Review’s Poetry Spotlight, The Broome Street Review, and Lemon Hound, among other publications. It has been exhibited at the Brooklyn Museum, the Corcoran Gallery, and in 2011, throughout Berlin. Her chapbook I DON’T WANT ANYTHING TO DO WITH THE INTERNET is out now, and her book of Whitman erasures, Song of Me and Myself is forthcoming.

This poem was inspired by The Hanged Man card of the tarot deck.


Sunday Service

Sunday Service: Ben Pease poem


from Fugitives of Speech

the trees fanned out around Mallender
as Sheer had described them
during his concussion-induced study session
in the woods behind his house

here too the branches wavered without the weight
of their leaves Mallender couldn’t focus
his eyes upon them maybe they weren’t entirely trees
too ephemeral milky black a few shades thick enough
not to be pure apparitions more like a neuron
diluted in the foggy ocean of the sky
the base of the tree
unconnected to the very earth
each tree
flickered in tune to the wind
which drew Mallender
plodding in one direction
a feint blue light
pulsed through the persuasively permanent
darkness ahead

when Mallender came to a circular clearing
he arrived also with the knowledge that his journey
had been long and full of peril
though he hadn’t experienced that interim
must have been a leap in time

as a jellyfish’s body fluctuates in the sea
translucent blue vespers shimmered in the area
cleared of trees

metal appendages detached from a body
that remained connected by the pale blue aura
it all floated in the shape of a body making an X
a body mid jumping jack not unlike Davinci’s
Virtuvian man that Mallender’s mother had on bookplates
in her Audubon books from the 70’s

the entire body spun making the blue fan out
into a sphere perfect except
for slight delineations call them borderlines
between each spinning section of the body

The legs separated from the sphere
and came at Mallender like a sliced blue tomato

the blue disappeared into the legs and immediately
the metal could take any shape it wished
not as fluid as T-1000 but more imaginative
and without the one-track-violent mind

the living metal sliced itself into silver byzantine halos
hovering slowly and developing wings
the accoutrements of angels without bodies
filling but not overwhelming the grey sky

the arms next detached themselves
from the still spinning
but increasingly piecemeal sphere

in front of Mallender they became a lathe and spun
and carved themselves into an obelisk bearing the hexagram
Mallender had cast for himself so recently
not just an obelisk but a sort of chimney shrouding the sky
with another sky from grey to green to hazel

next the head lowered itself to Mallender
the hair spread out as it had before at Whitney Park
rivers untangling from each other below
the half angels and golden brown sky
not simply rivers arbitrarily distributed
they spelled out words in luscious cursive
which Mallender could not read
though he knew the message vital to him
riverwriting show me the riverwriting he yelled

in response the final segment the torso approached him
the metal condensed itself into a chrome pomegranate
bursting open
the seeds floating in air sprouting into
blue roses
those wilting as fast as they bloomed
into blue herons that paced
around Mallender
and trumpeted silently into the air

the vision for all its chaotic happenings
maintained an un-earthly rhythm
the herons’ awkward steps always in line with one another
the halos spun around Mallender with the rhythm
of a torsion pendulum on an anniversary clock
the rivers sang
and in a flash without thunder
Diana stood before Mallender
just her the hazel sky and the trees
she was looking at him with respect but not love
as she had at Havland pond

from the trees still inky black
came a single note an ah
voices of the young and old male and female
it helped release Diana’s nature from this machine
Diana dispersed as the sky had from the obelisk
the trees turned green the chrome steel body
stood at attention with a blank stare on its flawless featureless face
but still Mallender’s affections for this husk of metal and energy
did not change

Ben Pease is a poet and visual artist with degrees from Emerson College and Columbia University. He hails from Ludlow, MA, the setting for his next book, Fugitives of Speech. He is an assistant professor at ASA College in New York City.

This poem was inspired by The Chariot card of the tarot deck.

Sunday Service

Sunday Service: Bianca Stone Poem

Pulling the Sun

Once, drunk on an island in the south of France
at a dinner party
a woman read my cards.
She didn’t speak any English.
Simone’s mom translated for me.
I wavered on a precipice
watching her lay each card down.
I looked unhinged into her low stream of French.
Her voice was amazing.
Full of calorific heat. She pushed coals
around my feet, pounding, her teeth
crooked in a fabulous smile.
Her hands were soft, multiplying rapidly,
gesturing through a veil
of incredible wine.
She set a video camera beside us.
She was making a documentary.
I felt like a female Great White shark
mating in the near-soporific effect
of a feeding frenzy.
I was riding a tiny horse
out of a sunflower field.
The whole feng shui of the house fluttered
around me. The sun sunk and died in my arms.
It’s something to do with your mother, she began.
And a bone-china teacup floated
in front of face and cracked
there’s too much at stake.
The body, the brain,
the liquor of the past
pouring in like a tonic.
In the middle of nowhere
the brain is more meaningful.
Some days I forget where I am.
I feel nothing. I know
I watch the sea admonish the people within it.
I’m enormous from eating
in rooms of attractive European conversations
I can’t partake in.
Simone like a ten foot tall Amazon warrior holding my hand through the void.
I could hear a phone ringing off in the distance.
A swift single shot. Everything was hitting
home. Knowledge was
idiosyncratic. Somewhat retained.
The woman was the new girlfriend of the uncle.
He stood a little on the side, fatalistic, troubled
when his face wasn’t in league with hers.
He didn’t get along with the family.
The mother had just died suddenly the weeks before.
The girlfriend walked around
like a black haired shaman, nonplussed with a camera.
Mid-fifties in dark red lipstick.
We communicated all night via outside sources.
When she looked at me
I wanted to be cast down
into the subjective feeling of helplessness.
I was reading a lot of Yeats at the time.
Imagined that I would bicycle lusciously through the South of France.
But my hair stood up on my arms in the wind.
A hologram in the middle of a culturally rich environment.
It was a kind of foreign breakdown.
An untranslatable doom.
She pulled The Sun,
enveloped in accurate lunacy.
My lips were stained various shades of mauve.
I couldn’t see myself as something
living. I was intellectually outside of the conversation.
She spoke long melodic prophecies, thus interpreted.
She hit a nerve.
I eventually passed out on the settee.

Bianca Stone is the author of several poetry chapbooks, including I Saw The Devil With HIs Needlework (Argos Books), and an ongoing poetry-comic series from Factory Hollow Press. She is the illustrator of Antigonick, a collaboration with Anne Carson (New Directions), and her poems have appeared in such magazines as Conduit, Tin House, and APR. She lives in Brooklyn, NY.

This poem was inspired by The Sun card of the tarot deck.

Sunday Service

Sunday Service: Jenny Zhang Poem


The last five centuries were uneventful
the stitches that melted
from my ripped open cunt
tasted like mint and changed color
when I peed
I peed with the door open
because this is bounty
the universe has a fat lip
we put every cock from China
inside it and splash
in the slippery oriental jizz
you feel like seppakuing because your butthole is unretractable
you feel like seppakuing because your butthole is too determined
you feel like seppakuing because one time a man was rejected by a woman
she said, You’re creepy
and he got a gun
and wrote a manifesto
against bikram yoga
against women with great bodies
against women who want to have babies with other men
against women who want to have babies with men who are not allowed to be part of their lives after they have the baby
against women who know they are good looking
against women who have died for knowing they are good looking
against women who loved women and mocked men for jerking off to the idea of a woman touching a woman
I have jerked off to the idea of a man
jerking off to the idea of a woman touching a woman
and that idea bought a samurai sword from ebay
and seppakued
I wanted to have a baby
I wanted to carry my baby to term
I wanted to have milk oozing from my tits
I wanted to have bigger tits than the tits I have now
I wanted to drink my own milk and breastfeed myself
I wanted to breastfeed my mother and tell her I love her
I wanted to miscarry a baby by falling down the stairs
I wanted to toast to my own miscarriage with breast milk from my tits
I wanted to have bigger tits without having a baby
I wanted you to tell me I’m the reason why the world is going to hell
I wanted to give you the hell you said I was capable of creating
no one really cares but you do and I do
we take the relics of entire countries
and trash them in the sea
when we dive for the past
we find unearthed thoughts
the fertility of what you think could one day be
is just the honest desire to be remembered after you’re dead
so much that you focus on how to be great
so much that you focus on how to be new
so much that you forget to love your father
so much that you forget to love your mother
so much that you forget to love your children
so much that you forget to love your pets
so much that you would forsake the barren godforsaken twice
farted sea which gave rise to the queen and her queenly farts
and her princely kingdom
where she once told you and I and our children to fear everything
and we did
and we lived like that
and we still live that
and we still know nothing
hiding our big dreams in the invisible centers of roses
where we feel big and round and ready
and ready
and ready
and ready
and ready
and ready
and ready
I’m ready
I’m ready
I’m ready
I’m ready
I’m ready
I’m ready
I’m ready

JENNY ZHANG is the author of the poetry collection, Dear Jenny, We Are All Find (Octopus Books, 2012.) She writes for teenage girls at Rookie magazine, and teaches high school students in the Bronx. You can find her at www.jennybagel.com

This poem was inspired by The Empress card of the tarot deck.

Sunday Service

Sunday Service: Dorothea Lasky Poem

The Hermit

I was quiet
As I went
Down the road
By the ocean

I was quiet
Or I wasn’t
You didn’t know me
You didn’t care

I was a unicorn
On a lonely road
And the sky
Was green, pink
And purple

Lonely yellow stars
Hung by the balustrades
And the moon was gel-like
Petty, and forgotten

Did we kiss, or fuck
I don’t know
I don’t know
I don’t know anymore

I know the blue
Of the evening
Was lush-dark
And that the moon lit its face
On my road

What I’ve come to look for
I don’t see
What I’ve come to find
I don’t see anymore

Still you walk
Ten steps ahead of me
In the foreground
I can almost see
Your cloak

Will you turn around
Will you turn around
No you do not care
How I wander

All the things
I wanted
The other time
When the sky was mist

I don’t want
I don’t want
I don’t want anymore

Dorothea Lasky is the author of Thunderbird, Black Life, and AWE, all out from Wave Books. She can be found online here: www.birdinsnow.com.

This poem was inspired by The Hermit card of the tarot deck

Sunday Service

Sunday Service: Angela Veronica Wong Poems

Elsa, IT’S OKAY. CRYING On The Bathroom Floor Is

Elsa, IT’S OKAY. CRYING on the bath-
room floor is a RIGHT of passage. You will
PRESS YOUR CHEEK against the bathroom tile and
find comfort in that irony. You will REPLAY THE
THINGS he said to you in those first 2 weeks
of dating. You will REMEMBER YOUR PLANS
to go to ———— together. IT WILL
FEEL like a condom on your heart. You
will DO THIS at least 17 times be-
fore you turn 35. EVERY TIME hurt-
ing will be different. You will EAT ONLY
WAFFLES and hope you lose twelve pounds. This is


Elsa When You Are Single This World Is

Elsa when you are single this world
is so amazing. It’s like an enor-
mous penis. It PAYS ATTENTION. Your
nipples harden just thinking about it.
Everyone wants your vagina. Your nail
polish changes color according to
your emotions. Elsa when you are
single it never rains. You can get away
with the things girls do in public bathrooms.
Do you miss me, Elsa? My best ideas
with you come when I’m brushing my teeth. I
wouldn’t worry about it. Instead spend
your time building syllabi, buying
wedding clothes. Wiping bug guts from walls.

Angela Veronica Wong is the author of how to survive a hotel fire (Coconut Books 2012). She is on the internet at angelaveronicawong.com.

These Elsa poems were inspired by The Star card of the tarot deck

Sunday Service

Sunday Service: Alex Dimitrov Poem

I Wanted To Write It For You

Someone has written it lightly in dark paint.
Did you come here to be with yourself?
Did you finish that day you couldn’t begin?
That’s not what was written but what I came to ask.
I wanted to live with you.
I wanted to know where you leave yourself
and who you live inside.
Someone has written it lightly in dark paint.
I wanted to call you, I wanted to hear
just you. Talking. To me.
I wanted to see your mouth move.
I wanted to write you.
A novel, no letter.
Do you understand?
I wanted to write
without a beginning or end.
I wanted to write just the love part for you.
Someone has written it lightly in dark paint.
Above a window. Near a fire escape.
Because we have no escape
I wanted to write it.
Someone has written it lightly in dark paint
like I wanted to write it for you.
Just the love part.
That’s the only thing I wanted to write.
That’s what it says. Above a window.
Framed by a fire escape.
That’s what someone has written.
Just the love part.
There’s no plot. Nothing happens.
Nothing will happen in this poem.
Nothing much happens in life.
Nothing worth knowing about really.
Just the love part.
No beginning or end.
I wanted to write it for you.

Alex Dimitrov’s first book of poems, Begging for It, will be published by Four Way Books in March 2013. He is the founder of Wilde Boys, a queer poetry salon in New York City. Dimitrov’s poems have been published in The Yale Review, The Kenyon Review, Slate, Poetry Daily, Tin House, Boston Review, and the American Poetry Review, which awarded him the Stanley Kunitz Prize in 2011. He is also the author of American Boys, an e-chapbook published by Floating Wolf Quarterly in 2012. Dimitrov works at the Academy of American Poets, teaches creative writing at Rutgers University, and frequently writes for Poets & Writers.

I Wanted To Write It For You was inspired by The Lovers card of the tarot deck.

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