Poem of the Day - Archive

San Francisco Poet Laureate Kim Shuck is curating a Poem of the Day with San Francisco Public Library for every day during the COVID-19 pandemic. Check daily for new poetic offerings from assorted local poets.

Here is an archive of the previous Poems of the Day:


by Alexandra Mattraw
(from We Fell Into Weather, The Cultural Society 2020)


           over tuned sand     we unzip
            plastic/tongue     fevered screens
      to drink/lunch clots     confetti PBT
           isles/we become     aerial drifts
              in our lungs     knot brighter
                Pbs/rubber     PBJ/grainy
             hieroglyphics     to hook/orange
                               of twelve nations

                               weight of
               500 PCBs or     Jumbo jets
     a yellow bucket holds     my son to acronymic       
        reduction/a single     white handle
             he land-fills

        retch brine stench     at my neck
         exfoliates breath     warmer/microbeads
           trap sun/unseen     splash in my mouth
            exposures open     soundless as if

               to float in     kelp dioxin

               tidal wings     hiss bony/USDs   
                 he pushes     down unsinkable CFCs 
      his submarine a size     of Texas/unimaginable
             I can’t trawl     terra data
          but serrate into     smaller pieces

           shoring rosary      beads/our laughter  
       resurfaces flowers      worn again
          like blue moths      pressed waist flat I drink
         vertical I drink

                               the waterline in 
          this over tuned      land/now dressed   
               biphenyl/I      unshell his 
         counting without      shadow ruins
              he swallows      my duress my



for Richard Sanderell
By Kim Shuck


Poet borrowed snake scales
Painted self with stones
To cradle open heart
Open heart
Word armor
Pulled precise

A more than silence
Just breath
Another breath
And up the hill we
Tied every thought of unpain
Every  “as you would want it”
We could find
To the water that ran under our house
The wall you wanted to be nearer to
Run down the invisible arroyo, cousin
Breathe easy



by Richard Sanderell


Jaguar walks night. Wind blows through jungle, warning sounds as howler monkeys howl, or those who sing who who, who who on top, choirs of birds, animals sound warnings. Jaguar is passing by, feminine, giver, taker of life.

Jaguar displays her beautiful color coat of yellows, browns, spots, walks regally protector, guardian of night. Chorus of sounds persist as she casually strolls. She ruler has no one to fear this night, no human borders need be crossed or fires set to run from. With full stomach from recent kill, she enjoys her walk through her domain always on the look out for game to pounce or waterways to swim.

Copyright 2017



He Asked Me


why I haven't read
aloud in a while. That it could be cathartic.

It's been literal weeks.
Maybe months, even.

I told him - I'm not ready.
You see, I write what I know.
I know what I experience.
When you read my words, I hope
I put you in the room with them

The bizarre, optimistic smile on her face
The talk of excitement for the hours to come
Something so obscene and inappropriate
for a room as sterile as the one we sat in
for far too long

And later,
When my dad's voice repeats,
'Yes. I see. Yes, got you. Thank you,'
numerous times, voice unwavering, but slightly
higher than usual...

That you sit in my seat across the
table from him while he sets the phone
down, buries his face in his hands,
and weeps silently. My 'unfeeling'
English father, spilling tears
that highlight all of my worst fears.

I hope you can feel the same
chest in your stomach
why the fuck us?
why now?

feeling that I got,
when he finally spoke.

“They found a 3-millimeter growth
on her sentinel node.
We won't know how much it
spread for a few days."

Some write to cope with their cancer.
I write to cure it.
And because I can't
I don't.



the messenger
by Gabor Gyukics


the bird-messenger
appearing for no reason
is unthinkable
as it was followed
by verdant patches on trees and bushes
what’s this if not possible pieces of our madness
which appear as non-competitive details of life
emanating out of man
like most everything else
that creak inside us during winter time
and gives us serious strength to continue
that's why we’re able to
chop iron with iron
piece after piece
helping us recognize
death as an acknowledgment of life
this is what throws us up without batting an eye
and fires our frozen engine



by Anissa Malady


the last thing
before the last.
vanishing in a History
of my own making.
staring at things
no one can see.
a ferocious
converts me to memory.
express forth
with much force.
words flow



the great alliance of oklahoma
by jennifer fox bennett
{for m. anquoe}


note: the kiowa and the odawa are two nations indigenous to the central regions of north
america. in the late 18th century, the kiowa were relocated to oklahoma, as well as a
small portion of the odawas.
me & you
the odawa and the kiowa
like a great nebular collusion of blood
we’ll load the trunk of our beloved, duct-taped steed
whose diligent machinery, deoxyribonucleic acid and differential equations
are mapped like constellations and held with mythological fishing string
we’ll give her a name like “quaint”
who wears her grill like a sneer
and drives on asphalt pity all the way downtown with the hazards on
i'll pack my shotgun heart and razor tongue
and you,
you can take your marble bag full of pocket-sized aztec figurines
you & me
the kiowa and the odawa
we’ll storm city hall with a brown paper bag flag
dry as the blood washed through the soil so many years ago
and coup the dead grass that waves us through
we’ll set fire to the department of records
and watch the ashes of all the deeds in the whole fucken county flare up
and flicker away into the abhorrence of stars
and when we do, our laughter will float to the thunderheads
rise like smoke and dandelion dust
and broadcast our caffeinated dreams
like a great apocalyptic alliance of tears.