Mark Danowsky – Five Poems



I think I’ve started to love
adding to my planner
just so I can X out




that scent
on your hands after
arranging tomatoes




She puts on a new hat
every poem she reads
adjusting the crutch lightly




He walks into the silhouette
Hitchcock with a hood up
as Masterpiece Theatre
resounds in the background



No Sanctuary is an Island

Realizing I have not taken
note of a single bird

I remove my headphones
letting in silence



Author’s Statement on Beauty

In William Carlos Williams’ poem entitled “Pastoral” (opens: “When I was younger…”), the poet considers how our sense of beauty is malleable.

The poem ends, “No one / will believe this / of vast import to the nation.” By which, of course, the implication is that this is important.

In “Pastoral,” WCW finds beauty in “furniture gone wrong” and “properly weathered” fixtures that “if I am fortunate” are “smeared a bluish green.” For Williams, patina (that bluish green film that accumulates on surfaces like copper) is a source of beauty. You can take this down a fun rabbit hole from “bluish green” to the more technical patina, then the Latin root of patina—“a shallow dish”—and this makes me wonder if Williams is cleverly self-correcting—that his perceived “adult” sense of beauty is “smeared” with something that is surface-level, shallow.

After leaving the world of “Pastoral,” it seems plausible that we’re supposed to understand vanity is not a game we can win; however, it’s “of vast import to the nation” that we are vigilant about checking in with ourselves to avoid pitfalls in our concept of what is beautiful.


Mark Danowsky is a poet from Philadelphia who lives in West Virginia. His poems have appeared in About Place, Cordite, Gargoyle, Right Hand Pointing, Subprimal, and elsewhere. Mark is Managing Editor for the Schuylkill Valley Journal and Founder of the poetry coaching and editing service VRS CRFT. More at: