Sketchpad   Wednesday, June 27, 2012





Fake  drawings  this week, but  for-real poems. Some of those  poems will come  from the anthology for this  week, This Same Sky - A Collection of Poems  from  Around the World, selected by Naomi Shihab  Nye.

Born a Palestinian Christian and raised in Jerusalem, Nye is a San Antonio poet who travels the world in support of poetry. In the introduction to  the anthology she laments the fact  that though people from all  around the world follow  American poets, while Americans rarely read  their  own country's poetry and that those who  do, even more rarely read poet from outside their own borders. There is a world of great poetry out there, says Nye, and she has worked, not with just this book,  but for many years to bring that  poetry to us.

For myself, I think my offerings this week are all new poems written as part of my poem-a-day process. Using mostly old  poems (all but one) last week, gave me a chance to catch up and get a little ahead with new stuff.

Here's all the stuff, mine and everyone else's.


Me
change is my friend, they say

Muhammad al Maghut
Orphan

Yehuda Amichai
Wildpeace

Me
coming up short

Bernice Zamora
Bearded Lady
Derby
Pueblo Winter
State Street
Situation
Stearn Wharf
One More for Roberto

Me
the dark and empty left behind

Sunay Akin
Debt

Ramon Diaz Eterovich
Childhood is the Only Lasting Flower

Gu Cheng
Far and Close

Vijaya Mukhopadhayay
At the Ferry

Me
that which is

Ralph Angel
Cul-de-sac
Interior Landscapes
Between Murmur and Glare

Me
the dirty business of closure

Tommy Olofsson
Old Mountains Want to Turn to Sand

Yannis Ritsos
The Meaning of Simplicity

Me
so, I’m a second-life poet

Steve Healey
bless you

Me
we are the apocalypse

Kwang-kyu Kim
The Land of Mists

Christine M. Krishnasami
Untitled

Aline Pettersson
Cuernavaca

Peter van Toorn
Mountain Tambourine

Kevin Perryman
Improvisation (Eching)

Me
all  our niggers are told

Diane Wakoski
Inside Out
My Trouble

Me
I know when the apocalypse comes


By way of a warning - my "spellcheck" is not working, so I checked spelling this week the old fashioned way - myself. You should probably not be shocked if you run across occassional or more 
spelling surprises.  







I've decided that, at my age, I've had my full measure of excitement and change. Don't want no more, want to know what to do in the morning without going through a new instruction manual.



change is my friend, they say
I’m too old now
to believe them when they say that
change is my friend,
seen
too many change, have I,
and too few
turned out friendly

instruments
of mass destruction, those change-people
are,
trying to sugar-coat
the wreckage they leave behind,
sifting through the bloody bones of the new way,
they say, oh, look,
how fat and healthy
the rats are now, such good work we do,
heroes in the kingdom of rat,
rat-redeemers are we, bringing
full tummies and, oh yes, new opportunity
for all the little ratlings…

why can’t you just get on board
they say,
join all the happy rats in their moment of
jubilation,
dance and sing with them,
kiss the slobbery lips
and fuzz-bubble bellies of their
little bald-tail babies

it’s all a matter
of proper perspective

be nice…

know your place...

bow to the inevitabilities of our change-friendly world...

maybe they’ll
leave food in a tiny cracked cup
for you and a crumbling
little corner
to appreciate
it in










My first two poets from This Same Sky come from opposite sides of the most persistent fence of our time, the  divide between  Israel and its Arab neighbors.


The  first poem is by Syrian poet, Muhammad al-Maghut, translated by May Jayyusi and Naomi Shihab Nye. Born in 1934, al Maghut is self-educated and has written plays that are  read throughout the Arab world.


The Orphan

Oh,  the dream! The dream!
My strong gilded wagon
has collapsed,
its wheels have scattered like bgypsies.
One night I dreamt of spring
and when I awoke
flowers covered my pillow.
I dreant once of the sea.
In the morning my bed was rich
with shells and fins.
But when I dreamt of freedom
sears surrounded my neck
with morning's halo.

From now on you will  not find me
at ports or among  trains
but in public libraries
sleeping head down on the maps of the world
as the orphan sleeps on the pavement
where my lips will  touch more than one river
and my tears stream from continent to continent.


The next poet is Israeli Yehuda Amichai, born in Germany in 1924. He died in 2000.

His  poem was translated by Chana Bloch.


Wildpeace

Not that of a cease-fire,
let alone the vision of the wolf and the lamb,
but rather,
as in the heart after a great excitement you can only
talk aboutt the weariness.
I know that I know how
to kill, that's why I'm an adult.
and my son plays with a toy gun that knows
how to open and close its eyes and say Mama.
A peace
withoug the big noise of beating swords into ploughshares,
without words, without
the heavy thud of the ruber samp: I want it
gentle over us, like lazy white foam.
Aittle  rest for the  wounds -
who speaks of healing?
(And the orphans' outcry is passed from one generation
to the next, as in a rely race:
the baton never  falls.)

I want it co come like wildflowers,
suddenly, because the field
needs it: wildpeace.









Unlike almost  everything else in life, being a poem-a-day poet means any poetic sin last only one day and is forgivable, leaving you always another day and another chance to make it right, easeing, a bit, the discomfort with coming up short on any particular day.


coming up short
I would like to write
some short
little
poems

but all I can come up with are
piles
of short
little
words

I want a nesting
of songbirds;
find only
a caw
of short-legged
crows












Bernice Zamora was born and raised in Colorado, She holds a Ph.D. in english and American literatures from Stanford University. There are few biographical details on the web, but from  what I found, the poet's influence stems primarily from ther work as an academic and as a mentor of new poetic talent, as well as her first book, Restless Serpents, published in 1976.

I have selected several poems from her second book, Releasing Serpents, published in 1994 by Bilingual Press/Editorial Bilingue of Tempe, Arizona.



Bearded Lady

I wanted to know about love
and was told to see the bearded lady.

As she stroked her treasure, she
told me of the melding wells of Julia,

Of the kissing stone shaped
like camels,

Of the hair like linen
found among the cloistered,

And she  stroked, and stroked, and stroked


Derby

He whipped his horses
To an incalculable speed
Racing  against the undertaker's
Empty hearse-carriage


Pueblo  Winter

Sparrows in Pueblo perch on empty
elm branches cocking their heads
at  each other or at each shadow
under the warming winter sun.

They watch each other watch
each other and seem, at times,
more passive than their shadows
under the warming winter sun

until a robin flights by to break
their bobbing trance. Another robin
joins the first. Both alight
on a chokeberry bush

scattering the flapping
sparrows to the pole lines above.
From the lines they watch
the robins on the cherry bush.

One robin picks at a drying cherry
while the silent other lays witness
to the act; so, too, the sparrows
under the warming sun.


State Street

It is morning
that cradles the
carriage of a
waning Mexican
and his black young bride;
opium and age
gauze his vision from
twisted legs and
fallen arches
of her stumped feet.

Tottering arm-in-arm
the mortal lovers move
toward Mitzey's Bar.


Situation

I accept your proposal
And it doesn't matter
That you are an undertaker.
Do you mind that I am
A midwife?


Stearn Wharf

Wind shifts.
Nearby, a child sneezes.
Sea gulls fly in place.
A lone man rows his boat back.
Waves move southerly
the motherly move,
warm in winter.
Lone man,  like wary,
is uselesss to the moment's shifts.

The sun's  sparkles, scattered,
blown clear for the pelican't glide.
Mororboats are quickly coming in port.
In the distance, mists are making
                 islands disappear.


One More Poem For Roberto

Reverently,
                 That  is how he reproaches
                  us who are so long unloved.
As if he understood
                  Yet escaped love's
                   sacred, unrelenting need.
Like the sea's  wind against
                   a solid tree uprooted,
                   he reassured saplings
That in the battle agains the wind,
                   the wind must com
                   to us.
                 













From a couple of weeks ago, reflections on loss.



the dark and empty left behind
it’s very quiet

just a couple of us here,

the molecular biology student;
the woman who tweets;
the biker with the
handlebar moustache who appears
to live
off the back of his bike;
the lady lawyer,
the builder,
the architect,
and the novelist
who spend their hour
together over coffee most mornings;
the tall gay guy,
does something with movies
I think;
the three church-school teachers,
who study together - pray together
three mornings a week;
the paint salesman, drinking
coffee, selling paint
by cell-phone; my new friend the retired school
teacher; the English professor
at the community college down the street;
the retired pilot, flew for fifty years,
now does crossword puzzles;
the lesbian, feminist, disabled vet, retired postal worker
who plays in politics
and seems to find trouble
like a moth finds, always, the hottest porch light

the morning regulars

drifting away,
anticipating the soon-coming
closure - trying to find someplace else
to live their morning life

me too,
except I’m hanging on
to the end

it’s my nature,
stubborn,
first to lead the charge,
last to run,
always last out
of the crumbling building,
the one left to turn out the lights,
to feel the dark and empty
left behind

it’s my nature,
a creature of hope,
certain, always, that things
will work out in the end,
even though they
almost
never do

always surprised
by the dark and empty
left behind








Next, I have  several  short poems  from the anthology.


The first poem is by Turkish poet  Sunay Akin, translated by Yusuf Eradam.

Born in 1962, Akin has published two books of poetry and lives in Istanbul.


Debt

I used to drop my pocket money
into the rain grates by the road
taking them for piggy-banks -
that's why it's the sea
that owes me most


This poem is by Ramon Diaz Eterovic, translated by Teresa Rozo-Moorhouse.

Born  in Chile in 1956, the poet is a member of the Society of Writers of Chile and is an editor and author of many books of poetry.


Childhood is the Only Lasting Flower

1
Childhood is the only lasting flower.
When I go to bed each night
 I still keep an eye open to watch the cuckoo's departure.

2
The movie theater is empty.
I  only sense shadows of Indians
sharpening their arrows for Saturday matainee.

3
I would have been many things when I grew up.
Today in old chests I search for pieces of bygone time.
Childhod is the only lasting flower.


Next, I have this poem by Gu Cheng of China.

Born in 1956, Gu is the youngest of the Misty Poets goup. He helped found the nonofficial literary journal Today in 1974 and currently lives in exile in New Zealand and Germany.

His poem was translated by Edward Morin.


Far and Close

You
Look  a while at me,
Look a while  at a  cloud.

I feel
You  are far away while looking at me,
So very close  while looking at the cloud.


Also from the anthology, here is a little longer  poem by Indian  poet, Vijaya Mukhopadhayay,  who did his own translation.


At the Ferry

They shall  be here on day
You are in the western hemisphere
And you are in the far Couth
Who are waiting alone and wearied
In the wintry North?

Now  there's only a vast expanse of sand -
Dark waters in the distance, the deserted jetty
And snakeskins lying upside down.
The moaning wind roams about pining for human touch
Turns round and  goes back again and  again.

And yet this will come  about, this meeting, one day
They will collect in a big crowd
Or in smal grops of twos and threes,
Sure of themselves and silently
On a moonless  night or under a full moon in total eclipse.
The mysterious ferry stays awake, waiting.










Lots of poetry groups around the city. I  don't engage in any of them, for reasons given in the poem below.

There's nothing less productive than a self-conscious poet.



that which is
I don’t hang out
with poets
because poets
who hang out with
other poets
talk a lot about poetry
but don’t write
much of
it

same thing
with carpenters

carpenters
who hang out with other
carpenters over coffee in the morning
imagine masterpieces of the builders
trade
but build
significantly fewer
houses

the lesson is simple

to make a better
world
carpenters
should hang out with poets
and poets
should hang out
with
carpenters

builders
each in our way
of that which is our
life’s
bread
and butter,
biscuits and
gravy,
steak and eggs,
whatever
it is that is that which is
that which we
are













I have three  poems now  by Ralph  Angel, taken from his book  Twice  Removed, published in 2001 by Sarabande Books.


Cul-de-sac

About as empty
as sunlight against the side of a house, an embankment
stripped of dust and graffiti.
The days are short. The shadows longer than those of summer.
        In the bright
between, a man in a blue suit rakes leaves.

And a car sputters. Doves  flop  into trees. And old woman
puts a cigarette to her mouth, then
turns from the window.
Up the street, houses go pale. The hill is splashed with color -
          brown
and sienna, burnt orange,  grey -

the entire  sky a wisp of barely blue. And in some  room,
          somewhere, a neighbor
plays her piano. Two squirrels
chase and chatter, rooftop to balcony, to wire.
Incredible, the silence,
this flurry of notes that reflects it.


Interior Landscapes

In the blink of an eye, a light rain.
Among the ten-thousand synapses, the sound of rain, but
          delicately, the sound of leaves.

In the blink of an eye, a pure-cold air.
Were I swimming thre, how clearly I could see my hands and
          everything they touch.

Among  all shapes growing here and dying, a sweet
and earthy smell. The weight and feel spread thinly, my own
          blue house below,

as if the port were sighing, the cliffs
hauled in from afar, a wave of rolling tiled roofs and lamp  stain
          splashed against the walls.

In the blink of an eye, now wonder.
In the blink of an eye, an empty room. The unreal paper.
          The space I've cleared.


Between Murmur and Glare

Intense and
sudden  brooding.  Echoing. The ceiling
and the walls and  the floor.

Between you and me
the furnitue
gives ground. The hills

ease. Horizons
thin to the thin skies ofthe sea.
As a boat

to the window.
As anxious birds that seem always
to  be starving.

On death. And
living. We can talk about living
between

islands.
On paper. Pure
glare. The string lanterns

cutting into it.
Murmured on terraces. Laughter
in the square.

Like footsteps. Like tourists
steaming toward
evening.

Their shouts are words too.
Page after page of
dark water.










There is a process for everything. I've been through this particular process several times. Never found it easy.



the dirty business of closure
I’ve had some of my photos
hanging on the walls,
donated
several months ago
as part of a fund drive

I’ve told staff
they’re welcome to take
what they want from whatever’s left;
I don’t want to take
them home -
it’s time to get them
out of the closet and hanging
somewhere…

the executioners
from the church met here
yesterday
to inventory
and put a price to the
furniture, all of it donated,
most of it old, some it very fine

I’ve put a hold on two chairs,
fine wooden chairs,
$10 each…

the realtor was here
day before yesterday, measuring
the space, an older man
in a fisherman’s hat with a hammer
and a carpenter’s tape -

hanging the “for lease” signs…

staff and customers
gather around tables, talk about
what/where to next

I provide some employment
advice
to the resident minister/social worker

she will pray,
also follow-up on some of my
suggestions…

everyone wants closure
it’s said; everybody
needs closure,
not just here, not just
these people, a universal
need for resolution, a
way to put the past
to rest

but what a dirty
business
it is







Now, two more poets  from This Same Sky.



The first poet is Tommy Olofsson.

Born in Sweden in 1950. Olofsson earns his living as a poet and literary critic. He  lives in the countryside outside the ancient university town of Lund.

His poem was translated by Jean Pearson.


Old Mountains Want To Turn To  Sand

I have my roots inside me,
a  skein of red threads.
The stones have their roots inside them,
like fine little ferns.

Wrapped around their softness
the stones sleep hard.
For centuries they have rested
under the sun.

Old mountains
want to turn to sand.
They let themselves go
and open up  to water.

After centuries of thirst!
Like language -
that great mountain broken up
by our tongues.

We turn language to sand,
immersing the tongue
in a running stream
that moves mountains.


The second poet is Yannis Ritsos.

A Greek, Ritsos was born in 1909 and is author of more than 115 books of poetry, translation, essays and dramatic works. He began painting, playing the piano, and writing poetry at the age of eight.

He died in 1990.

His poem was translated by Edmund Keeley.


The Meaning  of  Simplicity

I hid behind simple things  so you'll find  me,
if you don't find me, you'll find the things,
you'll touch what my hand has touched,
our hand-prints will  merge.

The  August moon glitters in the kitchen
like a tin-plated pot (it gets that way
     because of what I'm saying to you),
it lights up the empty house and
     the house's kneeling silence  -
always the silence remains kneeling.

Every word is a doorway
to  a meeting, one often cancelled,
and that's when a word is true:
     when it insists on the meeting.








I don't take myself too seriously when it comes to the poetry biz, which is good, since no one else does either.

I wrote this last week.



so, I’m a second-life  poet
so I’m
a second-life
poet...

one of those old fellas
who after several retirements
discover
we have exhausted the patience
of the labor market
and, starting to feel like we’ve begun
the long slide into the dark, dry well
of irrelevancy,
become partisans of the fading class
who seek to fight back against
the indifference
of the world
and our over-achieving
grandchildren
by growing a beard
and writing poetry which
we put into books hardly
anyone reads, just enough, barely, so that
our relatives can convince us to believe
they believe
we have finally made something of themselves,
even though we know otherwise, that
when we’re not at the table
there is
a lot of discussion
about what the hell is he up to now

but, that doesn’t discourage us
because, you know,
we’re not hurting anything,
except the reputation of poetry
among those few paying any
attention,
and it’s turns out that whatever
its other merits,
the whole poetry business
is a lot cheaper
than gardening
or playing the horses








Next, I have a poem by Steve Hearley, from his book, Earthling, published by Coffee  House Press in 2004.

Hearley teaches writing to prisoners in several Minnesota Correctional Facilities and is associate editor of Conduit Magazine. Born in Washington D.C., he lives in Minneapolis.


bless you

I say this as the continents continue to drift,
driven by an obscure heat inside treh Earth.

I've not been to Antarctica but can tell you
it's the most misunderstood continent,

an apparent imperfection on the globe,
like the bellybutton on a naval orange.

All naval oranges come from one mutant tree
that was  grafted with other trees and so on.

This is the difficult life of a seedless fruit,
rescued from obliviou and perpetuated
not by itself bu human hunger.

Empires are meant to expand,
blank calendars absorb the stream
of appointments, but who, if not you
or me can digest that spongy climate,

ad when dusk officially exists,
when each thing becomes a fraction of itself,
who can make up the difference?

Tonight a book of names arranges us
in alphabetical order. Everyone is a genius.

The the sun rises and curiosity wanes,
wanting to be mutual but not always balanced
at the right angle to the ground.

By noon I've completed my trajectory,
returned to my crowded half-acre
to feel the fatigue of Presidents.

My ears fill with pressure,
my heart with little wings.

I slap a mosquito already injecting
my arm, welling for blood.

The authorities will be here soon
to shred my secret documents.

I hear a sneeze, then another.
It's my neighbor on her front porch.

Bless you, I say, although she can't hear me.








Been in kind of a dark mood for the past week or so. This news about the new science putting the dating of the cave paintings in Europe at 40,000 years of so ago, a time frame which strongly suggests they are not the art of modern man, but of the Neanderthals.

Suggesting our kinds earliest beginnings involved the first and greatest genocide of our history.



we are the apocalypse
art
on the walls
of a cave
and stencilled
handprints
of the artist,
a man who walked
the earth
and made his art
40,000 years
before today, the
here and now
of my day
as I walk this earth,
my earth,
trying to leave
my own imprint behind

this man,
well, possibly not really
a man
in the narrow biological
sense of things,
but still a creature
of art
and aspiration,
making him
and all his clans
a brother to me and
to all of my more direct kin
who seek
the not-yet known
and impossible to say, those
like he and me
who aspire to greater
meaning outside
our own restricting skin

this artist,
this brother-almost-man
and his kind,
walked the forest
and glades and meadows
for 300 millennia,
tenants of a world still virgin,
unsullied
by the greed
of tribes whose gods
told them all was made
for them, that all the lands and seas
and all the creatures
of all the lands
and seas were but a convenience
created by their warrior gods
to sate the appetite of the
ever-hungry
hoard

for all those thousands years they
made a home
and they made art in their home,
and then they were gone,
disappeared barely more than a single
generation after our tribes’
arrival, the first and greatest genocide,
their home
and their art taken, claimed
by those who found
their own greatest art in war
and murder

we the survivors,
we who kill
our brothers now
as we killed our brothers then -
what hope does any creature have
when in the presence of such as
us

for we are the apocalypse
all others should
fear








Now here are several more short poems, the last for the week from the anthology, This Same Sky.



The first  of the poems is by South Korean poet, Kwang-kyu Kim. It was translated by Brother Anthony. Born in 1941, the poet is a professor of the German language and its literature and has won major Korean literary prizes for his poetry.


The Land of Mists

In the land of mists
always shrouded in mist
nothing ever happens
And if something happens
nothing can be seen
because of the mist
for if you live in mist
you get accustomed to mist
so you don't try to see
you have to hear things
for if you don't hear you can't live
so ears keep on growning
People  like rabbits
with ears of white mist
live in the land of mists


The next poem is by Christine M.  Krishnasami of India and is untitled. She has experimented with a variety of poetic of forms, publishing books covered in sari cloth through the Writers  Workshop of Calcutta.

I love this little piece.


behind a stone three
thousand years old: two
red poppies of today


Here another short piece, this one by Aline Pettersson, translated by Judith Infante. Born in Mexico in 1938, Pettersson writes poetry, short stories, and children's stories and has traveled around the world to read her poetry.


Cuernavaca

There's  a deep murmur unravelled,
the air is a song of feather,
a soft babble of grass.
There's a memory of heaven revived,
hum of life and a plea.
There's this need like a baby's, to be loved


Next, from Canada, here is a poem by Peter  van Toorn.

Born in Holland in 1944, van Toorn has played tenor sax in a blues band and works as an English teacher in Montreal.


Mountain Tambourine

A crew took part of the big tree away
on my street. A poplar, it was throwing
its ashes, its dirty pillow stuffing,
around too much. So they said.  Anyway,
people were tired of it. It was too grey.
It might drop a tired branch and hit something,
a power  or phone line. What's still standing
they'll come for tomorrow and chop away.
It doesn't  make much poplar talk now. The big
clatter's gone out of it. On the older
side of the street, the last tree stands, tall, big,
full, leafy - a fine shade and rain holder.
It leans to one side at a warm angle,
like Annie, whose door  it  covered last fall.


My last poem from This Same Sky for this week is by Kevin Perryman.

Perryman was born in England in 1950, but has lived in Germany for more than twenty years.


Improvisation (Eching)

In the drizzle
the tractor  pulls
the sea-gulls
in its wake
along a wet, black field
the furrows, pleats
opened by the plough
catch the light like waves.
One by one, the birds sheer
off abruptly,
but return to their place
in the sky, held there
like children's kites.

(The editors note that Eching is a village in southern Germany)











Still thinking about the Neanderthal art thing.



all our niggers are told
as amazing as it is
to think that the Neanderthal
were the artists
of the caves,
that they
were,
in fact, art teachers
to our later-coming kind,
the originators in this dim,
dim history of all our so-proudly
claimed art

and we, in the form of our genetic
progenitors,
the us of an earlier day,
killed them all, the artists
sacrificed to the progress of
our kind, not enough room
in this paradise for us and them,
what we have always said,
what we always say, even now,
not enough room in this town
for the two us, we say, niggers,
don’t let the sun fall on you
in this town, be out by
sundown all our niggers are told,
and the sundown
of the artists came and they
were a misunderstood blip in
history, a 300,000 year blip
that doesn’t matter
because we are still here
and they aren’t, brutes, we
say, hairy, growling, beasts
that were vanished from the
earth by the their grunting
filth and inconvenient habit
of wanting the cave we wanted,
the tree we wanted, the game
we wanted - too bad for them…

but there is some justice,
as there is always justice, even
if so long delayed, the relationship
between the victor and the vanquished
has not changed through history,
the vanquished, sooner or later,
die, the males brutalized unto death,
and the females raped, maybe even
sometimes loved, and offspring are begot
and they grow and begat and begat
and begat unto our own time
so that we all have in our
genetic makeup, a little bit of
the vanquished, so that we are all
a little bit Neanderthal...

so that we are all
a little bit the
artist…

so that those first artists,
in their fossilized graves, may
laugh
at the impossibility of
full genocide, that they may laugh
at all the tricks history plays
on the premature arrogance of
victors








The last poems from my library this week are from Emerald Ice - Selected Poems 1962-1987 by Diane Wakoski. The book was published in 1996 by Black Sparrow Press.

Wakoski was born in Whittier, California in 1937 and studied at the University of California, Berkeley and graduated in 1960 with a Bachelor of Arts. It was there that she first read many of the modernist poets who would influence her writing style. She was associate with Beat poets and cites William Carlos Williams and Allen Ginsberg as important influences.

She is best known for a series of poems collectively known as "The Motorcycle Betrayal Poems"
and received considerable attention in the 1980s for controversial comments linking New Formalism with Reaganism.

She teaches creative writing at Michigan State University in East Lansing.



Inside Out

I walk the purple carpet into your eye
carrying the silver butter server
but a truck rumblers by,
                            leaving its black tire prints on my foot
and old images               the sound of banging sceen doors on hot
                afternoons and a  fly buzzing over the Kool-Aid spilled on
                the sink
flicker, as reflections on the metal surface.

Come in, you said,
inside your paintings, inside the blood factory, inside the
old songs that line  your hands,  inside
eyes that change like snowflakes every second,
inside spinach leaves holding that one piece of gravel,
inside the whiskers of a cat,
inside your old hat, and most of all inside your mouth where you
grind the pigments with your teeth, painting
with a broken bottle on the floor, and painting
with an ostrich feather on the moon that rolls out of my mouth.

You cannot let walk inside you too long inside
the veins where my small feet touch
bottom.
You must reach inside and pull me
lie a silver bullet
from your arm

c. 1964-65


My Trouble

my trouble
is that I have the spirit of Gertrude Stein
but the personality of Alice B.Toklas;
craggy, grand
stony ideas
but
all I can do
is embroider Picasso's  drawings
and bake hashish fudge.
I am poor
and don't have much to say
am usually taken for
somebody's
secretary.

c. 1971










Here's my last thing for the week.



I know when the apocalypse comes
reading
The Book of Revelations
it becomes clear
to me
that this whole apocalypse
thing is not about
us, or at least,
not about me -
you can pick sides
if you want to -
but about an eternal
dust-up
between He Who Makes
the Heavens Fall and
his dark counterpart, He
Who Feeds the Furnace
Below, and we, the earthly
we, the universal us - the lions
and bears and dogs and cats
and squirrels and wallabies
and snakes that slither
as per their primal
instruction and fish that swim
the oceans blue and trees
and petunias and high rising
rocks and bugs
that creep from corners at
night and you and me - that
all of us of earthly origin
just happen to be stuck in the
middle of the playing field
like a dandelion in the middle
the soccer field, or, like
the children in a war zone
whose only excuse is that they
live there, right there, where
the bombs have been scheduled
to fall, damn kids, nobody
asked them to the war,
anyway….

but that’s us, the theory goes,
stuck in the middle of someone
else’s cataclysm, like the kids
in the latest war zone,
dumb mortals, created
by the players, not to be
combatants, not to be witnesses,
not to be a cheerleaders
for either side,
but only to be the causalities
that make the war worth fighting -
no fun, after all, in a war were
nobody dies…

but,
like I said,
I am determined that all that's not
about me, one of the very few things
in the universe
that are not about me, and, like the
people say who want us to believe they are
truly, sincerely, just plain old
country folk from Texas, I just don’t
have a dog in this fight and those two,
the big guy above
and the scaly guy below (he has a tail,
that’s how you can tell the one from
the other) can just go on right after
each other and it makes no difference
to me because I know when the
apocalypse comes - about 30 minutes
after I breathe my last - and, bad news,
with that last breath
I will kill all the gods and devils,
and, you too, I'm sorry to say
(and if there were some way to save you
I surely would), cause the end
of my days is, as far as I'm concerned
the end of all other days as well

I'm just sorry it all has to end
so disapprovingly for
you






It's too damn hot to go  through all the usual stuff.
So, simplify, simplify - these are my books. Buy one. Or more. Here.
Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Sony eBookstore and Apple iBookstore for iPad,iPhone, i-everythingelse, as well as  Kobo, Copia, Gardner's, Baker & Taylor, and eBookPie


Places and Spaces




Always to the Light





Goes Around, Comes Around



 
 
 

Pushing Clouds Against the Wind



And

For those of a print-bent, available on Amazon (both new and used)

Seven Beats a Second




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