curated by Adam Fitzgerald

Saturday, February 28, 2009

To An Athlete Dying Young

The time you won your town the race
We chaired you through the market-place;
Man and boy stood cheering by,
And home we brought you shoulder-high.

To-day, the road all runners come,
Shoulder-high we bring you home,
And set you at your threshold down,
Townsman of a stiller town.

Smart lad, to slip betimes away
From fields were glory does not stay
And early though the laurel grows
It withers quicker than the rose.

Eyes the shady night has shut
Cannot see the record cut,
And silence sounds no worse than cheers
After earth has stopped the ears:

Now you will not swell the rout
Of lads that wore their honours out,
Runners whom renown outran
And the name died before the man.

So set, before its echoes fade,
The fleet foot on the sill of shade,
And hold to the low lintel up
The still-defended challenge-cup.

And round that early-laurelled head
Will flock to gaze the strengthless dead,
And find unwithered on its curls
The garland briefer than a girl's.

by A.E. Housman (1859 - 1936)

by Danielle Pafunda

Friday, February 27, 2009

How to Continue

Oh there once was a woman
and she kept a shop
selling trinkets to tourists
not far from a dock
who came to see what life could be
far back on the island.

And it was always a party there
always different but very nice
New friends to give you advice
or fall in love with you which is nice
and each grew so perfectly from the other
it was a marvel of poetry
and irony

And in this unsafe quarter
much was scary and dirty
but no one seemed to mind
very much
the parties went on from house to house
There were friends and lovers galore
all around the store
There was moonshine in winter
and starshine in summer
and everybody was happy to have discovered
what they discovered

And then one day the ship sailed away
There were no more dreamers just sleepers
in heavy attitudes on the dock
moving as if they knew how
among the trinkets and the souvenirs
the random shops of modern furniture
and a gale came and said
it is time to take all of you away
from the tops of the trees to the little houses
on little paths so startled

And when it become time to go
they none of them would leave without the other
for they said we are all one here
and if one of us goes the other will not go
and the wind whispered it to the stars
the people all got up to go
and looked back on love

by John Ashbery (b. 1927)

Thursday, February 26, 2009

from Sny (1925-1940)

Dream of the Marten

In the dream I am walking along a headland. Here the rocks have created an odd sort of pass. I wander until I reach a large modern villa with terrace and gazebo adorned with grapevines. It seemed to me in the moonlight like backstage of the Paris Opera. Wanting to spend the night in the gazebo, I climb over the wall. My drowsing was disturbed by the shutters opening on the first floor, which emitted a light the crown of a lush palm engulfed. A woman leaned out of the window. I couldn’t determine her age as she appeared to me as a silhouette. Her hair struck me as peculiar: it was done up in an outmoded bun. Then I discovered it was white, and as she moved I could see the glitter of pearls sewn onto ribbons plaited into her hair. The lady leaned out the window and quietly called out: “I’ll redeem the box when the night is over.” From the top of the palm above me I suddenly heard a melody that reminded me of an old ditty. When I looked to see who was singing it, I saw a giant orangutan playing a fiddle. He had a ruby red box with an odd handle in the shape of a child’s hand hanging from a strap. On the branch of a tree standing near the palm sat a large horse, its head erect as if an illustration in an old book on natural history, as if fascinated by the singing. It had been flayed, and the skin and hairs on its neck gave way to raw meat, which was larded with bacon fat like a hare ready for roasting.

by Jindřich Štyrský (1899–1942)
Translated by Jed Slast

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Porphyria's Lover

The rain set early in to-night,
The sullen wind was soon awake,
It tore the elm-tops down for spite,
And did its worst to vex the lake:
I listened with heart fit to break.
When glided in Porphyria; straight
She shut the cold out and the storm,
And kneeled and made the cheerless grate
Blaze up, and all the cottage warm;
Which done, she rose, and from her form
Withdrew the dripping cloak and shawl,
And laid her soiled gloves by, untied
Her hat and let the damp hair fall,
And, last, she sat down by my side
And called me. When no voice replied,
She put my arm about her waist,
And made her smooth white shoulder bare,
And all her yellow hair displaced,
And, stooping, made my cheek lie there,
And spread, o'er all, her yellow hair,
Murmuring how she loved me---she
Too weak, for all her heart's endeavour,
To set its struggling passion free
From pride, and vainer ties dissever,
And give herself to me for ever.
But passion sometimes would prevail,
Nor could to-night's gay feast restrain
A sudden thought of one so pale
For love of her, and all in vain:
So, she was come through wind and rain.
Be sure I looked up at her eyes
Happy and proud; at last I knew
Porphyria worshipped me; surprise
Made my heart swell, and still it grew
While I debated what to do.
That moment she was mine, mine, fair,
Perfectly pure and good: I found
A thing to do, and all her hair
In one long yellow string I wound
Three times her little throat around,
And strangled her. No pain felt she;
I am quite sure she felt no pain.
As a shut bud that holds a bee,
I warily oped her lids: again
Laughed the blue eyes without a stain.
And I untightened next the tress
About her neck; her cheek once more
Blushed bright beneath my burning kiss:
I propped her head up as before,
Only, this time my shoulder bore
Her head, which droops upon it still:
The smiling rosy little head,
So glad it has its utmost will,
That all it scorned at once is fled,
And I, its love, am gained instead!
Porphyria's love: she guessed not how
Her darling one wish would be heard.
And thus we sit together now,
And all night long we have not stirred,
And yet God has not said a word!

by Robert Browning (1812 - 1889)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Carnation’s Misfortunes

The next day the ocean seemed to me even more enrapturing than an operating table. With frowning locks flung over my shoulders, this outmoded mantle from which I never separate, I board this raft without first forgetting to abandon on the shore the two oars, futile to my thirst for carnations, to my hunger to have been tenebrity. Prone on my spine with my stalking dog supine upon my lungs, I stare nostalgically into the sky, enumerating to the thousands the stars, the moon, the wolf’s lair, the vermilion, the Danube, the plague, etc. Over my brow creeps the slashing lip of a saber and two globules of plasma trickle on my cheek recalling the illustrious internal episodes which I am about to intersect like the mysteries of a circus. Monocle fitted to my eyeball, mustache twisting with panache, I stride forth, reckless and viraginous, spellbound and entrancing, slurping with cheeks inflated this magnificent viperous broth which is our internal life. You are a fawn stalked by the swift hunter within me, yes, you! the most enrapturing idol I ever pursued, you who transmutes the macrocosm into the unsurpassed trope of our internal murmur. With temples glued one to the other and both glued to a marble statue, we roam across a palpating byway and our steps disinter cities, rivers, hawks.

I hoist you on my humerus as you would hoist a horseman and with palms lifted above the eyelashes in the mimick of eaves I spy on the sap surging upwards in the distant trees, murder a bird in flight, darken the horizon. Your lashes transmute into a pillow of locks that I plunge my fingers into all the way up to the elbow joints as I might bathe them in a cauldron of plasma and haul out an armorial helmet missing only the skullcap. O! enrapturing idol with the unruffled breath of escargot, with the clamor of bones malefic like a foreshortened fright, I ferry you in my arms like a cauldron for bathing cobras. How tender are the unconcealed symbols and how many tears I would shed over the tiny superstitions misplaced in tiny provincial towns if my eyeball didn’t boast of a retina that could spin an image about nine (or even ninety-nine) revolutions. A limestone retina where they dump empty tuna cans left behind by negligent tourists. Inebriated to vertigo by the spin of this beguiling costume drama, where the entrancing and the odious, tact and impudence, transgression and atonement assemble in your smirk, the retina transmutes into a green mustang with mirroring knees. I myself a mirror, a horseshoe mirror, and your trotting canter appears to be perused across the glowing surface of a mountain lake. Massive rocks engorge us at the precise instant I tether my ascot. O, the tenderness of unconcealed symbols, o! o! O, my idol, o! the unconcealed symbol of this idol, the symbol’s symbol inflaming reality’s realities while the unreal, entrancing as a vampire, beckons me with secret ciphers, from without and within, with a gloved hand or merely with her skeleton.

by Gherasim Luca (1913-1994)
Tr. by Julian Semilian

Monday, February 23, 2009

Slow Dance

More than putting another man on the moon,
more than a New Year’s resolution of yogurt and yoga,
we need the opportunity to dance
with really exquisite strangers. A slow dance
between the couch and dinning room table, at the end
of the party, while the person we love has gone
to bring the car around
because it’s begun to rain and would break their heart
if any part of us got wet. A slow dance
to bring the evening home, to knock it out of the park. Two people
rocking back and forth like a buoy. Nothing extravagant.
A little music. An empty bottle of whiskey.
It’s a little like cheating. Your head resting
on his shoulder, your breath moving up his neck.
Your hands along her spine. Her hips
unfolding like a cotton napkin
and you begin to think about how all the stars in the sky
are dead. The my body
is talking to your body slow dance. The Unchained Melody,
Stairway to Heaven, power-cord slow dance. All my life
I’ve made mistakes. Small
and cruel. I made my plans.
I never arrived. I ate my food. I drank my wine.
The slow dance doesn’t care. It’s all kindness like children
before they turn four. Like being held in the arms
of my brother. The slow dance of siblings.
Two men in the middle of the room. When I dance with him,
one of my great loves, he is absolutely human,
and when he turns to dip me
or I step on his foot because we are both leading,
I know that one of us will die first and the other will suffer.
The slow dance of what’s to come
and the slow dance of insomnia
pouring across the floor like bath water.
When the woman I’m sleeping with
stands naked in the bathroom,
brushing her teeth, the slow dance of ritual is being spit
into the sink. There is no one to save us
because there is no need to be saved.
I’ve hurt you. I’ve loved you. I’ve mowed
the front yard. When the stranger wearing a shear white dress
covered in a million beads
comes toward me like an over-sexed chandelier suddenly come to life,
I take her hand in mine. I spin her out
and bring her in. This is the almond grove
in the dark slow dance.
It is what we should be doing right now. Scrapping
for joy. The haiku and honey. The orange and orangutang slow dance.

by Matthew Dickman (b. 1975)

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Black Stone on a White Stone

  I will die in Paris with a downpour,
a day which I can already remember.
I will die in Paris—and I don't budge—
maybe a Thursday, like today, in autumn.

  Thursday it will be, because today, Thursday,
as I prose these lines, I have forced on
my humeri and, never like today, have I turned,
with all my journey, to see myself alone.

  César Vallejo has died, they beat him,
all of them, without him doing anything to them;
they gave it to him hard with a stick and hard

  likewise with a rope; witnesses are
the Thursdays and the humerus bones,
the loneliness, the rain, the roads...

by César Vallejo (1892–1938)
Translated by Clayton Eshleman

Saturday, February 21, 2009


Over a dock railing, I watch the minnows, thousands, swirl
themselves, each a minuscule muscle, but also, without the
way to create current, making of their unison (turning, re-
entering and exiting their own unison in unison) making of themselves a
visual current, one that cannot freight or sway by
minutest fractions the water's downdrafts and upswirls, the
dockside cycles of finally-arriving boat-wakes, there where
they hit deeper resistance, water that seems to burst into
itself (it has those layers) a real current though mostly
invisible sending into the visible (minnows) arrowing
                    motion that forces change—
this is freedom. This is the force of faith. Nobody gets
what they want. Never again are you the same. The longing
is to be pure. What you get is to be changed. More and more by
each glistening minute, through which infinity threads itself,
also oblivion, of course, the aftershocks of something
at sea. Here, hands full of sand, letting it sift through
in the wind, I look in and say take this, this is
what I have saved, take this, hurry. And if I listen
now? Listen, I was not saying anything. It was only
something I did. I could not choose words. I am free to go.
I cannot of course come back. Not to this. Never.
It is a ghost posed on my lips. Here: never.

by Jorie Graham (b. 1950)

Friday, February 20, 2009

How Many Secrets We Harbour ...

How many secrets we harbour
and have told the flowers,
so that in their graceful bowers
they tell us how strong is our ardour.

The stars are confused to their core
that all our problems we tell.
From the strongest to the most frail
none can put up any more

with our variable mood,
our revolts and our cries -,
except the untiring table's wood
and the bed (when the table's died).

by Rainer Maria Rilke (1875–1926)
Trans. by Brian Cole

Thursday, February 19, 2009

'I stepped from Plank to Plank' F926 (1865) / J875 (1864)

I stepped from Plank to Plank
A slow and cautious way
The Stars about my Head I felt
About my Feet the Sea -

I knew not but the next
Would be my final inch -
This gave me that precarious Gait
Some call Experience -

by Emily Dickinson (1830 - 1886)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things

It's a pretty light, you know. The way anyone leans
forward. Leans forward just enough. There's a dream
in the rain. A good dream. When I can't sleep I am
angels and idiots. They're running around. They're in a
Shakespeare play. It's the longest night of the year. The
light is light gray. They're dancing around. Declaiming.
One saws the air. One puts his foot on my neck. It's
a pretty light. The light is light gray. I love what he's
saying. I want to show him how to do it. I look and I
can't read the words. The words are tiny. But there are
pictures. Rebus rebus rebus. He's a picture thinking. I
don't have time to learn the words. Place the word home
to the left of home, now be home. Mouthful of death,
layers and layers of light, mouthful of ideas about death,
pop culture is awash in fanged bloodsuckers: are you, did
you, will you, can you. The town shines, he breathed,
he loved air, air felt like glass, he wanted and he wanted.
The city shines, he goes to school, he never sleeps. The
early Christians were accused of both cannibalism and
vampirism. And I'll be all awake. A face, a face in a
window. Days make nights. A plastic bottle floating in
a bush. Nights make days. A plastic bottle floating in a
bush. Firefly. Sky purple clay—my soul a cheap hotel.
When my soul opens there will be a cheap hotel. Say it,
no ideas but in apples, apples and sad pictures. You get
sad just looking at the apple. You're down in the everyone
believes. Down in the everyone believes something.

by Joseph Lease

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

On Raglan Road

On Raglan Road on an autumn day I met her first and knew
That her dark hair would weave a snare that I might one day rue;
I saw the danger, yet I walked along the enchanted way,
And I said, let grief be a fallen leaf at the dawning of the day.

On Grafton Street in November we tripped lightly along the ledge
Of the deep ravine where can be seen the worth of passion's pledge,
The Queen of Hearts still making tarts and I not making hay -
O I loved too much and by such and such is happiness thrown away.

I gave her gifts of the mind I gave her the secret sign that's known
To the artists who have known the true gods of sound and stone
And word and tint. I did not stint for I gave her poems to say.
With her own name there and her own dark hair like clouds over fields of May

On a quiet street where old ghosts meet I see her walking now
Away from me so hurriedly my reason must allow
That I had wooed not as I should a creature made of clay -
When the angel woos the clay he'd lose his wings at the dawn of day.

by Patrick Kavanagh (1904 - 1967)

Monday, February 16, 2009

Light is the first animal of the visible.

Light was the first animal of the visible, then
stumbled. Your room in The Glass Tavern, a view of

heel clicks heel clicks heel clicks


(Sad now. Who-will-feed-you-the-evening-spoon.)

Swept many thin things are
sideways in blue and pink
with whose broom, the evening sky
              grand not speaking not a question

O the question. You travel?

We could say: swallows have found their throats again.
You sleep at an open window. At earth’s center a certain
someone discovers then forgets the function of arms

on a clock. You?

—The hurry to embrace.

Notes: The title is after José Lezama Lima in "Material Memoria": "La luz es el primer animal visible de lo invisible." Line 11 is after Malachi Black, April 2006: "The swallows have lyrics scratching at their throats."

by Ana Božičević

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Great Western Plains

The little voices of the prairie dogs
Are tireless . . .
They will give three hurrahs
Alike to stage, equestrian, and pullman,
And all unstingingly as to the moon.

And Fifi's bows and poodle ease
Whirl by them centred on the lap
Of Lottie Honeydew, movie queen,
Toward lawyers and Nevada.

And how much more they cannot see!
Alas, there is so little time,
The world moves by so fast these days!
Burrowing in silk is not their way—
And yet they know the tomahawk.

Indeed, old memories come back to life;
Pathetic yelps have sometimes greeted
Noses pressed against the glass.

by Hart Crane (1899 - 1932)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Subtractive Venery

Calling me
with your sickly rhomboid status
calling for me
to return to your insominial wisteria palace
to your overnight guano dimension
to suck on your simulated jasmine
erected by your barrier of chastity by furnace

your cadaverous wrenching of fate
your lobotomized smouldering of dislodged confusion
your incapable tarantula piddling
plaguing me with purgatorial cratering analysis

with your diet of melted swan's food
starving me
always checking my semen
with frantic dyslexic syllables of dread
with your tortuous hounding
with your repetitive scratching of conscience
trying to hold me with scarring
trying to clamp my brain with geriatric forceps
with ligatures of wire
with stony mollusk rims and serrations

in this you have failed
you have invalidated your dysfunctional efforts
of innocence
of perverted virginity
with a mangy face before the eye of God
not even summations of crawling
not even rust cutters or combustion
as if to test your blue vaginal mirrors
inside a Protestant Crimea
listening to your fallacious absorption neurosis

you've forfeited your flames
you've cast into the moat
salacious bonfire bathing
you've given up the power of deepened torturing rums
of magnetic chromosomal nerves
for a weakly neutered clairaudience of failure

in my mind
those ghostly Bermuda funnels
always invading your trajectory
with shattered mercurial caresses
which makes your heart exfoliate
into multiple Appaloosas
into stony aerial confusion
with momentary chartreuse injections in your system

so I've become oblique to you
you've made me want to annul
the nasal
the spiral spinning jennies in you

you've borne in on me
with dust grapes
& I've triumphed above a contradictory wall
the burning
the torment
the seizures

and so
bony with rickets and pre-figured decay
you've forgotten the sun
wandering across deserts of air
never once hot
with intercourse and reddish rhinestone habit

you've passed on the chance
to fly as a deeply bloodied heron
above a newly focused sodium sea
you've passed on the adventure
of fleeing through the gore flecked bounty of yellowed
maritime grasses
to wallow on a couch
magically multiplied into pluperfect brothels
into an ambiance of greenish radium and silver
calling out to the plentiful ghosts
of erotic turpentine and nothingness

chewing owls' flesh
witnessing the shredding of mimetic eglantine murals
those powders of kinetic jugular bliss
allowing us a proto-immersion
allowing us a winged ensconsment
in the very core of hellish underwater gravel
you've renounced
with your peculiar ethical subtraction
the blue corn of light
the hot tornado plummage
with the verdurous intensity
of paradise and flaming

by Will Alexander (b. 1948)

Friday, February 13, 2009

'Your hand full of hours, you came to me'

Your hand full of hours, you came to me - and I said:
Your hair is not brown.
So you lifted it lightly on to the scales of grief; it weighed more than I...

On ships they come to you and make it their cargo, then put it on
sale in the markets of lust -
You smile at me from the depth, I weep at you from the scale
that stays light.
I weep: Your hair is not brown, they offer brine from the sea and
you give them curls ...
You whisper: They're filling the world with me now, in your
heart I'm a hollow way still!
You say: Lay the leafage of years beside you - it's time you came closer and kissed me!

The leafage of years is brown, your hair is not brown.

by Paul Celan (1920 - 1970)
translated by Michael Hamburger

Thursday, February 12, 2009


Cracked pharmacist
Of childhood homicides,

Brother, fuck

Forgetfulness of death.

Let’s into the German
Streamers of God’s golden wind.

And not

by Cynthia Cruz

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A Pact

I make a pact with you, Walt Whitman—
I have detested you long enough.
I come to you as a grown child
Who has had a pig-headed father;
I am old enough now to make friends.
It was you that broke the new wood
Now is a time for carving.
We have one sap and one root—
Let there be commerce between us.

by Ezra Pound (1885 - 1972)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Homicidal Domicile II: Night of the No-Par

      The desire to carve criminals up into one's family retains more room in us than the grease, the gold, the urine conversant with the flood: even the left hand's appraisers shun the right's buyers.
      Thus my testicles have divorced but continue to share the same house, if only your penis was sharper it would cut the scrotum in two resolving this rental stumpage, this game forced yet deigned to wear the day-jar's view.
      Where the righteousness of noon corrupts windows; like a name slanted to cry; floorboards that tweak earth: cult pepper, hurled by turban cameras, we grovel at sculptors whose heels punctuate our idol.
      Glittering incidentals, hours in which towers swim off their own balconies, ah what stylites live atop our I's.

by Bill Knott (b 1940)

Monday, February 9, 2009

Soldiers Bathing

The sea at evening moves across the sand.
Under a reddening sky I watch the freedom of a band
Of soldiers who belong to me. Stripped bare
For bathing in the sea, they shout and run in the warm air;
Their flesh, worn by the trade of war, revives
And in my mind towards the meaning of it strives.

All's pathos now. The body that was gross
Rank, ravenous, disgusting in the act or in repose,
All fever, filth and sweat, its bestial strength
And bestial decay, by pain and labour grows at length
Fragile and luminous. 'Poor bare forked animal,'
Conscious of his desires, and needs and flesh that rise and fall
Stands in the soft air, tasting after toil
The sweetness of his nakedness: letting the sea-waves coil
Their frothy tongues about his feet, forgets
His hatred of the war, its terrible pressure that begets
A machinery of death and slavery;
Each being a slave and making slaves of others: finds that he
Remembers his old freedom in a game,
Mocking himself, and comically mimics fear and shame.

He plays with death and animality.
And reading in the shadows of his pallid flesh, I see
The idea of Michelangelo's cartoon
Of soldiers battling, breaking off before they were half done
At some sortie of the enemy, an episode
Of the Pisan wars with Florence. I remember how he showed
Their muscular limbs that clamber from the water,
And heads that turn across the shoulder, eager for the slaughter,
Forgetful of their bodies that are bare,
And hot to buckle on and use the weapons lying there.
- And I think too of the theme another found
When, shadowing men's bodies on a sinister red ground,
Another Florentine, Pollaiuolo,
Painted a naked battle: warriors, straddled, hacked the foe,
Dug their bare toes into the ground and slew
The brother-naked man who lay between their feet and drew
His lips back from his teeth in a grimace.

They were Italians who knew war's sorrow and disgrace
And showed the tiling suspended, stripped: a theme
Born out of the experience of war's horrible extreme
Beneath a sky where even the air flows
With lacrimae Christi. For that nice, that bitterness, those blows,
That hatred of the slain, what could they lie
But indirectly or directly a commentary
On the Crucifixion? And th picture burns
With indignation and pity and despair by turns,
Because it is the obverse of the scene
Where Christ hangs murdered, stripped, upon the Cross. I mean,
That is the explanation of its rage.

And we too have our bitterness and pity that engage
Blood, spirit, in this war. But night begins,
Night of the mind: who nowadays is conscious of our sins?
Though every human deed concerns our blood,
And even we must know, what nobody has understood,
That some great love is over all we do,
And that is what has driven us to this fury, for so few
Can suffer all the terror of that love:
The terror of that love has set us spinning in this groove
Greased with our blood.

These dry themselves and dress,
Combing their hair, and lose the fear and shame of nakedness.
Because to love is frightening we prefer
The freedom of our crimes. Yet, as I drink the dusky air,
I feel a strange delight that fills me full,
Strange gratitude as if evil itself were beautiful,
And kiss the wound in thought, while in the west
I watch a streak of red that might have issued from Christ's breast.

by F.T. Prince (1912 - 2003)

Sunday, February 8, 2009

from Mexico City Blues

211th Chorus

The wheel of the quivering meat conception
Turns in the void expelling human beings,
Pigs, turtles, frogs, insects, nits
Mice, lice, lizards, rats, roan
Racinghorses, poxy bucolic pigtics,
Horrible unnameable lice of vultures
Murderous attacking dog-armies
Of Africa, Rhinos roaming in the jungle,

Vast boars and huge gigantic bull
Elephants, rams, eagles, condors,
Pones and Porcupines and Pills –
All the endless conception of living beings
Gnashing everywhere in Consciousness
Throughout the ten directions of space
Occupying all the quarters in & out,
From supermicroscopic no-bug
To huge Galaxy Lightyear Bowell
Illuminating the sky of one Mind –
Poor! I wish I was free
Of that slaving meat wheel
And safe in heaven dead

by Jack Kerouac (1922–1969)

Saturday, February 7, 2009


I saw a young snake glide
Out of the mottled shade
And hang, limp on a stone:
A thin mouth, and a tongue
Stayed, in the still air.

It turned; it drew away;
Its shadow bent in half;
It quickened and was gone

I felt my slow blood warm.
I longed to be that thing.
The pure, sensuous form.

And I may be, some time.

by Theodore Roethke (1908 - 1963)

Friday, February 6, 2009

Uvula, Bugging Device

While the geezer-starling was sleeping the sleep of the just
sprawled out on the bed with his mouth open,
a light-winged ghost (who else?)
carefully planted another watchful cell – glued a bugging device
to his uvula.
Now even his internal speech
will be known: all of his revolutionary intentions
and the train of his restless thoughts will be revealed
in minute detail. Only two choices remain
to the lucky one: to shrug
his shoulders, wring his hands, and all-the-while speak
words of praise
in dull submissiveness, or to grow to love
deathly silence with an overlong life
under a paralyzed tongue. In the spanking clean
hallways of the Clinic
let’s pray for him, sigh a broken sigh.

by Novica Tadić (b. 1949)
Translated by Steven and Maja Teref

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Sea Rose

Rose, harsh rose,
marred and with stint of petals,
meagre flower, thin,
sparse of leaf,

more precious
than a wet rose
single on a stem—
you are caught in the drift.

Stunted, with small leaf,
you are flung on the sand,
you are lifted
in the crisp sand
that drives in the wind.

can the spice rose
drip such acrid fragrance
hardened in a leaf?

by H.D.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Sea Horse

Creatures of liquid light, vagabonds of underwater currents,
Students of belly dancing, the ocean’s brides loyal to his moods.

With their final breath, forgotten Phoenician gods
Inflated glassy bodies that shine like empty clepsydrae.

Tails wrap playfully around the mesh in fishing nets,
The tiny wings’ fluttering sketches pillows of eternity in the restless sleep of the drowned.

They are princes of confidence. And when the female spawns eggs into the male
So that he bears them and gives birth, they are the social democratic ideal of reproduction.

Too fragile for guilt, but noticeable enough
That the jealous eye of the blue mussel thinks of beauty and love.

Among the shadows of people, sea horse bodies dry,
Lose translucence, become rough and blunt.

Between two fingers you crush them, beauty and love,
Into what is not beautiful and what (you don’t remember) stopped loving.

by Aleš Šteger (b. 1973)
Translated by Brian Henry

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Sick Rose

O Rose, thou art sick.
The invisible worm,
That flies in the night
In the howling storm:

Has found out thy bed
Of crimson joy:
And his dark secret love
Does thy life destroy.

by William Blake (1757 - 1827)

Monday, February 2, 2009

Consolation: Roses

to N. A.

in your presence even the toes
are as if they remembered!

and the mind more strongly
pierces our head
in your presence!

and together perhaps you are that
they drew out:

of one kind - in one mystery:

deposit of genius in flowers
and mind -
primal layer!

and all - in the presence of one that separates!
and just the same
even here:

as in the presence of the human -
oh it is risky to tell of it! -
in the presence of what is not spoken -

of such:
almost non-existent:

it almost whitens -
as if barely thought of

almost alone -
as if it barely is


by Gennady Aygi (1934-2006)
Translated by Peter France

Sunday, February 1, 2009

The Secret Rose

Far-off, most secret, and inviolate Rose,
Enfold me in my hour of hours; where those
Who sought thee in the Holy Sepulchre,
Or in the wine-vat, dwell beyond the stir
And tumult of defeated dreams; and deep
Among pale eyelids, heavy with the sleep
Men have named beauty. Thy great leaves enfold
The ancient beards, the helms of ruby and gold
Of the crowned Magi; and the king whose eyes
Saw the Pierced Hands and Rood of elder rise
In Druid vapour and make the torches dim;
Till vain frenzy woke and he died; and him
Who met Fand walking among flaming dew
By a grey shore where the wind never blew,
And lost the world and Emer for a kiss;
And him who drove the gods out of their liss,
And till a hundred morns had flowered red
Feasted, and wept the barrows of his dead;
And the proud dreaming king who flung the crown
And sorrow away, and calling bard and clown
Dwelt among wine-stained wanderers in deep woods;
And him who sold tillage, and house, and goods,
And sought through lands and islands numberless years,
Until he found, with laughter and with tears,
A woman of so shining loveliness
That men threshed corn at midnight by a tress,
A little stolen tress. I, too, await
The hour of thy great wind of love and hate.
When shall the stars be blown about the sky,
Like the sparks blown out of a smithy, and die?
Surely thine hour has come, thy great wind blows,
Far-off, most secret, and inviolate Rose?

William Butler Yeats (1865 - 1939)

Saturday, January 31, 2009


Men arrive like a date on a calendar
they keep visiting once a month
men who've seen the bottom
of the deepest bottles
kings of both earth and heaven
and like the pearls from a torn necklace
trembling I scatter at their touch
their heartbeats open doors
vessels respond to their voice commands
and wind licks their faces like a crazy dog
and gallops after their train and roams
they undress me as if undressing themselves
and hold me in their arms like a saxophone
and oh this music these endless blues
like milk from breasts
those notes too high for human ears
those notes too low for gods
men who teach children to laugh
men who teach time how to run
men who love other men in club toilets
men who've kissed the hand of death herself
men who've never listened to my threats nightmares
which bound me to a chair
mama their lips fall on me
like burning planes
they are powerful patient
and when the world crashes
everyone runs for the shelters
they pause to pluck one of my lashes
mama not even mine
just anyone's mama
come back
rescue me find me
in this plane wreck

by Valzhyna Mort (b. 1981)
Translated by Franz Wright

Friday, January 30, 2009

On The Death Of Friends In Childhood

We shall not ever meet them bearded in heaven
Nor sunning themselves among the bald of hell;
If anywhere, in the deserted schoolyard at twilight,
forming a ring, perhaps, or joining hands
In games whose very names we have forgotten.
Come memory, let us seek them there in the shadows.

by Donald Justice (1925 - 2004)

Thursday, January 29, 2009


We sat at opposite ends of the table. Riffraff were all around us. The whites of his eyes glittered. A sexwoman caught, with a desperate hunger, his surgeon's gaze. That night he would tear his hands through her flesh material, her teats and the sloppy skin folds. Her herpes tongue was already smearing his jugular with fox secretion. The liplarvae writhed, dying among the butts in the ashtray. I looked on. My vulva ached. The monstrosity wound itself around the intestines, gnawed lightly on the frail surface of the belly bladder with its small nip teeth, and wanted out. Outside the window, the streets rumbled. I hallucinated a bit, saw tall trunks fall and crack far out in the woods. The rotgut throbbed venomously against the intestinal system. I downed another glass - finally the monstrosity was anesthetized on the bottom of the creek. Then we waited for weeks that never came, while the ages rolled their cogwheels over our heads.

When I came home, there was a little snail stuck to my throat. On the street corner I had seen a flock of marrowpierced, skinstarved silvercats tear a dead fox to shreds. Alba slept in the sheets, pale-blue naked. From the ceiling hung red, almost glowing spider webs. Through the water-damaged walls, condensation bubbled out. I could feel the brain scream out for mental activity, but the intestines were up to my throat and it was impossible to gather my thoughts in the heat. The drunken screams of the street devils and hooligans in the street still echoed against the windows. Suddenly Alba was awake and placed her kisses on my incomprehensibly alert, throbbing body. Her breath felt cool as a corpse, as with the lemurs. The mirrors and glass lay shattered in a pile on the middle of the floor: also here, the anxiety had burst forth.

The door opened. He came home. A bird sprawled in the sky. Now they stitched in the doll of mine, now they tore apart her mouth until her lips almost smiled. Alba bled nose-blood, I pretended to sleep, but the monstrosity woke up: I bit hard into the sheets. His hands were still soaked in female spores and fox juices, but also something else, and I understood that he had gone too far, much too far. Alba still lay on her back. I screamed into the pillow. Alba lay on her back and the thin blood ran slowly, darkly out of her nostrils. He smelled of snail acid, the white of his eyes glittered. He took out the nice, long staff; the nice, long staff of glass. It had a little prong at the tip, a little fiber beak. Then I relaxed. The booze abated; the monstrosity grew still. I smiled into the pillow, and maybe waited for the final drubbing.

by Aase Berg (b. 1967)
Translated by Johannes Göransson

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


The professors of English have taken their gowns
to the laundry, have taken themselves to the fields.
Dreams of motion circle the Persian rug in a room you were in.
On the beach the sadness of gramophones
deepens the ocean’s folding and falling.
It is yesterday. It is still yesterday.

by Mark Strand (b. 1934)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

My Babysitters

Most of my babysitters came of age during the fisting revolution of the late seventies. My brothers the clams were shot in their bungalows on channel 11. During the investigation Eddie and I discovered God's calf massager. Eight feet wide and thirty feet long, surrounded by sand pipers. My dad said he'd fuck anyone who thought he was terrific. Prageeta advises against becoming a man who uses poetry to prove he still has sex. Eddie said pretend you thought it was a neurotic poetry reading. Two of my babysitters took pictures of naked guy poets in order to learn their fluffing techniques. I saw all the pictures when I was nine on a calendar. "As good as Beethoven and Patti Smith in their garter belts," Mom said. Kevin likes to say "Anselm's fisting Chee-tos" in his poems a lot, but I meant feasting cheetahs. I want to do boring things with my lover like trying the blender on low. Eddie said he'd have sex with Colorado but not New York. I said I wouldn't steal his lines anymore. Facing the other way on top was too ab-ex: obscurity does not please my lover. I used to think I'd be good at being either a groupie or a therapist. As a poet with lower-case p I get to be both. "The way you keep your eyes to the ground when you wander into traffic totally turns me on" I heard one of my babysitters say. I liked the way they let me stay up in 1982. I learned from another babysitter couple how unimpressive nudity could be. Sometimes I think of my babysitters as a community. Sometimes I'm not sure that becoming cynical about sexual transgression before reaching puberty was such a good thing for my development. The idea of me and Bowie sleeping together was such a gas we laughed for days and he painted my nails. To quit smoking I imagined I was Eleanor of Acquitaine gathering troubadors in the 12th century. Once one of my babysitters told me I shouldn't talk about my babysitters because I'd never be taken seriously if I did. Then he said the first definition of pedophile is one who loves children and I ran and ran. I remember freaking out one of my babysitters by showing him how the mobile of a flasher that my sister sent us worked. My favorite babysitter bit the back of the rat who bit her back, scattering the thirty other rats on her back. Then she taught me how to hurl circles.

by Anselm Berrigan (b. 1972)

Monday, January 26, 2009


As you set out for Ithaka
hope the voyage is a long one,
full of adventure, full of discovery.
Laistrygonians and Cyclops,
angry Poseidon—don’t be afraid of them:
you’ll never find things like that on your way
as long as you keep your thoughts raised high,
as long as a rare excitement
stirs your spirit and your body.
Laistrygonians and Cyclops,
wild Poseidon—you won’t encounter them
unless you bring them along inside your soul,
unless your soul sets them up in front of you.

Hope the voyage is a long one.
May there be many a summer morning when,
with what pleasure, what joy,
you come into harbors seen for the first time;
may you stop at Phoenician trading stations
to buy fine things,
mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
sensual perfume of every kind—
as many sensual perfumes as you can;
and may you visit many Egyptian cities
to gather stores of knowledge from their scholars.

Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you are destined for.
But do not hurry the journey at all.
Better if it lasts for years,
so you are old by the time you reach the island,
wealthy with all you have gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.

Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey.
Without her you would not have set out.
She has nothing left to give you now.

And if you find her poor, Ithaka won’t have fooled you.
Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,
you will have understood by then what these Ithakas mean.

by C.P. Cavafy (1863 - 1933)
translated by Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Man and Woman Go Through the Cancer Ward

The man:
Here in this row are wombs that have decayed,
and in this row are breasts that have decayed.
Bed beside stinking bed. Hourly the sisters change.

Come, quietly lift up this coverlet.
Look, this great mass of fat and ugly humours
was precious to a man once, and
meant ecstasy and home.

Come, now look at the scars upon this breast.
Do you feel the rosary of small soft knots?
Feel it, no fear. The flesh yields and is numb.

Here's one who bleeds as though from thirty bodies.
No one has so much blood.
They had to cut
a child from this one, from her cancerous womb.

They let them sleep. All day, all night.---They tell
the newcomers: here sleep will make you well.---But Sundays
one rouses them a bit for visitors.---

They take a little nourishment. Their backs
are sore. You see the flies. Sometimes
the sisters wash them. As one washes benches.---

Here the grave rises up about each bed.
And flesh is leveled down to earth. The fire
burns out. And sap prepares to flow. Earth calls.---

by Gottfried Benn (1886-1956)
Translated by Babette Deutsch

Saturday, January 24, 2009

In Memory of Sigmund Freud

When there are so many we shall have to mourn,
when grief has been made so public, and exposed
     to the critique of a whole epoch
   the frailty of our conscience and anguish,

of whom shall we speak? For every day they die
among us, those who were doing us some good,
     who knew it was never enough but
   hoped to improve a little by living.

Such was this doctor: still at eighty he wished
to think of our life from whose unruliness
     so many plausible young futures
   with threats or flattery ask obedience,

but his wish was denied him: he closed his eyes
upon that last picture, common to us all,
     of problems like relatives gathered
   puzzled and jealous about our dying. 

For about him till the very end were still
those he had studied, the fauna of the night,
     and shades that still waited to enter
   the bright circle of his recognition

turned elsewhere with their disappointment as he
was taken away from his life interest
     to go back to the earth in London,
   an important Jew who died in exile.

Only Hate was happy, hoping to augment
his practice now, and his dingy clientele
     who think they can be cured by killing
   and covering the garden with ashes.

They are still alive, but in a world he changed
simply by looking back with no false regrets;
     all he did was to remember
   like the old and be honest like children.

He wasn't clever at all: he merely told
the unhappy Present to recite the Past
     like a poetry lesson till sooner
   or later it faltered at the line where

long ago the accusations had begun,
and suddenly knew by whom it had been judged,
     how rich life had been and how silly,
   and was life-forgiven and more humble,

able to approach the Future as a friend
without a wardrobe of excuses, without
     a set mask of rectitude or an 
   embarrassing over-familiar gesture.

No wonder the ancient cultures of conceit
in his technique of unsettlement foresaw
     the fall of princes, the collapse of
   their lucrative patterns of frustration:

if he succeeded, why, the Generalised Life
would become impossible, the monolith
     of State be broken and prevented
   the co-operation of avengers.

Of course they called on God, but he went his way
down among the lost people like Dante, down
     to the stinking fosse where the injured
   lead the ugly life of the rejected,

and showed us what evil is, not, as we thought,
deeds that must be punished, but our lack of faith,
     our dishonest mood of denial,
   the concupiscence of the oppressor.

If some traces of the autocratic pose,
the paternal strictness he distrusted, still
     clung to his utterance and features,
   it was a protective coloration

for one who'd lived among enemies so long:
if often he was wrong and, at times, absurd,
     to us he is no more a person
   now but a whole climate of opinion

under whom we conduct our different lives:
Like weather he can only hinder or help,
     the proud can still be proud but find it
   a little harder, the tyrant tries to

make do with him but doesn't care for him much:
he quietly surrounds all our habits of growth
     and extends, till the tired in even
   the remotest miserable duchy

have felt the change in their bones and are cheered
till the child, unlucky in his little State,
     some hearth where freedom is excluded,
   a hive whose honey is fear and worry,

feels calmer now and somehow assured of escape,
while, as they lie in the grass of our neglect, 
     so many long-forgotten objects
   revealed by his undiscouraged shining

are returned to us and made precious again;
games we had thought we must drop as we grew up,
     little noises we dared not laugh at,
   faces we made when no one was looking.

But he wishes us more than this. To be free
is often to be lonely. He would unite
     the unequal moieties fractured
   by our own well-meaning sense of justice,

would restore to the larger the wit and will 
the smaller possesses but can only use
     for arid disputes, would give back to
   the son the mother's richness of feeling:

but he would have us remember most of all 
to be enthusiastic over the night,
     not only for the sense of wonder
   it alone has to offer, but also

because it needs our love. With large sad eyes
its delectable creatures look up and beg
     us dumbly to ask them to follow:
   they are exiles who long for the future

that lives in our power, they too would rejoice
if allowed to serve enlightenment like him,
     even to bear our cry of 'Judas', 
   as he did and all must bear who serve it.

One rational voice is dumb. Over his grave
the household of Impulse mourns one dearly loved:
     sad is Eros, builder of cities,
   and weeping anarchic Aphrodite.

by W.H. Auden (1907 - 1971)

Friday, January 23, 2009

My Hero Bares His Nerves

My hero bares his nerves along my wrist
That rules from wrist to shoulder,
Unpacks the head that, like a sleepy ghost,
Leans on my mortal ruler,
The proud spine spurning turn and twist.

And these poor nerves so wired to the skull
Ache on the lovelorn paper
I hug to love with my unruly scrawl
That utters all love hunger
And tells the page the empty ill.

My hero bares my side and sees his heart
Tread, like a naked Venus,
The beach of flesh, and wind her bloodred plait;
Stripping my loin of promise,
He promises a secret heat.

He holds the wire from the box of nerves
Praising the mortal error
Of birth and death, the two sad knaves of thieves,
And the hunger's emperor;
He pulls the chain, the cistern moves.

by Dylan Thomas

Thursday, January 22, 2009


I've been ill amongst my fellow kind
And yet have borne with me joys
That few sought its indulgence, bind
As dreams that press meditation's
Wanton coys o'er desired revelation.
Religion's chariot halted for my thought
Art bowed, showed its infinite tongues
Of charm; science hailed its width
Of symmetry, doubting the conscience's
Concentration and behave; the beam
Of fire from the sun cast mine own
To slumber in imagination of spheres.
Under the heavens of moon-like shapes
Mine eyelids shut; I fell into unfelt realms.

by Samuel Greenberg (1893 - 1917)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Ceiling at Dawn

Afloat in oval of unclosing eye

white-washed shadow-drifts
of indoor dawn
film idle clouds--

a Cinema-Nirvana
pallid ideograms
and epitaphs of dreams

upon a white slab slanted.

Visual echoes
in blanched rows

--the dissolved, derouted
traffic of slumber--

an acrid air-flower
adrowse in the etiolate pasture
of our arousing

as droning day
in early light
the spectral acre

under the sunless artiface
of this four-cornered sky,

lingering flies
convolve their slim-winged circles

by Mina Loy (1882-1966)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Summer Image

(From a Persian Carpet)

Ash and strewments, the first moth-wings, pale
Ardour of brief evenings, on the fecund wind;
Or all a wing, less than wind,
Breath of low herbs upfloats, petal or wing,
Haunting the musk precincts of burial.
For the season of newer riches moves triumphing,
Of the evanescence of deaths. These potpourris
Earth-tinctured, jet insect-bead, cinder of bloom—
How weigh while a great summer knows increase,
Ceaselessly risen, what there entombs?—
Of candour fallen from the slight stems of Mays,
Corrupt of the rim a blue shades, pensively:
So a fatigue of wishes will young eyes.
And brightened, unpurged eyes of revery, now
Not to glance to fabulous groves again!
For now deep presence is, and binds its close,
And closes down the wreathed alleys escape of sighs.
And now rich time is weaving, hidden tree,
The fable of orient threads from bough to bough.
Old rinded wood, whose lissomeness within
Has reached from nothing to its covering
These many corymbs’ flourish!—And the green
Shells which wait amber, breathing, wrought
Towards the still trance of summer’s centering,
Motives by ravished humble fingers set,
Each in a noon of its own infinite.
And here is leant the branch and its repose
of the deep leaf to the pilgrim plume. Repose,
Inflections brilliant and mute of the voyager, light!
And here the nests, and freshet throats resume
Notes over and over found, names
For the silvery ascensions of joy. Nothing is here
But moss and its bells now of the root’s night;
But the beetle’s bower, and arc from grass to grass
For the flight in gauze. Now its fresh lair,
Grass-deep, nestles the cool eft to stir
Vague newborn limbs, and the bud’s dark winding has
Access of day. Now on the subtle noon
Time’s image, at pause with being, labours free
Of all its charge, for each in coverts laid,
Of clement kind; and everlastingly,
In some elision of bright moments is known,
Changed wide as Eden, the branch whose silence sways
Dazzle of the murmurous leaves to continual tone;
Its separations, sighing to own again
Being of the ignorant wish; and sways to sight,
Waked from it nighted, the marvelous foundlings of light;
Risen and weaving from the ceaseless root
A divine ease whispers toward fruitfulness,
While all a summer’s conscience tempts the fruit.

by Léonie Adams (1899 - 1988)

Monday, January 19, 2009

Ghostly Stances

I don't attach any importance to life
I don't pin life's least butterfly to importance
I'm unimportant to life
But branches of salt white branches
All the bubbles of shadow
And sea anemones
Go down and breathe deep inside my thought
They come from tears I don't shed
From steps I don't take which are steps twice over
And which sand remembers when the tide rises
The bars are inside the cage
And birds come from high up to sing in front of these bars
An underground passage connects all perfumes
One day a woman entered it
That woman grew so radiant I couldn't see her
With these eyes that have even seen me burning
I was already as old as I am now
And I watched over myself over my thoughts like a night
     watchman in an immense factory
The only watchman
The traffic circle still cast its spell over the same trolleys
The expressions on the plastic figurines hadn't changed
They were chewing the smile's rye
I know of a cloth in a vanished city
If I felt like appearing before you draped in that cloth
You'd think your end was drawing near
Just like mine
Fountains would finally understand that they shouldn't
     say Fountain
Wolves are lured with snow mirrors
I own a boat that isn't moored to any climate
I'm swept along by an ice floe with flaming teeth
I chop and split the wood of the tree that will always be
A musician gets caught in the strings of his instrument
The Jolly Roger from the time of any children's story
Boards a vessel which is only the ghost of itself
Maybe there's a hilt on that sword
But in that hilt there's already a duel
During which the two opponents disarm each other
The dead one is the less-offended party
It's never the future

Curtains that have never been opened
Float at the windows of houses yet to be built
Beds made of all lily beds
Slide under lamps of dew
An evening will come
Nuggets of light roll to a stop under blue moss
The hands that tie and untie love-knots and air-knots
Keep all their transparency for those who see
They see palms on hands
Crowns in eyes
But the brazier of crowns and palms
Catches fire just barely catches fire at the deepest part of
     the forest
There where stags take aim at the years as they lower
     their heads
Now all you can hear is a dull thud
From which comes a thousand noises more faint or muffled
And this thud goes on
There are dresses that quiver
Quivering to the beat of this thud
But when I want to see the faces of the women who wear
A huge fog rises from the ground
At the foot of steeples behind the most elegant reservoirs
     of life and wealth
In gorges that grow dark between two mountains
On the sea at the hour when the sun cools down
The beings who signal to me are separated by stars
And yet the carriage traveling at a gallop
Carries away my very last hesitation
Which waits for me over there in the city where the
     statues of bronze and stone have changed places with
     the wax statues
Banyans banyans

by Andre Breton
Translated by Bill Zavatsky & Zack Rogow

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Child on Top of a Greenhouse

The wind billowing out the seat of my britches,
My feet crackling splinters of glass and dried putty,
The half-grown chrysanthemums staring up like accusers,
Up through the streaked glass, flashing with sunlight,
A few white clouds all rushing eastward,
A line of elms plunging and tossing like horses,
And everyone, everyone pointing up and shouting!

by Theodore Roethke (1908 - 1963)

Saturday, January 17, 2009

From the Inner Side of the Lips

oil. die and. Let
peace flow to your lips
may I
no longer be on them

or I will, from that amorphous soil,
with every breath of my dying
flesh, grow white
into you, be extinguished

until this white paper
is bedewed with words, until I come here

with the tip of the kiss
whipped, let peace grow
thorns on your lip, die and, flow, peace

let the door made of soil slam shut,
oil, may you die and, be so that I can be

where there is, first pierced, then sewed up
by your lips endlessly, peace
the white flesh of my voice, you sleep,
do not pull to pieces the darkness on my lips

by Anka Zagar (b. 1954)
Translated by Sibila Petlevski

Friday, January 16, 2009

I envy Seas, whereon He rides —

I envy Seas, whereon He rides —
I envy Spokes of Wheels
Of Chariots, that Him convey —
I envy Crooked Hills

That gaze upon His journey —
How easy All can see
What is forbidden utterly
As Heaven — unto me!

I envy Nests of Sparrows —
That dot His distant Eaves —
The wealthy Fly, upon His Pane —
The happy — happy Leaves —

That just abroad His Window
Have Summer's leave to play —
The Ear Rings of Pizarro
Could not obtain for me —

I envy Light — that wakes Him —
And Bells — that boldly ring
To tell Him it is Noon, abroad —
Myself — be Noon to Him —

Yet interdict — my Blossom —
And abrogate — my Bee —
Lest Noon in Everlasting Night —
Drop Gabriel — and Me —

by Emily Dickinson (1830 - 1886)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Day Book


In the pouch of pens is the tooth brush amber in the plastic wrap but
won't write. I pull out the blue one creamy and cold. At are
newspapers and a clear cup with cubes is in the magazine net.
"Shouldn't they have cleaned that out for me? He is gone a long
time and he will bring something back. "It's bad to love tightly."
My feet. "Your shoes are so retro." Then was then he brought me
aspirin. It was for the fever I made not to work. He's putting a
napkin in my lap pulling my tray down.


After dinner there might be something I want to write while you
separate suits. A new deck. You teach me Cheat. The back of the
cards is a photo of a field and track, train and white Amtrack
arrow in the corner. Your legs cross. "Don't you want to put
your legs across me?" "I do but let me get my coat." From
the Hook of Holland to Amsterdam they check tickets. From here to D.C.
Won't he be surprised. All the times i made plans to visit and here
comes the woman whose son must be blond think-skinned cold nose
as his feet are sweating in ski boots. Your foot folds a magazine. I
lick my lips.


I call him Varsity. I write his name in orange. I rub his belly
under striped sweater. Everything is going so well for him. He
drops his pants and I embrace him trying in the poem to get away
from this new stanza. It was meant to be a stanza of his name to
me. If I take care of myself forever what will you give to me?


It is seven o'clock there is a small piece of cellophane on your
white sock. It's making my dick hard. We've stopped somewhere. I
am reminded by men's voices that we have a new vice-president
and a new president.


There is no writing in front of T.V. on the first morning in D.C.
I will sit at the table on the patio under that tree wearing all
the ivy, naked branches up from its dress and later cross out
everything I write under tree. But the air feels right the color
blue over Watergate building. None of it hits the paper well but
the coffee hit my palate o.k. To complete this scene of me: cold
flowers kind sunny day in D.C.


what am I feeling
he said to sit in the last/back car
that it was cruisy
but all the wrong people are in this car
maybe this is the front
lights go out all train noise stops
I look to the sky
see emerald moving light
turn right in framed space open building
light and motors again
take off my shoes
air my dogs
Tim said when I kicked off
my shoes and sighed after the longest day in D.C.
"Dogs are barkin" felt
right then sounds right now
I love trains
the boy near me is reading a book
by C.S. Lewis
called Mere Christianity
glasses sweeten his face
dark socks in sneakers endearing
he crosses his leg
opens the book
I wish they'd turn out these long lights
I'm glad I'm alive


Everything in D.C. is there
for everyone who reads this poem
so go to go
it's not my job to tell it
I had great fun
with great friends old and new
and rode with emotional gear
strapped on tight
through my kind of hell
one night
But I'm back now
I'll call you whoever you are
and say I'm ready getting
then say good bye now take care now
good night now


Is there anyone on this train
wondering about this last car
cruise business
some other young man
who might find it exciting
to find another young man me in this wondering
He pushes the back of his seat
book and face are out of sight
the stretch from knee
over crotch and front split tail
of flannel shirt either side
of his rise


the warmth when words satisfy
I scratch more flakes
on to white

for Bobby Miller

by Gerard Rizza (1959-1992)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Antony and Cleopatra (from Act 1. Scene iii)

What's the matter?

I know, by that same eye, there's some good news.
What says the married woman? You may go:
Would she had never given you leave to come!
Let her not say 'tis I that keep you here:
I have no power upon you; hers you are.

The gods best know,—

O, never was there queen
So mightily betray'd! yet at the first
I saw the treasons planted.


Why should I think you can be mine and true,
Though you in swearing shake the throned gods,
Who have been false to Fulvia? Riotous madness,
To be entangled with those mouth-made vows,
Which break themselves in swearing!

Most sweet queen,—

Nay, pray you, seek no colour for your going,
But bid farewell, and go: when you sued staying,
Then was the time for words: no going then;
Eternity was in our lips and eyes,
Bliss in our brows' bent; none our parts so poor,
But was a race of heaven: they are so still,
Or thou, the greatest soldier of the world,
Art turn'd the greatest liar.

How now, lady!

I would I had thy inches; thou shouldst know
There were a heart in Egypt.

by William Shakespeare (1564 - 1616)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Spilled Blood

The ashes which are the cigar's malady
imitate the concierges rushing down the stairs
after their broom that fell from the fifth floor
killed the gasman
that employee resembling a bug in a salad
The bird lies in wait for a bug and it's the broom that got you gasman
Your wife's hair will be white as sugar
and her ears will be unpaid bills
unpaid because you are dead
But why didn't this gasman have feet shaped like a three
why didn't he have the lucid look of a glovestore
why didn't he have his mother's dried-up breast hanging from his belly
why didn't he have flies in the pockets of his jacket
He would have passed away damp and cold like a smashed porcelain vase
and his hands would have caressed the bars of his prison
But the sun in his pocket had put on its cap

by Benjamin Peret (1899-1959)
Translated by Keith Hollaman

Monday, January 12, 2009

A Broken Appointment

You did not come,
And marching Time drew on, and wore me numb.
Yet less for loss of your dear presence there
Than that I thus found lacking in your make
That high compassion which can overbear
Reluctance for pure loving kindness' sake
Grieved I, when, as the hope-hour stroked its sum,
You did not come.

You love me not,
And love alone can lend you loyalty;
—I know and knew it. But, unto the store
Of human deeds divine in all but name,
Was it not worth a little hour or more
To add yet this: Once you, a woman, came
To soothe a time-torn man; even though it be
You love me not.

by Thomas Hardy (1840 - 1928)

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Squatter in the Foreground

--—for Ann Lauterbach

We rake the past, down to an ounce of wants.
Meant to begin in haybarn dorm of overall kerchiefs,
an empire of cow sphincters on the hook by May.
I think I’ll stare at the muss to endure
all I am: nonstop strands, new dues to pay up.

Air dense with leavings, fridge hum clicks off.
Nothing on the easel, so nothing melts.
The story thus far: pair of angels swish across grass
into dim room. Wrestlers. Big mirrors, stacks of ‘em.
White walls lift. An Anglo-Saxon pause for identification.

by Kenward Elmslie (b. 1929)

Saturday, January 10, 2009


A touch of cold in the Autumn night –
I walked abroad,
And saw the ruddy moon lean over a hedge
Like a red-faced farmer.
I did not stop to speak, but nodded,
And round about were the wistful stars
With white faces like town children.

by T.E. Hulme (1883 - 1917)

Friday, January 9, 2009

De Profundis

There is a stubble-field where a black rain is falling.
There is a brown tree that stands alone.
There is a hissing wind that encircles the empty shacks.
How melancholy this evening is.

Near the village
A gentle orphan gathers sparse corn.
Her eyes widen, round and golden in the dusk,
and her womb awaits the heavenly bridegroom.

On their way home
The shepherds found her sweet body
Rotting in the bushes.

I am a shadow far from dark villages---
I drank the silence of God
from a spring in the woods.

Cold metal steps on my forehead.
Spiders search for my heart.
There is a light that dies out in my mouth.

At night I found myself in a pasture,
Rigid with refuse and the dust of stars.
In the hazelbush
Crystal angels kept on ringing.

by Georg Trakl
Translated by Daniel Simko

Thursday, January 8, 2009

To Night

So thou art come again, old black-winged night,
Like an huge bird, between us and the sun,
Hiding, with out-stretched form, the genial light;
And still, beneath thine icy bosom's dun
And cloudy plumage, hatching fog-breathed blight
And embryo storms, and crabbéd frosts, that shun
Day's warm caress. The owls from ivied loop
Are shrieking homage, as thou cowerest high;
Like sable crow pausing in eager stoop
On the dim world thou gluttest thy clouded eye,
Silently waiting latest time's fell whoop,
When thou shalt quit thine eyrie in the sky,
To pounce upon the world with eager claw,
And tomb time, death, and substance in thy maw.

by Thomas Lovell Beddoes (1803 - 1818)