1. Writing viruses And electronic labyrinths With a blackout and no computer In a rented house, at seven thousand a month; Kabul, the Afghan capital! What silly poem is this?
You ask yourself, is poetry the same lonely words that wander in electronic corridors, Cut off from their existence, Thrown away, with no choice but to become a poem? You watch imagination wandering through paths, over the paths, You throw the leash at yet another word, Trying to subdue this wild one, And if you fail, You stop functioning, Like a computer crashed.
2. There was someone, someone who wrote viruses Behind a diesel-powered laptop Looking for URLs and An anonymous mail would be sent Connecting you to a site, infected; “I am from Florida, the USA, and 23 years of age, Looking for someone to follow the link, and make happy”; To open the mail and to make someone happy? First, stop the programs; Passing through security, typing 97, 98, 99, Approaching the death of romance between zero and one.
A virus-writer drank half a beer bottle at once; Then, computer deaths; First to the east of Paris, a house, Australia, three minutes more, A man is waiting out the last minutes of an office shift Needs to get home; A party is starting in half an hour; The Philippines, minutes later, A 19-year-old girl In a chat room, Showing off a used body; In Egypt, more or less the same time, And the next morning, Kabul.
3. You, and you, also you, Yes, you and also you, You are all arrested!
4. They tell me, stop writing! You write and we’ll show you Guantanamo at home, You write, we’ll kill you. Kabul, summer of ’07 Hands in handcuffs, feet tied up; This is Afghanistan, and this here where it is going, Dead bodies over dead bodies. The poem has no choice but to stop writing itself. This is prison.
5. They asked a Kabul sparrow Just what is mankind up to? The sparrow considered this and died!
She speaks in her way of her savage seas With unknown algae and unknown sands; She prays to a formless, weightless God, Aged, as if dying. In our garden now so strange, She has planted cactus and alien grass. The desert zephyr fills her with its breath And she has loved with a fierce, white passion She never speaks of, for if she were to tell It would be like the face of unknown stars. Among us she may live for eighty years, Yet always as if newly come, Speaking a tongue that plants and whines Only by tiny creatures understood. And she will die here in our midst One night of utmost suffering, With only her fate as a pillow, And death, silent and strange.
The Wish to Be Generous . All that I serve will die, all my delights, the flesh kindled from my flesh, garden and field, the silent lilies standing in the woods, the woods, the hill, the whole earth, all will burn in man's evil, or dwindle in its own age. Let the world bring on me the sleep of darkness without stars, so I may know my little light taken from me into the seed of the beginning and the end, so I may bow to mystery, and take my stand on the earth like a tree in a field, passing without haste or regret toward what will be, my life a patient willing descent into the grass.
When sorrow lays us low for a second we are saved by humble windfalls of the mindfulness or memory: the taste of a fruit, the taste of water, that face given back to us by a dream, the first jasmine of November, the endless yearning of the compass, a book we thought was lost, the throb of a hexameter, the slight key that opens a house to us, the smell of a library, or of sandalwood, the former name of a street, the colors of a map, an unforeseen etymology, the smoothness of a filed fingernail, the date we were looking for, the twelve dark bell-strokes, tolling as we count, a sudden physical pain.
Eight million Shinto deities travel secretly throughout the earth. Those modest gods touch us— touch us and move on.
A process in the weather of the heart Turns damp to dry; the golden shot Storms in the freezing tomb. A weather in the quarter of the veins Turns night to day; blood in their suns Lights up the living worm.
A process in the eye forwarns The bones of blindness; and the womb Drives in a death as life leaks out.
A darkness in the weather of the eye Is half its light; the fathomed sea Breaks on unangled land. The seed that makes a forest of the loin Forks half its fruit; and half drops down, Slow in a sleeping wind.
A weather in the flesh and bone Is damp and dry; the quick and dead Move like two ghosts before the eye.
A process in the weather of the world Turns ghost to ghost; each mothered child Sits in their double shade. A process blows the moon into the sun, Pulls down the shabby curtains of the skin; And the heart gives up its dead.
Apprehensions . There is this white wall, above which the sky creates itself--- Infinite, green, utterly untouchable. Angels swim in it, and the stars, in indifference also. They are my medium. The sun dissolves on this wall, bleeding its lights.
A gray wall now, clawed and bloody. Is there no way out of the mind? Steps at my back spiral into a well. There are no trees or birds in this world, There is only sourness.
This red wall winces continually : A red fist, opening and closing, Two gray, papery bags--- This is what I am made of , this and a terror Of being wheeled off under crosses and a rain of pietas.
On a black wall, unidentifiable birds Swivel thier heads and cry. There is no talk of immortality among these! Cold blanks approach us : They move in a hurry.
All the huskies are eaten. There is no space left in the diary, And the beads of quick words scatter over his spouse's sepia-shaded face adding the date in question like a mole to her lovely cheek. Next, the snapshot of his sister. He doesn't spare his kin: what's been reached is the highest possible latitude! And, like the silk stocking of a burlesque half-nude queen, it climbs up his thigh: gangrene.
So Now? by Charles Bukowski . the words have come and gone, I sit ill. the phone rings, the cats sleep. Linda vacuums. I am waiting to live, waiting to die. I wish I could ring in some bravery. it's a lousy fix but the tree outside doesn't know: I watch it moving with the wind in the late afternoon sun. there's nothing to declare here, just a waiting. each faces it alone. Oh, I was once young, Oh, I was once unbelievably young! from Transit magazine, 1994
In the wave-strike over unquiet stones the brightness bursts and bears the rose and the ring of water contracts to a cluster to one drop of azure brine that falls. O magnolia radiance breaking in spume, magnetic voyager whose death flowers and returns, eternal, to being and nothingness: shattered brine, dazzling leap of the ocean. Merged, you and I, my love, seal the silence while the sea destroys its continual forms, collapses its turrets of wildness and whiteness, because in the weft of those unseen garments of headlong water, and perpetual sand, we bear the sole, relentless tenderness.
The golden gates of Sleep unbar Where Strength and Beauty, met together, Kindle their image like a star In a sea of glassy weather! Night, with all thy stars look down,-- Darkness, weep thy holiest dew,-- Never smiled the inconstant moon On a pair so true. Let eyes not see their own delight;-- Haste, swift Hour, and thy flight Oft renew.
II. Fairies, sprites, and angels, keep her! Holy stars, permit no wrong! And return to wake the sleeper, Dawn,—ere it be long! O joy! O fear! what will be done In the absence of the sun! Come along!
"All On the Earth..." 1909 All on the earth will die – and youth and mother, Wife will betray you, leave once faithful friend, But you learn to enjoy the bliss another – Look in a mirror of the polar land.
Get on your bark, sail to the distant Pole In walls of ice – and bit by bit forget How they loved there, perished, fought, gained goal… Forget your passions’ ever painful set.
And let your soul, tiered all to bear, Come used to shudder of the slow colds – Such that it will not crave for something here, When once from there the dazzling lighting bolts.
The Wish to be Generous . All that I serve will die, all my delights, the flesh kindled from my flesh, garden and field, the silent lilies standing in the woods, the woods, the hill, the whole earth, all will burn in man's evil, or dwindle in its own age. Let the world bring on me the sleep of darkness without stars, so I may know my little light taken from me into the seed of the beginning and the end, so I may bow to mystery, and take my stand on the earth like a tree in a field, passing without haste or regret toward what will be, my life a patient willing descent into the grass.
Daffodils . I wandered lonely as a cloud That floats on high o'er vales and hills, When all at once I saw a crowd, A host, of golden daffodils; Beside the lake, beneath the trees, Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine And twinkle on the milky way, They stretched in never-ending line Along the margin of a bay: Ten thousand saw I at a glance, Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
The waves beside them danced, but they Out-did the sparkling leaves in glee; A poet could not be but gay, In such a jocund company! I gazed—and gazed—but little thought What wealth the show to me had brought:
For oft, when on my couch I lie In vacant or in pensive mood, They flash upon that inward eye Which is the bliss of solitude; And then my heart with pleasure fills, And dances with the daffodils.
The Souls Of Old Men . Inside their worn, tattered bodies sit the souls of old men. How unhappy the poor things are and how bored by the pathetic life they live. How they tremble for fear of losing that life, and how much they love it, those befuddled and contradictory souls, sitting -half comic and half tragic- inside their old, threadbare skins.
The widow always wears a black coat. She is cold in this coat even in summer. She is here to receive the flag. She is here to say hers is a small sacrifice for God and for country. Valium is the drug of choice for such occasions. She will not cry out. She will not collapse. Two men, solid as a pair of bookends, flank her and grip her arms. They wear dark suits or other uniforms. "Hero," is the theme of the eulogy, as if her husband chose to give his life. Tonight, she will sleep with the widow's quilt, the folded flag taken from his coffin.
Glow my ass. Women sweat wet as the tongues of dogs, wildly slick beneath the breasts, beneath the arms the body's water, the body's salts like an oily sea; and, where the soft thighs part at the open mouth of the sex, where the dusky flesh smothers, raw as an oyster, slick as a throat, and bright like pearl or shell in the dark, the musty smell of rich effluvium lingers like air heavy with pollen and heat.
Elegy . About a year has passed. I've returned to the place of the battle, to its birds that have learned their unfolding of wings from a subtle lift of a surprised eyebrow, or perhaps from a razor blade - wings, now the shade of early twilight, now of state bad blood.
Now the place is abuzz with trading in your ankles's remnants, bronzes of sunburnt breastplates, dying laughter, bruises, rumors of fresh reserves, memories of high treason, laundered banners with imprints of the many who since have risen.
All's overgrown with people. A ruin's a rather stubborn architectural style. And the hearts's distinction from a pitch-black cavern isn't that great; not great enough to fear that we may collide again like blind eggs somewhere.
At sunrise, when nobody stares at one's face, I often, set out on foot to a monument cast in molten lengthy bad dreams. And it says on the plinth "commander in chief." But it reads "in grief," or "in brief," or "in going under."
To Nature . It may indeed be phantasy, when I Essay to draw from all created things Deep, heartfelt, inward joy that closely clings; And trace in leaves and flowers that round me lie Lessons of love and earnest piety. So let it be; and if the wide world rings In mock of this belief, it brings Nor fear, nor grief, nor vain perplexity. So will I build my altar in the fields, And the blue sky my fretted dome shall be, And the sweet fragrance that the wild flower yields Shall be the incense I will yield to Thee, Thee only God! and thou shalt not despise Even me, the priest of this poor sacrifice
Art thou pale for weariness Of climbing heaven and gazing on the earth, Wandering companionless Among the stars that have a different birth, And ever changing, like a joyless eye That finds no object worth its constancy?
Transformation . Out in the light on sitting alone. Sorting, straightening tangled skins. (They're always trying lives in knots.) I would like to be sleeping. Not dreaming, just black out: no one bumping, around in my brain- no angels, no deaths, just quite empty nests, just threads lying straight and ordered and still. outside the window I can see sweet winter birds Rise up from tall weeds chattering. They fly into sunrisen sky that holds them in light. (Allen, 1992: 1989)