Living in the earth-deposits of our history
Today a backhoe divulged out of a crumbling flank of earth
one bottle amber perfect a hundred-year-old
cure for fever or melancholy a tonic
for living on this earth in the winters of this climate
Today I was reading about Marie Curie:
she must have known she suffered from radiation sickness
her body bombarded for years by the element
she had purified
It seems she denied to the end
the source of the cataracts on her eyes
the cracked and suppurating skin of her finger-ends
till she could no longer hold a test-tube or a pencil
She died a famous woman denying
her wounds came from the same source as her power.
Under the covers, the winds of sleep
rock the poppies of your breasts
We close our eyes to this life
and open them to the other Next to the eager
ness of the fly, the wrath
of a flock of sparrows
and the saintliness of the horse
you fall off the precipice of the day's bridge
The teeth of winter
also sleep for a while
Under the bed, my shoes too rest
their burning eyes
At 2 A. M. God comes out to stretch his legs
and lights the cigarette of a whore
that struts in front of the drugstore
The plank of solitude
that spawns fraternities
—snake and hare, owl and mouse—
is dispelled when I exist in your dream
alongside with whom I was and will be
The night is a knife of diving dust
You arch a shoulder and office buildings collapse
when your knees point skyward
there's thunder in a desert
If you were to open your eyes now
you could mangle a continent
Conversation Among the Ruins
Through portico of my elegant house you stalk
With your wild furies, disturbing garlands of fruit
And the fabulous lutes and peacocks, rending the net
Of all decorum which holds the whirlwind back.
Now, rich order of walls is fallen; rooks croak
Above the appalling ruin; in bleak light
Of your stormy eye, magic takes flight
Like a daunted witch, quitting castle when real days break.
Fractured pillars frame prospects of rock;
While you stand heroic in coat and tie, I sit
Composed in Grecian tunic and psyche-knot,
Rooted to your black look, the play turned tragic:
Which such blight wrought on our bankrupt estate,
What ceremony of words can patch the havoc?
Camilo takes possession of the clinic hallway
in the photo that is too old for me
and too new for him who can still take more
even in this type of place.
Camilo is laughing alone in the clinic hallway
and he who laughs alone
remembers a clearer and simpler time
he who laughs alone
deposits an intelligible heart
in a washbasin as credit.
Camilo laughs alone
it is clear that for me there is just one way out,
I imitate him
and as if I were a slightly pampered saint
and as if I were a slightly awkward saint
I start to chew the smouldering ashes from a more difficult time,
he imitates me.
Our host, providing abundant wine to make the night mellow,
Asks his guest from Yangzhou to play for us on the lute.
Toward the moon that whitens the city-wall, black crows are flying,
Frost is on ten thousand trees, and the wind blows through our clothes;
But a copper stove has added its light to that of flowery candles,
And the lute plays The Green Water, and then The Queen of Chu.
Once it has begun to play, there is no other sound:
A spell is on the banquet, while the stars grow thin....
But three hundred miles from here, in Huai, official duties await him,
And so it's farewell, and the road again, under cloudy mountains.
I never loved a dear Gazelle—
Nor anything that cost me much:
High prices profit those who sell,
But why should I be fond of such?
To glad me with his soft black eye
My son comes trotting home from school;
He's had a fight but can't tell why—
He always was a little fool!
But, when he came to know me well,
He kicked me out, her testy Sire:
And when I stained my hair, that Belle
Might note the change and this admire
And love me, it was sure to dye
A muddy green, or staring blue:
Whilst one might trace, with half an eye,
The still triumphant carrot through
Twice I awoke this night, and went
to the window. The streetlamps were
a fragment of a sentence spoken in sleep,
leading to nothing, like omission points,
affording me no comfort and no cheer.
I dreamt of you, with child, and now,
having lived so many years apart from you,
experienced my guilt, and my hands,
joyfully stroking your belly,
found they were fumbling at my trousers
and the light-switch. Shuffling to the window,
I realized I had left you there alone,
in the dark, in the dream, where patiently
you waited and did not blame me,
when I returned, for the unnatural
interruption. For in the dark
that which in the light has broken off, lasts;
there we are married, wedded, we play
the two-backed beast; and children
justify our nakedness.
On some future night you will again
come to me, tired, thin now,
and I shall see a son or daughter,
as yet unnamed -- this time I'll
not hurry to the light-switch, nor
will I remove my hand; because I've not the right
to leave you in that realm of silent
shadows, before the fence of days,
falling into dependence from a reality
containing me -- unattainable.
it happens like this
a calm counting of syllables begins
in the pretty clearings of the forest
where the sun plays and mingles
the slow syllables and then
lets out the same old tune
thus begin those immemorial rains
of a complaining voice
that speak of primitive ages
and lull generations
and continue narrating catastrophes
and powerful germinations
sinkings of towns and races
rains that come from the depths of the millenia
with their insidious songs
their germinal word that bewitches and captivates
and their flowing countless bars
that can be prisons
they become smiling and slender
they populate the earth with big leaves
and with a slight and tender happiness
with humid words
they talk to us about wonderful countries
and of the rivers that come down from the sky
we forget their dirge
and we love them then because they are docile
and they help us
and they fertilize the wide earth
and golden earth
OVERHEARD THEM TALKING ABOUT THE SOURCE OF THE PEARL RIVER
On the fifth floor in the city of Qujing
they were talking about the Pearl River and its source
"We were there two years ago fifty miles away from the city
Nothing to see there
Not a tree no grass no person no road
Only some rocks
Big and small all gray the mud sucked at our shoes
Some crows flew up out of nowhere almost scared us to death
what bad luck
After a long trek in the mud we reached a ditch A drop of water
dripped down from a crack in the rocks This is the source of
the Pearl River
We'll never go again in this life What bad luck"
In the city of Qujing I listened to them talking about the Pearl River
and looked into the distance Far away there were only barren hills
Because The Pleasure-Bird Whistles
Because the pleasure-bird whistles after the hot wires,
Shall the blind horse sing sweeter?
Convenient bird and beast lie lodged to suffer
The supper and knives of a mood.
In the sniffed and poured snow on the tip of the tongue of the year
That clouts the spittle like bubbles with broken rooms,
An enamoured man alone by the twigs of his eyes, two fires,
Camped in the drug-white shower of nerves and food,
Savours the lick of the times through a deadly wood of hair
In a wind that plucked a goose,
Nor ever, as the wild tongue breaks its tombs,
Rounds to look at the red, wagged root.
Because there stands, one story out of the bum city,
That frozen wife whose juices drift like a fixed sea
Secretly in statuary,
Shall I, struck on the hot and rocking street,
Not spin to stare at an old year
Toppling and burning in the muddle of towers and galleries
Like the mauled pictures of boys?
The salt person and blasted place
I furnish with the meat of a fable;
If the dead starve, their stomachs turn to tumble
An upright man in the antipodes
Or spray-based and rock-chested sea:
Over the past table I repeat this present grace.
Mexico City Blues
And how sweet a story it is
When you hear Charley Parker
Either on records or at sessions,
Or at offical bits in clubs,
Shots in the arm for the wallet,
Gleefully he Whistled the
Anyhow, made no difference.
Charley Parker, forgive me-
Forgive me for not answering your eyes-
For not having made in indication
Of that which you can devise-
Charley Parker, pray for me-
Pray for me and everybody
In the Nirvanas of your brain
Where you hide, indulgent and huge,
No longer Charley Parker
But the secret unsayable name
That carries with it merit
Not to be measured from here
To up, down, east, or west-
-Charley Parker, lay the bane,
off me, and every body
‘In the wave-strike over unquiet stones’
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.
There's a motionless tree
And another one coming forward
A river of trees
Hits my chest
The green surge
Is good fortune
You are dressed in red
The seal of the scorched year
The carnal firebrand
The star fruit
In you like sun
The hour rests
Above an abyss of clarities
The height is clouded by birds
Their beaks construct the night
Their wings carry the day
Planted in the crest of light
Between firmness and vertigo
Beams with a thatch over them, - a wild man's dwelling!
Before my gate pass horses and carts seldom enough;
The lonely woods gather birds;
The broad valley stream harbours fish;
With my children I pluck the wild fruits of the trees;
My wife and I hoe the rice field;
What is there in my house?
A single case of books.
scarcely distinguishable from gods
play on the furrows of our souls
painfully but with panache
When they squeeze us
like dogs craving to get out
to bark at the dark
we’d love to bite them
only to find ourselves
biting our own tongues
"The breezes taste
Of apple peel.
The air is full
Of smells to feel-
Ripe fruit, old footballs,
New books, erasers,
Chalk, and such.
The bee, his hive,
And Mother cuts
Like plates washed clean
With suds, the days
Are polished with
A morning haze. "
Like a spider they await
For the trusting and unsuspecting prey.
To light upon their web
To twist and deceive you
Until you believe what has been said
To be truth, love and kindness.
Words of evil and trustless faith
Has warped this world of it's gentleness
And stripped the life from it.
The very being of it's soul
Has been buried beneath
The cries of pain of centuries old
For they all watch and sit and wait
To see how much further we shall go
How much more destruction is left.
Sadly, we are being waited on
by eyes much wiser and knowing
Than yours or mine
Just to see what we will do
In our Circle of Time.
Meet it, and you do not see its beginning.
Follow it, and you do not see its end.
Stay with the ancient Way
in order to master what is present.
Knowing the primeval beginning is the essence of the Way.
i carry your heart with me by e e cummings
i carry your heart with me (i carry it in
my heart) i am never without it (anywhere
i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)
no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) i want
no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)