This is an exquisite truth:
Saints and ordinary folks are the same from the start.
Inquiring about a difference
Is like asking to borrow string
when you've got a good strong rope.
Every Dharma is known in the heart.
After a rain, the mountain colors intensify.
Once you become familiar with the design of fate's illusions
Your ink-well will contain all of life and death.
A Better Resurrection
I have no wit, I have no words, no tears;
My heart within me like a stone
Is numbed too much for hopes or fears;
Look right, look left, I dwell alone;
A lift mine eyes, but dimmed with grief
No everlasting hills I see;
My life is like the falling leaf;
O Jesus, quicken me.
The Joy Of Writing
Why does this written doe bound through these written woods?
For a drink of written water from a spring
whose surface will xerox her soft muzzle?
Why does she lift her head; does she hear something?
Perched on four slim legs borrowed from the truth,
she pricks up her ears beneath my fingertips.
Silence - this word also rustles across the page
and parts the boughs
that have sprouted from the word "woods."
Lying in wait, set to pounce on the blank page,
are letters up to no good,
clutches of clauses so subordinate
they'll never let her get away.
Each drop of ink contains a fair supply
of hunters, equipped with squinting eyes behind their sights,
prepared to swarm the sloping pen at any moment,
surround the doe, and slowly aim their guns.
They forget that what's here isn't life.
Other laws, black on white, obtain.
The twinkling of an eye will take as long as I say,
and will, if I wish, divide into tiny eternities,
full of bullets stopped in mid-flight.
Not a thing will ever happen unless I say so.
Without my blessing, not a leaf will fall,
not a blade of grass will bend beneath that little hoof's full stop.
Is there then a world
where I rule absolutely on fate?
A time I bind with chains of signs?
An existence become endless at my bidding?
The joy of writing.
The power of preserving.
Revenge of a mortal hand.
Ah, all the books waiting for you
In the crowded bookshops of Fourth Avenue.
Experiences you'll adore.
New as the hills.
In books, you'll find what you are looking for.
In books is that which makes existence more.
Our hopes in life are often in an old book store.
A book in Schulte's perhaps can explain
A puzzling thing. A book to lessen pain
Is now in Weiser's, rich in mental gain.
Surprise is waiting on the Biblo shelves.
Green Book Store volumes tell about ourselves,
And bring us news: the word that shines and delves.
The same is true of all the other shops.
Our lives are there in all their skips and stops,
In all their valleys, all their mountain-tops.
Come, then, and see what's in Fourth Avenue .
Ah, all the wealth that's old and all that's new!—
And what a page, a book, can do and do.
Back To My Home Page
Back To Native Ameican Poems
Father Sky is gray
As the new light appears
And the laughter of the birds is still
the clouds shed their tears
and the land drinks of this heavenly dew
puddles replace the dust
irresistible temptations for little feet
Turning my face to the sky
and feeling the gentleness of the mist
washing away my cares
filling my heart with happiness
Lifting my spirits
like the quenching of the crops
Raising my arms
I turn to the four winds
and give thanks for this
No center, no above, no below
Ceaselessly devouring and engendering itself
And drop into height
Clarities steeply cut
By the night's flank
Black gardens of rock crystal
Flowering on a rod of smoke
White gardens exploding in the air
One space opening up
Space in space
All is nowhere
Place of impalpable nuptials
Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come:
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.
Carnal apple, Woman filled, burning moon,
dark smell of seaweed, crush of mud and light,
what secret knowledge is clasped between your pillars?
What primal night does Man touch with his senses?
Ay, Love is a journey through waters and stars,
through suffocating air, sharp tempests of grain:
Love is a war of lightning,
and two bodies ruined by a single sweetness.
Kiss by kiss I cover your tiny infinity,
your margins, your rivers, your diminutive villages,
and a genital fire, transformed by delight,
slips through the narrow channels of blood
to precipitate a nocturnal carnation,
to be, and be nothing but light in the dark.
I planted three trees, for privacy
and for feeling near to the soil.
Three ferns, two a fairer shade
of green, the middle one a clone
of my father’s dark spire.
(One Spring, he swapped his violin
for a spade).
I planted three trees.
Leisurely climbers, I loved them,
suddenly taller when I turned
to look at them again.
Perhaps I planted them too close.
The wind blows in from the sea
and they seem to conspire
I planted three trees.
It snows. Sand hurries
through the kitchen’s hourglass.
I am nearer the soil
than ever I intended to be.
three, fern-haired men
point to the cold stars,
all is silence, but for a spade
played out of key.
Stately, plump Buck Mulligan came from the stairhead,
bearing a bowl of lather on which a mirror and a razor lay
crossed. A yellow dressinggown, ungirdled, was sustained
gently behind him on the mild morning air. He held the
bowl aloft and intoned:
—Introibo ad altare Dei.
Halted, he peered down the dark winding stairs and
called out coarsely:
—Come up, Kinch! Come up, you fearful jesuit!
Solemnly he came forward and mounted the round
gunrest. He faced about and blessed gravely thrice the
tower, the surrounding land and the awaking mountains.
Then, catching sight of Stephen Dedalus, he bent towards
him and made rapid crosses in the air, gurgling in his
throat and shaking his head. Stephen Dedalus, displeased
and sleepy, leaned his arms on the top of the staircase and
looked coldly at the shaking gurgling face that blessed him,
equine in its length, and at the light untonsured hair,
grained and hued like pale oak.
Buck Mulligan peeped an instant under the mirror and
then covered the bowl smartly.
—Back to barracks! he said sternly.
He added in a preacher’s tone:
—For this, O dearly beloved, is the genuine Christine:
body and soul and blood and ouns. Slow music, please.
Shut your eyes, gents. One moment. A little trouble about
those white corpuscles. Silence, all.
He peered sideways up and gave a long slow whistle of
call, then paused awhile in rapt attention, his even white
teeth glistening here and there with gold points.
Chrysostomos. Two strong shrill whistles answered
through the calm.
By Gregory Corso 1930–2001 Gregory Corso
Uncomprising year—I see no meaning to life.
Though this abled self is here nonetheless,
either in trade gold or grammaticness,
I drop the wheelwright’s simple principle—
Why weave the garland? Why ring the bell?
Penurious butchery these notoriously human years,
these confident births these lucid deaths these years.
Dream’s flesh blood reals down life’s mystery—
there is no mystery.
Cold history knows no dynastic Atlantis.
The habitual myth has an eagerness to quit.
No meaning to life can be found in this holy language
nor beyond the lyrical fabricator’s inescapable theme
be found the loathed find—there is nothing to find.
Multitudinous deathplot! O this poor synod—
Hopers and seekers paroling meaning to meaning,
annexing what might be meaningful, what might be meaningless.
Repeated nightmare, lachrymae lachrymae—
a fire behind a grotto, a thick fog, shredded masts,
the nets heaved—and the indescribable monster netted.
Who was it told that red flesh hose be still?
For one with smooth hands did with pincers
snip the snout—It died like a yawn.
And when the liver sack was yanked
I could not follow it to the pan.
I could not follow it to the pan—
I woke to the reality of cars; Oh
the dreadful privilege of that vision!
Not one antique faction remained;
Egypt, Rome, Greece,
and all such pedigree dreams fled.
Cars are real! Eternity is done.
The threat of Nothingness renews.
I touch the untouched.
I rank the rose militant.
Deny, I deny the tastes and habits of the age.
I am its punk debauche .... A fierce lampoon
seeking to inherit what is necessary to forfeit.
Lies! Lies! Lies! I lie, you lie, we all lie!
There is no us, there is no world, there is no universe,
there is no life, no death, no nothing—all is meaningless,
and this too is a lie—O damned 1959!
Must I dry my inspiration in this sad concept?
Delineate my entire stratagem?
Must I settle into phantomness
and not say I understand things better than God?
you haven't lived
until you've been in a
with nothing but one
and 56 men
and some of those
and over it all
much like that
in the dark
and worst of
what has happened
and what has
And wilt thou have me fashion into speech
The love I bear thee, finding words enough,
And hold the torch out, while the winds are rough,
Between our faces, to cast light on each?--
I drop it at thy feet. I cannot teach
My hand to hold my spirit so far off
From myself--me--that I should bring thee proof
In words, of love hid in me out of reach.
Nay, let the silence of my womanhood
Commend my woman-love to thy belief,--
Seeing that I stand unwon, however wooed,
And rend the garment of my life, in brief,
By a most dauntless, voiceless fortitude,
Lest one touch of this heart convey its grief
Bright star, would I were steadfast as thou art--
Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night
And watching, with eternal lids apart,
Like nature's patient, sleepless Eremite,
The moving waters at their priestlike task
Of pure ablution round earth's human shores,
Or gazing on the new soft-fallen mask
Of snow upon the mountains and the moors--
No--yet still stedfast, still unchangeable,
Pillow'd upon my fair love's ripening breast,
To feel for ever its soft fall and swell,
Awake for ever in a sweet unrest,
Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,
And so live ever--or else swoon to death.
There May Be Chaos Still Around the World
There may be chaos still around the world,
This little world that in my thinking lies;
For mine own bosom is the paradise
Where all my life's fair visions are unfurled.
Within my nature's shell I slumber curled,
Unmindful of the changing outer skies,
Where now, perchance, some new-born Eros flies,
Or some old Cronos from his throne is hurled.
I heed them not; or if the subtle night
Haunt me with deities I never saw,
I soon mine eyelid's drowsy curtain draw
To hide their myriad faces from my sight.
They threat in vain; the whirlwind cannot awe
A happy snow-flake dancing in the flaw.
The Beekeeper's Daughter
A garden of mouthings. Purple, scarlet-speckled, black
The great corollas dilate, peeling back their silks.
Their musk encroaches, circle after circle,
A well of scents almost too dense to breathe in.
Hieratical in your frock coat, maestro of the bees,
You move among the many-breasted hives,
My heart under your foot, sister of a stone.
Trumpet-throats open to the beaks of birds.
The Golden Rain Tree drips its powders down.
In these little boudoirs streaked with orange and red
The anthers nod their heads, potent as kings
To father dynasties. The air is rich.
Here is a queenship no mother can contest ---
A fruit that's death to taste: dark flesh, dark parings.
In burrows narrow as a finger, solitary bees
Keep house among the grasses. Kneeling down
I set my eyes to a hole-mouth and meet an eye
Round, green, disconsolate as a tear.
Father, bridegroom, in this Easter egg
Under the coronal of sugar roses
From: Fredo Pentangeli in Queen Rat: New and Selected Poems. Toronto: Anansi, 1998. p.3.
My mother is lighting candles,
I am screaming. She smooths goose oil into
my chest as I purple with pneumonia.
Poor Fredo, they whisper,
and my father watches from the corner.
He covers his face.
My father asks me to stop
at the market. He is selecting fruit, holding
it to his lips when the guns ignite.
Thrown back he staggers to the curb.
I am crawling toward him as the black car
retreats. He is bleeding; oranges tumble from
his coat. I sit on the curb and cover my face,
crying, Papa —
And the Angel departed from me.
From: Questions About the Stars. London, ON: Brick, 1998.
Thin is the veneer
of newness on this renovated house
built early in the century. The floors
are sanded to the quick.
They will not take
another sanding. Now that the
glossy finish, rolled on slick,
has flaked away in spots,
and winter dryness cracks the weaker boards
so that they catch the foot and splinter off,
we see: it is an old floor.
No help for it.
And in the night
the banging in the pipes,
and the slow seep
of dust, out from between
the mortared bricks
of one old wall laid bare
So snows the old,
spreading its sediment
on all our furnishings, a
In nineteen hundred forty-nine
China was won by Mao Tse-tung
Chiang Kai Shek's army ran away
They were waiting there in Thailand yesterday
Supported by the CIA
Pushing junk down Thailand way
First they stole from the Meo Tribes
Up in the hills they started taking bribes
Then they sent their soldiers up to Shan
Collecting opium to send to The Man
Pushing junk in Bangkok yesterday
Supported by the CIA
Brought their jam on mule trains down
To Chiang Mai that's a railroad town
Sold it next to the police chief's brain
He took it to town on the choochoo train
Trafficking dope to Bangkok all day
Supported by the CIA
The policeman's name was Mr. Phao
He peddled dope grand scale and how
Chief of border customs paid
By Central Intelligence's U.S. aid
The whole operation, Newspapers say
Supported by the CIA
He got so sloppy and peddled so loose
He busted himself and cooked his own goose
Took the reward for the opium load
Seizing his own haul which same he resold
Big time pusher for a decade turned grey
Working for the CIA
Touby Lyfong he worked for the French
A big fat man liked to dine & wench
Prince of the Meos he grew black mud
Till opium flowed through the land like a flood
Communists came and chased the French away
So Touby took a job with the CIA
The whole operation fell in to chaos
Till U.S. intelligence came in to Laos
Mary Azarian/Matt Wuerker I'll tell you no lie I'm a true American
Our big pusher there was Phoumi Nosavan
All them Princes in a power play
But Phoumi was the man for the CIA
And his best friend General Vang Pao
Ran the Meo army like a sacred cow
Helicopter smugglers filled Long Cheng's bars
In Xieng Quang province on the Plain of Jars
It started in secret they were fighting yesterday
Clandestine secret army of the CIA
All through the Sixties the dope flew free
Thru Tan Son Nhut Saigon to Marshall Ky
Air America followed through
Transporting comfiture for President Thieu
All these Dealers were decades and yesterday
The Indochinese mob of the U.S. CIA
Operation Haylift Offisir Wm Colby
Saw Marshall Ky fly opium Mr. Mustard told me
Indochina desk he was Chief of Dirty Tricks
"Hitch-hiking" with dope pushers was how he got his fix
Subsidizing the traffickers to drive the Reds away
Till Colby was the head of the CIA
The gate of hell, so gloomy so cold so deep and so far away,
opening and closing at the bottom of the dry well
Girls dare not bend to look in
afraid of a hand pusing from behind
Concubine Zhen died thin.
Her husband was an emperor, her mother-in-law the emperor dowager
Widowed for many years,
the dowager feared the laughter between man and woman,
feared that Zhen's graceful steps and her perfume
hooked the emperor's eye.
She ordered Zhen to die
and the emperor to love another.
Crying she said she didn't want to die or pollute the well.
If she died the other person would also perish . . .
Before she finished she was pushed
into a long distant night
She's been floating ever since
in the news
a girl who rebels against an exchange marriage
jumps into a well