Saturday, June 30, 2012

Hsu Yun (1840-1959)

An Exquisite Truth
by Hsu Yun

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.

Paul Verlaine (1844-1896)


Hills and fences hurry by
Blent in greenish-rosy flight,
And the yellow carriage-light
Blurs all to the half-shut eye.

Slowly turns the gold to red
O'er the humble darkening vales;
Little trees that flatly spread,
Where some feeble birdling wails.

Scarcely sad, so mild and fair
This enfolding Autumn seems;
All my moody languor dreams,
Cradled by the gentle air.

Paul Verlaine

Friday, June 29, 2012

Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822)

A Roman's Chamber

In the cave which wild weeds cover
Wait for thine aethereal lover;
For the pallid moon is waning,
O'er the spiral cypress hanging
And the moon no cloud is staining.

It was once a Roman’s chamber,
Where he kept his darkest revels,
And the wild weeds twine and clamber;
It was then a chasm for devils.

Percy Bysshe Shelley :

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Wallace Stevens (1879-1955)

The House Was Quiet and the World Was Calm

The house was quiet and the world was calm.
The reader became the book; and summer night

Was like the conscious being of the book.
The house was quiet and the world was calm.

The words were spoken as if there was no book,
Except that the reader leaned above the page,

Wanted to lean, wanted much to be
The scholar to whom his book is true, to whom

The summer night is like a perfection of thought.
The house was quiet because it had to be.

The quiet was part of the meaning, part of the mind:
The access of perfection to the page.

And the world was calm. The truth in a calm world,
In which there is no other meaning, itself

Is calm, itself is summer and night, itself
Is the reader leaning late and reading there.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Sylvia Plath (1932-1963)

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.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Wislawa Szymborska (1924-2012)

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.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Eli Siegel

Hymn to Fourth Avenue

Ah, all the books waiting for you
In the crowded bookshops of Fourth Avenue.
Experiences galore;
Experiences you'll adore.
Bibliographical thrills
New as the hills.
Mental fountains,
Emotional mountains.


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.

Eli Siegel in The Right of Aesthetic Realism to Be Known, no. 821.
© 2007 by Aesthetic Realism Foundation

Gerald Fisher

Summer Rain
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
gentleSummer Rain.

Gerald Fisher

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Najwan Darwish


Often I was the stone that the builders neglected
But when they came, worn out and remorseful after the destruction
and said, “You are the cornerstone”
there was nothing left to build.

Their denial was more bearable
than their belated recognition.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Octavio Paz (1914-1998)

One and the Same

(Anton Webern, 1883-1945)

No center, no above, no below
Ceaselessly devouring and engendering itself
Whirlpool space
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
And dissolving
Space in space
All is nowhere
Place of impalpable nuptials

(»Lo Idéntico«)

Friday, June 22, 2012

Flavia Cosma

Flavia Cosma

Winter Again

My eyes are filled with snow;
The moon's eyes are covered in mud;
Forgotten in the cupboard, a spoon of dross,
On the table's corner, enticing,
A glass full of hate.

Big cubes of ice tumble down into the void,
Crippled branches keep watch over deserted streets,
The snow creaks under unseen steps,
A white blanket mysteriously wraps
Putrefied, crimson leaves.

The season springs up and then dies;
Curses still linger in the rooms;
Time doesn't let itself be bought,
Either with silver coins, or with priceless treasures.

Oh, if only they would release us from our dream too,
Before spring arrived,
So that the ancient, celestial longings,
The rains' manes grown wild,
Streaming, wouldn't overcome us.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

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.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Pablo Neruda (1904-1973)

Carnal Apple, Woman Filled, Burning Moon,’

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.

Pablo Neruda

Monday, June 18, 2012

Paul Henry


for J, J & I

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
against me.

I planted three trees.
It snows. Sand hurries
through the kitchen’s hourglass.
I am nearer the soil
than ever I intended to be.
Above me

three, fern-haired men
point to the cold stars,
all is silence, but for a spade
played out of key.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Percy Bysshe Shelly (1792-1822)

A Fragment: To Music

Silver key of the fountain of tears,
Where the spirit drinks till the brain is wild;
Softest grave of a thousand fears,
Where their mother, Care, like a drowsy child,
Is laid asleep in flowers.

Percy Bysshe Shelley

Saturday, June 16, 2012

James Joyce (1882-1941)

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.

Happy Bloomsday!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Gregory Corso (1930-2001)

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?

Thursday, June 14, 2012

William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)


GOD guard me from those thoughts men think
In the mind alone;
He that sings a lasting song
Thinks in a marrow-bone;

From all that makes a wise old man
That can be praised of all;
O what am I that I should not seem
For the song's sake a fool?

I pray -- for word is out
And prayer comes round again --
That I may seem, though I die old,
A foolish, passionate man.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Charles Bukowski (1920-1994)


you haven't lived
until you've been in a
with nothing but one
light bulb
and 56 men
squeezed together
on cots
with everybody
at once
and some of those
deep and
gross and
from hell
your mind
almost breaks
under those
and the
unwashed socks
pissed and
and over it all
slowly circulating
much like that
emanating from
and those
in the dark
fat and
and worst of
the total
absence of
it shrouds
covers them
it's not
you get
go out
walk the
up and
past buildings
around the
and back
the samestreet
those men
were all
what has happened
and what has
it's dark
and cold

Charles Bukowski

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1861)


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

Monday, June 11, 2012

John Keats (1795-1821)

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.

John Keats

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Ingeborg Bachmann



Each and every thing cuts wounds,
and neither of us has forgiven the other.
Hurting like you and hurtful,
I lived towards you.

Every touch augments
the pure, the spiritual touch;
we experience it as we age,
turned into coldest silence.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Marina Tsvetaeva (1892-1941)

Lady with Camelias

Your whole way with shining evil's coal
Margaret, they all do bravely judge.
What's your fault? The body sinned as such,
Innocent you have retained your soul.

To all people it's the same, I know,
To all nodded with a blurry smile.
And with this sorrowful semi-smile
You have wept yourself long time ago.

Who will know? Whose hand will help along?
No exception to the rule, one thing entrances!
They eternally await embraces,
They eternally await, "I'm thirsty! Be my own!"

Day and night the bane of false confessions..
Day and night, tomorrow, and once more!
Spoke more eloquently than the word
Your dark glance, the martyr's dark expression.

The accursed ring is growing narrow,
On the goddess of the world avenges fate..
Smiling childishly, into your face
A young tender boy glances with sorrow.

The entire world is saved by love!
In but her salvation and defense is.
All's in love. O Margaret, sleep in peace.
All's in love. I'm saved because I love.

Friday, June 8, 2012

George Santayana (1863-1952)

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.

~George Santayana

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Sylvia Plath (1932-1963)

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

The queen bee marries the winter of your year.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Tammy Armstrong

After Snake River Canyon Jump

Was there a time mid-air to recollect
the years, the women, incorrigible flight
over burnt out trucks, radial tires?

It was never the idea of launching but landing
the ability to strike a pose, let the rhinestones
glitter to envy flashbulb spray.
Ovations in your name
at the lips of every kid with a BMX, oil barrel.

Now talk show mornings, kitchen clock hum
accentuate the state of your liver
rivered with infection
the cheapening of Wild Turkey
sump oil apothecary.

This stilted charade, old man
arc welded between the bourbon and a nap--
nostalgia close-captioned
red, white and blue.

The rest clings:
carefully chosen vistas
out of retirement complexes
a bathroom mirror moment:
feet slipped from kick pegs
but a hell grip on handlebars.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Lynn Crosbie

i. Gabriel

Lynn Crosbie
From: Fredo Pentangeli in Queen Rat: New and Selected Poems. Toronto: Anansi, 1998. p.3.

i. Gabriel

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.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Robyn Sarah

Into the Nineties

Robyn Sarah
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
for elegance...

So snows the old,
spreading its sediment
on all our furnishings, a
fine grime.

Karina Galvez

Have you ever danced with yourself?
I have. I did it tonight.
Somehow, it just felt right,
Although it was dark and it was late.

I checked the weather forecast of my heart
And the climate of my soul marks: “Happiness”,
An unbelievable sense of joyfulness
That will stay within me, even if we are apart.

Because we were made for each other,
“apart” simply means “I’ll be right back”.
It’d be silly to turn our backs
On this great combination of lovers.

Lovers in love, now and forever.
Sharing dreams and goals that we know will come true,
Since anything is possible if I am with you,
Sharing a life in which fate brought us together.

Have you ever smiled at yourself?
I have. I did it tonight.
And it feels perfectly right
To be yours and to enjoy being under your spell.

(What I’m really saying is: I’m in love…
What I’m really saying is: I love you.)

© Karina Galvez

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Allen Ginsberg (1926-1997)

CIA Dope Calypso

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

Allen Ginsberg :

Friday, June 1, 2012

Zou Jingzhi


From "Yellow Tiles and Red Walls

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

translated by Wang Ping and Murar Nemet-Nejar