Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Milarepa (1052-1135)

The Song of the Twelve Deceptions
Worldly affairs are all deceptive;
So I seek the Truth Divine.

Excitements and distractions are illusions;
So I meditate on the Non-dual Truth.

Companions and servants are deceptive;
So I remain in solitude.

Money and possessions are also deceptive;
So if I have them, I give them away.

Things in the outer world are all illusion;
The Inner Mind is that which I observe.

Wandering thoughts are all deceptive;
So I only tread the Path of Wisdom.

Deceptive are the teachings of Expedient Truth;
The Final Truth is that on which I meditate.

Books written in black ink are all misleading;
I only meditate on the Pith-Instructions of the Whispered Lineage.

Words and sayings, too, are but illusion;
At ease, I rest my mind in the effortless state.

Birth and death are both illusions;
I observe but the truth of No-Arising.

The common mind is in every way misleading;
And so I practice how to animate Awareness.

The Mind-holding Practice is misleading and deceptive;
And so I rest in the realm of Reality.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Charles Bukowski (1920-1994)

Are You Drinking?

washed-up, on shore, the old yellow notebook
out again
I write from the bed
as I did last
will see the doctor,
"yes, doctor, weak legs, vertigo, head-
aches and my back
"are you drinking?" he will ask.
"are you getting your
exercise, your
I think that I am just ill
with life, the same stale yet
even at the track
I watch the horses run by
and it seems
I leave early after buying tickets on the
remaining races.
"taking off?" asks the motel
"yes, it's boring,"
I tell him.
"If you think it's boring
out there," he tells me, "you oughta be
back here."
so here I am
propped up against my pillows
just an old guy
just an old writer
with a yellow
something is
walking across the
oh, it's just
my cat

Charles Bukowski

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Anna Akhmatova (1889-1966)

So many stones have been thrown at me,
That I'm not frightened of them anymore,
And the pit has become a solid tower,
Tall among tall towers.
I thank the builders,
May care and sadness pass them by.
From here I'll see the sunrise earlier,
Here the sun's last ray rejoices.
And into the windows of my room
The northern breezes often fly.
And from my hand a dove eats grains of wheat...
As for my unfinished page,
The Muse's tawny hand, divinely calm
And delicate, will finish it.

June 6, 1914, Slepnyovo

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Joseph Brodsky (1940-1996)

Daedalus in Sicily

All his life he was building something, inventing something.
Now, for a Cretan queen, an artificial heifer,
so as to cuckold the king. Then a labyrinth, the time for
the king himself, to hide from bewildered glances
an unbearable offspring. Or a flying contraption, when
the king figured himself so busy with new commissions.
The son of that journey perished falling into the sea,
like Phaeton, who, they say, also spurned his father’s
orders. Here, in Sicily, stiff on its scorching sand,
sits a very old man, capable of transporting
himself through the air, if robbed of other means of passage.
All his life he was building something, inventing something.
All his life from those clever constructions m from those inventions,
he had to flee. As though inventions
and constructions are anxious to rid themselves of their blueprints
like children ashamed of their parents, Presumably, that’s the fear
of replication. Waves are running onto the sand;
behind, shine the tusks of the local mountains.
Yet he had already invented, when he was young, the seesaw,
using the strong resemblance between motion and stasis.
The old man bends down, ties to his brittle ankle
(so as not to get lost) a lengthy thread,
straightens up with a grunt, and heads out for Hades.

Joseph Brodsky

Friday, July 27, 2012

Steely Dan - Peg


I've seen your picture
Your name in lights above it
This is your big debut
It's like a dream come true
So won't you smile for the camera
I know they're gonna love it

I like your pin shot
I keep it with your letter
Done up in blueprint blue
It sure looks good on you
And when you smile for the camera
I know I'll love you better

It will come back to you
It will come back to you
Then the shutter falls
You see it all in 3-D
It's your favorite foreign movie

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Jane Kenyon (1947-1995)


There's just no accounting for happiness,
or the way it turns up like a prodigal
who comes back to the dust at your feet
having squandered a fortune far away.

And how can you not forgive?
You make a feast in honor of what
was lost, and take from its place the finest
garment, which you saved for an occasion
you could not imagine, and you weep night and day
to know that you were not abandoned,
that happiness saved its most extreme form
for you alone.

No, happiness is the uncle you never
knew about, who flies a single-engine plane
onto the grassy landing strip, hitchhikes
into town, and inquires at every door
until he finds you asleep midafternoon
as you so often are during the unmerciful
hours of your despair.

It comes to the monk in his cell.
It comes to the woman sweeping the street
with a birch broom, to the child
whose mother has passed out from drink.
It comes to the lover, to the dog chewing
a sock, to the pusher, to the basket maker,
and to the clerk stacking cans of carrots
in the night.
It even comes to the boulder
in the perpetual shade of pine barrens,
to rain falling on the open sea,
to the wineglass, weary of holding wine.

Jane Kenyon

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Arthur Rimbaud (1854-1891)


I am an ephemeral
and a not too discontented citizen
of a metropolis considered modern
because all known taste
has been evaded in the furnishings
and the exterior of the houses
as well as in the layout of the city.

Here you will fail to detect the least trace
of any monument of superstition.
Morals and language
are reduced to their simplest expression,
at last! The way these millions of people,
who do not even need to know each other,
manage their education, business,
and old age is so identical
that the course of their lives
must be several times less long
than that which a mad statistics
calculates for the people of the continent.

And from my window I see new specters rolling through
the thick eternal smoke--
our woodland shade, our summer night!--
new Eumenides in front of my cottage
which is my country and all my heart
since everything here resembles it,--
Death without tears,
our diligent daughter and servant,
a desperate Love, and a pretty
Crime howling in the mud in the street.

Arthur Rimbaud

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Carl Sandburg (1878-1967)

Aztec Mask by Carl Sandburg

I wanted a man's face looking into the jaws and throat
of life
With something proud on his face, so proud no smash
of the jaws,
No gulp of the throat leaves the face in the end
With anything else than the old proud look:
Even to the finish, dumped in the dust,
Lost among the used-up cinders,
This face, men would say, is a flash,
Is laid on bones taken from the ribs of the earth,
Ready for the hammers of changing, changing years,
Ready for the sleeping, sleeping years of silence.
Ready for the dust and fire and wind.
I wanted this face and I saw it today in an Aztec mask.
A cry out of storm and dark, a red yell and a purple prayer,
A beaten shape of ashes
waiting the sunrise or night,
something or nothing,
proud-eyed gambler.

Monday, July 23, 2012

William Wordsworth (1770-1850)


Observed in the holly-grove at Alfoxden, where these verses were written in the spring of 1799. I had the pleasure of again seeing, with dear friends, this grove in unimpaired beauty forty-one years after.

A WHIRL-BLAST from behind the hill
Rushed o'er the wood with startling sound;
Then--all at once the air was still,
And showers of hailstones pattered round.
Where leafless oaks towered high above,
I sat within an undergrove
Of tallest hollies, tall and green;
A fairer bower was never seen.
From year to year the spacious floor
With withered leaves is covered o'er,
And all the year the bower is green.
But see! where'er the hailstones drop
The withered leaves all skip and hop;
There's not a breeze--no breath of air--
Yet here, and there, and everywhere
Along the floor, beneath the shade
By those embowering hollies made,
The leaves in myriads jump and spring,
As if with pipes and music rare
Some Robin Good-fellow were there,
And all those leaves, in festive glee,
Were dancing to the minstrelsy.


Sunday, July 22, 2012

Marina Tsvetaeva (1892-1941)

In Paris

Homes reach the stars, the sky's below,
The land in smoke to it is near.
Inside the big and happy Paris
Remains the secretive despair.

The evening boulevards are noisy,
Gone are the sundown's final rays,
And there are couples everywhere
Trembling of lips, daring of eyes.

I'm here alone. To trunk of chestnut
It is so nice one's head to lean!
And like in the abandoned Moscow
In heart weep verses of Rostand.

Paris at night is sad and alien,
Dear to the heart is madness gone!
I'm going home, there's vial of sorrow
And tender portrait of someone.

There's someone's glance, sad and fraternal.
There's tender profile on the wall.
Rostand and the Reichstadtian martyr
And Sara - in sleep come they all!

Within the big and happy Paris
I dream of grass, of clouds and rain
And laughter far, and shadow near,
And deep just like before is pain.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Lewis Carroll (1832-1898)


'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wade;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

"Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!"

He took his vorpal sword in hand:
Long time the manxome foe he sought --
So rested he by the Tumtum tree.
And stood awhile in thought.

And as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came wiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!

One, two! One, two! And through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.

"And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!"
He chortled in his joy.

'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Neil Young

Cortez The Killer lyrics

He came dancing across the water,
With his galleons and guns,
Looking for the new world,
And the palace in the sun.

On the shore lay Montezuma,
With his coca leaves and pearls,
In his halls he often wandered,
With the secrets of the worlds.

And his subjects gathered 'round him,
Like the leaves around a tree,
In their clothes of many colours,
For the angry gods to see.

And the women all were beautiful,
And the men stood straight and strong,
They offered life in sacrifice,
So that others could go on.

Hate was just a legend,
And war was never known,
The people worked together,
And they lifted many stones.

They carried them to the flatlands,
But they died along the way,
And they built up with their bare hands,
What we still can't do today.

And I know she's living there,
And she loves me to this day,
I still can't remember when,
Or how I lost my way.

He came dancing across the water,
Cortez, Cortez,
What a killer.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Sylvia Plath (1932-1963)

Dirge for a Joker
Always in the middle of a kiss
Came the profane stimulus to cough;
Always from teh pulpit during service
Leaned the devil prompting you to laugh.

Behind mock-ceremony of your grief
Lurked the burlesque instinct of the ham;
You never altered your amused belief
That life was a mere monumental sham.

From the comic accident of birth
To the final grotesque joke of death
Your malady of sacrilegious mirth
Spread gay contagion with each clever breath.

Now you must play the straight man for a term
And tolerate the humor of the worm.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Ezra Pound (1885-1972)

A Girl by Ezra Pound
The tree has entered my hands,
The sap has ascended my arms,
The tree has grown in my breast-
The branches grow out of me, like arms.

Tree you are,
Moss you are,
You are violets with wind above them.
A child - so high - you are,
And all this is folly to the world.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Diane di Prima

Song for Baby-O, Unborn
By Diane di Prima b. 1934 Diane di Prima
when you break thru
you’ll find
a poet here
not quite what one would choose.

I won’t promise
you’ll never go hungry
or that you won’t be sad
on this gutted

but I can show you
enough to love
to break your heart

Monday, July 16, 2012

Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1861)


My poet, thou canst touch on all the notes
God set between his After and Before,
And strike up and strike off the general roar
Of the rushing worlds a melody that floats
In a serene air purely. Antidotes
Of medicated music, answering for
Mankind's forlornest uses, thou canst pour
From thence into their ears. God's will devotes
Thine to such ends, and mine to wait on thine.
How, Dearest, wilt thou have me for most use?
A hope, to sing by gladly? or a fine
Sad memory, with thy songs to interfuse?
A shade, in which to sing--of palm or pine?
A grave, on which to rest from singing? Choose.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Anna Akhmatova (1889-1966)



When, in the night, I wait for her, impatient,
Life seems to me, as hanging by a thread.
What just means liberty, or youth, or approbation,
When compared with the gentle piper's tread?

And she came in, threw out the mantle's edges,
Declined to me with a sincere heed.
I say to her, "Did you dictate the Pages
Of Hell to Dante?" She answers, "Yes, I did."

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Robert Browning (1812-1889)


(_Prologue to "The Two Poets of Croisic."_)

Such a starved bank of moss
Till, that May-morn,
Blue ran the flash across:
Violets were born!

Sky--what a scowl of cloud
Till, near and far,
Ray on ray split the shroud:
Splendid, a star!

World--how it walled about
Life with disgrace, 10
Till God's own smile came out:
That was thy face!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Jim Carroll (1949-2009)

Our Desires

There is a wind that seeks the crevice
under my heart
the way insects file at night
beneath a doorway
It’s edges are rough, it slits
the cords. It trips my steady breathing.
When it comes there is no one
I can trust
It seems, at times, I have designed
too well this vision of you.
I cannot survive your eyes
when they are scarred with a need
for some lesser form of love.
I admit to this conceit.
And though you will not accept it
You love it nonetheless
It is just like you. Our desires
will always be kept sharp
by a kind of perversity. A need
to be each forever alone . . .
Its colour is violet, like lips
that have been smashed at night
or robbed of blood by lack of breath.
The wind I was speaking of does this.
I can feel it now.

Jim Carroll 19 – 2009 RIP

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Gabriel Ferrater


The night goes away, another night, and the wing
of an immense airplance has placed itself
between the wide blue and the window, and I wonder
whether it's the faintest kind of green or silver, cold
as the insistent fineness of the knife scraping
the imposition of excessive life
off the uterus, or the light itself, as the boy's hand
opens: he's getting tired of making a fist to
aggravate his brothers, pretending it holds some
kind of treasure. He gives away his prey, and I know
it's not anything that wasn't in me yesterday
and disconsolate, and I feel cold looking at myself
another day, dried-out pit of a fruit, pulpless,
outside the night.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Bob Dylan

"To Ramona"

Ramona, come closer
Shut softly your watery eyes
The pangs of your sadness
Will pass as your senses will rise
The flowers of the city
Though breathlike, get deathlike at times
And there's no use in tryin'
To deal with the dyin'
Though I cannot explain that in lines.

Your cracked country lips
I still wish to kiss
As to be by the strength of you skin
Your magnetic movements
Still capture the minutes I'm in
But it grieves my heart, love
To see you tryin' to be a part of
A world that just don't existv It's all just a dream, babe
A vacuum, a scheme, babe
That sucks you into feelin' like this.

I can see that your head
Has been twisted and fed
With worthless foam from the mouth
I can tell you are torn
Between stayin' and returnin'
Back to the South
You've been fooled into thinking
That the finishin' end is at hand
Yet there's no one to beat you
No one to defeat you
'Cept the thoughts of yourself feeling bad

I've heard you say many times
That you're better 'n no one
And no one is better 'n you
If you really believe that
You know you have
Nothing to win and nothing to lose
From fixtures and forces and friends
Your sorrow does stem
That hype you and type you
Making you feel
That you gotta be just like them.

I'd forever talk to you
But soon my words
They would turn into a meaningless ring
For deep in my heart
I know there is no help I can bring
Everything passes
Everything changes
Just do what you think you should do
And someday, maybe
Who knows, baby
I'll come and be cryin' to you.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


We The First People
I'm proud to belong to one of the original clans
Whose Ancestors occupied all of these lands
Before we were "found" by some wandering seaman
Who knew just where he was and we became "Indian"

Talk to me of our victories, and I will listen
Tell me about our history, a tear will glisten
Stories of how life use to be, bring a rueful smile
Drums and flutes will find me dreaming all the while

In order to "save" us, they killed us
Our peaceful cultures were "dangerous"
And they thought they could just ravage us
But by fighting back, we became “savages”

Call us lazy indeed - we're not driven by their greed
To gather "materials" about them
But my question is
How did we exist
For hundreds of centuries without them?

-- Unknown

Monday, July 9, 2012

Li -Young Lee

The Sacrifice

We come to each other
exactly at the center,
the spine of ample fire, and suffer
to be revised.
Stay with me.

Weren't we promised
the sheer flame, bright change
so clean even our clothes wouldn't smell of smoke,
not one hair of our heads would be singed?
Yet, just now, didn't the tongues slip
loose and hot about my neck?
Stay close now.

The sound is like a rustling coming from chambers.
someone sifting through thousands
of pages, the histories of rapture,
looking for a happy ending.
The sound is like the sea,
which is very far away.
Are you scared?

There are many things
which are far from us now.
Try to recall a few of them:
the iron in the bath water
that made you taste of rust.
The rabbit screaming in the night,
its innards strewn

on the stoop like prophesy.
Can you hear me? Say something.
Tell me what you remember of our life.
The torn dress you threw away,
a piece of which I rescued and used as a scarf.
Are you still with me? Say something.
Does this hurt very much? Are you here?

Li-Young Lee

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Louis Aragon (1897-1982)


They restored man to the earth
They said you will eat
And you will eat
They cast the heavens to the earth
They said The gods will perish
And the gods will perish
They made a building site of the earth
They said The weather will be beautiful
And the weather will be beautiful
They opened a hole on the earth
They said The flame will burst forth
And the flame will burst forth
Speaking to the masters of the earth
They said You will give way
And you will give way
They took in their hands the earth
They said The black shall be white
And the black shall be white
Glory on the lands and the earth
To the sun of Bolshevik days
And Glory to the Bolsheviks

—Translated from the French by Mitch Abidor
(from Hourra l'Oural, 1934)

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Leonard Cohen

Sisters Of Mercy

Oh the sisters of mercy, they are not departed or gone.
They were waiting for me when I thought that I just can't go on.
And they brought me their comfort and later they brought me this song.
Oh I hope you run into them, you who've been travelling so long.

Leonard Cohen

Friday, July 6, 2012

Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1861)

Sonnet 13 - And wilt thou have me fashion into speech
Elizabeth Barrett Browning

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

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Guillaume Apollinaire (1880-1918)


The strollers in the plain
walk the length of gardens
before the doors of grey inns
through villages without churches

And the children gone before
The others follow dreaming
Each fruit tree resigns itself
When they signal from afar

They have burdens round or square
drums and golden tambourines
Apes and bears wise animals
gather coins as they progress

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Carlos Avila

Narcissus Poeticus

dried up

(in a waterless

ill planted
in a (tiny)
waste land
of the dim apartment:
how to resist
dust dirt pollution?

mistreated ex-narcissus
abandoned to its fate
(flat on the floor)
without well
or mirror

dried up
(alone in the vase)
without sweat or saliva
or tears
to save it

on its soul)

—Translated from the Portuguese by Regina Alfarano

Monday, July 2, 2012

Yosy Flug

On the road

My friend, the traveler
We are here,
Hidden under various disguises,
As guards, guides and companions
Along your life's journey,
To give you assistance
To extend a helping hand
To provide succor.

We are
But a reflection of your virtues
Manifesting in time
Of necessity.
Placed by your forgotten
Selfless deeds
In the inexhaustible
Yours for the taking
When the need arises.

We are
The friend
Of friends
Whose face is always hidden
Yet ever revealed
In the silent smile
Of your heart,
In the caress of the wind,
In the soothing coolness of spring water.

And the secret is
Forgetting yourself
You too
Are one


Sunday, July 1, 2012

Desi Di Nardo

Beautiful Vagabonds by Desi Di Nardo
I am not the piston in the flower or
The bulging seed throttled by pollen
But a separate figure expectant and
Cupped by the shape palms make
Holding sumptuously to the fragile
Killings – crickets, bees, and moths
The soulful water strider apparently
Impervious to deep mirrored waters
And the lotus lilies rooted in mire
Look up at me
Look into me
I am the wind-loving swallow
Lighter than the air itself
Rippling my whole transience
Renascent by the threat of rain