Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Charles Bukowski (1920-1994)

As The Sparrow

To give life you must take life,
and as our grief falls flat and hollow
upon the billion-blooded sea
I pass upon serious inward-breaking shoals rimmed
with white-legged, white-bellied rotting creatures
lengthily dead and rioting against surrounding scenes.
Dear child, I only did to you what the sparrow
did to you; I am old when it is fashionable to be
young; I cry when it is fashionable to laugh.
I hated you when it would have taken less courage
to love.

Charles Bukowski

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Sylvia Plath (1932-1963)

Dark House
This is a dark house, very big.
I made it myself,
Cell by cell from a quiet corner,
Chewing at the grey paper,
Oozing the glue drops,
Whistling, wiggling my ears,
Thinking of something else.

It has so many cellars,
Such eelish delvings!
U an round as an owl,
I see by my own light.
Any day I may litter puppies
Or mother a horse. My belly moves.
I must make more maps.

These marrowy tunnels!
Moley-handed, I eat my way.
All-mouth licks up the bushes
And the pots of meat.
He lives in an old well,
A stoney hole. He's to blame.
He's a fat sort.

Pebble smells, turnipy chambers.
Small nostrils are breathing.
Little humble loves!
Footlings, boneless as noses,
It is warm and tolerable
In the bowel of the root.
Here's a cuddly mother.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Matthew Arnold (1822-1888)

Longing by Matthew Arnold
Come to me in my dreams, and then
By day I shall be well again!
For so the night will more than pay
The hopeless longing of the day.

Come, as thou cam'st a thousand times,
A messenger from radiant climes,
And smile on thy new world, and be
As kind to others as to me!

Or, as thou never cam'st in sooth,
Come now, and let me dream it truth,
And part my hair, and kiss my brow,
And say, My love why sufferest thou?

Come to me in my dreams, and then
By day I shall be well again!
For so the night will more than pay
The hopeless longing of the day.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Anna Akhmatova (1889-1966)

I taught myself to live simply and wisely,
to look at the sky and pray to God,
and to wander long before evening
to tire my superfluous worries.
When the burdocks rustle in the ravine
and the yellow-red rowanberry cluster droops
I compose happy verses
about life's decay, decay and beauty.
I come back. The fluffy cat
licks my palm, purrs so sweetly
and the fire flares bright
on the saw-mill turret by the lake.
Only the cry of a stork landing on the roof
occasionally breaks the silence.
If you knock on my door
I may not even hear.

~Anna Akhmatova

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Li-Young Lee

Eating Alone

I've pulled the last of the year's young onions.
The garden is bare now. The ground is cold,
brown and old. What is left of the day flames
in the maples at the corner of my
eye. I turn, a cardinal vanishes.
By the cellar door, I wash the onions,
then drink from the icy metal spigot.

Once, years back, I walked beside my father
among the windfall pears. I can't recall
our words. We may have strolled in silence. But
I still see him bend that way-left hand braced
on knee, creaky-to lift and hold to my
eye a rotten pear. In it, a hornet
spun crazily, glazed in slow, glistening juice.

It was my father I saw this morning
waving to me from the trees. I almost
called to him, until I came close enough
to see the shovel, leaning where I had
left it, in the flickering, deep green shade.

White rice steaming, almost done. Sweet green peas
fried in onions. Shrimp braised in sesame
oil and garlic. And my own loneliness.
What more could I, a young man, want.

Li-Young Lee

Friday, October 26, 2012

Kees Ouwens


I went to see the sea unburdened
I wanted my hands to be free
only my body could come with me

And for the mists to go ashore
with the wind that was turning, for
this to set a shadow over my eyes

When the dune lost glow at my
approach since blond had shown
itself but turned wan

On climbing over the last row
I familiarised myself after hesitation
whether the journey home could be chosen

Above the going along the beach
lay in vapour, and where in my head
was deliberation between onward motion

And retreat, the unknown that was my fear
and the emptiness my dread, my feet led me
through plea and counter-plea

Of their own accord, bearing me on,
away from home, falling the last downward steep
of the sea-strip’s flank, by leaps and bounds

Too quick for the sand where the grains
sped by, and my body at full tilt
could run out till the water turned me

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Wislawa Szymborska (1923-2012)

Miracle Fair

Commonplace miracle:
that so many commonplace miracles happen.

An ordinary miracle:
in the dead of night
the barking of invisible dogs.

One miracle out of many:
a small, airy cloud
yet it can block a large and heavy moon.

Several miracles in one:
an alder tree reflected in the water,
and that it's backwards left to right
and that it grows there, crown down
and never reaches the bottom,
even though the water is shallow.

An everyday miracle:
winds weak to moderate
turning gusty in storms.

First among equal miracles:
cows are cows.

Second to none:
just this orchard
from just that seed.

A miracle without a cape and top hat:
scattering white doves.

A miracle, for what else could you call it:
today the sun rose at three-fourteen
and will set at eight-o-one.

A miracle, less surprising than it should be:
even though the hand has fewer than six fingers,
it still has more than four.

A miracle, just take a look around:
the world is everywhere.

An additional miracle, as everything is additional:
the unthinkable
is thinkable.

Wislawa Szymborska :

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Gu Cheng (1956-1993)

The Return

don’t go to sleep, don’t
Dear, the road is long yet
don’t go too near
the forest’s enticements, don’t lose hope

write the address
in snowmelt on your hand
or lean on my shoulder
as we pass the hazy morninglifting the transparent storm curtain
we’ll arrive at where we are from
a green disk of land
around an old pagoda

there I will guard
your weary dreams
and drive off the flocks of nights
leaving only bronze drums, and the sun

as beyond the pagoda
tiny waves quietly
crawl up the beach
and draw back trembling

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Steely Dan - Black Cow

Black Cow

In the corner
Of my eye
I saw you in Rudy's
You were very high
You were high
It was a cryin' disgrace
They saw your face

On the counter
By your keys
Was a book of numbers
And your remedies
One of these
Surely will screen out the sorrow
But where are you tomorrow

I can't cry anymore
While you run around
Break away
Just when it
Seems so clear
That it's
Over now
Drink your big black cow
And get out of here

Down to Greene Street
There you go
Lookin' so outrageous
And they tell you so
You should know
How all the pros play the game
You change your name

Like a gangster
On the run
You will stagger homeward
To your precious one
I'm the one
Who must make everything right
Talk it out till daylight

I don't care anymore
Why you run around
Break away
Just when it
Seems so clear
That it's
Over now
Drink your big black cow
And get out of here

Monday, October 22, 2012

Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1861)

God’s Universe

But only three in all God’s universe
Have heard this word thou hast said,–Himself, beside
Thee speaking, and me listening! and replied
One of us . . . that was God, . . . and laid the curse
So darkly on my eyelids, as to amerce
My sight from seeing thee,–that if I had died,
The death-weights, placed there, would have signified
Less absolute exclusion. “Nay” is worse
From God than from all others, O my friend!
Men could not part us with their worldly jars,
Nor the seas change us, nor the tempests bend;
Our hands would touch for all the mountain-bars:
And, heaven being rolled between us at the end,
We should but vow the faster for the stars.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Pablo Neruda (1904-1973)


Things get broken
at home
like they were pushed
by an invisible, deliberate smasher.
It's not my hands
or yours
It wasn't the girls
with their hard fingernails
or the motion of the planet.
It wasn't anything or anybody
It wasn't the wind
It wasn't the orange-colored noontime
Or night over the earth
It wasn't even the nose or the elbow
Or the hips getting bigger
or the ankle
or the air.
The plate broke, the lamp fell
All the flower pots tumbled over
one by one. That pot
which overflowed with scarlet
in the middle of October,
it got tired from all the violets
and another empty one
rolled round and round and round
all through winter
until it was only the powder
of a flowerpot,
a broken memory, shining dust.
And that clock
whose sound
the voice of our lives,
the secret
thread of our weeks,
which released
one by one, so many hours
for honey and silence
for so many births and jobs,
that clock also
and its delicate blue guts
among the broken glass
its wide heart

Life goes on grinding up
glass, wearing out clothes
making fragments
breaking down
and what lasts through time
is like an island on a ship in the sea,
surrounded by dangerous fragility
by merciless waters and threats.

Let's put all our treasures together
-- the clocks, plates, cups cracked by the cold --
into a sack and carry them
to the sea
and let our possessions sink
into one alarming breaker
that sounds like a river.
May whatever breaks
be reconstructed by the sea
with the long labor of its tides.
So many useless things
which nobody broke
but which got broken anyway.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Joseph Brodsky (1940-1996)

A list of some observation...

A list of some observation. In a corner, it's warm.
A glance leaves an imprint on anything it's dwelt on.
Water is glass's most public form.
Man is more frightening than its skeleton.
A nowhere winter evening with wine. A black
porch resists an osier's stiff assaults.
Fixed on an elbow, the body bulks
like a glacier's debris, a moraine of sorts.
A millennium hence, they'll no doubt expose
a fossil bivalve propped behind this gauze
cloth, with the print of lips under the print of fringe,
mumbling "Good night" to a window hinge.

Joseph Brodsky

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Li-Young Lee

Immigrant Blues

People have been trying to kill me since I was born,
a man tells his son, trying to explain
the wisdom of learning a second tongue.

It’s an old story from the previous century
about my father and me.

The same old story from yesterday morning
about me and my son.

It’s called “Survival Strategies
and the Melancholy of Racial Assimilation.”

It’s called “Psychological Paradigms of Displaced Persons,”

called, “The Child Who’d Rather Play than Study.”

Practice until you feel
the language inside you, says the man.

But what does he know about inside and outside,
my father who was spared nothing
in spite of the languages he used?

And me, confused about the flesh and the soul,
who asked once into a telephone,
Am I inside you?

You’re always inside me, a woman answered,
at peace with the body’s finitude,
at peace with the soul’s disregard
of space and time.

Am I inside you? I asked once
lying between her legs, confused
about the body and the heart.

If you don’t believe you’re inside me, you’re not,
she answered, at peace with the body’s greed,
at peace with the heart’s bewilderment.

It’s an ancient story from yesterday evening

called “Patterns of Love in Peoples of Diaspora,”

called “Loss of the Homeplace
and the Defilement of the Beloved,”

called “I Want to Sing but I Don’t Know Any Songs.”

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Shakespeare (1564-1616)

Sonnet VIII

Music to hear, why hear'st thou music sadly?
Sweets with sweets war not, joy delights in joy:
Why lov'st thou that which thou receiv'st not gladly,
Or else receiv'st with pleasure thine annoy?
If the true concord of well-tuned sounds,
By unions married do offend thine ear,
They do but sweetly chide thee, who confounds
In singleness the parts that thou shouldst bear:
Mark how one string sweet husband to another,
Strikes each in each by mutual ordering;
Resembling sire, and child, and happy mother,
Who all in one, one pleasing note do sing:
Whose speechless song being many, seeming one,
Sings this to thee, 'Thou single wilt prove none'.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Arthur Rimbaud (I854'-1891)

Venus Anadyomene
As from a green zinc coffin, a woman’s
Head with brown hair heavily pomaded
Emerges slowly and stupidly from an old bathtub,
With bald patches rather badly hidden;

Then the fat gray neck, broad shoulder-blades
Sticking out; a short back which curves in and bulges;
Then the roundness of the buttocks seems to take off;
The fat under the skin appears in slabs:

The spine is a bit red; and the whole thing has a smell
Strangely horrible; you notice especially
Odd details you’d have to see with a magnifying glass…

The buttocks bear two engraved words: CLARA VENUS;
—And that whole body moves and extends its broad rump
Hideously beautiful with an ulcer on the anus.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Tomas Transtromer

National Insecurity

The Under Secretary leans forward and draws an X
and her ear-drops dangle like swords of Damocles.
As a mottled butterfly is invisible against the ground
so the demon merges with the opened newspaper.
A helmet worn by no one has taken power.
The mother-turtle flees flying under the water.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822)

A Lament

O World! O Life! O Time!
On whose last steps I climb,
Trembling at that where I had stood before;
When will return the glory of your prime?
No more -Oh, never more!

Out of the day and night
A joy has taken flight:
Fresh spring, and summer, and winter hoar
Move my faint heart with grief, but with delight
No more -Oh, never more!

Percy Bysshe Shelley

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Luis de Góngora (1561-1627)

To A Rose

(Ayer naciste y morirás mañana;)

Born but yesterday, to die next dawn;
Living so swiftly, who gave you life?
Being so briefly, you shine brighter,
Fresher for not being nothingness!

Though your vain beauty deceives you,
You must shortly see it fade,
Because within such beauty hides
The promise of an early death.

When a strong hand gathers you,
According to the gardener’s laws,
A harsher breath will end your life.

Do not leave, may some tyrant guard you;
Prolong your birth now, through existence,
Who through existence bring your death.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Leonard Cohen

Bird On The Wire

Like a bird on the wire,
like a drunk in a midnight choir
I have tried in my way to be free.
Like a worm on a hook,
like a knight from some old fashioned book
I have saved all my ribbons for thee.
If I, if I have been unkind,
I hope that you can just let it go by.
If I, if I have been untrue
I hope you know it was never to you.

Leonard Cohen

Thursday, October 11, 2012

David Vogel

On autumn nights
an invisible leaf falls in the forests
lies silent on the ground.

In rivers
a fish will jump out of the water
and the echo of a wet knock
answer in darkness.

In the black distance
the galloping of invisible horses is sown,
fades away.

All these
the tired traveler will hear
and a shiver pass through his flesh.

Jay Ork

Just Listen
by Jay Ork


you lay buried for two thousand years
until a farmer saw you in a furrow
and claimed you for his own

now you cry, still bleeding,
for the sins of Columbus and Reagan
and the wandering spirit of your creator

and you stand, sacred and disciplined,
sharing your vast knowledge with arrogant strangers
who cannot understand the simplicity of your message:

turn off your computers and listen,
just listen

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Ronald Baatz

Cement Buddha

The wind has attached a piece of newspaper to
……the cement Buddha’s head.
Alone, I eat out of the iron frying pan using an apron
……for a napkin.
I feel like a cracked seed filling with grim evening light.
If I fall asleep with
……my pen, in the morning I’ll read the marks on the sheets,
……looking for the ordinary
……and the profound.

In the fruit bowl, the two brown pears appear to be
…..made out of clay.
Hedy’s insisting I help paint the kitchen.
And she claims that her one ear doesn’t hear, anymore,
…..what the other hears.
One hears the tiger’s claws falling through fire and flesh.
One hears snow rising to tops of trees where the branches
…..are blue.
My face appears worn, and my
…..eyebrows are sprouting wild gray hairs
…..which form arcs that stab at my forehead.

After watching a film in the barn with the landlord
……Hedy and I have a nightcap on the back porch.
Later there is another failed attempt at making love.
My excuses: the unceasing heat, allergy pills and
……existing on zero sleep.
She doesn’t bother to make any.
Later I watch her sprawled in sleep.
Her eyelids are of private concerns.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Arthur Rimbaud (1854-1891)

A Season in Hell
by Arthur Rimbaud
translated by Bertrand Mathieu

A while back, if I remember right, my life was one long party where all hearts were open wide, where all wines kept flowing.

One night, I sat Beauty down on my lap.—And I found her galling.—And I roughed her up.

I armed myself against justice.

I ran away. O witches, O misery, O hatred, my treasure's been turned over to you!

I managed to make every trace of human hope vanish from my mind. I pounced on every joy like a ferocious animal eager to strangle it.

I called for executioners so that, while dying, I could bite the butts of their rifles. I called for plagues to choke me with sand, with blood. Bad luck was my god. I stretched out in the muck. I dried myself in the air of crime. And I played tricks on insanity.

And Spring brought me the frightening laugh of the idiot.

So, just recently, when I found myself on the brink of the final squawk! it dawned on me to look again for the key to that ancient party where I might find my appetite once more.

Charity is that key.—This inspiration proves I was dreaming!

"You'll always be a hyena etc. . . ," yells the devil, who'd crowned me with such pretty poppies. "Deserve death with all your appetites, your selfishness, and all the capital sins!"

Ah! I've been through too much:-But, sweet Satan, I beg of you, a less blazing eye! and while waiting for the new little cowardly gestures yet to come, since you like an absence of descriptive or didactic skills in a writer, let me rip out these few ghastly pages from my notebook of the damned.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Boris Pasternak (1890-1960)

A Dream

I dreamt of autumn in the window's twilight,
And you, a tipsy jesters' throng amidst. '
And like a falcon, having stooped to slaughter,
My heart returned to settle on your wrist.

But time went on, grew old and deaf. Like thawing
Soft ice old silk decayed on easy chairs.
A bloated sunset from the garden painted
The glass with bloody red September tears.

But time grew old and deaf. And you, the loud one,
Quite suddenly were still. This broke a spell.
The dreaming ceased at once, as though in answer
To an abruptly silenced bell.

And I awakened. Dismal as the autumn
The dawn was dark. A stronger wind arose
To chase the racing birchtrees on the skyline,
As from a running cart the streams of straws.

Boris Pasternak

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Sylvia Plath (1932-1963)

Will they occur,
These people with torso of steel
Winged elbows and eyeholes

Awaiting masses
Of cloud to give them expression,
These super-people! -
And my baby a nail
Driven, driven in.
He shrieks in his grease

Bones nosing for distance.
And I, nearly extinct,
His three teeth cutting

Themselves on my thumb -
And the star,
The old story.

In the lane I meet sheep and wagons,
Red earth, motherly blood.
O You who eat

People like light rays, leave
This one
Mirror safe, unredeemed

By the dove's annihilation,
The glory
The power, the glory.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Pablo Neruda (1904-1973)

Canto XII from The Heights of Macchu Picchu

Arise to birth with me, my brother.
Give me your hand out of the depths
sown by your sorrows.
You will not return from these stone fastnesses.
You will not emerge from subterranean time.
Your rasping voice will not come back,
nor your pierced eyes rise from their sockets.

Look at me from the depths of the earth,
tiller of fields, weaver, reticent shepherd,
groom of totemic guanacos,
mason high on your treacherous scaffolding,
iceman of Andean tears,
jeweler with crushed fingers,
farmer anxious among his seedlings,
potter wasted among his clays--
bring to the cup of this new life
your ancient buried sorrows.
Show me your blood and your furrow;
say to me: here I was scourged
because a gem was dull or because the earth
failed to give up in time its tithe of corn or stone.
Point out to me the rock on which you stumbled,
the wood they used to crucify your body.
Strike the old flints
to kindle ancient lamps, light up the whips
glued to your wounds throughout the centuries
and light the axes gleaming with your blood.

I come to speak for your dead mouths.

Throughout the earth
let dead lips congregate,
out of the depths spin this long night to me
as if I rode at anchor here with you.

And tell me everything, tell chain by chain,
and link by link, and step by step;
sharpen the knives you kept hidden away,
thrust them into my breast, into my hands,
like a torrent of sunbursts,
an Amazon of buried jaguars,
and leave me cry: hours, days and years,
blind ages, stellar centuries.

And give me silence, give me water, hope.

Give me the struggle, the iron, the volcanoes.

Let bodies cling like magnets to my body.

Come quickly to my veins and to my mouth.

Speak through my speech, and through my blood.

Pablo Neruda :

Friday, October 5, 2012

Paul Verlaine (1844-1896)


(Poèmes Saturniens: Paysages Tristes VI, L’Heure du Berger)

The moon is red on the misted horizon;
In a fog that dances, the meadow
Sleeps in the smoke, frogs bellow
In green reeds through which frissons run;

The lilies close their shutters,
The poplars stretch far away,
Tall and serried, their spectres stray;
Among bushes the fireflies flicker;

The owls are awake, in soundless flight
They row through the air on heavy wings,
The zenith fills, sombrely glowing.
Pale Venus emerges, and it is Night.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Fugs - Ed Sanders, Tuli Kupferberg

Lyrics to CIA Man :

Who can kill a general in his bed?
Overthrow dictators if they're Red?
Fucking-a man!
CIA Man!

Who can buy a government so cheap?
Change a cabinet without a squeak?
Fucking-a man!
CIA Man!

Who can train guerrillas by the dozens?
Send them out to kill their untrained cousins?
Fucking-a man!
CIA Man!

Who can get a budget that's so great?
Who will be the 51st state?
Who has got the secret-est Service?
The one that makes the other Service nervous?
Fucking-a man!
CIA Man!

Who can take the sugar from its sack
Pour in LSD and put it back?
Fucking-a man!
CIA Man!

Who can mine the harbors Nicaragua?
Out hit all the hitmen of Chicag-ua.
Fucking-a man!
CIA Man!

Who can be so overtly covert?
Sometimes even covertly overt
Fucking-a man!
CIA Man!

Who's the agency well-known to God?
The one that copped his staff and copped his rod?
Fucking-a man! CIA Man!
Fucking-a man! CIA Man!
Fucking-a man! CIA Man!
CIA Man! CIA Man!
CIA Man! CIA Man!
CIA Man!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867)

The Alchemy of Sorrow

One man lights you with his ardor,
Another puts you in mourning, Nature!
That which says to one: sepulcher!
Says to another: life! glory!

You have always frightened me,
Hermes the unknown, you who help me.
You make me the peer of Midas,
The saddest of all alchemists;

Through you I change gold to iron
And make of paradise a hell;
In the winding sheet of the clouds

I discover a beloved corpse,
And on the celestial shores
I build massive sarcophagi.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Charles Bukowski (1920-1994)

from: Love is A Mad Dog From Hell
I don't know how many bottles of beer
I have consumed while waiting for things
to get better
I dont know how much wine and whisky
and beer
mostly beer
I have consumed after
splits with women-
waiting for the phone to ring
waiting for the sound of footsteps,
and the phone to ring
waiting for the sounds of footsteps,
and the phone never rings
until much later
and the footsteps never arrive
until much later
when my stomach is coming up
out of my mouth
they arrive as fresh as spring flowers:
"what the hell have you done to yourself?
it will be 3 days before you can fuck me!"

the female is durable
she lives seven and one half years longer
than the male, and she drinks very little beer
because she knows its bad for the figure.

while we are going mad
they are out
dancing and laughing
with horney cowboys.

well, there's beer
sacks and sacks of empty beer bottles
and when you pick one up
the bottle fall through the wet bottom
of the paper sack
spilling gray wet ash
and stale beer,
or the sacks fall over at 4 a.m.
in the morning
making the only sound in your life.

rivers and seas of beer
the radio singing love songs
as the phone remains silent
and the walls stand
straight up and down
and beer is all there is.

Monday, October 1, 2012

R.M. Engelhardt


For Kali

She says
That the world
Is changing.

Everything changes,
I say.

But we never
Expected love
Or old age or
All the flowers
Blooming so late.

That happiness
That came later
And not sooner
Or in our younger days
Of punk & whiskey,
Slam dancing & black.

Oh wild nights, wild nights
No longer so wild but
Full of reflection, calm
And quiet reading

And the old memories
Of these defining things

Joy now being
A cup of coffee
And the days
Last cigarette

Old movies
And classical music
On our old radio


To some?
Yes perhaps.

But it is these things,
The truths of an
Eternal hope,
An eternal love
That guide us

So let all
The children play

Because the
Old school finally