Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Charles Simic

Mirrors At 4 A.M

You must come to them sideways
In rooms webbed in shadow,
Sneak a view of their emptiness
Without them catching
A glimpse of you in return.

The secret is,
Even the empty bed is a burden to them,
A pretense.
They are more themselves keeping
The company of a blank wall,
The company of time and eternity

Which, begging your pardon,
Cast no image
As they admire themselves in the mirror,
While you stand to the side
Pulling a hanky out
To wipe your brow surreptitiously.

Monday, June 29, 2015

W.B.Yeats (1865-1939)


WHEN my arms wrap you round I press
My heart upon the loveliness
That has long faded from the world;
The jewelled crowns that kings have hurled
In shadowy pools, when armies fled;
The love-tales wrought with silken thread
By dreaming ladies upon cloth
That has made fat the murderous moth;
The roses that of old time were
Woven by ladies in their hair,
The dew-cold lilies ladies bore
Through many a sacred corridor
Where such grey clouds of incense rose
That only God's eyes did not close:
For that pale breast and lingering hand
Come from a more dream-heavy land,
A more dream-heavy hour than this;
And when you sigh from kiss to kiss
I hear white Beauty sighing, too,
For hours when all must fade like dew.
But flame on flame, and deep on deep,
Throne over throne where in half sleep,
Their swords upon their iron knees,
Brood her high lonely mysteries.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Pablo Neruda (1904-1973)

Tonight I Can Write The Saddest Lines

Tonight I can write the saddest lines.

Write, for example,'The night is shattered
and the blue stars shiver in the distance.'

The night wind revolves in the sky and sings.

Tonight I can write the saddest lines.
I loved her, and sometimes she loved me too.

Through nights like this one I held her in my arms
I kissed her again and again under the endless sky.

She loved me sometimes, and I loved her too.
How could one not have loved her great still eyes.

Tonight I can write the saddest lines.
To think that I do not have her. To feel that I have lost her.

To hear the immense night, still more immense without her.
And the verse falls to the soul like dew to the pasture.

What does it matter that my love could not keep her.
The night is shattered and she is not with me.

This is all. In the distance someone is singing. In the distance.
My soul is not satisfied that it has lost her.

My sight searches for her as though to go to her.
My heart looks for her, and she is not with me.

The same night whitening the same trees.
We, of that time, are no longer the same.

I no longer love her, that's certain, but how I loved her.
My voice tried to find the wind to touch her hearing.

Another's. She will be another's. Like my kisses before.
Her voide. Her bright body. Her inifinite eyes.

I no longer love her, that's certain, but maybe I love her.
Love is so short, forgetting is so long.

Because through nights like this one I held her in my arms
my sould is not satisfied that it has lost her.

Though this be the last pain that she makes me suffer
and these the last verses that I write for her.
Pablo Neruda :

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Pablo Picasso (1881-1973)

in secret
be quiet say nothing
except the street be full of stars
and the prisoners eat doves
and the doves eat cheese
and the cheese eats words
and the words eat bridges
and the bridges eat looks
and the looks eat cups full of kisses in the orchata
that hides all with its wings
the butterfly the night
in a cafe last summer
in Barcelona

Friday, June 26, 2015

Anne Spencer (1882-1975)

Lines to a Nasturtium
A lover muses

Flame-flower, Day-torch, Mauna Loa,
I saw a daring bee, today, pause, and soar,
Into your flaming heart;
Then did I hear crisp crinkled laughter
As the furies after tore him apart?
A bird, next, small and humming,
Looked into your startled depths and fled....
Surely, some dread sight, and dafter
Than human eyes as mine can see,
Set the stricken air waves drumming
In his flight.

Day-torch, Flame-flower, cool-hot Beauty,
I cannot see, I cannot hear your fluty
Voice lure your loving swain,
But I know one other to whom you are in beauty
Born in vain;
Hair like the setting sun,
Her eyes a rising star,
Motions gracious as reeds by Babylon, bar
All your competing;
Hands like, how like, brown lilies sweet,
Cloth of gold were fair enough to touch her feet . . . .
Ah, how the senses flood at my repeating,
As once in her fire-lit heart I felt the furies
Beating, beating.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Vincente Huidobro (1893-1948)

You hear the night glide across the snow
The song fell down from the trees
And through the fog sounded voices

I lit my cigar at a glance
Every time I open my lips
I flood the void with clouds

                                    In the harbor
The masts are full of nests.

And the wind
                       groans in the birds' wings

Whistling on the shore I
          Look at the star that glows between my fingers


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Michael Ondaatje (b1943)

Speaking To You (From Rock Bottom)

Speaking to you
this hour
these days when
I have lost the feather of poetry
and the rains
of separation
surround us tock
tock like Go tablets

Everyone has learned
to move carefully

'Dancing' 'laughing' 'bad taste'
is a memory
a tableau behind trees of law

In the midst of love for you
my wife's suffering
anger in every direction
and the children wise
as tough shrubs
but they are not tough
--so I fear
how anything can grow from this

all the wise blood
poured from little cuts
down into the sink

this hour it is not
your body I want
but your quiet company
Michael Ondaatje :

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Lew Welch (1926-1971)

Taxi Suite (Excerpt: 1. After Anacreon)

When I drive cab
I am moved by strange whistles and wear a hat

When I drive cab
I am the hunter. My prey leaps out from where it
hid, beguiling me with gestures

When I drive cab
all may command me, yet I am in command of all who do

When I drive cab
I am guided by voices descending from the naked air

When I drive cab
A revelation of movement comes to me. They wake now.
Now they want to work or look around. Now they want
drunkenness and heavy food. Now they contrive to love.

When I drive cab
I bring the sailor home from the sea. In the back of
my car he fingers the pelt of his maiden

When I drive cab
I watch for stragglers in the urban order of things.

When I drive cab
I end the only lit and waitful things in miles of
darkened houses
Lew Welch :

Monday, June 22, 2015

Robert Frost (1874-1963)

In a Disused Graveyard

  by: Robert Frost (1874-1963)

THE living come with grassy tread
To read the gravestones on the hill;
The graveyard draws the living still,
But never any more the dead.


The verses in it say and say:
"The ones who living come today
To read the stones and go away
Tomorrow dead will come to stay."


So sure of death the marbles rhyme,
Yet can't help marking all the time
How no one dead will seem to come.
What is it men are shrinking from?


It would be easy to be clever
And tell the stones: Men hate to die
And have stopped dying now forever.
I think they would believe this lie.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Al Purdy (1918-2000)

The Last Picture in the World

Al Purdy
From:   Beyond Remembering - The collected poems of Al Purdy. 2000.

A hunched grey shape
framed by leaves
with lake water behind
standing on our
little point of land
like a small monk
in a green monastery

                almost sculpture
except that it's alive
brooding immobile permanent
for half an hour
a blue heron
and it occurs to me
that if I were to die at this moment
that picture would accompany me
wherever I am going
for part of the way

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Wislawa Szymborska (1923-2012)

Some Like Poetry

Some -
thus not all. Not even the majority of all but the minority.
Not counting schools, where one has to,
and the poets themselves,
there might be two people per thousand.

Like -
but one also likes chicken soup with noodles,
one likes compliments and the color blue,
one likes an old scarf,
one likes having the upper hand,
one likes stroking a dog.

Poetry -
but what is poetry.
Many shaky answers
have been given to this question.
But I don't know and don't know and hold on to it
like to a sustaining railing.

Translated by Regina Grol
Wislawa Szymborska :

Friday, June 19, 2015

Kabir (d.1518)

Tale of love, untellable

Love's not grown in gardens;
Love's not sold at market.
He who wants it, king or commoner,
gives his head and takes it.
Studying great books many have died
none ever becomes learned.
Two letters and a half in love,
who studies them is learning.
Narrow is the lane of love.
Two will never fit.
When I was, the Lord was not.
Now He is; I am not.
Kabir says: clouds of love
came on me showering;
Soaked the heart
greening the inner jungle.
A heart dry of love;
God again untasted.
This is man in this world;
His arising wasted.
Roused, ecstatic with His name,
love-drunk, overflowing,
reveling in His vision
Why bother with liberation?
Tale of love, untellable.
Not a bit is ever told.
The sweets of a dumb one -
he enjoys and smiles.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Carl Sandburg (1878-1967)

Still Life

Carl Sandburg, 1878 - 1967

Cool your heels on the rail of an observation car.
Let the engineer open her up for ninety miles an hour.
Take in the prairie right and left, rolling land and new hay crops,
      swaths of new hay laid in the sun.
A gray village flecks by and the horses hitched in front of the
      post-office never blink an eye.
A barnyard and fifteen Holstein cows, dabs of white on a black
      wall map, never blink an eye.
A signalman in a tower, the outpost of Kansas City, keeps his
      place at a window with the serenity of a bronze statue on a
      dark night when lovers pass whispering

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Nathan D.


Slamming The Super-Duper-Soupers
you want to know a secret
when I write a poem and it's perfect
i dont share it
i bury it 
deep inside of me 
where no one else can see
i mean its perfect
not like this shift 
it's elegant, poignant, 
simplistic, bueatful 
trucking perfect
its not erotic 
but i read it
mentally masterbate to it 
a euphoric chorus 
straight form thesaurus
its just that great
im not being egotistical 
if read, it would become universal 
a meter tethered in clasical measure 
a rythmic flow
with many metaphoric undertows
an iconic harmonic tonic 
to make you feel like an embryonic hedonic youth 
im not being napoleonic
its an actual truth 
factually accurate
high in heaven
it produced a tear in the eye of god
who proclaimed 
not a single flaw
not a single flaw 
and he only saw what i wrote
well, because hes god 
me being me i like to tease 
allow me to be inclined to share a few lines 
blow your mind 
redefine your collective defective perspective
realign your ineffective respective connective tisue

"all my cows milk is homogenized 
all my crows are well organized
all my sheep like to stare and creep 
like to stare and creep"

but you'll never see 
the rest of my secret poetry 
that only exsist inside of me 
cows will always moo
crows will always ka kah 
sheep will always go baah baah baah 
and the perfect elagance 
of my literary inteligence 
will die with me 
never being seen 
qouted, memorised or plagerized 
as i will say with my last gasp 
the next line being twice my last
all you super-duper-soupers can kiss my ***

Friday, June 12, 2015

Charles Bukowski (1920-1994)

One Thirty-Six A.M.

I laugh sometimes when I think about
Céline at a typewriter
or Dostoevsky...
or Hamsun...
ordinary men with feet, ears, eyes,
ordinary men with hair on their heads
sitting there typing words
while having difficulties with life
while being puzzled almost to madness.

Dostoevsky gets up
he leaves the machine to piss,
comes back
drinks a glass of milk and thinks about
the casino and
the roulette wheel.

Céline stops, gets up, walks to the
window, looks out, thinks, my last patient
died today, I won't have to make any more
visits there.
when I saw him last
he paid his doctor bill;
it's those who don't pay their bills,
they live on and on.
Céline walks back, sits down at the
is still for a good two minutes
then begins to type.

Hamsun stands over his machine thinking,
I wonder if they are going to believe
all these things I write?
he sits down, begins to type.
he doesn't know what a writer's block
he's a prolific son-of-a-bitch
damn near as magnificent as
the sun.
he types away.

and I laugh
not out loud
but all up and down these walls, these
dirty yellow and blue walls
my white cat asleep on the
hiding his eyes from the

he's not alone tonight
and neither am
Charles Bukowski :

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Michael Ondaatje

Notes For The Legend Of Salad Woman

Since my wife was born
she must have eaten
the equivalent of two-thirds
of the original garden of Eden.
Not the dripping lush fruit
or the meat in the ribs of animals
but the green salad gardens of that place.
The whole arena of green
would have been eradicated
as if the right filter had been removed
leaving only the skeleton of coarse brightness.

All green ends up eventually
churning in her left cheek.
Her mouth is a laundromat of spinning drowning herbs.
She is never in fields
but is sucking the pith out of grass.
I have noticed the very leaves from flower decorations
grow sparse in their week long performance in our house.
The garden is a dust bowl.

On our last day in Eden as we walked out
she nibbled the leaves at her breasts and crotch.
But there's none to touch
none to equal
the Chlorophyll Kiss
Michael Ondaatje :

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Anna Akhmatova (1889-1966)

"All In the Moscow..."

All in the Moscow is flooded with the verses,
Pierced through with awful spears of the rhymes.
Let we abide with them on different courses,
Let the full silence crowns over us,
Let muteness would be the secret symbol
Of them with you, though always seemed – with me,
But you unite self in a marriage, single, 
With virgin silence, bitterest to be, – 
That one, which eats the granite under ground,
And makes the future circle wholly filled,
And, in the night, suppressing loud sound,
Predicts your perish through your own ear.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Aleister Crowley (1875-1947)

The Disciples

"To Lionel Engers-Kennedy: to the memory of Hargrave Jennings: and
to A. C. W. G. and H. E. H."

Beneath the vine tree and the fig
Where mortal cares may not intrude,
On melon and on sucking pig
Although their brains are bright and big
Banquet the Great White Brotherhood.

Among the fountains and the trees
That fringed his garden's glowing border,
At sunset walked, and, in the breeze
With his disciples, took his ease
An Adept of the Holy Order.

"My children," Said the holy man,
"Once more I'm willing to unmask me.
This is my birthday; and my plan
Is to bestow on you (I can)
Whatever favour you may ask me."

Nor curiosity nor greed
Brought these disciples to disaster;
For, being very wise indeed,
The adolescents all agreed
To ask His Secret of the Master.

With the "aplomb" and "savoir faire"
Peculiar to Eastern races,
He took the secret then and there
(What, is not lawful to declare),
And thrust it rudely in their faces.

"A filthy insult!" screamed the first;
The second smiled, "Ingenious blind!"
The youngest neither blessed nor cursed,
Contented to believe the worst -
That He had spoken all his mind!

The second earned the name of prig,
The first the epithet of prude;
The third, as merry as a grig,
On melon and on sucking pig
Feasts with the Great White Brotherhood.
Aleister Crowley :

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Vladimir Mayakovsky (1893-1930)

Our March

Source: Poems, Translated by Dorian Rottenberg. Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1972;
Transcribed: by Mitch Abidor

Beat the squares with the tramp of rebels!
Higher, rangers of haughty heads!
We'll wash the world with a second deluge,
Now’s the hour whose coming it dreads.
Too slow, the wagon of years,
The oxen of days — too glum.
Our god is the god of speed,
Our heart — our battle drum.
Is there a gold diviner than ours/
What wasp of a bullet us can sting?
Songs are our weapons, our power of powers,
Our gold — our voices — just hear us sing!
Meadow, lie green on the earth!
With silk our days for us line!
Rainbow, give color and girth
To the fleet-foot steeds of time.
The heavens grudge us their starry glamour.
Bah! Without it our songs can thrive.
Hey there, Ursus Major, clamour
For us to be taken to heaven alive!
Sing, of delight drink deep,
Drain spring by cups, not by thimbles.
Heart step up your beat!
Our breasts be the brass of cymbals.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Opal Whitely (1897-1992)

"And all the times I was picking up potatoes, I did have conversations with them.  Too, I did have thinks of all their growing days there in the ground, and all the things they did hear.  Earth-voices are glad voices, and earth-songs come up from the ground through the plants; and in their flowering, and in the days before these days are come, they do tell the earth-songs to the wind ... I have thinks these potatoes growing here did have knowings of star-songs." 
-  Opal Whiteley, 8 years of age, The Singing Creek where the Willows Grow - The Mystical Nature Diary of Opal Whiteley, Penguin, 1994. 

Tomas Transtromer (1931-2015)

A blue light
radiates from my clothing.
Clattering tambourines of ice.
I close my eyes.
There is a silent world
there is a crack
where the dead
are smuggled across the border.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Denise Levertov (1923-1997)

The Great Black Heron

Since I stroll in the woods more often
than on this frequented path, it's usually
trees I observe; but among fellow humans
what I like best is to see an old woman
fishing alone at the end of a jetty,
hours on end, plainly content.
The Russians mushroom-hunting after a rain
trail after themselves a world of red sarafans,
nightingales, samovars, stoves to sleep on
(though without doubt those are not
what they can remember). Vietnamese families
fishing or simply sitting as close as they can
to the water, make me recall that lake in Hanoi
in the amber light, our first, jet-lagged evening,
peace in the war we had come to witness.
This woman engaged in her pleasure evokes
an entire culture, tenacious field-flower
growing itself among the rows of cotton
in red-earth country, under the feet
of mules and masters. I see her
a barefoot child by a muddy river
learning her skill with the pole. What battles
has she survived, what labors?
She's gathered up all the time in the world
--nothing else--and waits for scanty trophies,
complete in herself as a heron.
Denise Levertov :

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Milton Acorn (1923-1986)

What I Know of God is This

Milton Acorn
From:   Dig Up My Heart: Selected Poems 1952-83. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1983. p.181.
What I know of God is this:
That He has hands, for He touches me.
I can testify to nothing else;
Living among many unseen beings
Like the whippoorwill I'm constantly hearing
But was pointed out to me just once.

Last of our hopes when all hope's past
God, never let me call on Thee
Distracting myself from a last chance
Which goes just as quick as it comes;
And I have doubts of Your omnipotence.
All I ask is... Keep on existing
Keeping Your hands. Continue to touch me.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Wallace Stevens (1879-1955)

A Postcard From The Volcano

Children picking up our bones
Will never know that these were once
As quick as foxes on the hill;

And that in autumn, when the grapes
Made sharp air sharper by their smell
These had a being, breathing frost;

And least will guess that with our bones
We left much more, left what still is
The look of things, left what we felt

At what we saw. The spring clouds blow
Above the shuttered mansion house,
Beyond our gate and the windy sky

Cries out a literate despair.
We knew for long the mansion's look
And what we said of it became

A part of what it is ... Children,
Still weaving budded aureoles,
Will speak our speech and never know,

Will say of the mansion that it seems
As if he that lived there left behind
A spirit storming in blank walls,

A dirty house in a gutted world,
A tatter of shadows peaked to white,
Smeared with the gold of the opulent sun.
Wallace Stevens :

Monday, June 1, 2015

Margret Atwood

Backdropp Addresses Cowboy

Starspangled cowboy
sauntering out of the almost-
silly West, on your face
a porcelain grin,
tugging a papier-mache cactus
on wheels behind you with a string,

you are innocent as a bathtub
full of bullets.

Your righteous eyes, your laconic
people the streets with villains:
as you move, the air in front of you
blossoms with targets

and you leave behind you a heroic
trail of desolation:
beer bottles
slaughtered by the side
of the road, bird-
skulls bleaching in the sunset.

I ought to be watching
from behind a cliff or a cardboard storefront
when the shooting starts, hands clasped
in admiration,

but I am elsewhere.
Then what about me

what about the I
confronting you on that border
you are always trying to cross?

I am the horizon
you ride towards, the thing you can never lasso

I am also what surrounds you:
my brain
scattered with your
tincans, bones, empty shells,
the litter of your invasions.

I am the space you desecrate
as you pass through.
Margaret Atwood :