Thursday, October 31, 2013

Lisa Olstein

The Hypnotist's Daughter
The Hypnotist's Daughter
By Lisa Olstein b. 1972 Lisa Olstein
At the London Zoo a toddler falls over the rail
of the Primate World only if you close your eyes

and a female gorilla comes to sit by, to circle
her long dark arm around him only this one time

while the others stay away. The zookeeper says
she lost a baby earlier this year only just barely

and they’ve been waiting months for her tits to dry.
The boy’s mother watches from above

only when I say so the thirty minutes it takes
the right person to lower the right ladder down

only as a last resort. In the interim a newscaster
whose station carries it live only if you promise

not to let go reports that dolphins and sometimes
certain whales rescue people stranded at sea

only when I close my eyes lift them to the air
when they need breathing or swim them close enough

to land. In the interim I imagine the span of time
from when the smooth hard snout finds me

and begins to push only if you promise not to tell
to when we come into view of a shore only this once

any shore. In the interim I pray for what should come
to come. I pray for the cat to come out from under

the floorboards only every once in a while to come
down from the tall maple, to come back alive

only if you say so in one piece, still in her collar.
I pray to be saved, to be sent far away, to be

allowed to just stay home only another month or two
just stay home and erase the objects in each room

with my mind while holding them in my hands
only a matter of time now. I do want to hold them

in my hands, to hold them to my lungs by way
of deep breath only since July and a deeper sense

of inhalation. I pray for you only just this once
to press out from the small veins at the back of my eyes

only you back out into the world. I pray for you
to come and sit by me only a few more minutes now.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Pablo Neruda (1904-1973)

A Lemon

Out of lemon flowers
on the moonlight, love's
lashed and insatiable
sodden with fragrance,
the lemon tree's yellow
the lemons
move down
from the tree's planetarium

Delicate merchandise!
The harbors are big with it-
for the light and the
barbarous gold.
We open
the halves
of a miracle,
and a clotting of acids
into the starry
original juices,
irreducible, changeless,
so the freshness lives on
in a lemon,
in the sweet-smelling house of the rind,
the proportions, arcane and acerb.

Cutting the lemon
the knife
leaves a little cathedral:
alcoves unguessed by the eye
that open acidulous glass
to the light; topazes
riding the droplets,
aromatic facades.

So, while the hand
holds the cut of the lemon,
half a world
on a trencher,
the gold of the universe
to your touch:
a cup yellow
with miracles,
a breast and a nipple
perfuming the earth;
a flashing made fruitage,
the diminutive fire of a planet.

Pablo Neruda :

Tomas Transtromer


After a black day, I play Haydn,

and feel a little warmth in my hands.

The keys are ready. Kind hammers fall.

The sound is spirited, green, and full of silence.

The sound says that freedom exists

and someone pays no tax to Caesar.

I shove my hands in my haydnpockets

and act like a man who is calm about it all.

I raise my haydnflag. The signal is:

“We do not surrender. But want peace.”

The music is a house of glass standing on a slope;

rocks are flying, rocks are rolling.

The rocks roll straight through the house

but every pane of glass is still whole.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Jack Kerouac (1922-1969)

10th Chorus Mexico City Blues

The great hanging weak teat of India
on the map
The Fingernail of Malaya
The Wall of China
The Korea Ti-Pousse Thumb
The Salamander Japan
the Okinawa Moon Spot
The Pacific
The Back of Hawaiian Mountains
Kines, balconies, Ah Tarzan-
And D W Griffith
the great American Director
Strolling down disgruntled
Hollywood Lane
- to toot Nebraska,
Indian Village New York,
Atlantis, Rome,
Peleus and Melisander,

swans of Balls

Spots of foam on the ocean

Jack Kerouac

Monday, October 28, 2013

Lou Reed - Dirty Boulevard (live)

Lou Reed (1942-2013)

"Dirty Blvd."

Pedro lives out of the Wilshire Hotel
He looks out a window without glass
And the walls are made of cardboard, newspapers on his feet
And his father beats him 'cause he's too tired to beg

He's got 9 brothers and sisters
They're brought up on their knees
It's hard to run when a coat hanger beats you on the thighs
Pedro dreams of being older and killing the old man
But that's a slim chance
He's going to the boulevard

He's gonna end up on the dirty boulevard
He's going out to the dirty boulevard
He's going down to the dirty boulevard

This room cost $2,000 a month
You can believe it, man, it's true
Somewhere there's a landlord's laughing till he wets his pants
No one dreams of being a doctor or a lawyer or anything
They dream of dealing on the dirty boulevard

Give me your hungry, your tired, your poor I'll piss on 'em
That's what the Statue of Bigotry says
Your poor huddled masses
Let's club 'em to death
And get it over with and just dump 'em on the boulevard

Get 'em out on the dirty boulevard
Goin' out to the dirty boulevard
They're going down on the dirty boulevard
Goin' out

Outside it's a bright night
There's an opera at Lincoln Center
Movie stars arrive by limousine
The klieg lights shoot up over the skyline of Manhattan
But the lights are out on the mean streets

A small kid stands by the Lincoln Tunnel
He's selling plastic roses for a buck
The traffic's backed up to 39th Street
The TV whores are calling the cops out for a suck

And back at the Wilshire, Pedro sits there dreaming
He's found a book on Magic in a garbage can
He looks at the pictures
And stares up at the cracked ceiling
"At the count of 3," he says,
"I hope I can disappear."

And fly, fly away from this dirty boulevard
I want to fly from the dirty boulevard
I want to fly from the dirty boulevard
I want to fly-fly-fly-fly from the dirty boulevard

I want to fly away
I want to fly
Fly, fly away
I want to fly
Fly, fly away
Fly, fly away
Fly, fly away
Fly, fly away
I want to fly

Sunday, October 27, 2013

D.H. Lawrence (1885-1930)

A Winter's Tale

Yesterday the fields were only grey with scattered snow,
And now the longest grass-leaves hardly emerge;
Yet her deep footsteps mark the snow, and go
On towards the pines at the hills’ white verge.

I cannot see her, since the mist’s white scarf
Obscures the dark wood and the dull orange sky;
But she’s waiting, I know, impatient and cold, half
Sobs struggling into her frosty sigh.

Why does she come so promptly, when she must know
That she’s only the nearer to the inevitable farewell;
The hill is steep, on the snow my steps are slow—
Why does she come, when she knows what I have to tell?

David Herbert Lawrence

Friday, October 25, 2013

Linda Maria Baros


Dawn is a woman
who breaks your windows with her breasts
– reddened are the nipples
suckled on by tramps . . .

And there goes the tocsin for the hunt . . .
(Damned be Vlachka and her Teleorman!)

Prepare the drop, the raid!
The oubliette for the guests!
Set your snares!
Spatter your face with blood,
as if African masks from the sleepless nights
were flowing from your arteries!
Trap the red foxes in the snare of your nostrils!

But above all
prepare the drop, the raid.
Even if nobody comes.
Dawn – when solitude
seems to you like a brain curdled on the walls.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Margaret Atwood

In the Secular Night

In the secular night you wander around
alone in your house. It's two-thirty.
Everyone has deserted you,
or this is your story;
you remember it from being sixteen,
when the others were out somewhere, having a good time,
or so you suspected,
and you had to baby-sit.
You took a large scoop of vanilla ice-cream
and filled up the glass with grapejuice
and ginger ale, and put on Glenn Miller
with his big-band sound,
and lit a cigarette and blew the smoke up the chimney,
and cried for a while because you were not dancing,
and then danced, by yourself, your mouth circled with purple.

Now, forty years later, things have changed,
and it's baby lima beans.
It's necessary to reserve a secret vice.
This is what comes from forgetting to eat
at the stated mealtimes. You simmer them carefully,
drain, add cream and pepper,
and amble up and down the stairs,
scooping them up with your fingers right out of the bowl,
talking to yourself out loud.
You'd be surprised if you got an answer,
but that part will come later.

There is so much silence between the words,
you say. You say, The sensed absence
of God and the sensed presence
amount to much the same thing,
only in reverse.
You say, I have too much white clothing.
You start to hum.
Several hundred years ago
this could have been mysticism
or heresy. It isn't now.
Outside there are sirens.
Someone's been run over.
The century grinds on.

Margaret Atwood

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Sylvia Plath (1932-1963)

The Bull of Bendylaw
The black bull bellowed before the sea.
The sea, till that day orderly,
Hove up against Bendylaw.
The queen in the mulberry arbor stared
Stiff as a queen on a playing card.
The king fingered his beard.

A blue sea, four horny bull-feet,
A bull-snouted sea that wouldn't stay put,
Bucked at the garden gate.

Along box-lined walks in the florid sun
Toward the rowdy bellow and back again
The lords and ladies ran.

The great bronze gate began to crack,
The sea broke in at every crack,
Pellmell, blueblack.

The bull surged up, the bull surged down,
Not to be stayed by a daisy chain
Nor by any learned man.

O the king's tidy acre is under the sea,
And the royal rose in the bull's belly,
And the bull on the king's highway.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Ezra Pound (1885-1972)


The apparition of these faces in the crowd;
Petals on a wet, black bough.

Ezra Pound

Monday, October 21, 2013

Allen Ginsburg (1926-1997)

An Asphodel

O dear sweet rosy
unattainable desire sad, no way
to change the mad
cultivated asphodel, the
visible reality...

and skin's appalling
petals--how inspired
to be so Iying in the living
room drunk naked
and dreaming, in the absence
of electricity...
over and over eating the low root
of the asphodel,
gray fate...

rolling in generation
on the flowery couch
as on a bank in Arden--
my only rose tonite's the treat
of my own nudity.

Allen Ginsberg :

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Thomas Bernhard (1931-1989)


What I do is poorly done,
what I sing is badly sung,
therefore you have a right
to my hands
and to my voice.
I will work with all my strength.
The harvest shall be yours.
I will sing the song of peoples long gone.
I will sing my people.
I will love.
Even criminals!
Together with the criminals and the unprotected
I will found a new homeland –
Despite all this, what I do is poorly done,
what I sing is badly sung.
Therefore you have a right
to my hands
and to my voice.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Seamus Heaney (1939-2013)


for T. P. Flanagan

We have no prairies
To slice a big sun at evening--
Everywhere the eye concedes to
Encrouching horizon,

Is wooed into the cyclops' eye
Of a tarn. Our unfenced country
Is bog that keeps crusting
Between the sights of the sun.

They've taken the skeleton
Of the Great Irish Elk
Out of the peat, set it up
An astounding crate full of air.

Butter sunk under
More than a hundred years
Was recovered salty and white.
The ground itself is kind, black butter

Melting and opening underfoot,
Missing its last definition
By millions of years.
They'll never dig coal here,

Only the waterlogged trunks
Of great firs, soft as pulp.
Our pioneers keep striking
Inwards and downwards,

Every layer they strip
Seems camped on before.
The bogholes might be Atlantic seepage.
The wet centre is bottomless.

Seamus Heaney

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Charles Bukowski (1920-1994)

Alone With Everybody

the flesh covers the bone
and they put a mind
in there and
sometimes a soul,
and the women break
vases against the walls
and the men drink too
and nobody finds the
but keep
crawling in and out
of beds.
flesh covers
the bone and the
flesh searches
for more than

there's no chance
at all:
we are all trapped
by a singular

nobody ever finds
the one.

the city dumps fill
the junkyards fill
the madhouses fill
the hospitals fill
the graveyards fill

nothing else

Charles Bukowski

Robert Service (1874-1958)

Say! You’ve struck a heap of trouble –
Bust in business, lost your wife;
No one cares a cent about you,
You don’t care a cent for life;
Hard luck has of hope bereft you,
Health is failing, wish you die –
Why, you’ve still the sunshine left you
And the big, blue sky.

Sky so blue it makes you wonder
If it’s heaven shining through,
Earth is smiling ‘way out yonder,
Sun so bright it dazzles you;
Birds a-singing, flowers a-flinging
All their fragrance on the breeze;
Dancing shadows, green, still meadows –
Don’t you mope, you’ve still got these.

These, and none can take this from you;
These, and none can weigh their worth.
What! You’re tired and broke and beaten? –
Why, you’re rich – you’re got the earth!
Yes, if you’re a tramp in tatters,
While the blue sky bends above
You’ve got nearly all that matters –
You’ve got God, and God is love.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Seo Jeong-ju (1815-2000)

Painted by Kang Jang-won (Mudeung Mountain in Gwangju, Korea)

Gazing at Mudeung Mountain by Seo Jeong-ju

Poverty is no more than tattered rags.
Can it cloak our inborn flesh, our natural heart
like the summer mountain
that stands baring its dark green back to the dazzling sun?

As the green mountain tends to orchids under its knees,
all we can do is nurture our offspring.

Husbands and wives,
as you meet the afternoon
when life retreats and gets swept up in rough waves,
once in a while sit down,
once in a while lie next to each other.

Wives, gaze silently at your husbands.
Husbands, touch also your wives’ foreheads

Even when we lie in the pit of a thorn bush,
we should always remember that we are just gems, buried alone,
thickly covered with green moss.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Charles Simic

Hotel Insomnia

I liked my little hole,
Its window facing a brick wall.
Next door there was a piano.
A few evenings a month
a crippled old man came to play
"My Blue Heaven."

Mostly, though, it was quiet.
Each room with its spider in heavy overcoat
Catching his fly with a web
Of cigarette smoke and revery.
So dark,
I could not see my face in the shaving mirror.

At 5 A.M. the sound of bare feet upstairs.
The "Gypsy" fortuneteller,
Whose storefront is on the corner,
Going to pee after a night of love.
Once, too, the sound of a child sobbing.
So near it was, I thought
For a moment, I was sobbing myself.

Charles Simic

Monday, October 14, 2013

Leonard Cohen

Hey, That's No Way To Say Goodbye

I loved you in the morning, our kisses deep and warm,
your hair upon the pillow like a sleepy golden storm,
yes, many loved before us, I know that we are not new,
in city and in forest they smiled like me and you,
but now it's come to distances and both of us must try,
your eyes are soft with sorrow,
Hey, that's no way to say goodbye.

Leonard Cohen :

Sunday, October 13, 2013

David Ignatow (1914-1997)

An Ecology

We drop in the evening like dew
upon the ground and the living
feel it on their faces. Death
soft, moist everywhere upon us,
soon to cover the living
as they drop. This explains
the ocean and the sun.

David Ignatow :

Saturday, October 12, 2013

William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)


OTHERS because you did not keep
That deep-sworn vow have been friends of mine;
Yet always when I look death in the face,
When I clamber to the heights of sleep,
Or when I grow excited with wine,
Suddenly I meet your face.

Friday, October 11, 2013

William Shakespeare (1564-1616)



Lord of my love, to whom in vassalage
Thy merit hath my duty strongly knit;
To thee I send this written embassage
To witness duty, not to show my wit.
Duty so great, which wit so poor as mine
May make seem bare, in wanting words to show it;
But that I hope some good conceit of thine
In thy soul's thought (all naked) will bestow it:
Till whatsoever star that guides my moving,
Points on me graciously with fair aspect,
And puts apparel on my tattered loving,
To show me worthy of thy sweet respect,
Then may I dare to boast how I do love thee,
Till then, not show my head where thou mayst prove me.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

J. Patrick Lewis

You Learn By Living

By J. Patrick Lewis b. 1942
for Eleanor Roosevelt

Who showed the world the world itself
Was awkward, shy and plain.
A high-born leader in a long,
Low decade full of pain.

Poor farmers, blacks, homeless, the least
Advantaged hoped to see,
Magnificently unarrayed,
Pure human dignity.

A lady first, the great first lady
Looked fear in the face,
And said, There is no room for fear
When courage take its place.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Joan Logghe

from "The Rice Sonnets"

You gave me a love bite the week
I turned fifty, and I became like
all other women. The woman at Thrift-
way Gas. The woman who works
at Walgreen's whose mother works at
Walgreen's also. The women named for stars
and those named for hope. Women who love God
and worship inside and outside churches.

Those women who stand outside the house
and weep, and those whose body has failed
them and those who have failed their bodies.
All of these, bitten by love, as I
have been unbeknownst to me on the week
I turned fifty.

Copyright © 1998 Joan Logghe.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Marina Tsvetaeva 1892-1941)

x x x

The street awakens. She looks, exhausted
With the mute windows' sullen eyes,
On sleepy faces, red from the cold,
That with thoughts chase the stubborn sleep away.
The blackened trees with rime are covered -
With trace mysterious of the night's fun,
In gleaming brocade sad ones are standing,
Just like the dead the alive among.
The gray coat mingles, trampled upon,
The forage-cup with a wreathe, a bored look,
And the red arms, pressed to the ears,
And the black apron with the tied books.
The street awakens. She looks, unpleasant
With mute windows' sullen eyes, it would seem.
To sleep, in a happy thought be forgotten,
What life seems to us, this is a dream!

Friday, October 4, 2013

James Joyce (1882-1941)

Tutto è Sciolto
Tutto è Sciolto
By James Joyce 1882–1941 James Joyce
A birdless heaven, sea-dusk and a star
Sad in the west;
And thou, poor heart, love’s image, fond and far,

Her silent eyes and her soft foam-white brow
And fragrant hair,
Falling as in the silence falleth now
Dusk from the air.

Ah, why wilt thou remember these, or why,
Poor heart, repine,
If the sweet love she yielded with a sigh
Was never thine?

Originally published in Poetry, May 1917.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Thomas Hardy (1840-1928)

A Death-Day Recalled

Beeny did not quiver,
Juliot grew not gray,
Thin Valency's river
Held its wonted way.
Bos seemed not to utter
Dimmest note of dirge,
Targan mouth a mutter
To its creamy surge.

Yet though these, unheeding,
Listless, passed the hour
Of her spirit's speeding,
She had, in her flower,
Sought and loved the places -
Much and often pined
For their lonely faces
When in towns confined.

Why did not Valency
In his purl deplore
One whose haunts were whence he
Drew his limpid store?
Why did Bos not thunder
Targan apprehend
Body and breath were sunder
Of their former friend?

Thomas Hardy