Saturday, July 22, 2017

Wallace Stevens (1879-1955)

Anecdote Of The Jar

I placed a jar in Tennessee,
And round it was, upon a hill.
It made the slovenly wilderness
Surround that hill.

The wilderness rose up to it,
And sprawled around, no longer wild.
The jar was round upon the ground
And tall and of a port in air.

It took dominion everywhere.
The jar was gray and bare.
It did not give of bird or bush,
Like nothing else in Tennessee.
Wallace Stevens :

Lewis Carroll (1832-1898)


'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
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 a while in thought.

And, as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling 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!
Oh 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.
Lewis Carroll :

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

William S. Burroughs (1914-1997)

Cold Lost Marbles

A Poem by William S. Burroughs

my ice skates on a wall
lustre of stumps washes his lavander horizon
he’s got a handsome face of a lousy kid
rooming-houses dirty fingers
whistled in the shadow
“Wait for me at the detour.”
river… snow… some one vague faded in a mirror
filigree of trade winds
clouds white as lace circling the pepper trees
the film is finished
memory died when their photos weather-worn points of
polluted water under the trees in the mist shadow of
boys by the daybreak in the peony fields cold lost
marbles in the room carnations three ampoules of
morphine little blue-eyes-twilight grins between his
legs yellow fingers blue stars erect boys of sleep
have frozen dreams for I am a teenager pass it on
flesh and bones withheld too long yes sir oui oui
Crapps’ last map… lake… a canoe… rose tornado in
the harvest brass echo tropical jeers from Panama
City night fences dead fingers you are in your own body
around and maybe a boy skin spreads to something
else on Long Island the dogs are quiet.

William Burroughs (1914-1997)

Dead Whistle Stop Already End

Tags: , ,

A Poem by William S. Burroughs

    Ahab to his companion      falling over there in any         out from the dawn
      skin              staring          stirring unbelief                               he strode towards a long
drink and looked into the            the actors ourselves become
      muzzle of Spain and 42 St.                    old banner illustrating
I was standing by the wax           before                       dead whistle stop already
cross the red moon                       terminal time scarred                     end.
        scanning patterns           on my face                 me in your back, pal”
dawn words falling      will say it all         consists in irradiating
this dead whistle stop                 in the language before creation
         he strode towards           the actors in the      city                 “Here he is now”
       obsidian morning      sniffing quivering need              masturbating afternoons
spitting blood               dead rainbow flesh          he moved as sharp as
    on the iron streets            fish smell and    dead eyes         water reeds
    scarred metal faces                  running into the mines             liquid typewriter
flickered on field            where flesh circulates                 red fish talk falling
     he strode towards             pant smell                language like muttering
     Spain and 42 st.              running in the gutter             where is he now?
  the actors dead             dawn word falling                  he was caught in the zoo
         whistle stop already              scanning patterns              jissom webs drifting
  slow ferris wheel      running rainbow flesh             over the White Subway 
. William S. Burroughs

Dorothy Parker (1843-1967)

On Cheating The Fiddler

"Then we will have tonight!" we said.
"Tomorrow- may we not be dead?"
The morrow touched our eyes, and found
Us walking firm above the ground,
Our pulses quick, our blood alight.
Tomorrow's gone- we'll have tonight!
Dorothy Parker :

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Gary Snyder (b.1930)

For a Stone Girl at Sanchi
half asleep on the cold grass night rain flicking the maples under a black bowl upside-down on a flat land on a wobbling speck smaller than stars, space, the size of a seed, hollow as bird skulls. light flies across it –never is seen. a big rock weathered funny, old tree trunks turned stone, split rocks and find clams. all that time loving; two flesh persons changing, clung to, doorframes notions, spear-hafts in a rubble of years. touching, this dream pops. it was real: and it lasted forever. Gary Snyder

Pablo Neruda (1904-1973)

The Old Women Of The Ocean

To the solemn sea the old women come
With their shawls knotted around their necks
With their fragile feet cracking.

They sit down alone on the shore
Without moving their eyes or their hands
Without changing the clouds or the silence.

The obscene sea breaks and claws
Rushes downhill trumpeting
Shakes its bull's beard.

The gentle old ladies seated
As if in a transparent boat
They look at the terrorist waves.

Where will they go and where have they been?
They come from every corner
They come from our own lives.

Now they have the ocean
The cold and burning emptiness
The solitude full of flames.

They come from all the pasts
From houses which were fragrant
From burnt-up evenings.

They look, or don't look, at the sea
With their walking sticks they draw signs in the sand
And the sea erases their calligraphy.

The old women get up and go away
With their fragile bird feet
While the waves flood in
Traveling naked in the wind.
Pablo Neruda :

Barack Obama (b.1961)

Sitting in his seat, a seat broad and broken
In, sprinkled with ashes,
Pop switches channels, takes another
Shot of Seagrams, neat, and asks
What to do with me, a green young man
Who fails to consider the
Flim and flam of the world, since
Things have been easy for me;
I stare hard at his face, a stare
That deflects off his brow;
I'm sure he's unaware of his
Dark, watery eyes, that
Glance in different directions,
And his slow, unwelcome twitches,
Fail to pass.
I listen, nod,
Listen, open, till I cling to his pale,
Beige T-shirt, yelling,
Yelling in his ears, that hang
With heavy lobes, but he's still telling
His joke, so I ask why
He's so unhappy, to which he replies . . .
But I don't care anymore, cause
He took too damn long, and from
Under my seat, I pull out the
Mirror I've been saving; I'm laughing,
Laughing loud, the blood rushing from his face
To mine, as he grows small,
A spot in my brain, something
That may be squeezed out, like a
Watermelon seed between
Two fingers.
Pop takes another shot, neat,
Points out the same amber
Stain on his shorts that I've got on mine and
Makes me smell his smell, coming
From me; he switches channels, recites an old poem
He wrote before his mother died,
Stands, shouts, and asks
For a hug, as I shink, my
Arms barely reaching around
His thick, oily neck, and his broad back; 'cause
I see my face, framed within
Pop's black-framed glasses
And know he's laughing too.

-- Barack Obama

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 :

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Julio Trujillo

Ten Tequilas  
 by Julio Trujillo (México)

I went out into the street in flames
and without myself,
what was left were shreds of gazes:
the world was my eyes
and my eyes
seeking and at the same time
willing to be found,
striding down there below,
gasp and echo,
a flow without direction that wants
to debouch.
What sea awaits the man who brims over?
But the instant doesn’t ask questions,
it advances and remains standing,
straightens up to full height,
its colours
that in this blue night
keep flying

Octavio Paz (1914-1998)

As One Listens To The Rain

Listen to me as one listens to the rain,
not attentive, not distracted,
light footsteps, thin drizzle,
water that is air, air that is time,
the day is still leaving,
the night has yet to arrive,
figurations of mist
at the turn of the corner,
figurations of time
at the bend in this pause,
listen to me as one listens to the rain,
without listening, hear what I say
with eyes open inward, asleep
with all five senses awake,
it's raining, light footsteps, a murmur of syllables,
air and water, words with no weight:
what we are and are,
the days and years, this moment,
weightless time and heavy sorrow,
listen to me as one listens to the rain,
wet asphalt is shining,
steam rises and walks away,
night unfolds and looks at me,
you are you and your body of steam,
you and your face of night,
you and your hair, unhurried lightning,
you cross the street and enter my forehead,
footsteps of water across my eyes,
listen to me as one listens to the rain,
the asphalt's shining, you cross the street,
it is the mist, wandering in the night,
it is the night, asleep in your bed,
it is the surge of waves in your breath,
your fingers of water dampen my forehead,
your fingers of flame burn my eyes,
your fingers of air open eyelids of time,
a spring of visions and resurrections,
listen to me as one listens to the rain,
the years go by, the moments return,
do you hear the footsteps in the next room?
not here, not there: you hear them
in another time that is now,
listen to the footsteps of time,
inventor of places with no weight, nowhere,
listen to the rain running over the terrace,
the night is now more night in the grove,
lightning has nestled among the leaves,
a restless garden adrift-go in,
your shadow covers this page.
Octavio Paz :

Czeslaw Milosz (1911-2004)

A Song On The End Of The World

On the day the world ends
A bee circles a clover,
A fisherman mends a glimmering net.
Happy porpoises jump in the sea,
By the rainspout young sparrows are playing
And the snake is gold-skinned as it should always be.

On the day the world ends
Women walk through the fields under their umbrellas,
A drunkard grows sleepy at the edge of a lawn,
Vegetable peddlers shout in the street
And a yellow-sailed boat comes nearer the island,
The voice of a violin lasts in the air
And leads into a starry night.

And those who expected lightning and thunder
Are disappointed.
And those who expected signs and archangels' trumps
Do not believe it is happening now.
As long as the sun and the moon are above,
As long as the bumblebee visits a rose,
As long as rosy infants are born
No one believes it is happening now.

Only a white-haired old man, who would be a prophet
Yet is not a prophet, for he's much too busy,
Repeats while he binds his tomatoes:
No other end of the world will there be,
No other end of the world will there be.
Czeslaw Milosz :

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Gary Snyder (b.1930)

Axe Handles    

One afternoon the last week in April
Showing Kai how to throw a hatchet
One-half turn and it sticks in a stump.
He recalls the hatchet-head
Without a handle, in the shop
And go gets it, and wants it for his own.
A broken-off axe handle behind the door
Is long enough for a hatchet,
We cut it to length and take it
With the hatchet head
And working hatchet, to the wood block.
There I begin to shape the old handle
With the hatchet, and the phrase
First learned from Ezra Pound
Rings in my ears!
"When making an axe handle
                 the pattern is not far off."
And I say this to Kai
"Look: We'll shape the handle
By checking the handle
Of the axe we cut with—"
And he sees. And I hear it again:
It's in Lu Ji's Wên Fu, fourth century
A.D. "Essay on Literature"-—in the
Preface: "In making the handle
Of an axe
By cutting wood with an axe
The model is indeed near at hand."
My teacher Shih-hsiang Chen
Translated that and taught it years ago
And I see: Pound was an axe,
Chen was an axe, I am an axe
And my son a handle, soon
To be shaping again, model
And tool, craft of culture,
How we go on.

Ram Dass (b.1931)

A Journey

The journey is on, on and on..
The Journey is on...alone in the way,
From clowdy days to a brigher world,
From bitter reality to a dream world...

This is a journey of dreams,
Besides the frozen lake and violet fowers,
Above the blue mountains and white snow,
Which I dreamed in my childhood...

This is a journey of memories,
Those cashew nut trees and the sizzling wind..
Those violet flowers and the lonely huge rock
Where I used sit alone on my evenings...

This a journey of Struggle,
Which i have to complete  alone,
With a big hope, 
That a better day waits for me..

This is a journey of life, 
A journey of bonds and not bondages, 
Even if the bonds becomes bondages, 
The journey has to be on, on and on...its life...

Allen Ginsberg (1926-1997)


The weight of the world
is love.
Under the burden
of solitude,
under the burden
of dissatisfaction

the weight,
the weight we carry
is love.

Who can deny?
In dreams
it touches
the body,
in thought
a miracle,
in imagination
till born
in human--
looks out of the heart
burning with purity--
for the burden of life
is love,

but we carry the weight
and so must rest
in the arms of love
at last,
must rest in the arms
of love.

No rest
without love,
no sleep
without dreams
of love--
be mad or chill
obsessed with angels
or machines,
the final wish
is love
--cannot be bitter,
cannot deny,
cannot withhold
if denied:

the weight is too heavy

--must give
for no return
as thought
is given
in solitude
in all the excellence
of its excess.

The warm bodies
shine together
in the darkness,
the hand moves
to the center
of the flesh,
the skin trembles
in happiness
and the soul comes
joyful to the eye--

yes, yes,
that's what
I wanted,
I always wanted,
I always wanted,
to return
to the body
where I was born.
Allen Ginsberg :

Wendell Berry

A Meeting In A Part

In a dream I meet
my dead friend. He has,
I know, gone long and far,
and yet he is the same
for the dead are changeless.
They grow no older.
It is I who have changed,
grown strange to what I was.
Yet I, the changed one,
ask: "How you been?"
He grins and looks at me.
"I been eating peaches
off some mighty fine trees."
Wendell Berry :

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Ally Malinenko

The Eight of Cups by Ally Malinenko

I always thought I should have been a Pisces, a water sign
but I am horribly earthbound.
Behind me, I can hear the static hum of last year
and tonight, I search through my little archives
trying to grasp all the symbols,
because I only have so much time
before I’m back at the original question.

This is winter so the ocean is getting restless.
Back when Erika told my fortune
it was spring, nearly summer and
we were just stupid kids
I got the Eight of Cups
which she told me meant that I was wishing things
would have been different
and I wondered,
who wasn’t? How could anyone put any stock in that nonsense?

Ten years later, I am sitting
on the floor with my journals thrown about
trying to find some kind of meaning in the choices I didn’t make.
Some repetition in the pattern, some kind of icon that makes sense.
Wondering, in fact why things hadn’t been different.
Each tattered book, is opened, the scrawled ink leering at me, offering stoic silence
and in my hand I have found the only letter of yours that I kept.
Over the years, no matter what paper I pick up,
eventually it turns into your letter
almost, naturally

Like the tea growing cold at my side,
the purring cats,
the wine bottles that have been emptied,
the things that come about naturally
unlike your death
which was so horribly unnatural.
At first, your body was so dense, all that thick black hair
until you started to dry out,
evaporate and shred apart, paper-thin.

Your ghost, oh Christ,
it won’t stop showing up
no matter how many tattoos I get
no matter how many poems I write over the years
no matter how many nights I piece together the
broken necklace. The one you gave me
a thousand Christmas’ ago, with a wink
like you knew how it was going to end.
It’s that time I’m trying to get back to now,
Sleepwalking down to the water, to hear the waves,
with a letter
and a tarot card
and a coiled snake of silver,
buried in my pocket.
I’m trapped inside this wheel
the moments soaking together, blurring the ink.
Nothing has changed, and blindly, I’m still wishing things were different.
This time, like all the others, I don’t have any answers,
I just want to say I’m sorry.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Irving Layton (1912-2006)


Were I a clumsy poet
I'd compare you to Helen;
Ransack the mythologies
Greek, Chinese and Persian

For a goddess vehement
And slim: one with form as fair.
Yet find none. O,love, you are
Lithe as a Jew peddler

And full of grace. Such lightness
Is in your step, instruments
I keep for the beholder
To prove you walk, not dance.

Merely to touch you is fire
In my head; my hair becomes
A burning bush. When you speak,
Like Moses I am dumb

With marvelling, or like him
I stutter with pride and fear:
I hold, Love, divinity
In my changed face and hair.