Friday, December 30, 2011

Goodbye in Slow Motion with Those Trees Waving Back

As if these words could alter wind's lucid course
And make the trees wave hello again;

As if the wind had something new to bless,
Confess; that, finally, today's losses were palpable, explicable

Even; as if there were a reason for this self-pity
To descend again like shade

From the maples and lilacs and palms,
The sweet peach and lacquered locust,

Those cherries, chestnuts, and oranges .... It has to be

All of them, all of them
                                   lining those streets whose names I loved:

Calle de la Bonanova, Rue Descartes, Aldstadter Ring,
And further still, Coates and Sharon, which aren't

In Barcelona, Paris, or Prague, but from Sharon Hill, from childhood,
Places that don't exist anymore.

As if childhood were some tourist destination to visit
Off season, walking those sun-stroked sidewalks,

Sipping wine in the street-side cafés, saying hello to those
I'll never know in a tongue I used to know.

As if anyone's history were myth, and that myth an unconditional love
For loss. As if sorry didn't exist,

Any need for sorry.

If only childhood would tell the wind where to go,
If only it had a home.

If only this poem could hold childhood in its hands—
All gnarl-knuckled, chapped, blood-cracked—long enough

To say goodbye, to the bartender in Prague
Who was from Brooklyn, who talked with me awhile

About what home can't mean to him anymore, who got lost
Hiking in the Alpines and "ended up in here somehow, never left.... "

As if childhood's a place never left and never found, never
Said goodbye to;

As if that mattered now, as if there were time enough
To say goodbye to childhood

With all the slowness loss demands;

As if loss and childhood were distinct.

As if there were someone to talk with, walk and smoke with.

Besides, after awhile, we'd feel a need to sleep,
This me and that you I once was,

Our skin chilled a little, turning to gooseflesh a little, swept
By an August breeze weaving its way through the trees.

It doesn't matter, though, does it?
You've already begun to name the trees for yourself.

But feel that?

The trees are waving, too.

I'd like to teach you the names of these trees, to confess
How much I need to miss you to finish this off.

Alexander Long

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Begin the morning with a stiff
regimen of something 
quick - shake it off.

Have on hand a notebook
a small machine
something you can pull out

on the sly to calculate
the length of a shark tooth at lunch.
Smack your lips, smile large.

A sharpened pencil 
for back-up in case
one has to scribble

a quick cliché for deployment
in a new situation.
Same tactics new fascination.

Employ the use of nicknames
so as not to slip on a banana
peeled off in haste.

Be confident in humility
flex the muscles of growing
unhappiness enough 

no more or less than what you choose
to draw. Use whatever medium suits
each task. Ensure a timely departure

close the door behind you
before a yolk of sun splits and spills.

Monday, December 26, 2011

One Art

One Art
Elizabeth Bishop
The art of losing isn't hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother's watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn't a disaster.

--Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan't have lied. It's evident
the art of losing's not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.

Alone With Everybody - Charles Bukowski

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

Gentleman Alone

The young maricones and the horny muchachas,
The big fat widows delirious from insomnia,
The young wives thirty hours' pregnant,
And the hoarse tomcats that cross my garden at night,
Like a collar of palpitating sexual oysters
Surround my solitary home,
Enemies of my soul,
Conspirators in pajamas
Who exchange deep kisses for passwords.
Radiant summer brings out the lovers
In melancholy regiments,
Fat and thin and happy and sad couples;
Under the elegant coconut palms, near the ocean and moon,
There is a continual life of pants and panties,
A hum from the fondling of silk stockings,
And women's breasts that glisten like eyes.
The salary man, after a while,
After the week's tedium, and the novels read in bed at night,
Has decisively fucked his neighbor,
And now takes her to the miserable movies,
Where the heroes are horses or passionate princes,
And he caresses her legs covered with sweet down
With his ardent and sweaty palms that smell like cigarettes.
The night of the hunter and the night of the husband
Come together like bed sheets and bury me,
And the hours after lunch, when the students and priests are masturbating,
And the animals mount each other openly,
And the bees smell of blood, and the flies buzz cholerically,
And cousins play strange games with cousins,
And doctors glower at the husband of the young patient,
And the early morning in which the professor, without a thought,
Pays his conjugal debt and eats breakfast,
And to top it all off, the adulterers, who love each other truly
On beds big and tall as ships:
So, eternally,
This twisted and breathing forest crushes me
With gigantic flowers like mouth and teeth
And black roots like fingernails and shoes.

Translated by Mike Topp 

Pablo Neruda 

from The Book of Questions


Tell me, is the rose naked
or is that her only dress?

Why do trees conceal
the splendor of their roots?

Who hears the regrets
of the thieving automobile?

Is there anything in the world sadder
than a train standing in the rain?

Pablo Neruda

If You Forget Me - Pablo Neruda

I can write the saddest lines tonight.

Write for example: ‘The night is fractured
and they shiver, blue, those stars, in the distance’

The night wind turns in the sky and sings.
I can write the saddest lines tonight.
I loved her, sometimes she loved me too.

On nights like these I held her in my arms.
I kissed her greatly under the infinite sky.

She loved me, sometimes I loved her too.
How could I not have loved her huge, still eyes.

I can write the saddest lines tonight.
To think I don’t have her, to feel I have lost her.

Hear the vast night, vaster without her.
Lines fall on the soul like dew on the grass.

What does it matter that I couldn’t keep her.
The night is fractured and she is not with me.

That is all. Someone sings far off. Far off,
my soul is not content to have lost her.

As though to reach her, my sight looks for her.
My heart looks for her: she is not with me

The same night whitens, in the same branches.
We, from that time, we are not the same.

I don’t love her, that’s certain, but how I loved her.
My voice tried to find the breeze to reach her.

Another’s kisses on her, like my kisses.
Her voice, her bright body, infinite eyes.

I don’t love her, that’s certain, but perhaps I love her.
Love is brief: forgetting lasts so long.

Since, on these nights, I held her in my arms,
my soul is not content to have lost her.

Though this is the last pain she will make me suffer,
and these are the last lines I will write for her.

Pablo Neruda 

Sunday, December 25, 2011

More and more I find that life is a series of disappearances followed usually but not always by reappearances; you disappear from your morning self and reappear as your afternoon self; you disappear from feeling good and reappear feeling bad. And people, even face to face and clasped in each other's arms, disappear from each other.
  - Fremder

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Saturday, December 10, 2011


Six months ago I watched a ladybug 
die inside a fluorescent light fixture.

She's still there, unmoving.

My head was tilted back 
into the wash sink, water freezing
cold so as to preserve the colour.

Ladybug, how did you get in there
in the first place? And how could
you not fly your way out again?

When I was a teenager
there was a bridge I had to cross
between school and home

a gravel path freshly dumped.
Suddenly a cat head surrounded by stones
its face terrified - no not terrified

horrifically distorted, a victim
tortured by sick fucks
on their way from school

or was it in broad daylight?  I dug
stones away with my hands raw
saw only skin from the neck down

an odd colour like corned beef
red but not - pink but not -
imagine the sound something makes 

so far away from love.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

"The first man to compare the cheeks of a young woman to a rose was obviously a poet; the first to repeat it was possibly an idiot."

-Salvador Dali

"Even though I'm old my heart still aches."

- Under the Tuscan Sun


Hello hello, I'm at a place called Vertigo

This time, absorption was quick. 
Either a testimony to strength
or a here we go again.
Life had taught her well enough
was enough.   

The parry, the thrust, the wound
a strategy,  patterns formed into
reasons not to carry hope
on her head like a clay jug full
of sweet nothings.

This time, she would walk away 
carefully balanced, 
repeating don't break
don't break

don't break.