Sunday, December 30, 2012

Delicacy Of Devastation

And so the project begins....

Sunday, December 9, 2012

To Be with a Koan

"To be with a koan,"
said the Zen Master,
"has nothing to do with Hamlet,
those old jokes about small pigs
or tiny villages,
bees and bee keepers. No,
to be with a koan,
you must get inside it
without forcing your entry.
It’s like you’re lemonade powder
dissolving in water.
Something other than you
does the stirring,
but there’s nothing other than you,
and after awhile, nothing stirs."

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Saturday, December 1, 2012


The act of donning silence confuses me
it's like putting on two different socks
or a suit of purple chain-mail.

Many people choose to dress this way
leave their house as if nobody will notice
their underwear is on the outside.

At least Madonna had the balls to arrive 
on stage, bra pointing at the crowd as if to say
A-ha! - belted out a song as if to smash

silence like a pumpkin thrown from a roof.
These veils that cover the mouth, these
speaking holes in the bank glass

these choices we make to stop 
everything from disturbing the peace 
I ask you -

has a bird ever chosen not to sing
come daybreak?


drunk she arrived at his door.

Through the tiny window glass
she could see both of them.  He was
brushing her hair, a tortoiseshell
cat loving every stroke, the blue
of her dress so post Lewinsky.

Deleted from his life unpredictably
had been like being cut from the grade
six volleyball team for being too skinny
even if she could serve.

This new player was shapelier, younger
with big greedy eyes, tongue ready
to lap up his ultimate spills.

Who said vodka has no taste?
Or that it goes down smoothly?
Nothing had ever been so rough.

Except possibly
the new girl’s pretty tongue, tasteless
and full of backwards-facing spines.

Margaret Atwood - Heart

Some people sell their blood. You sell your heart.
It was either that or the soul.
The hard part is getting the damn thing out.
A kind of twisting motion, like shucking an oyster,
your spine a wrist,
and then, hup! it's in your mouth.
You turn yourself partially inside out
like a sea anemone coughing a pebble.
There's a broken plop, the racket
of fish guts into a pail,
and there it is, a huge glistening deep-red clot
of the still-alive past, whole on the plate.
It gets passed around. It's slippery. It gets dropped,
but also tasted. Too coarse, says one. Too salty.
Too sour, says another, making a face.
Each one is an instant gourmet,
and you stand listening to all this
in the corner, like a newly hired waiter,
your diffident, skilful hand on the wound hidden
deep in your shirt and chest,
shyly, heartless. 

Friday, November 30, 2012

Me and Kimmy

we never let each other down.  Best buds.

Boris Vian

I don’t want to croak
Without having known
The black dogs of Mexico
Who sleep without dreams
The monkeys with bare bums
Devourers of the tropics
The silver spiders
With nests stuffed with bubbles
I don’t want to croak
Without knowing if the moon
Under her false nickel-face
Has a pointed side
If the sun is cold
If the four seasons
Are really only four
Without having tried
Wearing a dress
On the grand boulevards
Without having looked
Into a sewer inspection-hole
Without having put my prick
Into some bizarre corners
I don’t want to end
Without knowing leprosy
Or the seven maladies
One catches down there
The good or the bad
None of them bother me
If if if I knew
That I would have the first of it

And there is also
All that I know
All that I value
That I know pleases me
The green depth of the sea
Where the strands of algae waltz
On the rippled sand
The baked grass of June
The crackling earth
The scent of the pines
And her kisses
Now here, now there
Her beauty obvious to all
My Bear cub, Ursula
I don’t want to croak
Before having used
Her mouth with my mouth
Her body with my hands
The rest with my eyes
I say no more, it’s better
To stay reverential

I don’t want to die
Before someone has invented
Eternal roses
The two hour work-day
The sea at the mountain-side
The mountain at the sea-side
The end of sadness
Newspapers in colour
All children happy
And so many gadgets still
Asleep within the skulls
Of genial engineers
Of jovial gardeners
Of civil citizens
Of urbane urbanites
And thoughtful thinkers
So many things to see
To see and to hear
So much time to spend
Searching in the dark

As for me I see the swarming
End arriving
With his lousy mug
Opening for me his
Bandy toad arms

I don’t want to croak
No Sir, no Ma’am
Before having explored
The flavour which torments me
The flavour which is the heaviest
I don’t want to croak
Before having tasted
The flavour of death.

On the morning of June 23, 1959, Boris Vian was at the Cinema Marbeuf for the screening of the film version of his novel J’irai cracher sur vos tombes. He had already fought with the producers over their interpretation of his work and he publicly denounced the film stating that he wished to have his name removed from the credits. A few minutes after the film began, he reportedly blurted out: “These guys are supposed to be American? My ass!” He then collapsed into his seat and died from sudden cardiac death en route to the hospital.

Wolfgang Borchert: Try to

Stand in the middle of the rain,
Believe in the blessing of the drops,
Cover yourself in its noise
And try to be good!

Stand in the middle of the wind,
Believe in it and be a child -
Let the storm enter you
And try to be good!

Stand in the middle of the fire -
Love this monster
With the red wine of your heart
And try to be good!

Wolfgang Borchert

Thursday, November 29, 2012


Rash of the harbor lights in the mountain region.
Night, he says, is the dark humor of the day—
first you are scared
                       but by the sunrise
                                             I'll get you laughing.
My head, thrown back in laughter, has bought me more
than money thrown forward, and men
pressed me down and worked like a Chinese seamstress.
But none could slap my face as hard as the sea slaps
its adopted child and steps back, all tears.

This island spat out by the sun over the world's shoulder,
a fence holds the bougainvillea laughter behind its teeth,
a metal gate guards the doze of heat-stricken watchdogs.
A road comes up to my face and stands like a mirror
showing everything that has led me to it: a bed
soft like bruised fruit, a whole lime garden bruised
by the afternoon shade, and his book's hard spine
breaking with the day.

A body strips down all the way to forgiveness
and grants itself before there's even a reason, unless
it wants to tell the other: I forgive
your juices for not filling these hard fruit;
your skin for not cracking and rotting over the ants'
heads; I forgive your throat for not birthing the dog's cough;
I forgive your hand, right now rising, falling, and leaving trace
unlike what it praises; I forgive your shadow for never becoming
a stain to mark this road, this bed, but mostly this sea.

Bricks of gray moonlight fall weightlessly
through the wooden
building a new wall above the sink.
Here he lies on his stomach—
the gap between his ass and his thighs
forms a perfect black diamond.

Horizon blistered by the setting sun heals, leaving
a hardly visible scar.

The Woman Who Could Not Live with Her Faulty Heart..

I do not mean the symbol
of love, a candy shape
to decorate cakes with,
the heart that is supposed
to belong or break;

I mean this lump of muscle
that contracts like a flayed bicep,
purple-blue, with its skin of suet,
its skin of gristle, this isolate,
this caved hermit, unshelled 
turtle, this one lungful of blood,
no happy plateful.

All hearts float in their own
deep oceans of no light,
wetblack and glimmering,
their four mouths gulping like fish.
Hearts are said to pound:
this is to be expected, the heart’s 
regular struggle against being drowned.

But most hearts say, I want, I want,
I want, I want. My heart
is more duplicitous,
though to twin as I once thought.
It says, I want, I don’t want, I
want, and then a pause.
It forces me to listen,

and at night it is the infra-red
third eye that remains open
while the other two are sleeping
but refuses to say what it has seen.

It is a constant pestering
in my ears, a caught moth, limping drum,
a child’s fist beating
itself against the bedsprings:
I want, I don’t want.
How can one live with such a heart?

Long ago I gave up singing
to it, it will never be satisfied or lulled.
One night I will say to it:
Heart, be still,
and it will.

Margaret Atwood

Teleology - David Ward

Wouldn't everything have been alot easier,
if: Arriving at the Terminal
the lovers missed each other, and wandered
aimless in the bar, the other leafing magazines
they both picked up casual
conversations with strangers which quickly moved
with an audible click,
brushing a lock of hair, having a second drink,
to something else, from which
brush contact they both danced slowly and then
suddenly into long loves full
of children and delight. Thus forestalling the
inevitable slow slough of boredom
and middle class routine - ennui with adultery
outbreaks of broken crockery -
for which a dyspeptic not too attentive God marked them.
So that years later both
tried to recall who it was they were to meet that day
but gave up with a laugh
after a thought's flicker to make dinner and love.
Instead, time unrolled for them as for empires;
drawn through the crowd
electably they met and in a second fell.

David Ward

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Accident - Stephen Knauth

The Accident
Driving the mountain with the windows down
we hit a damp low-slung cloud.
The air cooled, the radio slurred its speech.
A minute later, on the other side,
the sun was shining, but the cloud
had already passed through us.


She gave him pen and ink
in turn he disappeared
invisible ink

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Saturday, November 24, 2012

I am memory alive
not just a name
But an intricate part
of this web of motion,
meaning: earth, sky, stars circling
my heart

—Joy Harjo

Riding the Thundering Horse

Raymond Souster

To be told in print at age sixty-three
that you're not a poet
because what you write aren't poems,
isn't the help it might have been
at, say, twenty-three.
Then perhaps you might have shaken the habit,
tried booze or more sex to compensate,
come out fairly unshaken.
Now, unfortunately, it's much too late,
for better or for worse you're hooked,
must ride the thundering horse
hanging on any way you can:
not the most graceful way to go,
but even to be allowed to touch those great white flanks
is a privilege and pleasure,
which the little man with the quivering pen
could never, never comprehend.

Judging a poem is like judging a pudding or a machine. One demands that it work. Poetry succeeds because all or most of what is said or implied is relevant; what is irrelevant has been excluded, like lumps from pudding and 'bugs' from machinery. (Wimsatt & Beardsley)

Thursday, November 22, 2012

I Said Yes I Meant No - Dean Young

People are compelled to be together good and bad.
You've agreed to shrimp with the geology couple.
If you like one 85% and the other 35%,
that's not so bad.
You need to like one at least 70%
and like the other not less than 25%
otherwise it's agonizing and pointless
like being crucified without religious significance.
Averages are misleading:
I like that couple 110% could mean
each is appreciated 55% which will not kill you
but neither will sleeping in your own urine.
One should like oneself between 60 and 80%.
Under 45%, one becomes an undertaking,
prone to eating disorders, public weeping,
useless for gift wrapping and relay races.
Over 85% means you are a self-involved bore
I don't care about your Nobel Prize in positrons
or your dogsled victories.
Of course there is great variance throughout the day.
You may feel 0% upon first waking
but that is because you do not yet know you exist
which is why baby studies have been a bust.
Then as you venture forth to boil water,
you may feel a sudden surge to 90%,
Hey, I'm GOOD at boiling water!
which may be promptly counteracted by turning on your e-mail.
It is important not to let variance become too extreme,
a range of 40% is allowable,
beyond that it is as great storms upon drought-stricken land;
i.e., mudslides.
Sugar, retirement plans, impending jail time
all are influential factors.
Generally, most data has been gathered
regarding raising percentages,
the modern world it is argued is plentiful
with opportunities of negative effect.
The tanker splits and the shore birds turn black and lose their ability to float.
Sometimes a good scrub is all that's needed.
A fresh shirt.
Shock therapy has never been fully discounted
and people have felt significant surges
from backpacking in remote and elevated areas,
a call home.
Yet the very same may backfire,
Thwamp, thwamp, the helicopter lowers the rescue crew,
the phone slammed down.
Each case is profoundly nuanced
like the lock systems of Holland.
Some, frankly, are beyond help,
but if you are a tall woman, wear shoes that make you look taller!
Candy corn, what kind of person doesn't like candy corn?
Tell that 70/35% rock couple you cannot come,
you forgot your fencing lesson,
your cat had a puppy,
your tongue is green,
you are in fact dying.

Dean Young

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


It didn't behave
like anything you had
ever imagined. The wind
tore at the trees, the rain
fell for days slant and hard.
The back of the hand
to everything. I watched
the trees bow and their leaves fall
and crawl back into the earth.
As though, that was that.
This was one hurricane
I lived through, the other one
was of a different sort, and
lasted longer. Then
I felt my own leaves giving up and
falling. The back of the hand to
But listen now to what happened
to the actual trees;
toward the end of that summer they
pushed new leaves from their stubbed limbs.
It was the wrong season, yes,
but they couldn't stop. They
looked like telephone poles and didn't
care. And after the leaves came
blossoms. For some things
there are no wrong seasons.
Which is what I dream of for me. 

Mary Oliver

Hard day at the office....

Sunday, November 18, 2012


wood and titanium
so many rings
surround his dead heart


he ripped pulp from rind
sucked juice
oblivious to her sticky tears


Don't break my heart -
he shook his head
ice cracked and melted

All's Fair in Love & War

He hits delete -
one key 
she doesn't exist

On Silence & Paper Planes

Her pet peeve -
no sound
at 35,000 feet

Not Love

No regrets
her flower stripped
she loves him 


petals stripped
stern to stem -
he loves her not


Today is the day
she lets it all fly -
so many paper planes


One day she will live 
on a rooftop in Paris 
smoggy wings free 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Delicacy after Devastation

I may need to write a poem with that title......

Perhaps when letters took longer
they meant more

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Saturday, November 10, 2012

The field of red poppies

Grass is Greener

The grass is always greener
after a summer storm
after dusting off
the last book she wrote
for you.

On the other side of the keyhole
such paradise until
you enter and begin
to trash the room once
so sacred.

Where did we come from?
Where did we go?
Everyone alone
wandering through
fields full of red poppies.

I Miss Summer.....

I Don't Believe in Silence

and in remembrance of Nov 2012 -

Because, tonight -
however I try - I cannot get downstairs
without waking my daughter
I do not believe in silence.

Because of the Warboys enquiry,
because of the two hundred-plus women he raped –
because of the policeman defending the findings
unable to utter the word -
“this (herrrrm) crime, this (ahem)
assault, this category (cough)
of offence” –
I do not believe in silence

because of the stairs and the banister’s crack;
the sound of the lock
and my hand on the door - the fifty-tone creak -
the magnificent echo of light-switch and click -
I do not believe in silence

Because of Neda - and everyone’s sister -
and the man who said ‘Don’t be afraid’;
for the sake of my daughter, because of the burkha,
because of the patter of rain;
because of two hundred-thousand years
of human history,
thirty-seven of them my own –
I do not believe in silence

for the sake of my arms, the wrists especially.
With respect to my legs
and my belly and chest
and the comfort long due to my throat

because of nightclubs at one am
and shouts in the street and feet in pursuit
and shops that don’t shut;
because of sirens and the dealers downstairs;
because of Levi and Akhmatova
because of the blue-lipped prisoner;
the itch and the scratch of my pen;

I believe in the word.
I believe in the scrabble of claws
on uncarpeted floors.
I believe in my daughter’s complaints.
I believe in the violin, the E-string,
the see-sawing bow; the cello
straining its throat.

I believe in the heart and its beat
and its beep and the dance of the trace
on the screen, I believe in the volume
of colour turned up, and my blood
which was always too loud.

Because of nights, and the sweats,
and the same rowdy thoughts;
because that one afternoon
when I nailed my own voice to the air
and because there was nobody listening
and through it all
and the sound of cars passing -
I do not believe in silence.

Claire Shaw


in remembrance of Nov 2008

He didn't leave he floated 
away as if he'd just done
a line of cocaine

(not that she would know
what a line does to gravity)

No sound of footsteps

there she was
left floating too

(in Marilyn's favorite pool)

white fingers
stars pressed to a desert ceiling

My New Purchase! Also 'The City Never Sleeps'

City That Does Not Sleep

In the sky there is nobody asleep. Nobody, nobody.
Nobody is asleep.
The creatures of the moon sniff and prowl about their cabins.
The living iguanas will come and bite the men who do not dream,
and the man who rushes out with his spirit broken will meet on the
street corner
the unbelievable alligator quiet beneath the tender protest of the

Nobody is asleep on earth. Nobody, nobody.
Nobody is asleep.
In a graveyard far off there is a corpse
who has moaned for three years
because of a dry countryside on his knee;
and that boy they buried this morning cried so much
it was necessary to call out the dogs to keep him quiet.

Life is not a dream. Careful! Careful! Careful!
We fall down the stairs in order to eat the moist earth
or we climb to the knife edge of the snow with the voices of the dead
But forgetfulness does not exist, dreams do not exist;
flesh exists. Kisses tie our mouths
in a thicket of new veins,
and whoever his pain pains will feel that pain forever
and whoever is afraid of death will carry it on his shoulders.

One day
the horses will live in the saloons
and the enraged ants
will throw themselves on the yellow skies that take refuge in the
eyes of cows.

Another day
we will watch the preserved butterflies rise from the dead
and still walking through a country of gray sponges and silent boats
we will watch our ring flash and roses spring from our tongue.
Careful! Be careful! Be careful!
The men who still have marks of the claw and the thunderstorm,
and that boy who cries because he has never heard of the invention
of the bridge,
or that dead man who possesses now only his head and a shoe,
we must carry them to the wall where the iguanas and the snakes
are waiting,
where the bear's teeth are waiting,
where the mummified hand of the boy is waiting,
and the hair of the camel stands on end with a violent blue shudder.

Nobody is sleeping in the sky. Nobody, nobody.
Nobody is sleeping.
If someone does close his eyes,
a whip, boys, a whip!
Let there be a landscape of open eyes
and bitter wounds on fire.
No one is sleeping in this world. No one, no one.
I have said it before.

No one is sleeping.
But if someone grows too much moss on his temples during the
open the stage trapdoors so he can see in the moonlight
the lying goblets, and the poison, and the skull of the theaters. 
The History of Men
Jack Gilbert

It thrashes in the oaks and soughs in the elms.
Catches on innocence and soon dismantles that.
Sends children bewildered into life. Childhood
ends and is not buried. The young men ride out
and fall off, the horses wandering away. They get
on boats, are carried downstream, discover maidens.
They marry them without meaning to, meaning no harm,
the language beyond them. So everything ends.
Divorce gets them nowhere. They drift away from
the ruined women without noticing. See birds
high up and follow."Out of earshot," they think,
puzzled by earshot. History driving them forward,
making a noise like the wind in maples, of women
in their dresses. It stings their hearts finally.
It wakes them up, baffled in the middle of their lives
on a small bare island, the sea blue and empty,
the days stretching all the way to the horizon.

Not the End of The World

Not the End of The World
“Unhand her, vagabond,” was my one line
in the school play. I had the part of the cop,
a minor role compared to Beth Levine’s,
the heroine, or Billy Wiesenkopf’s,
the vagabond. Still, I took my part seriously.
So although he forgot to take her hand, right on cue
I yelled, “Unhand her, vagabond,” and it struck me
and everyone else, that my line made no sense. Then I knew:
this is the kind of mistake that will end the world;
a question of bad timing will hang in the air
like an empty trapeze swinging above the smoke
of that final disaster. Someone will utter a word
too late to take back, reach for a hand that’s not there,
and “It’s not the end of the world,” will not be spoken. 

Paul Hostovsky