Resurrection: The 2006 Poetry Thread

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It has been a while since anyone contributed to the most recent ILB Poetry Thread. Yet, there seems to be a certain yearning for such a thread. Thus, I offer up a clean slate for ILB'ers to scribble on.

In previous ILB Poetry Threads quoting the poetry of others was the be-all and end-all. In this thread, you may also post your own poems, alongside those of more established poets. Just be sure to credit the author.

Aimless (Aimless), Friday, 27 January 2006 19:03 (sixteen years ago) link

Survival of the Fittest

I realize as I
Cast out over the lake
At thirteen thousand feet -
I don't know where you are.
It has been years since we
Married and had children
By people neither of
Us knew in the old days.
But I still catch fish with flies
Made from your blonde pubic hair.

- Kenneth Rexroth -

Aimless (Aimless), Friday, 27 January 2006 19:07 (sixteen years ago) link

Aunt Mabel

This town is haunted by some good deed
that reappears like a country cousin, or truth
when language falters these days trying to lie,
because Aunt Mabel, an old lady gone now, would
accost even strangers to give bright flowers
away, quick as a striking snake. It's deeds like this
have weakened me, shaken by intermittent trust,
stricken with friendliness.

Our Senator talked like war, and Aunt Mabel
said, "He's a brilliant man,
but we didn't elect him that much."

Everyone's resolve weakens toward evening
or in a flash when a face melds - a stranger's, even -
reminded for an instant between menace and fear:
There are Aunt Mabels all over the world,
or their graves in the rain.

- William Stafford -

Aimless (Aimless), Friday, 27 January 2006 19:31 (sixteen years ago) link

These are all for Lauren Naylors excellent Pretend Im Someone Else zine out next month

your a whore(and i shouldnt love you)
your a whore and i should not love you
but its kinda hard to stop
noone has the control in their thumbs that u exercise
and grapple my ass with
nobody slips it "under the mat" w plum filled ease that u display
i cant get anyone over tonight to speak in slime covered syllables,each one dropped onto th floor carving acid words into my carpet
your a whore and i love you for that
let knowledge of your seams be a secret
pussssss hyyyyyttt pusssshhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Waiting in the bedroom for you to come out of the bathroom now.It's been 5 years since I've seen you
break apart the pillows like that.A low rider sits on the dresser staring at me,pretending to be a high roller.
All the dust on th floor is muddy from your showered feet,big blocks of rain steaming in your hair.Someone has
painted a big "2" on your back,intended to mark territory I guess,I wipe it off w some turpentine and spit out
the seedy taste.Massive sirens go off in the courtyard and I get up to look out the window,the old hotel
towel falling off of me.There is an old man filming some police trying to put a car fire out below.Clocks are
running low on batteries in here and I can hear you rustling your body into bed.Partly whipped,fresh splotches of
dew crud all over your eyelids.It can't be all this easy,positioned under you,beneath the lordloch,I see the light.
Seperating your legs,pulling down your boys size 4 underwear,why do you girls love them?You don't look boyish.Especially when
the tongue gets in there and performs,big dances up yur ass,all around that puffed ring o now whats that sound..drizzle drizzle lil sweet shirt
Harken to me now,make it tighter,What if I never get enough of it,and go crazy when it;s all gone,The hold on me the hole on me.Alright yur asleep.good.i need a rest too

there will come a day
there will come a day when all yur hair is gone
pulled out by lovers not as tender as I
dry spots and hearing loss will mount you
and the hard lines u have gained
which i ignore in th light
can tell me where u have gone
before me

muffled black blanket
i was in th tub w lizzy
makin sexzy fizzys
when mama dropped a knocker
upon my lil stocking
grabbing up my doodles
i made sum soba noodles
and dreamed of u in rubber
again,in th tubber
the water was so stinky
til flower laid Ms Pibbsy
and poked it in the ribbsy
I can smell another gold coq

Terry was a middleman,he took a lil cut from each deal we made w him.Stacy made veal out
of him one night while he was counting his money in th hallway.I never got involved in th cutting cuzz I am afraid of teaching it to th kids.Stacy unzipped a boot,her last one,and cleaned the lip off of it.She was a nice lady,and I wanted her on fire.Her last job fired her for being plucky.Stacy never got off.It was horrible.I would fall asleep licking her cunt,my face covered in her phlegm,sleeping and dreaming of her cumming.But it never happened.She took me to the Tate and fucked me behind a painting.A horrible painting of a boy being thrown into a car full of dead wolves.She fucked me and smeared it on the painting.The guard caught her smoking in the bathroom and she put a mascara wand thru his eye.i still have it in a box,She is great.I love her

dan bunnybrain (dan bunnybrain), Friday, 27 January 2006 21:09 (sixteen years ago) link

Finbalanced Cutt-
i was so old and i was so old i was s o old i scare myself through and through

you promised me a piece of your memory

now i afraid i have come to collect on that debt

clip clop horsey go clip clipo horsey go in the morning light in the morninght light morning light morning light morning lighhhhht morrrning morninggggg morrrrninggggg mornnniiiingg ahhhhhh come youe tear the camberwell to chambermaid and the holes you made and the holes yo made in the tricia baked walls wells of (change mermaid and the morning you made all the halls you made in the ship shop shaped) in the tricia baked walls wolstencraft manor

wont you overlook the things that we do for love

HMS Pinafive-












dan bunnybrain (dan bunnybrain), Friday, 27 January 2006 21:39 (sixteen years ago) link

helplessly devoted to you i

all of the things you do make all afire

thrown on the pyre all inholding to my heart pieces of your char coal come into haeart pieces of your char

we'd f

tell me

tell me how you got here


oh cheryl my heart went out to you

oh sweet cheryl

my heart went out to you

im gonna give you all i get now

isnt that enough my friend im gonna show you waht i can do in the end im gonna

sundays come and gone

devils on your porch chewin up ypour bath tub devils on your saturady schedule hold me blankets are wrapped tight tighter than tight hold me blankets are wrapped quite tight

cold and lonely you were then

cold than lonely your were then

harder than rock you were then

hold me

to the rock and heart

crazy to even want to change me

than you w ill have a holey part to your heart

hard load out on the meadow can you believe i ve go t this far hard road out on the meadow

can you believe tht i go this far away wait!!!!!!!!crazy rain old macdonal(pullin me down) again and again

i feel for you

your like the ant

and i feel for you

stay away the frog hollow

meadow stay away the hog collr meadow

call me whenver you want call me

sure nuff you had some bad times

sure nuff there was some impermanent rhymes

sure nuff there was hard shu


sure nuff there was courtship i

dont want to take anything away from you

something you worked so hard to build to

yur an aligator in the sewer

anything that gets you high gets you lower eventually

anything that gets you high gets you lower eventually

well i guess it coulda been worse

you coulda been fishin the last dimes out of my purse

but instead your just sitting here on the table

waiting fir operations

when were able

to hold the scalpel nice and neat

cut through the brain tissue t

hrough the meat

dan bunnybrain (dan bunnybrain), Friday, 27 January 2006 21:40 (sixteen years ago) link

so, can anyone summarise the plot of 'the love song of j alfred prufrock'?

tom west (thomp), Friday, 27 January 2006 21:45 (sixteen years ago) link

Mr. bunnybrain, thank you. It was very sweet of you to come and enliven our eybrows in that way.

Mr. west, no, but we can misquote a variety of lines from it.

Aimless (Aimless), Friday, 27 January 2006 22:37 (sixteen years ago) link

I'll just move this over from that David Orr thread, then.

The Pier Aspiring

See if you can see how far out it goes; see? You can't see the end!
I'd take you out there
but it's a six hour walk
and the work redundant: one board laid down after another.
When the sun is high
the boards are hot.
Splinters always pose a problem walking any other way but straight.
What keeps me working on it, driving piles,
hauling timber, what's kept my hand
on the hammer, the barnacle scraper,
what keeps me working through the thirst,
the nights when the waves' tops pound
the pier from beneath, what keeps me glad
for the work, the theory is, despite the ridicule
at the lumberyard, the treks with pails
of nails (my arms
2cm longer each trip), the theory
is this: it's my body's habit,
hand over foot, pay check to pay check,
it's in the grain of my bones,
lunch box to lunch bucket.
It's good to wear an X
on my back, to bend my back to the sky, it's right
to use the hammer and the saw,
it's good to sleep
out there — attached at one distant end
and tomorrow adding to that distance.
The theory
is: It will be a bridge.

Thomas Lux

Beth Parker (Beth Parker), Friday, 27 January 2006 23:57 (sixteen years ago) link

In part for Ann Sterzinger's delictation, I present this...

A Fragment of a Greek Tragedy


O suitably-attired-in-leather-boots
Head of a traveler, wherefore seeking whom
Whence by what way how purposed art thou come
To this well-nightengaled vicinity?
My object in enquiring is to know,
But if you happen to be deaf and dumb
And do not understand a word I say,
Then wave your hand, to signify as much.


I journeyed hither a Boeotian road.

CHO: Sailing on horseback, or with feet for oars?
ALC: Plying with speed my partnership of legs.
CHO: Beneath a shining or a rainy Zeus?
ALC: Mud's sister, not himself, adorns my shoes.
CHO: To learn your name would not displease me much.
ALC: Not all that men desire do they obtain.
CHO: Might I then hear at what your presence shoots?
ALC: A shepard's questioned mouth informed me that-
CHO: What? for I know not yet what you will say-
ALC: Nor will you ever, if you interrupt.
CHO: Proceed, and I will hold my speechless tongue.
ALC: - This house was Eriphyla's, no one's else.
CHO: Nor did he shame his throat with hateful lies.
ALC: May I then enter, passing through the door?


Go, chase into the house a lucky foot.
And, O my son, be, on the one hand, good,
And do not, on the other hand, be bad;
For that is very much the safest plan.


I go into the house with heels and speed...

[This parody continues, but I shall cut it short here.]

- A.E. Housman -

Aimless (Aimless), Saturday, 28 January 2006 01:40 (sixteen years ago) link

CHO: What? for I know not yet what you will say-

I have got to start working this moment into my everyday conversations.

Casuistry (Chris P), Saturday, 28 January 2006 08:56 (sixteen years ago) link

i thank You God for most this amazing
day: for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun's birthday; this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings: and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any--lifted from the no
of all nothing--human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

e.e. cummings

I'm glad to see a ressurection of this thread! I've been sick with the flu, but today I am better--the ears of my ears are awake now and the eyes of my eyes are opened. (i who have died--almost--am alive again today!

pepektheassassin (pepektheassassin), Saturday, 28 January 2006 19:34 (sixteen years ago) link

And one more, of William Stafford's, for the Bunnybrain:


For the past.
For my own path.
For surprises.

For mistakes that worked so well.
For tomorrow if I'm there.
For the next real thing.

Then for carrying it all
through whatever is necessary.
For following the little god who speaks only to me.

pepektheassassin (pepektheassassin), Saturday, 28 January 2006 20:42 (sixteen years ago) link

That was Flopsy up there a ways wasn't it?
From the sweltering southern land....


Hold in the hollow of your palm
this carapace so delicate
one breath would send it spinning down,
yet strong enough to bear the stress
of ebb, flow, metamorphosis
from skin to shell.

Seasons have scoured
this beautiful abandoned house
from which are gone eyes, sinews, all
taken-for-granted gifts.

I hold
in my unhoused continuing self
the memory that is wisdom's price
for what survives and grows beneath
old skies, old stars.

Fresh mornings rim
the carapace of night with gold.
The sandgrains shine, the rockpools brim
with tides that bring and bear away
new healing images of day.

Gwen Harwood

sandy mc (sandy mc), Sunday, 29 January 2006 02:33 (sixteen years ago) link

This was something I whipped up in a short time, just for the hell of it. I'm sure it's pretty horrible, but I had fun with it.

(Il ragazzo scrive...)

Voglio esaminare le profondità delle loro anime;
Voglio sapire tutti i particolari delle loro vite,
Affinchè possa capire quello che scrivono,
O, piutosto io sono troppo, troppo curioso!

Altre persone pensono che lui sia troppo ambizioso,
volendo scrivere come Dante o Petrarca...
Infatti quello che ha scritto non è maestoso,
Anche lui lo sa!

Se tu volessi altre poesie da lui, forse...
Lui scriverebbe di più!
In un giorno, in una settimana, in un mese
O, piutosto forse lui guarda il tivu!

I dashed off this rather nonsensical verse
In the hopes that, maybe, I might disperse
To write in Italian for your eyes' vacillations!


Well, to give this thread a more significant contribution, here is John Donne's "The Undertaking":

I HAVE done one braver thing
Than all the Worthies did ;
And yet a braver thence doth spring,
Which is, to keep that hid.

It were but madness now to impart
The skill of specular stone,
When he, which can have learn'd the art
To cut it, can find none.

So, if I now should utter this,
Others—because no more
Such stuff to work upon, there is—
Would love but as before.

But he who loveliness within
Hath found, all outward loathes,
For he who color loves, and skin,
Loves but their oldest clothes.

If, as I have, you also do
Virtue in woman see,
And dare love that, and say so too,
And forget the He and She ;

And if this love, though placèd so,
From profane men you hide,
Which will no faith on this bestow,
Or, if they do, deride ;

Then you have done a braver thing
Than all the Worthies did ;
And a braver thence will spring,
Which is, to keep that hid.

mj (robert blake), Tuesday, 31 January 2006 06:52 (sixteen years ago) link

Haha: sapire = sapere. I didn't see any other mistakes, though, surprisingly!

mj (robert blake), Tuesday, 31 January 2006 07:01 (sixteen years ago) link

I salute and envy your bilinguality!
Here's a sorbet:


Tom asked, Are those sharks? and I looked.
We were teetering warily along a narrow strip
of planks laid in a long arc on top of the water.

With each step the planks sunk a bit beneath
the surface but still seemed firm, vanishing
in front and behind, spanning the bay. It was

almost sunset after a day of unsettled weather.
Ahead through a split in thick clouds the sun
hung a few inches over the water, pouring forth

its red and golden radiance. My feet were wet
but I felt calm as I scanned the horizon for sharks.
Most nights my dreams are all work, a ditch

I keep digging in my sleep, but this one came
as a gift, for far to the south I saw a commotion
in the water—row after row of some creature,

plunging ahead, rising and sinking, like horses,
but not horses, with ears flapping behind them
and their muzzles raised. The day's last light

shone on their wet fur—brindle or tan, black
or spotted with white—hundreds, stretching off
in the distance, a furious energy of forward motion

as their paws broke the surface and they arced
through the white froth. They had nothing to do
with us, but would cross our path a short way

farther on. Tom and I had paused in our careful
progression. No, I said, they're not sharks. They're
Great Danes. Oh, said my friend, I was wondering.

For Thomas Lux
Stephen Dobyns

Beth Parker (Beth Parker), Tuesday, 31 January 2006 15:53 (sixteen years ago) link

Pepek Grieves: Christmas Eve

Before the fog comes in,
Obscuring an unfinished moon
And no stars,
And landlocked figures moving
In and out of sight
Heads bent like grey ghosts
In scarves and boots
Down slick well-lit streets,
Pepek, my Uncle,
Measures his life
Through the iced fishbone window
Of a Volkswagon
With a defunct defroster
And a dead battery.
His eye is frozen
On this wide white river
Of hooded strangers hurrying off.
His only company.
What shall Pepek do but sit here
And stare? What
Would Cobra Commander do?
For three days, Bata his beloved
Has praised death, that glacier
Of night, praised the fever,
Praised the pervasive sweat
That drains into the black hole
Of her Hereafter.
Death is the bellowing bull Muse
That comes at the end.
All day she bears its fumbling weight
Between her breasts, belly to belly,
While the priest pronounces Christ.
What should Pepek do
But wait here where he is,
Since all his Allelulias stink
Like so much garbage.
What would Cobra Commander do?

pepektheassassin (pepektheassassin), Tuesday, 31 January 2006 17:23 (sixteen years ago) link

The Moor

It was like a church to me.
I entered it on soft foot,
Breath held like a cap in the hand.
It was quiet.
What God was there made himself felt,
Not listened to, in clean colours
That brought a moistening to the eye,
In movement of the wind over grass.

There were no prayers said. But stillness
Of the heart's passions - that was praise
Enough ; and the mind's cession
Of its kingdom. I walked on,
Simple and poor, while the air crumbled
And broke on me generously as bread.

- R.S. Thomas -

Aimless (Aimless), Thursday, 2 February 2006 01:30 (sixteen years ago) link


Archel (Archel), Thursday, 2 February 2006 11:22 (sixteen years ago) link

Interesting guy. I didn't know about him. Amazing how that bread image works. Why would it work? It just does. After the more abstract associations (which are more to the point) my skittering brain moved on to an image of breadcrumb-fed pond ducks. Not that it's aprpopriate to the feel of the poem. Far from being warmed by gratitude, ducks just get frantic and greedy. In a better world, ducks would feel like we feel at the end of that poem. Ah! A benificent rain of bread!

Beth Parker (Beth Parker), Thursday, 2 February 2006 15:33 (sixteen years ago) link

Maybe they do feel like that after they've eaten the bread.

I love R.S. Thomas. Can I post some too?

Archel (Archel), Thursday, 2 February 2006 17:12 (sixteen years ago) link


The furies are at home
in the mirror; it is their address.
Even the clearest water,
if deep enough can drown.

Never think to surprise them.
Your face approaching ever
so friendly is the white flag
they ignore. There is no truce

with the furies. A mirror's temperature
is always at zero. It is ice
in the veins. Its camera
is an X-ray. It is a chalice

held out to you in
silent communion, where gaspingly
you partake of a shifting
identity never your own.

Archel (Archel), Thursday, 2 February 2006 17:14 (sixteen years ago) link


dan bunnybrain (dan bunnybrain), Thursday, 2 February 2006 17:22 (sixteen years ago) link

Poor Side of The Street
can you hear the bristling of the copper
the wooden sleeves stiffening with pride
the long way you had to go
gaze at the moment as you know it
help the drifter plants from drying out
vanish into my careful garage
kisses hang the best

dan bunnybrain (dan bunnybrain), Thursday, 2 February 2006 17:25 (sixteen years ago) link

Mary Had My Hands
Mostly just from drying these towels full of tears.
I saw the impossible heights of it.
Breaking down on a flat of pressed cardboard.
Listening to the last words.
I finally felt seriously inside.
Pots teeming.
All these days have been hidden from you now.
Like it?

dan bunnybrain (dan bunnybrain), Thursday, 2 February 2006 17:29 (sixteen years ago) link

that like it? is part of th poem,im not seeking approval,,hahahahaha

dan bunnybrain (dan bunnybrain), Thursday, 2 February 2006 17:43 (sixteen years ago) link

Nonetheless, you have found it.

Beth Parker (Beth Parker), Thursday, 2 February 2006 18:33 (sixteen years ago) link

R.S. Thomas, for some reason I cannot fathom, apparently never had a U.S. publisher. Consequently, he is almost unknown here. A pity.

Aimless (Aimless), Thursday, 2 February 2006 18:59 (sixteen years ago) link

I like you Mr B. I really like you.

pepektheassassin (pepektheassassin), Friday, 3 February 2006 00:14 (sixteen years ago) link


There is just something about it—
standing here in nothing but my gunbelt—
that I like.

Ron Koertge

Beth Parker (Beth Parker), Friday, 3 February 2006 03:56 (sixteen years ago) link

I like the Camus one.

Casuistry (Chris P), Friday, 3 February 2006 07:25 (sixteen years ago) link

I am ironing right now (well not RIGHT now as it would be affecting my typing) and suddenly rather wish I had a gunbelt.

Archel (Archel), Saturday, 4 February 2006 14:57 (sixteen years ago) link

sure nuff there was courtship i

dont want to take anything away from you

something you worked so hard to build to

yur an aligator in the sewer

This is good I think! I also really like the Housman and Cummings.

Gravel Puzzleworth (Gregory Henry), Saturday, 4 February 2006 15:19 (sixteen years ago) link

I want an update on Pepek's uncle.

Beth Parker (Beth Parker), Saturday, 4 February 2006 15:58 (sixteen years ago) link


E detto l’ho perché doler ti debbia!
Inferno, xxiv, 151

Snow coming in parallel to the street,
a cab spinning its tires (a rising whine
like a domestic argument, and then
the words get said that never get forgot),

slush and back-up runoff waters at each
corner, clogged buses smelling of wet wool...
The acrid anger of the homeless swells
like wet rice. This slop is where I live, bitch,

a sogged panhandler shrieks to whom it may
concern. But none of us slows down for scorn;
there’s someone’s misery in all we earn.
But like a bur in a dog’s coat his rage

has borrowed legs. We bring it home. It lives
like kin among the angers of the house,
and leaves the same sharp zinc taste in the mouth:
And I have told you this to make you grieve.

—William Matthews

Beth Parker (Beth Parker), Saturday, 4 February 2006 20:04 (sixteen years ago) link

Pepek, my Uncle
The Assassin
Has but one eye.
The other
Is in

pepektheassassin (pepektheassassin), Sunday, 5 February 2006 14:42 (sixteen years ago) link

(oops. sorry. I was accidently interrupted)

A Czeck museum,
Skewered on the point
Of a Krupina policeman's bayonette
Like a pearl onion on a shish-ka-bob.
The policeman, who was beating
His horse,
Swapped his life
For Pepek's eye, a poor trade.


pepektheassassin (pepektheassassin), Sunday, 5 February 2006 14:49 (sixteen years ago) link


Within this black hive to-night
There swarm a million bees;
Bees passing in and out the moon,
Bees escaping out the moon,
Bees returning through the moon,
Silver bees intently buzzing,
Silver honey dripping from the swarm of bees
Earth is a waxen cell of the world comb,
And I, a drone,
Lying on my back,
Lipping honey,
Getting drunk with silver honey,
Wish that I might fly out past the moon
And curl forever in some far-off farmyard flower.

--Jean Toomer

j c (j c), Sunday, 5 February 2006 15:29 (sixteen years ago) link

and one more...


is sorry
a trap called
no dream remembered.

There are no iron creases
in the mind's coat
no past season's shelter
against tonight's rain
every stain
the same
sin of unlonging
like windless brown rags
of summer falling
away from the trees.

--Audre Lorde.

j c (j c), Sunday, 5 February 2006 15:34 (sixteen years ago) link

i loved audre lorde's autobiography. or autoherpsycobiology or whatever she called it. and i have jean toomer's cane all set to read in my to-read pile!

scott seward (scott seward), Sunday, 5 February 2006 17:38 (sixteen years ago) link

I loved the jean toomer too! I don't know her, but I'll get better acquainted soon.

pepektheassassin (pepektheassassin), Sunday, 5 February 2006 17:49 (sixteen years ago) link

HIM! Jean is a guy!

pepektheassassin (pepektheassassin), Monday, 6 February 2006 00:08 (sixteen years ago) link

Wanne mine eyhnen misten,
And mine heren sissen,
And my nose coldeth,
And my tunge foldeth,
And my rude slaketh,
And mine lippes blaken,
And my muth grenneth,
And my spotel renneth,
And myne her riseth,
And mine herte griseth,
And mine honden bivien,
And mine fet stivien -
Al to late! al to late!
Wanne the bere is ate the gate.

Thanne schel I flitte
From bedde to flore,
From flore to here,
From here to bere,
From bere to pitte,
And te pitt fordit.
Thanne lyd mine hus uppe mine nose.
Of al this world ne give I it a pese.

- Anonymous Middle English Poem -

The above translates as:

When my eyes fog over,
And my hearing sizzles [hisses],
And my nose gets cold,
And my tongue folds up,
And my face slackens
And my lips blacken,
And my mouth grins,
And my spittle runs,
And my hair rises,
And my heart trembles,
And my hands shake,
And my feet grow stiff -
All too late! All too late!
When the bier is at the gate.

Then I shall flit
From bed to floor,
From floor to shroud [hair shirt]
From shroud to bier,
From bier to pit [grave],
And the pit closed up.
Then my house rest upon my nose.
As for the world, it won't be worth a pea.

...And you thought Mondays were bad!

Aimless (Aimless), Monday, 6 February 2006 06:23 (sixteen years ago) link

Sounds like a Tom Waits song.

pepektheassassin (pepektheassassin), Monday, 6 February 2006 19:19 (sixteen years ago) link

My house rest upon my nose!!!!!

Beth Parker (Beth Parker), Monday, 6 February 2006 23:35 (sixteen years ago) link

Mingus in Diaspora

Beth Parker (Beth Parker), Tuesday, 7 February 2006 01:41 (sixteen years ago) link

Those wacky html tags.

Mingus in Diaspora

You could say, I suppose, that he ate his way out,
like the prisoner who starts a tunnel with a spoon,
or you could say he was one in whom nothing was lost,
who took it all in, or that he was big as a bus.
He would say, and he did, in one of those blurred
melismatic slaloms his sentences ran—for all
the music was in his speech: swift switches of tempo,
stop-time, double time (he could talk in 6/8),
“I just ruined my body.” And there, Exhibit A,
it stood, the Parthenon of fat, the tenant voice
lifted, as we say, since words are a weight, and music.
Silence is lighter than air, for the air we know
rises but to the edge of the atmosphere.
You have to pick up The Bass, as Mingus called
his, with audible capitals, and think of the slow years
the wood spent as a tree, which might well have been
enough for wood, and think of the skill the bassmaker
carried without great thought of it from home
to the shop and back for decades, and know
what bassists before you have played, and know
how much of this is stored in The Bass like energy
in a spring and know how much you must coax out.
How easy it would be, instead, to pull a sword
from a stone. But what?s inside the bass wants out,
the way one day you will. Religious stories are rich
in symmetry. You must release as much of this hoard
as you can, little by little, in perfect time,
as the work of the body becomes a body of work.

—William Matthews

Beth Parker (Beth Parker), Tuesday, 7 February 2006 01:43 (sixteen years ago) link


Go, bring back the worthless stick.
“Of memory,” I almost added.
But she wouldn?t understand, naturally.
There is the word and the thing
adhering. So far so good.
Metaphor, drawer of drafting tools—
spill it on the study floor, animal says,
that we might at least see
how an expensive ruler tastes.
Yesterday I pissed and barked and ate
because that's what waking means.
Thus has God solved time
for me—here, here. What you call
memory is a long and sweet,
delicious crack of wood in my teeth
I bring back and bring back and bring back.

—Jeffrey Skinner

Beth Parker (Beth Parker), Thursday, 9 February 2006 03:57 (sixteen years ago) link

The World and the Child

Letting his wisdom be the whole of love,
The father tiptoes out, backwards. A gleam
Falls on the child awake and wearied of,

Then, as the door clicks shut, is snuffed. The glove-
Gray afterglow appalls him. It would seem
That letting wisdom be the whole of love

Were pastime even for the bitter grove
Outside, whose owl's white hoot of disesteem
Falls on the child awake and wearied of.

He lies awake in pain, he does not move,
He will not scream. Any who heard him scream
Would let their wisdom be the whole of love.

People have filled the room he lies above.
Their talk, mild variation, chilling theme,
Falls on the child. Awake and wearied of

Mere pain, mere wisdom also, he would have
All the world waking from its winter dream,
Letting its wisdom be. The whole of love
Falls on the child awake and wearied of.

-- James Merrill --

Aimless (Aimless), Tuesday, 14 February 2006 01:49 (sixteen years ago) link

my copy of 'from the other side of the century' finally arrived. sadly it was too massive to bring back from my two days up at college, so it might have to wait, a while.

tom west (thomp), Saturday, 22 April 2006 13:05 (sixteen years ago) link

A poem in answer to a poet who said: I really have no clue what most people are thinking of when they talk about "poetry".

For some folks "poetry" might mean words
that rise up corbelled and corniced,
elaborately carven as Corinthian capitols,
a sort of awful edifice of frozen music
or the death mask of a majestic thought.

For others "poetry" might mean words
that fall all pat and neatly done
patterned in rows as do the pleats
in a schoolgirl uniform's skirt,
which repeat, repeat and repeat.

For others "poetry" might mean words
dark, static, stark and few,
croaks, barks and stutters, bitter as gall;
not dead (you understand) because still jerking,
and yet too dry and hard to have much life.

With the best luck "poetry" means words
that turn and turn and turn about again,
continuing to describe a shape
the mind and lips and heart accept
as easily as leaves drink of the sun.

-- Aimless

Aimless (Aimless), Sunday, 23 April 2006 02:22 (sixteen years ago) link

Anything Is Beautiful If You Say It Is

Under the eglantine
The fretful concubine
Said, "Phooey! Phoo!"
She whispered, "Pfui!"

The demi-monde
On the mezzanine
Said, Phooey!" too,
And a "Hey-de-i-do!"

The bee may have all sweet
For his honey-hive-o,
From the eglantine-o.

And the chandeliers are neat...
But their mignon, marblish glare!
We are cold, the parrots cried,
In a place so debonair.

The Johannisberger, Hans.
I love the metal grapes,
The rusty, battered shapes
Of the pears and of the cheese

And the window's lemon light,
The very will of the nerves,
The crack across the pane,
The dirt along the sill.

-- Wallace Stevens (The Cat With the Mouse's Tail Between His Lips)

Aimless (Aimless), Thursday, 27 April 2006 00:43 (sixteen years ago) link

I prefer you to Stevens, Aimless :)

Although 'the window's lemon light' wow.

Archel (Archel), Thursday, 27 April 2006 08:14 (sixteen years ago) link

It is probably more a matter of your affinity than of my merit, but thank you. You've brightened my day.

Aimless (Aimless), Thursday, 27 April 2006 14:16 (sixteen years ago) link

"Fado Singer" (for Amália Rodrigues)

My skin is pemiced to fault
I am down to hair-roots, down to fibre filters
Of the raw tobacco nerve

Your net is spun of sitar strings
To hold the griefs of gods: I wander long
In tear vaults of the sublime

Queen of night torments, you strain
Sutures of song to bear imposition of the rites
Of living and of death. You

Pluck strange dirges from the storm
Sift rare stones from ashes of the moon, and rise
Night errands to the throne of anguish

Oh there is too much crush of petals
For perfume, too heavy tread of air on mothwing
For a cup of rainbow dust

Too much pain, oh midwife at the cry
Of severance, fingers at the cosmic cord, too vast
The pains of easters for a hint of the eternal.

I wiould be free of your tyranny, free
From sudden plunges of the flesh in earthquake
Beyond all subsidence of sense

I would be free from headlong rides
In rock seams and volcanic veins, drawn by dark steeds
On grey melodic reins.

--Wole Soyinka

Haikunym (Haikunym), Thursday, 27 April 2006 15:51 (sixteen years ago) link

I prefer Aimless to Stevens as well. Stevens is good for about... a line at a time. Or, let's say, a title at a time. There are lots of good titles in Stevens, but poems? I dunno.

I do think Aimless's poem about what poetry means to people doesn't address the people that the original poet might have been confused by. All those meanings make sense.

Casuistry (Chris P), Wednesday, 3 May 2006 23:09 (sixteen years ago) link

Perhaps you might provide an example (or paraphrase) of the so-called poetry that the poet might wonder how it ever could be so called.

Aimless (Aimless), Thursday, 4 May 2006 01:51 (sixteen years ago) link

You should have come to the reading! But I suppose I was mostly thinking of the "tender moments, blandly told, that imply they contain great wisdom" school, something like that. Or maybe I wasn't, it was a while ago!

Casuistry (Chris P), Thursday, 4 May 2006 14:59 (sixteen years ago) link

Ah, yes! The poem that
cannot be told from dull
prose, except by the addition of
line breaks.

Aimless (Aimless), Thursday, 4 May 2006 15:16 (sixteen years ago) link

When I was a child,
my mother said to me,
"Some things are better left
unsaid." When she died,
the hacking that came from
inside her throat was
overwhelming. Now I look
at you, my children, and wonder
whether you have learned that we all,
all of us, must listen.

Casuistry (Chris P), Friday, 5 May 2006 02:47 (sixteen years ago) link

y'all is snarky.

'Pomology', Anselm Hollo

An apple a day
is 365 apples.
A poem a day
is 365 poems.
Most years.
Any doctor will tell you
it is easier to eat an apple
than to make a poem.
It is also easier
to eat a poem
than to make an apple
but only
just. But here
is what you do
to keep the doctor
out of it: publish a poem
on your appletree.
Have an apple
in your next book.

tom west (thomp), Monday, 8 May 2006 01:02 (sixteen years ago) link

two weeks pass...
I shall forget you presently, my dear,
So make the most of this, your little day,
Your little month, your little half a year,
Ere I forget, or die, or move away,
And we are done forever; by and by
I shall forget you, as I said, but now,
If you entreat me with your loveliest lie
I will protest you with my favorite vow.
I would indeed that love were longer-lived,
And oaths were not so brittle as they are,
But so it is, and nature has contrived
To struggle on without a break thus far --
Whether or not we find what we are seeking
Is idle, biologically speaking.

-- Edna St. Vincent Millay

I thought this hovered very nicely between the formal language of traditional sonnetry and the informality of speech, which nicely suits the non-traditional approach to the traditional theme of love. It has a very Cavalier feeling to it and would snuggle up beautifully next to anything written by John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester.

Aimless (Aimless), Wednesday, 24 May 2006 16:08 (sixteen years ago) link



I chopped down the house that you had been saving to live in next summer.
I am sorry, but it was morning, and I had nothing to do
and its wooden beams were so inviting.


We laughed at the hollyhocks together
and then I sprayed them with lye.
Forgive me. I simply do not know what I am doing.


I gave away the money that you had been saving to live on for the next ten years.
The man who asked for it was shabby
and the firm March wind on the porch was so juicy and cold.


Last evening we went dancing and I broke your leg.
Forgive me. I was clumsy, and
I wanted you here in the wards, where I am the doctor!

tom west (thomp), Wednesday, 24 May 2006 16:28 (sixteen years ago) link

(Kenneth Koch.)

tom west (thomp), Wednesday, 24 May 2006 16:32 (sixteen years ago) link

A classic.

Enda really likes those monosyllabic words.

Casuistry (Chris P), Wednesday, 24 May 2006 18:15 (sixteen years ago) link

Edna, even.

Casuistry (Chris P), Wednesday, 24 May 2006 18:16 (sixteen years ago) link

I love Edna.

Archel (Archel), Thursday, 25 May 2006 07:28 (sixteen years ago) link

Now for something completely different.

The following is a poem by a German Minnesinger named Hess von Rinach. If you have a fair idea of how modern German sounds, you can probably figure out how this Middle German ought to sound:

Klageliche not
klage ich von der minne,
daz si mir gebot,
daz ich minne sinne
dar bewante da man mich verderben wil.
hey minnen spil,
durch dich lide ichsende kumbers alze vil.

Wengel rosenvar,
wolgestellet kinne,
ougen luter klar,
minneclichiu tinne
hat si, diu mir krenket leben unde lip.
hey saelic wip,
dur din besten tugende mir min leit vertrip.

Sueze troesterin,
troeste mine sinne
dur die minne din.
in der minne ich brinne,
von der minne fiure lide ich sende not.
hey mundel rot,
wilt du mich niht troesten, sich, so bin ich tot.

Since I certainly can't expect any one here to understand that Middle German, I append this clumsy prose translation:

From love I bemoan my pitiful state, that she has disordered all my senses, so as to wreck me. Hey, love's passion! For your sake I feel love's pain all too much.

Rose red cheeks, full-formed chin, and a lovely brow she has, who weakens me in my life and limb. Hey, blessed woman! With your best strength banish my sickness.

Sweet consoler, comfort my senses through your love. In love I burn. In love's fires I suffer from yearning. Hey, mouth so red! If you don't comfort me, then (you'll see) I'm dead.

Finally, here is my verse translation:

I sing a lament,
love's message set twisted,
since I've become bent
and my senses misted
by a passion that misled me into ruin.
Hey, love's tune!
I sing its sorrowed service late and soon.

Cheeks of petal red,
soft by a lovely chin,
with faultless forhead,
and lucid eyes set in.
At her bypassage I breathe faintly.
Hey, so saintly!
Use your beauty to restore, not pain me.

My one consoler
consent to heal me,
cure me of dolor.
I am burned with love's heat
and my song's warmth comes from an ember bed.
Hey, lips of red!
Send no kind of comfort and you pronounce me dead.

-- Aimless

Aimless (Aimless), Thursday, 25 May 2006 17:44 (sixteen years ago) link

Lines On A Young Lady's Photograph Album

At last you yielded up the album, which
Once open, sent me distracted. All your ages
Matte and glossy on the thick black pages!
Too much confectionery, too rich:
I choke on such nutritious images.

My swivel eye hungers from pose to pose --
In pigtails, clutching a reluctant cat;
Or furred yourself, a sweet girl-graduate;
Or lifting a heavy-headed rose
Beneath a trellis, or in a trilby-hat

(Faintly disturbing, that, in several ways) --
From every side you strike at my control,
Not least through those these disquieting chaps who loll
At ease about your earlier days:
Not quite your class, I'd say, dear, on the whole.

But o, photography! as no art is,
Faithful and disappointing! that records
Dull days as dull, and hold-it smiles as frauds,
And will not censor blemishes
Like washing-lines, and Hall's-Distemper boards,

But shows a cat as disinclined, and shades
A chin as doubled when it is, what grace
Your candour thus confers upon her face!
How overwhelmingly persuades
That this is a real girl in a real place,

In every sense empirically true!
Or is it just the past? Those flowers, that gate,
These misty parks and motors, lacerate
Simply by being over; you
Contract my heart by looking out of date.

Yes, true; but in the end, surely, we cry
Not only at exclusion, but because
It leaves us free to cry. We know what was
Won't call on us to justify
Our grief, however hard we yowl across

The gap from eye to page. So I am left
To mourn (without a chance of consequence)
You, balanced on a bike against a fence;
To wonder if you'd spot the theft
Of this one of you bathing; to condense,

In short, a past that no one now can share,
No matter whose your future; calm and dry,
It holds you like a heaven, and you lie
Unvariably lovely there,
Smaller and clearer as the years go by.

-- Philip Larkin

o. nate (onate), Thursday, 25 May 2006 18:37 (sixteen years ago) link

three weeks pass...

Your luna moths bring poems to my eyes,
Your oriflamme brings banners to my slums;
You are fat and beautiful, rich and ugly,
A boiler with gold leaf floral decorations;
You are a hard plush chair with sloping shoulders
In which Victoria, like a kangaroo,
Raises her blazing arms to a poem by Mr. Tennyson.

In the sewing machine of your mind you mend my flags,
Under your forehead fatted sheep are feeding,
Falcons are climbing at unwritten speeds,
Adding machines are singing your arias,
Your motor playing chess with continents,
With Quincy, Illinois, with Hell, New Jersey,
Halting on Oriental rugs in Fez.
Beautiful are your fine cartouches,
Your organ pipes externalized like tusks.

If only I could put my arm around you,
If only I could look you in the eye,
I would tell you a grave joke about turtles' eggs,
But there are always your ostrich plumes,
The hydrangeas drooping between your breasts.
I am afraid of your prosthetic wrists,
The mason jars of your white corpuscles.

For Christmas I will send you Maeterlinck's Life of the Bee.

Priests are praying for your beautiful passengers;
Sacraments are burning in your barley-sugar lighthouses;
You carry wild lawyers over yellow bridges;
Your soul as slow as honey coils in vats.

Voluptuous feather-plated Pegasus,
You carry the horizontal thoughtful dead
To gold greens and to sculpture yards of peace.
On leafy springs, O Love, O Death,
Your footfall is the silence that perfects.

I see you everywhere except in dreams.

-- Karl Shapiro --

[Several wonderful images (tusks!) and a quite deft demonstration of the proper use of irony.]

Aimless (Aimless), Thursday, 15 June 2006 18:39 (sixteen years ago) link

Crows will separate to nest
And raise woodstraw strewn
Leftover sucklers of pups
Who scream when lonely
Like broken glass.

They will chitter to attract mates
And offer tasty meals of rot.
Crows kiss with clacking
And though feathers are well spit-slicked sleek
Their stubby little wings can't hug.

From those high up separate carrion nests
They perch and observe this Saturday night.
Monocled heads cocked and sporting suede vests--
On the watch for rotten food,
They'll ignore the bewildering plumaged sights
As people, idiot creatures, flock.

Sterling Clover (s_clover), Sunday, 25 June 2006 00:22 (sixteen years ago) link

Your own work?

Aimless (Aimless), Sunday, 25 June 2006 04:43 (sixteen years ago) link


Sterling Clover (s_clover), Sunday, 25 June 2006 08:28 (sixteen years ago) link

It is not enough that a poem be praised. It should be properly attributed. There is more than enough ignorance about and its cure is simple.

Aimless (Aimless), Sunday, 25 June 2006 13:54 (sixteen years ago) link

well then, my apologies. by the way, i call it "city crows." it's not quite there, but i haven't turned out something, much less something i somewhat like, in quite some time so i felt a rush to share.

Sterling Clover (s_clover), Monday, 26 June 2006 00:37 (sixteen years ago) link

Keep going!

Beth Parker (Beth Parker), Monday, 26 June 2006 00:39 (sixteen years ago) link

The New World Book of Webbs

                    "I have exciting news for you and all Webbs."
                                                            — Miles. S. Webb

The brochure shows a boat passing the Statue of Liberty
while its cargo of immigrants stand gaping,
and one small boy — dressed better than the rest —
watches from a director's chair. He,
obviously, is the Webb. Simple but aristocratic.
Poor, but destined for greatness. Set apart

from the Smiths and Joneses, the Rothblatts
and Steins, the Schmidts and Hampys, the Mancusos
and Malvinos and Mendozas and Tatsuis
and Chus, by "the distinguished Webb name."
Excitement steams from Miles S. Webb's letter to me.
The very type leaps up and down. Just buy

his book, and I will learn (I'm guessing)
about Thomas Webb, famous for his kippered
herring jokes, and Dan Webb of the talking armpits,
and Genevieve Webb, convinced her left
and right feet were reversed. I'll learn the inside story
of Solomon Webb, Dover's greatest circus geek,

and Lady Messalina Webb, transported to Australia
with her husband, Sir Caleb Webb,
son of the merkin-maker Jemmie Webb of Kent.
Best of all, inside the bonus Webb International Directory,
one among 104,352 Webb households in the world,
there I'll be: the very Webb who woke this morning

at 5:53 when his new sprinklers ratcheted on
with the screech of strangled grebes — the Webb
who lolled in bed, loving the artificial rain, then cracked
his drapes and saw fat drops annoint his porch,
and a hummingbird light on a hair-thin twig,
then buzz away when the sprinklers hissed off.

The lawn lay drinking, then — each blade
with its own history, each listed in the Book of Heaven
(Grandma Webb from Yorkshire used to say),
each destined to be cut later this morning by José,
one of 98,998 people to bear (his letter states)
the "brave and glory-dripping name Cortez."

Charles Harper Webb
Amplified Dog
Red Hen Press

Beth Parker (Beth Parker), Sunday, 2 July 2006 23:54 (sixteen years ago) link

Genial. Sorry.

Beth Parker (Beth Parker), Sunday, 2 July 2006 23:59 (sixteen years ago) link

(a drunken poem by me requiring much work, or perhaps scrapping)

Country Song For Fuck You

There are things that are true
And there are things that are cool
Everything's interesting when still in school
Everything's right when nothing moves

Some trains you relay back and
Some trains you loop round the track
Some trains you walk away from
And trains you close right goddamn down

There are things worth doing
and things because fuck you
Stories with a thousand endings
and stories you'll clutch when you're through

Yeah theres this and that babe
and viewpoints I guess you can see
and there's some shit that ain't absolute
but it's still eternal enough for me

Sterling Clover (s_clover), Sunday, 9 July 2006 02:51 (sixteen years ago) link

I haven't tried writing a poem in years, but it used to be part of my daily life (I don't know who the original author of this idea was, but I spent a lot of time trying to "write myself sane"). Thus, this is old, dating from my senior year of college (so, 1994).


There are no stars in my home town tonight.
Erased as the past has been, with
the smudge of their memory

There is not sky in my home town tonight.
Blackness has coated the houses
impressions of lives in the

There is no air in my home town tonight -
And there need not be.
Exodus is not an exaggeration
and thos
no longer

There is nothing in my home town tonight.
There is no more reason.

Sara R-C (Sara R-C), Sunday, 9 July 2006 04:32 (sixteen years ago) link

A Mummy's Prayer

The desert stretches out in copper rust
star-blossoms travel in the river's stream
my mouth is bitter with the taste of dust
my eyes too dry to dream

Alight upon this gold encrusted breast;
fold your enamel wings
under the lettered scarab, rest,
for darkness brings

Jackal and robber to the gleam of gold,
give me but one more night
to lie among my toys these tomb walls hold,
take flight,

when in the East you see the green day break
flooding the waking trees with living light -
return, enamelled bird, do not forsake
this dust-dry frame tonight.

-- C.A. Trypanis

eyeless in gazza (Phil A), Sunday, 9 July 2006 20:35 (sixteen years ago) link


Giant whispering and coughing from
Vast Sunday-full and organ-frowned-on spaces
Precede a sudden scuttle on the drum,
'The Queen', and a huge resettling. Then begins
A snivel on the violins:
I think of your face among all those faces,

Beautiful and devout before
Cascades of monumental slithering,
One of your gloves unnoticed on the floor
Beside those new, slightly outmoded shoes.
Here it goes quickly dark. I lose
All but the outline of the still and withering

Leaves on half-emptied trees. Behind
The glowing wavebands, rabid storms of chording
By being distant overpower my mind
All the more shamelessly, their cut-off shout
Leaving me desperate to pick out
Your hands, tiny in all that air, applauding.

-- Philip Larkin

eyeless in gazza (Phil A), Sunday, 9 July 2006 20:44 (sixteen years ago) link

one month passes...
A few random selections from a collection of classical Indian love poems called the Amarushataka, translated by Andrew Schelling and issued under the title Erotic Love Poems from India, Shambhala Press:


Your lover sits
scratching figures in the dirt outside.
Your friends won't eat
their eyes are swollen from crying.
There's no silly chatter from the
household parrots
and you're a wreck.
Stubborn girl, isn't it
time to quit


With dark eyes
not blue lotus
she fashions a welcome garland.
Petals she strews --
not various species of jasmine
but smiles.
Water she offers from ripe
sweating breasts
rather than cermonial jars.
With only her own body
she makes for her
lover a
propitious arrival.


Tilted his head
when she cast a vine-knotted
brow at her rival.
Saluted and stood
abstractly off
when somebody noticed.
Her cheeks flashed like copper.
He stared at her feet.
Yet in front of the parents they
managed to keep up

-- Poems traditionally attributed to the poet, Amaru --

Aimless (Aimless), Wednesday, 16 August 2006 17:37 (fifteen years ago) link

i thought the first one ended "smoking", and got kind of confused. i did like it that way, though.

tom west (thomp), Wednesday, 16 August 2006 17:55 (fifteen years ago) link

"not various species of jasmine" is a great line.

Matt (Matt), Wednesday, 16 August 2006 20:47 (fifteen years ago) link

My long-time favorite poem:

For My Lover, Returning to His Wife
by Anne Sexton

She is all there.
She was melted carefully down for you
and cast up from your childhood,
cast up from your one hundred favorite aggies.

She has always been there, my darling.
She is, in fact, exquisite.
Fireworks in the dull middle of February
and as real as a cast-iron pot.

Let's face it, I have been momentary.
A luxury. A bright red sloop in the harbor.
My hair rising like smoke from the car window.
Littleneck clams out of season.

She is more than that. She is your have to have,
has grown you your practical your tropical growth.
This is not an experiment. She is all harmony.
She sees to oars and oarlocks for the dinghy,

has placed wild flowers at the window at breakfast,
sat by the potter's wheel at midday,
set forth three children under the moon,
three cherubs drawn by Michelangelo,

done this with her legs spread out
in the terrible months in the chapel.
If you glance up, the children are there
like delicate balloons resting on the ceiling.

She has also carried each one down the hall
after supper, their heads privately bent,
two legs protesting, person to person,
her face flushed with a song and their little sleep.

I give you back your heart.
I give you permission --

for the fuse inside her, throbbing
angrily in the dirt, for the bitch in her
and the burying of her wound --
for the burying of her small red wound alive --

for the pale flickering flare under her ribs,
for the drunken sailor who waits in her left pulse,
for the mother's knee, for the stocking,
for the garter belt, for the call --

the curious call
when you will burrow in arms and breasts
and tug at the orange ribbon in her hair
and answer the call, the curious call.

She is so naked and singular.
She is the sum of yourself and your dream.
Climb her like a monument, step after step.
She is solid.

As for me, I am a watercolor.
I wash off.

Sara R-C (Sara R-C), Friday, 18 August 2006 04:02 (fifteen years ago) link

I'd rather be the lover than the wife.....

sandy mc (sandy mc), Monday, 21 August 2006 11:08 (fifteen years ago) link

two weeks pass...
Bookslut is looking for someone to write about poetry; I think several of you qualify. Here's the link.

Jaq (Jaq), Wednesday, 6 September 2006 20:53 (fifteen years ago) link

I am certain that bookslut would like someone with their righthand fingertips lightly placed upon the very pulse of the current poetry 'scene' - someone familiar with every aspect of poetry-as-it-is-today: the mainstream, the schools, the lone wolves and the hangers-on - someone who knows which is the fresh and exciting voice, who is the clapped-out husk, who is sleeping with whom, and (definitively) who might jump into bed in exchange for the right review - someone, in short, able to make the average poetry reader sit up and sniff the breeze like an Irish Setter downwind from a barbecue and bay out loud from the heartbreak when they can't locate a copy of the reviewed book at the local library.

IOW, she wants Casuistry! Let us plan our campaign to bring this to pass.

Aimless (Aimless), Wednesday, 6 September 2006 23:20 (fifteen years ago) link

one month passes...
Here is a poem I dug up while I was poking around in one of my 30-year old notebooks. It is patterned after the riddling poems in ye olde Celtic bardic tradition. I'll post the solution a bit later.

A Riddle

I am not a picket fence,
And I am not a perfect bore,
And I am not pure ignorance,
And I am not a bloody war,

But I am always making sense,
By making like a picket fence,
And making like a perfect bore,
And making like pure ignorance,
And making like a bloody war.

Say my name, which I adore.

Aimless (Aimless), Wednesday, 11 October 2006 13:33 (fifteen years ago) link

Is the answer "I"?

Casuistry (Chris P), Thursday, 12 October 2006 02:05 (fifteen years ago) link

Teeth? Mouth?

I'm Passing Open Windows (Ms Laura), Thursday, 12 October 2006 04:35 (fifteen years ago) link

while awaiting the answer, a little elizabeth bishop:

To Be Written on the Mirror in Whitewash

I live only here, between your eyes and you,
But I live in your world. What do I do?
--Collect no interest--otherwise what I can;
Above all I am not that staring man.

gypsy mothra (gypsy mothra), Thursday, 12 October 2006 07:54 (fifteen years ago) link

One what I wrote

Last Stand of the Unknown Shipping Clerk

The man was slim and slightly stooped
On the sidewalk of the sodden street.
His mask-like face, as clamped by irons;
Toned sepia and scored by dust,
Whispered faint scatters of confetti
Into the horizontal rain.

It seemed that he could scarcely stand
The weather seeped into his skin.
As I passed him on my way to work,
Some citizens had gathered round.
When I returned at half-past five
He lay in pulp upon the ground.

Save for his crumpled trilby hat;
A name inside, under the brim.
But as I stopped to take a look,
A dustcart drove away with him.

Ben Dot (1977), Thursday, 12 October 2006 08:50 (fifteen years ago) link

The solution I had in mind when I wrote the riddle was: speech. It is permissible to harrumph at this revelation.

Aimless (Aimless), Thursday, 12 October 2006 18:45 (fifteen years ago) link

". . . there is a faculty or knack, smallish, in the mind that can turn
as with tooling irons immediacy into bends of concision, shapes
struck with airs to keep so that one grows unable to believe that

the piling up of figurements and entanglements could proceed from
the tiny working of the small, if persistent, faculty: as if the
world could be brought to flow by and take the bent of

that single bend: and immediately flip over into the
mirrored world
of permanence, another place trans-shaped with knackery: a brook in
the mind that will eventually glitter away the seas:"

A.R. Ammons - Sphere

bnw (bnw), Wednesday, 18 October 2006 06:45 (fifteen years ago) link

Because I'll be unleashing it on my students tomorrow:

Paul Celan: Death Fugue

Black milk of daybreak we drink it at sundown
we drink it at noon in the morning we drink it at night
we drink it and drink it
we dig a grave in the breezes there one lies unconfined
A man lives in the house he plays with the serpents he writes
he writes when dusk falls to Germany your golden hair Margarete
he writes it ans steps out of doors and the stars are flashing he whistles his pack out
he whistles his Jews out in earth has them dig for a grave
he commands us strike up for the dance

Black milk of daybreak we drink you at night
we drink you in the morning at noon we drink you at sundown
we drink and we drink you
A man lives in the house he plays with the serpents he writes
he writes when dusk falls to Germany your golden hair Margarete
your ashen hair Sulamith we dig a grave in the breezes there one lies unconfined

He calls out jab deeper into the earth you lot you others sing now and play
he grabs at teh iron in his belt he waves it his eyes are blue
jab deper you lot with your spades you others play on for the dance

Black milk of daybreak we drink you at night
we drink you at at noon in the morning we drink you at sundown
we drink and we drink you
a man lives in the house your golden hair Margarete
your ashen hair Sulamith he plays with the serpents
He calls out more sweetly play death death is a master from Germany
he calls out more darkly now stroke your strings then as smoke you will rise into air
then a grave you will have in the clouds there one lies unconfined

Black milk of daybreak we drink you at night
we drink you at noon death is a master from Germany
we drink you at sundown and in the morning we drink and we drink you
death is a master from Germany his eyes are blue
he strikes you with leaden bullets his aim is true
a man lives in the house your golden hair Margarete
he sets his pack on to us he grants us a grave in the air
He plays with the serpents and daydreams death is a master from Germany

your golden hair Margarete
your ashen hair Shulamith

Matt (Matt), Wednesday, 18 October 2006 08:50 (fifteen years ago) link

one month passes...
In Praise of Feeling Bad About Yourself — by Wislawa Szymborska

The buzzard never says it is to blame.
The panther wouldn't know what scruples mean.
When the piranha strikes, it feels no shame.
If snakes had hands, they'd claim their hands were clean.

A jackal doesn't understand remorse.
Lions and lice don't waver in their course.
Why should they, when they know they're right?

Though hearts of killer whales may weigh a ton,
in every other way they're light.

On this third planet of the sun
among the signs of bestiality
a clear conscience is Number One.

bnw (bnw), Saturday, 18 November 2006 18:38 (fifteen years ago) link

Wow. There's a lot of excellent poetry in this thread, and most of it very new to me. I'm glad someone posted in it today so that it popped up in "New Answers".

I met up on a small Yeats poem yesterday.

A Poet to his Beloved

I bring you with reverent hands
The books of my numberless dreams;
White woman that passion has worn
As the tide wears the dove-gray sands,
And with heart more old than the horn
That is brimmed from the pale fire of time:
White woman with numberless dreams
I bring you my passionate rhyme.

Arethusa (Arethusa), Saturday, 18 November 2006 23:14 (fifteen years ago) link

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