Sunday, August 30, 2009

Santiago, Pluperfect - Lance Larsen

Three kids kicking the bejesus out of a taped-up
milk carton and calling it soccer. Pigs
recycling rotten cabbages without being asked.
What we drink in drinks us. In the feria,
the melon man with a shriveled arm
pushes a cracked honeydew off his stand.

The splat of green flesh lets him send grabby
urchins to hell while keeping them well-fed
for the trip. Shortcuts home add an hour
of pastoral chance to my hurry, past the Río Maipu,
past cows rechewing their boredom
under a tree. What we dream dreams us.

A piece of me hangs with the newspaper kite
caught in the power line. Another piece
slumbers in the graveyard in beds
of cement stacked six high. At the tracks,
I copy a pair of wild-haired sisters
and lay three pesos on the rail, then wait.

Soon a train to Valparaíso will stretch
the face of a dour liberator into something hot
that gleams. I shopped for bread
and accents this morning and carry home
bread and accents. If angels lodge inside
us, they feed on details, then retreat into hiding.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

If You Forget Me - Pablo Neruda

I want you to know
one thing.

You know how this is:
if I look
at the crystal moon, at the red branch
of the slow autumn at my window,
if I touch
near the fire
the impalpable ash
or the wrinkled body of the log,
everything carries me to you,
as if everything that exists,
aromas, light, metals,
were little boats
that sail
toward those isles of yours that wait for me.

Well, now,
if little by little you stop loving me
I shall stop loving you little by little.

If suddenly
you forget me
do not look for me,
for I shall already have forgotten you.

If you think it long and mad,
the wind of banners
that passes through my life,
and you decide
to leave me at the shore
of the heart where I have roots,
that on that day,
at that hour,
I shall lift my arms
and my roots will set off
to seek another land.

if each day,
each hour,
you feel that you are destined for me
with implacable sweetness,
if each day a flower
climbs up to your lips to seek me,
ah my love, ah my own,
in me all that fire is repeated,
in me nothing is extinguished or forgotten,
my love feeds on your love, beloved,
and as long as you live it will be in your arms
without leaving mine.

Walking Around - Pablo Neruda

It so happens I am sick of being a man.
And it happens that I walk into tailorshops and movie
dried up, waterproof, like a swan made of felt
steering my way in a water of wombs and ashes.

The smell of barbershops makes me break into hoarse
The only thing I want is to lie still like stones or wool.
The only thing I want is to see no more stores, no gardens,
no more goods, no spectacles, no elevators.

It so happens that I am sick of my feet and my nails
and my hair and my shadow.
It so happens I am sick of being a man.

Still it would be marvelous
to terrify a law clerk with a cut lily,
or kill a nun with a blow on the ear.
It would be great
to go through the streets with a green knife
letting out yells until I died of the cold.

I don't want to go on being a root in the dark,
insecure, stretched out, shivering with sleep,
going on down, into the moist guts of the earth,
taking in and thinking, eating every day.

I don't want so much misery.
I don't want to go on as a root and a tomb,
alone under the ground, a warehouse with corpses,
half frozen, dying of grief.

That's why Monday, when it sees me coming
with my convict face, blazes up like gasoline,
and it howls on its way like a wounded wheel,
and leaves tracks full of warm blood leading toward the

And it pushes me into certain corners, into some moist
into hospitals where the bones fly out the window,
into shoeshops that smell like vinegar,
and certain streets hideous as cracks in the skin.

There are sulphur-colored birds, and hideous intestines
hanging over the doors of houses that I hate,
and there are false teeth forgotten in a coffeepot,
there are mirrors
that ought to have wept from shame and terror,
there are umbrellas everywhere, and venoms, and umbilical

I stroll along serenely, with my eyes, my shoes,
my rage, forgetting everything,
I walk by, going through office buildings and orthopedic
and courtyards with washing hanging from the line:
underwear, towels and shirts from which slow
dirty tears are falling.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Dark August - Derek Walcott

So much rain, so much life like the swollen sky
of this black August. My sister, the sun,
broods in her yellow room and won't come out.

Everything goes to hell; the mountains fume
like a kettle, rivers overrun; still,
she will not rise and turn off the rain.

She is in her room, fondling old things,
my poems, turning her album. Even if thunder falls
like a crash of plates from the sky,

she does not come out.
Don't you know I love you but am hopeless
at fixing the rain ? But I am learning slowly

to love the dark days, the steaming hills,
the air with gossiping mosquitoes,
and to sip the medicine of bitterness,

so that when you emerge, my sister,
parting the beads of the rain,
with your forehead of flowers and eyes of forgiveness,

all will not be as it was, but it will be true
(you see they will not let me love
as I want), because, my sister, then

I would have learned to love black days like bright ones,
The black rain, the white hills, when once
I loved only my happiness and you.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Envoy - Jane Hirshfield

One day in that room, a small rat.
Two days later, a snake.

Who, seeing me enter,
whipped the long stripe of his
body under the bed,
then curled like a docile house-pet.

I don't know how either came or left.
Later, the flashlight found nothing.

For a year I watched
as something -- terror? happiness? grief? --
entered and then left my body.

No knowing how it came in.
Not knowing how it went out.

It hung where words could not reach it.
It slept where light could not go.
Its scent was neither snake nor rat,
neither sensualist nor ascetic.

There are openings in our lives
of which we know nothing.

Through them
the belled herds travel at will,
long-legged and thirsty, covered with foreign dust.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Conquistador at Times Square - Eric Gamalinda

It takes a while to sink in,
the fact that you’ve reached a stopping point
possibly for good, like those mariners
shouting tierra! In relief
and disbelief.

Imagine how it must have seemed
like paradise, no matter if some details
fell short of expectations: the jungle
sick with malaria, the natives
hostile, not willing

to part with their gold. Once
you wanted to live like that, footloose
in uncharted territory,
averse to arrivals and departure
unless they were your own.

At the N & R stop at Times Square,
A busker is singing her heart out,
singing, Funny but sometimes
life can be beautiful
. She has no name,
she is a voice so pure and wounded

nobody notices how poor she really is,
and commuters edge closer but this is
as far as they go, the way
they lean out over the tracks
to peer into the empty tunnel.

This is a scene so common you think of it
as home. Sometimes it hits you
without warning, the possibility
of irrational joy,
and all you have to do

is open yourself the way she leaves
her guitar case open, an open palm
of frayed blue satin.
Even the conquistadors,
sick with scurvy,

must have wanted only for the journey
to end, the comfort
of immobility. You want to be
like the singer in the subway,
taking people’s money

and breaking people’s hearts.
The train drowns her voice,
you hop in and when the doors close
she is still singing, but all you hear
is the sound of yourself

moving away.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Becoming Regardless - Jack Gilbert

I begin to see them again as the twilight darkens.
Gathered below me and to the right under the tree.
Ghosts are by their nature drawn to the willows.
They have no feet and hover just above the grass.
They seem to be singing. About apples, I think,
as I remember the ones a children's red in the old
cemetery in Syracuse where I would eat one each day
because the tree grew out of a grave and I liked
to think of someone eating what was left of my heart
and spirit as I lay in the dark earth translating
into fruit. I can't be sure what they are singing
because no sound comes through the immense windows
of my apartment. (Except for the sound somebody
makes at two and four in the night as he passes
around what was the temple grounds hitting a block
of wood two or three times with a stick. I have
begun listening for it as I lie on the floor awake.)
I try to see in what is left of the light down there
the two I was. The ghost of the boy in high school
just before I became myself. The other is the ghost
of the times later when I could fall in love:
the first time, and three years after that for eight
years, and the last time ten years after. I feel
a great tenderness for all the dozen ghosts down
there trying to remain what they were. Behind each
pile of three boulders that are the gravestones
is a railing making an enclosure for the seven-foot,
narrow, unpainted planks with prayers written on them.
They are brought on the two ceremonial days each year
by the mourners and put with the earlier ones. But
in many enclosures there are just weathered old ones,
because they are brought only as long as there is
still someone who knew the dead. It puzzles me that
I care so much for the ghost of the boy in high school,
since I am not interested in those times. But I know
why the other one frightens me. He is the question
about whether the loves were phantoms of what existed
as appearance only. I know how easily they come,
summoned by our yearning. I realize the luminosity
can be a product of our heart's furnace. It would
erase my life to find I made it up. Then I see them
faintly dancing in the dark: spirits that are the invisible
presence of what those women were. There once was
a Venezia even if there is not now. The flesh thickens
or wanes, but there was somebody I knew truly. Three
of them singing under the willow inside my transience.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Instructions - Neil Gaiman

Touch the wooden gate in the wall you never
saw before.
Say "please" before you open the latch,
go through,
walk down the path.
A red metal imp hangs from the green-painted
front door,
as a knocker,
do not touch it; it will bite your fingers.
Walk through the house. Take nothing. Eat
However, if any creature tells you that it hungers,
feed it.
If it tells you that it is dirty,
clean it.
If it cries to you that it hurts,
if you can,
ease its pain.

From the back garden you will be able to see the
wild wood.
The deep well you walk past leads to Winter's
there is another land at the bottom of it.
If you turn around here,
you can walk back, safely;
you will lose no face. I will think no less of you.

Once through the garden you will be in the
The trees are old. Eyes peer from the under-
Beneath a twisted oak sits an old woman. She
may ask for something;
give it to her. She
will point the way to the castle.
Inside it are three princesses.
Do not trust the youngest. Walk on.
In the clearing beyond the castle the twelve
months sit about a fire,
warming their feet, exchanging tales.
They may do favors for you, if you are polite.
You may pick strawberries in December's frost.
Trust the wolves, but do not tell them where
you are going.

The river can be crossed by the ferry. The ferry-
man will take you.
(The answer to his question is this:
If he hands the oar to his passenger, he will be free to
leave the boat.
Only tell him this from a safe distance.)

If an eagle gives you a feather, keep it safe.
Remember: that giants sleep too soundly; that
witches are often betrayed by their appetites;
dragons have one soft spot, somewhere, always;
hearts can be well-hidden,
and you betray them with your tongue.

Do not be jealous of your sister.
Know that diamonds and roses
are as uncomfortable when they tumble from
one's lips as toads and frogs:
colder, too, and sharper, and they cut.

Remember your name.
Do not lose hope — what you seek will be found.
Trust ghosts. Trust those that you have helped
to help you in their turn.
Trust dreams.
Trust your heart, and trust your story.
When you come back, return the way you came.
Favors will be returned, debts will be repaid.
Do not forget your manners.
Do not look back.
Ride the wise eagle (you shall not fall).
Ride the silver fish (you will not drown).
Ride the grey wolf (hold tightly to his fur).

There is a worm at the heart of the tower; that is
why it will not stand.
When you reach the little house, the place your
journey started,
you will recognize it, although it will seem
much smaller than you remember.
Walk up the path, and through the garden gate
you never saw before but once.
And then go home. Or make a home.
And rest.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Now comes the long blue cold - Mary Oliver

Now comes the long blue cold
and what shall I say but that some
bird in the tree of my heart
is singing.

That same heart that only yesterday
was a room shut tight, without dreams.

Isn't it wonderful--the cold wind and
spring in the heart inexplicable.
Darling girl. Picklock.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

While She’s Gone - Jim Carroll

It's too late to change you with language
Your boundaries are always too narrow, and you bury
Yourself beneath a shallow grave of artifice, flesh and perfection

Look up above the mountain, to the right
Of the castle's turret, that's not a gull
That's a heart.
And of course it's tattered
Swooping too low crossing
The Atlantic to find you, its stomach
Was slit open on the horns of a caribou in Greenland.
Many species of birds have feasted on its eyes.

So, having come this far, I can now barely see you

It's two weeks since you've gone
The fragrance you left
Still remains in this apartment
As if it were bracketed to the wall like a shelf

It remains sweet yet somehow stale
The pressuring scent of expedience

How I hunger to devour it to devour you
Slowly, gently, vicious.

I chew on the pubic hairs you left on the sheet
Like a country boy chews a blade of grass as he walks
Near a pond, skimming flat rocks across the water.

If the angels knew, were kind,
That is where I'd be.

Instead, I have been been sitting down by the Hudson
At the end of the Gansevoort St. Pier
Reading Schiller on the sentimental and naive

Melville was a customs clerk there
The streets are still cobblestone

I'm hoping for an experience that pre-dates you.
For example, being chased by a dragonfly.

What is not perfect, you deign to destroy.
When you find your idea of perfection
You relax on well-cut grass leading down to the stream.

You make a stranger a lover and a lover a stranger
You isolate the curve of longing
Then accelerate the flow.

It becomes the curve of binding energy.

Under different circumstances,
I could admire that.

I keep finding your long straight hairs
In the blankets in the carpet on the arm
Of the chair where you were working
Perfecting your calligraphy
The lavish tyranny of words
Now I watch the red in each long strand shine, twisted
Between my thumb and forefinger in the window light
I tied one around the neck of an alabaster bear
The rest I just continue to drape across the roses
In the wine bottle beside the kitchen window
It's beginning to look like a spider's web. It seems
That each symbol possible, in time, finds its way back to me.

I put my faith in I put my I put mine in I put my faith in you

While it rains outside through the night
Through the twilight of the gods
I want to watch the rain falling with you inside
Inside you I want the rain to fall inside you
Lap the drops that drain
Lost, I remain inside you

When I took off to swim the river last week
I left the wine glass on the table beside my bed
The one you drank from here
Near full with bottled water, as you asked

The capricious symbols are turning cliche and wet

When I got home it was five days later, the humidity
In the city heavy that week but still
When I held it up there was something left, just enough drops
To wash down a pill to fall asleep
Then I filled it again and left it to the sun and defiance
There are times I hate you there is no question
But an unforced grace remains. Your generous silence
With our tongues we could tie the laces of angels,
Light or fallen, no matter
Your thighs moved smoothly as Latino gangsters

It's hard to walk from a love that never ended
The fury is deadly, as if I were locked forever
In a room with movies of bridges collapsing
Too rigid for the quick wind

You see, your leaving occurred without
The foreplay of anxiety which is essential
Before one flies through the window of a car
Out of control

Unprepared, only a certain yet vague prescience which didn't
Seem to concern me much I left it in your hands
As I took you at your word. Now I see the only means
I had to heal the burn was to replay again and again each permutation
In all its bitterness, and illusion.

It becomes tedious
As the tedious becomes essential apparently

Cassandra: that's you incarnate
Sweating the details of a future bliss
As if you could control it

The angels are more confused than ever

For once they call out, and there is no one to listen

You called from a phone by a lake
Deep in the canopy of black forests
The entire country deciduous, leaves rotting
Among the fresh angel skin a heart flown so far, it's fallen
It's grey among the leaves like a dying frog
And, seeing it, you step away, glad you avoided it
I found another of your hairs on the floor
This time I just threw it away it's becoming old

It keeps us from floating away.
yet presses down. We stumble and fall.

I thought dusk was the moment dividing
Night and day, all things possible.
Yet, tonight looking out from this terrace
Twilight is filled only
With red taillights moving away, to bridges or tunnels

Yet always water, above or below, red taillights
And the mercurial sadness of another darkness descending
A thicker gravity. So many lost loves
Your boundaries were too narrow
Everything planned assiduously
Within surgical thin perimeters.

Now and then you would test the borders you defined
But never too far, inside the fear of finding yourself
Even for a moment lost. At times you did
Step beyond, paler slightly from the risk,
To burn in the wilder sun, yet always returning
In time for the mail and the certainty and the phone perhaps

Inside those boundaries assurance and fantasy blur and merge
Inside those boundaries, thought and action become one
Without distinction. Those outside
Get spun, unravel. Your arms shrink in the cause of embrace
What you try to comfort you can no longer reach.

And I've done everything I'm accusing you of.

All the while I was staring straight
Into a wavering blue flame

Among the flaws, I watched
Your necessity bloom

Like careless crawling orchids

So imperceptible
I didn't really notice until the first petal fell
And a strange arboreal wind blew it away

I was always seeing you on the move
As if passing in airport after airport
The smell of jet fuel, vanilla, fancy soap and ambivalence
Without an hour hand, a minute hand emblazoned
On its heat and glow, I could have
Watched the dew in these days reveal you as you opened

Perhaps I could have unveiled my own hesitations, washed the poison
From my lips, held you down by your wrists and watered you
In all resistance. Once again build myself a thirst and drink your overflow

I could have taken you to the dark gods
Still getting us back home on time
To sleep with the anorexic angel
Who I would pin motionless, radiant
Between your breast and my hand
My hand unyielding
Extended outward as light, the light

You learned as you lost it in a single moment

It's months now since you've been gone
And what I feel I'll tell you what it's like
It's like a last glass of Spanish Champagne slipping from my hand
Taking months to reach the carpet

It's like a slow hanging
This city is a scaffold my room's a trapdoor beneath
Not rope but a long red scarf a silk noose
Tightening slightly more day after day

Even now as I type
My feet are dangling a foot or two above the floor
Breathing only through vanity and my fingertips

The time hasn't changed since you left
That moment in front of my building throwing your suitcase
Into the trunk of the cab, a Hindu driver. I check the airport route
He has planned for you. We kiss long and sad and I
Watch you drive slowly off, your head craned back at me
I watched until you turned at 19th St. and were out of sight
Leaning my head to the side and feeling the cool of a marble pillar
Against my cheeks making one last wave one last

I went upstairs, called her, and slept
Forcing myself not to wake until daylight the next day.

You're in Amsterdam.
You know,
If they took those reinforcing beams away
From the old wooden houses along the canals in Holland
They would most likely have fallen into the water by now.

That is your art form
Creating vestiges
Out of lace and lashes.
Everything just fell away.

The bridges over the canal
They're quaint and banal
Tourist boats pass beneath.

I was a tourist

To your body.

Why do you smile so widely in every picture I have of you?
Sometimes it makes me feel like slapping you

In this room everything comes as a whisper.
So what did you say?
Why do I want to know?

Because that's the way it is for me, and always has:
To be amused, bewildered, bemused, and fucked
Without the slightest aspect left out.

I thought I had been floating with the tide easily
These last three years, not looking ahead yet waiting
For some small island
Even a rock would have done
To land on and survey how far I had come
And if it was worth going on

And all the while I now learn you had somehow fixed, shifted the natural flow
And I have been swimming upstream against those vacuumed years.

Salmon are an endangered species
Man, and the paws of black bears

I'm tired too tired for conjunctions.
Having reached land,
Are you worth love in any form?
An old story getting older
You may not possess irony, but you carry it like a silk purse
Now the mute fog rolls in off the river
And I can't speak.
It makes me listen too hard
With an urge to believe.

Why couldn't we find a love in that too-American exhaustion
Melt into each other as the hour that moans

In Europe how you have reached a mountaintop
Whose scent is things dead a thousand years
That is the fragrance of betrayal.
A cologne you took years to create
A chemical pun you mailed me in a white envelope
A white wedding envelope
The chemical wedding of C.R.
Child bride antelope
Collide and elope

This cologne is what you would have me press
In two subtle drops around my neck
Like a noose of splintering tears.

I flew straight through that car window
Without the essential anxiety
And the only way to recover
Is to play it over and over
On a screen too small
For the curve of time in this ward where I have been waiting

It makes everyone a fool, awake and in dreams. I wound up
Loving something I was forced to reinvent, deconstruct
Though I know you so well now
Come to understand your meaning

That's the worth of a lifetime
Everything else collapses
Or repeats often enough to forget

Conscience is no more than the dead speaking to us
It's hard to find comfort
In this world.

You brought that to me
That's hard to let go.
Only you and I know only you & I


You have always been so far away
You have always
Been right here

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Clenched Soul - Pablo Neruda

We have lost even this twilight.
No one saw us this evening hand in hand
while the blue night dropped on the world.

I have seen from my window
the fiesta of sunset in the distant mountain tops.

Sometimes a piece of sun
burned like a coin in my hand.

I remembered you with my soul clenched
in that sadness of mine that you know.

Where were you then?
Who else was there?
Saying what?
Why will the whole of love come on me suddenly
when I am sad and feel you are far away?

The book fell that always closed at twilight
and my blue sweater rolled like a hurt dog at my feet.

Always, always you recede through the evenings
toward the twilight erasing statues.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Agua Sexual - Pablo Neruda

Rolling in big solitary raindrops,
in drops like teeth,
in big thick drops of marmalade and blood,
rolling in big raindrops,
the water falls,
like a sword in drops,
like a tearing river of glass,
it falls biting,
striking the axis of symmetry, sticking to the seams of the soul,
breaking abandoned things, drenching the dark.

It is only breath, moister than weeping,
a liquid, a sweat, a nameless oil,
a sharp movement,
forming, thickening,
the water falls,
in big slow raindrops,
toward its sea, toward its dry ocean,
toward its waterless wave.

I see the vast summer, and a death rattle coming from a granary,
stores, locusts,
towns, stimuli,
rooms, girls
sleeping with their hands upon their hearts,
dreaming of bandits, of fires,
I see ships,
I see marrow trees
bristling like rabid cats,
I see blood, daggers, and women's stockings,
and men's hair,
I see beds, I see corridors where a virgin screams,
I see blankets and organs and hotels.

I see the silent dreams,
I accept the final days,
and also the origins, and also the memories,
like an eyelid atrociously and forcibly uplifted
I am looking.

And then there is this sound:
a red noise of bones,
a clashing of flesh,
and yellow legs like merging spikes of grain.
I listen among the smack of kisses,
I listen, shaken between gasps and sobs.
I am looking, hearing,
with half my soul upon the sea and half my soul upon the land,
and with the two halves of my soul I look at the world.

And though I close my eyes and cover my heart entirely,
I see
a muffled waterfall,
in big muffled raindrops.
It is like a hurricane of gelatine,
like a waterfall of sperm and jellyfish.
I see a turbid rainbow form.
I see its waters pass across the bones.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

How to Tell a Story - Shira Erlichman

There is a way of telling stories. A red pen. A teacher to move it.
Instead you have hands, and a Light inside you, and Bones.
Instead you have ideas, which ricochet, and an anger that won’t sit still,
and dogs from outside which come to die in the quiet spots inside of you.
And, deliberately, you have noise.
You have rape, and cities, the noise of the dumb, and of the very rape of the
earth, an ache, a strangeness like swallowing feathers, a bitterness, you have.
There is a way of telling stories. They tell you it is not like this.

So you remove your arms, that way no hands can find anything.
You reject the light to please the darkness.
You and I, we become just bones, moving with the stiffness of the dead, caught
in the riot of the rotting, and producing similar sounds.

A page opens before you like a new day
and this is where you find your story.
The earth sings with a thousand ways to tell it.
Lose your tongue.
Don’t be confused by shadow, and when you hit water, tread.
Find God, ask questions, don’t leave till you’ve tasted the tea.
You don’t need to multiply. Never divide.
Carry the one on your back if you have to.
When you meet the devil, don’t spit at him, but don’t make love to him either.
When you meet me, take my blooming, bloody palm.
You’ll know where to find me, I’ll be in every page held by greasy fingers.
I will be the bread that sustains you. If you remember your hunger,

I will remember you.
And when they tell you life is not like this, life is never like this,
life will never be like this, insist that the sun
has always found a time and a place, the moon too knows when and where to enter,
and you too have your stories,
and you too have your place.

The Friend - Marge Piercy

We sat across the table.
he said, cut off your hands.
they are always poking at things.
they might touch me.
I said yes.

Food grew cold on the table.
he said, burn your body.
it is not clean and smells like sex.
it rubs my mind sore.
I said yes.

I love you, I said.
That's very nice, he said
I like to be loved,
that makes me happy.
Have you cut off your hands yet?

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Frottage - Dean Young

How goofy and horrible is life. Just
Look into the faces of the lovers
as they near their drastic destinations,
the horses lathered and fagged. Just
look at them handling the vase
priced beyond the rational beneath
the sign stating the store’s breakage
policy, and what is the rational but
a thing that we must always break? I am not
the only one composed of fractious murmurs.
From the point of view of the clouds,
it is all inevitable and dispersed—
they vanish over the lands to reconstitute
over the seas, themselves again
but no longer themselves, what they wanted
they no longer want, daylight fidgets
across the frothy waves. Most days
you can’t even rub a piece of charcoal
across paper laid on some rough wood
without a lion appearing, a fish’s umbrella
skeleton. Once we believed it told us
something of ourselves. Once we believed
in the diagnostic powers of ants. Upon
the eyelids of the touched and suffering,
they’d exchange their secretive packets
like notes folded smaller that chemicals
the dancers pass while dancing with another.
A quadrille. they told us nearly nothing
which may have been enough now that we know
so much more. From the point of view
of the ant, the entire planet is a dream
quivering beneath an eyelid and who’s to say
the planet isn’t. From the point of view
of the sufferer, it seems everything will
be taken from us except the sensation
of being crawled over. I believe everything
will be taken from us. Then given back
when it’s no longer what we want. We
are clouds, and terrible things happen
in the clouds, and terrible things happen
in clouds. The wolf’s mouth is full
of strawberries, the morning’s a phantom
hum of glories.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Zero Circle - Rumi

Be helpless, dumbfounded,
Unable to say yes or no.
Then a stretcher will come from grace
to gather us up.

We are too dull-eyed to see that beauty.
If we say we can, we're lying.
If we say No, we don't see it,
That No will behead us
And shut tight our window onto spirit.

So let us rather not be sure of anything,
Beside ourselves, and only that, so
Miraculous beings come running to help.
Crazed, lying in a zero circle, mute,
We shall be saying finally,
With tremendous eloquence, Lead us.
When we have totally surrendered to that beauty,
We shall be a mighty kindness.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

When I Met My Muse - William Stafford

I glanced at her and took my glasses
off--they were still singing. They buzzed
like a locust on the coffee table and then
ceased. Her voice belled forth, and the
sunlight bent. I felt the ceiling arch, and
knew that nails up there took a new grip
on whatever they touched. "I am your own
way of looking at things," she said. "When
you allow me to live with you, every
glance at the world around you will be
a sort of salvation." And I took her hand.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Dust - Ravi Shankar

Congregated in loops of dirt and hair
beneath the dresser, raining down
in shafts jabbed through vinyl slats

of shades that on closer inspection
are coated filmy enough to rub off
on the fingers, rolling from unpaved

roads in clouds, particles quivering
in the atmosphere to form nuclei
for condensing raindrops, gossamer

chaperone trailing tippet to comets,
absorbing and reddening starlight,
mote chanced to be born, like us.