2017-06-22


Exterior Street
--David Shapiro 
O put a hand on her hand
On Exterior Street
The day was full of day
On Exterior Street
Moths drank tears from sleeping birds
On Exterior Street
You could think and look
On Exterior Street
The balls of the sycamore were swinging
On Exterior Street
Storing the definitions loading the differences
Why did I still want to give it away
Why not wait and write about that beautiful green sweater
I was a virgin and learnt all about cells from Penelope
Even the private road is exterior
As one said all breasts are beautiful
The Flower this flower is falling over
It will never be more exalting
It will always be more exalting
On Exterior Street


2017-06-20



Song for Open Strings
--David Shapiro

The liquor store is closed, but open your mouth
The shadows of my old-fashioned windows shut by themselves
Are you holding to a word? Which word?
They closed the liquor store like French corollas
Open and play open strings like the moon over a tennis court
As you came from the profane land
Of the moon gardens of Riverdale
By the way, as you came
Were all eyes shut in the ocular orb
First the ocular orb, then the details
First bend your head, then keep your promises
Open up, open up the court, open
Years with no locks on the door
Your mind, oh youthfully blind
The way to the sun our friend our enemy is through open eyes
Open and tell the truth in time
Then be like language opening slowly in a little sunlight
Open your mouth my happiness and I will put a rose of music
between your teeth.


[from In Memory of an Angel, David Shapiro; City Lights Books (2017)]



2017-06-18



[ Blues Farm ; Ron Carter (1973) ]



Tracklist:
A1 Blues Farm
A2 A Small Ballad 8:04
A3 Django (John Lewis) 13:46
B1 A Hymn for Him 19:18
B2 Two-Beat Johnson 27:33
B3 R2, M1 30:26

b- Ron Carter
fl- Hubert Laws
p- Bob James
p- Richard Tee Track A1, B1, B2
g- Gene Bertoncini B2
g- Sam Brown A3
d- Billy Cobham
d- Ralph MacDonald (perc)


2017-06-16



Playing Banjo
--Ed Skoog 
Then put the banjo back in its case.
Close door against the city. 
Make a rural sound. Be my key.
Close down the bar. Sing a round. 
Let the fiddler be stoned in the alley,
the mandolinist pinball long hours. 
Learn over and over. Still the needle,
return to the solo, parcel out headaches. 
Pay for the room, measure the silence,
run the notes. Play poorly for family 
in your manner. Live far away. Drift.
Love everybody. Sound best alone 
in a minor key. Play it right. Turn
your head when you have forgotten 
and suddenly a note pierces through
like someone far calling your name.



2017-06-14



From Q&A with Ed Skoog: No End and No Beginning:

I believe poems begin long before they’re written. They’re sort of embedded in the possibility of language. The poems we write in some ways exist even before the English language, before the specific language that we’re using, before words even. The possibility inherent in the poem is this massive force that animates the poem, that exists before and after the poem. So I don’t feel like they have a beginning. And, as a result, they don’t really have an ending. 
A sentence is unfinishable in a way that it’s unstartable as well. We can—syntactically, semiotically—finish sentences. We have subject, predicate and modifying clauses and they’re finished with a period. Part of what makes language fun is the suspense of what’s going to be said before that final period that makes us consider the whole sentence as a unit. There’s that state of waiting—a suspension we’re in until the end of the sentence—that carries so much possibility and eternity in it. That moves me intellectually. Especially the best sentences: “I love you because...” “We’re going to unplug this respirator because...” A sentence is a living thing and that’s the medium that we work in as poets. When I think of sentences, I don’t just think about grammar and copyediting. I think of the medium in which we prove we’re living.



2017-06-12


Looking for Work
--Ed Skoog 
In the city no tree is too small
to escape the human alphabet
and yet one without a job
is kind of invisible. What job.
What tidy bit of formal activity.
I float into all the windows,
follow all cars home and inhabit
the secrets my neighborhood carries
When you’re unemployed in a plaza,
you have entrée to the multiple affairs,
the entreaties, the escapes, the wrapping-up,
the years-later. I used to sit at a counter
and dust the classifieds with my toast crumbs
drawing circles like one deciphering glyphs
by lantern in a tomb, and walk away cursed.
Under the weight of their credentials
my leg broke in five places. Over here,
their statue of the Buddha, over there,
the open letter, and probably nuclear
submarines glide under the sunset,
one might guess from the short life span
glowing around each of us. Meanwhile
a stranger plays the gold piano she wheeled
under the lindens. Gold is its own concordance.
I play the most delicate balalaika, and bike
all night with a samovar balanced on my handlebars.
I think I remember work, stifled yawns,
how a rivet pulls the metal sheets together
like near-strangers clutching at last call.
My advice is to be survived by a hymn.
Put allegories in charge and wait for loss.


[via the awl]



2017-06-10


[ Fernando Pessoa's Dream Under A Trellis On A Summer Afternoon ; Antonio Dacosta (1983) ]


2017-06-08



A Note to Fernando Pessoa
--Jose A. Alcantara 
We must not be afraid to buy the bananas in the street,
the yellow bananas with the black splotches,
the bananas hawked by sellers with unseemly
yet beautiful voices, the bananas that have captured
the entire morning's sun in their electric skins.
Even if the eyes of the seller do not meet our eyes
in the way we think they should, even if the scales
read a little high, we must buy the bananas.
For what else is there? And if our voices break
when we ask the price, if we change our minds
picking first this bunch, then that one, then let us fail
perfectly, with bananas in our hands, yellow bananas
with black splotches, and the sun swinging
at the ends of our arms as we walk.


[via poetry daily]



2017-06-06



--Pierre Reverdy (trans. Lydia Davis)

In the morning that comes up behind the roof, in the shelter of the bridge, in the corner of  the cypresses that rise above the wall, a rooster has crowed. In the bell tower that rips the air with its shining point, the notes ring out and already the morning din can be heard in the street; the only street that goes from the river to the mountain dividing the woods. One looks for some other words but the ideas are always just as dark, just as simple and singularly painful. There is hardly more than the eyes, the open air, the grass and the water in the distance with, around every bend, a well or a cool basin. In the right-hand corner the last house with a larger head at the window. The trees are extremely alive and all those familiar companions walk along the demolished wall that is crushed into the thorns with bursts of laughter. Above the ravine the din augments, swells, and if the car passes on the upper road one no longer knows if it is the flowers or the little bells that are chiming. Under the blazing sun, when the landscape is on fire, the traveler crosses the stream on a very narrow bridge, before a dark hole where the trees line the water that falls asleep in the afternoon. And, against the trembling background of the woods, the motionless man.



2017-06-04


Come, and trip it as ye go
On the light fantastic toe,
And in thy right hand lead with thee,
The mountain-nymph, sweet Liberty;
And if I give thee honour due,
Mirth, admit me of thy crew
To live with her, and live with thee,
In unreproved pleasures free;
To hear the lark begin his flight,
And singing startle the dull night,
From his watch-tower in the skies,
Till the dappled dawn doth rise;
Then to come in spite of sorrow,
And at my window bid good-morrow,
Through the sweet-briar, or the vine,
Or the twisted eglantine;
While the cock with lively din,
Scatters the rear of darkness thin,
And to the stack, or the barn door,
Stoutly struts his dames before;
Oft list'ning how the hounds and horn
Cheerly rouse the slumb'ring morn,
From the side of some hoar hill,
Through the high wood echoing shrill.  
--from L'Allegro; John Milton


2017-05-22


Spring Haiku- 2017


first week of march,
a screen door bangs in the wind
with no one home


at dawn I can hear
the lone owl in the cedar
holding to a question


computer crash,
looking up and sunlight
takes me elsewhere


april thunder
breath of a heart leaving
the cold behind


first warm air, a dream
out of which or on into
no one knows


peeper frogs trill the only age they know


infinite
of a clear blue sky
about a tulip


faint nap-
a silent breeze sifts
through cherry blossoms


everything in bloom
i look for the same in all
my other thoughts




2017-05-20



[ Eschantos 31 ; Clarence Holbrook Carter (1978) ].......



2017-05-18


and green mixes in
mixes
into all
colors belonging
-
...........to breath
-
for there is earth
inside
and to dig
-
as the day transpires 
here was a calm
here a gale arrival
and did not bear
-
........knowledge
-
did not instruct
in every tongue
and the song was in
...............................vented 
o where do we go when we go
now here
-
you are where
an eye opens where
a star awakens here 
the earth as a world
an image of the sun
_
as the pool of blood
that lies
about the heart is
an ocean 
moves about
and dissolves in the eye
_
the flower transfigured
_
quick selves ascend to peace
a handful of dirt
as sacrament 
and psalm beneath canopy tree
sways the way an eye does in passing

--selections taken from Music for Films; Peter Gizzi


2017-05-16


Song of the Interior Begin
--Peter Gizzi 
Some sky of hydraulic
spring....Some season ever
So the tree for even
a twig....O branch....O earth 
There is too....(psalm)
Neither a pool nor
a crown....And day spills
to where is....O water 
Begin!....Begin!....So sing
of lever...Are eyes
shy?....O iris....O onyx
Into blouse of
--
........Air go there..!

2017-05-14


..........[ Chat Colette; Brassaï (1938) ]


[via Picture This..]


2017-05-12


...birdsong
back. of .the .head
.....cloud
.......tree
.......branch
..........twig
..........leaves
...................street
....................fixtures
..........................litter
............................trash
.............................debris
............................a rake
.............................forest
................................paper
...........................barrels
.............................sound
.......................traffic
.......................in the wind
...endless.....the world
......turned round
..................so the sun
..................the same
...................variety
.................like all
....................the news
......................there is
.......................to be
........................heard
.............................to know 
........--Larry Eigner


[via BOMB]


2017-05-10



Feeling your way along, you can, it seems, discover the right value, so to speak, momentary as it may be — nothing lasts forever, the ephemeral is ok. It’s never quite enough, though (anyway there’s always an amount of concern abt the future, your own and x million others’), and like anything else the present isn’t to be exaggerated. 
--Larry Eigner


[via jacket]


2017-05-08



 I feel my life again the strangeness
........it should be the same 
......sky grass tree level the eye 
..........with silence the picture
.....................bright
...........the gift. of thought 
.........it's the old day......speed
.................is an idea
.........the sun light so unmoving 
............the bodiless roof
.........of a birdhouse 
..........no, it's a
............hose bracket, that's 
.......right
........................being so small 
.....the way a bird flies
..from the 3rd brick step to
......the tree  towards the sky 
....the burden of twigs 
........the birds flying, tree
............cloud, stems, rain,
..............to be, mostly, leaf
..........hulls, to pass the ocean  
............deeps, green, black 
.........the constant energy, the head
...........flight voice, at the top of a gutter
.............the blue continues to dark

 ........--a selection of poems from "the"; Larry Eigner




2017-05-06


[  Santiago Ramón Cajal ].................


From 'The Hundred Trillion Stories in Your Head': The world of the infinitely small, like novels of his youth, seemed more real to Cajal than everyday existence. How else could he routinely spend up to fifteen hours a day, for almost fifty years, alone in the laboratory? He claimed to have observed a million neurons, witnessing them in every phase of their lives: birth, development, movement, relationships, adversity, trauma, decline, and death. On thumbnail sheets of dead brain tissue, the Spaniard’s cherished stories came to life. He imagined neurons as protagonists in an intense cerebral drama. Their fibers “groped to find another.” Their aching contacts became “protoplasmic kisses”—“the final ecstasy of an epic love story.”



2017-05-04


The Body
--Marianne Boruch 
has its little hobbies. The lung
likes its air best after supper,
goes deeper there to trade up
for oxygen, give everything else
away. (And before supper, yes,
during too, but there’s
something about evening, that
slow breath of the day noticed: oh good, 
still coming, still going ... ) As for
bones—femur, spine,
the tribe of them in there—they harden
with use. The body would like
a small mile or two. Thank you.
It would like it on a bike
or a run. Or in the water. Blue.
And food. A habit that involves
a larger circumference where a garden’s
involved, beer is brewed, cows
wake the farmer with their fullness,
a field surrenders its wheat, and wheat
understands I will be crushed 
into flour and starry-dust 
the whole room, the baker
sweating, opening a window
to acknowledge such remarkable
confetti. And the brain,
locked in its strange
dual citizenship, idles there in the body,
neatly terraced and landscaped.
Or left to ruin, such a brain,
wild roses growing
next to the sea. The body is
gracious about that. Oh, their
scent sometimes. Their
tangle. In truth, in secret,
the first thing
in morning the eye longs to see.


2017-05-02



In the words of Gaston Bachelard: Everything comes alive when contradictions accumulate. And to be fully alive—that is to say galvanized by Eros and its boundless incarnations—is to dwell within the living heart of surrealism, that place of arousing, ambiguous, and above all marvelous encounters. This fervent receptiveness characterizes the human child whose embodied recollections of having been, not long before, nearly indistinguishable from a larval lizard, assures direct access to the wonders of the phenomenal world, its mineral, vegetable, and animal kingdoms which are, as is the child, in constant mutation. In sympathy with all this, she recognizes and intuits her place within the vast, unwieldy network of terrestrial forms and, further, enters the world with residual genes that spontaneously offer variant readings of what it means to be human.... 
Everything from galaxies to slime mold is a shapeshifter, and the imagination’s irrepressible artifacts reflect this intimate and innately subversive reality. The mind, too, is restless. And here one must specify terrestrial mind. Examples abound from chameleons to the most astonishing: Octopus vulgaris, who in the blink of an eye can vanish from sight as she imitates exactly in color and texture absolutely everything around her. Her cousin Thaumoctopus mimicus impersonates other species—everything from snakes to fish.  
--from Metamorphosis and the Surreal; Rikki Ducornet




2017-04-30



Just how hungry are people for a new Cormac McCarthy book? So hungry that The New Yorker felt a need to have an essay about an essay written by McCarthy for the current issue of Nautilus. From The Kekulé Problem: Where did language come from?:

The unconscious is a biological system before it is anything else. To put it as pithily as possibly—and as accurately—the unconscious is a machine for operating an animal. 
All animals have an unconscious. If they didnt they would be plants. We may sometimes credit ours with duties it doesnt actually perform. Systems at a certain level of necessity may require their own mechanics of governance. Breathing, for instance, is not controlled by the unconscious but by the pons and the medulla oblongata, two systems located in the brainstem. Except of course in the case of cetaceans, who have to breathe when they come up for air. An autonomous system wouldnt work here. The first dolphin anesthetized on an operating table simply died. (How do they sleep? With half of their brain alternately.) But the duties of the unconscious are beyond counting. Everything from scratching an itch to solving math problems. 
Problems in general are often well posed in terms of language and language remains a handy tool for explaining them. But the actual process of thinking—in any discipline—is largely an unconscious affair. Language can be used to sum up some point at which one has arrived—a sort of milepost—so as to gain a fresh starting point. But if you believe that you actually use language in the solving of problems I wish that you would write to me and tell me how you go about it.

2017-04-28



He was a wise man who invented beer. ~Plato..................
[ Black Tulip ; New Holland, Holland, MI ]......................


2017-04-26


The Search for Lost Lives
--James Tate 
I was chasing this blue butterfly down
the road when a car came by and clipped me.  
It was nothing serious, but it angered me and
I turned around and cursed the driver who didn't
even slow down to see if I was hurt. Then I
returned my attention to the butterfly which  
was nowhere to be seen. One of the Doubleday  
girls came running up the street with her toy
poodle toward me. I stopped her and asked,
"Have you seen a blue butterfly around here?"
"It's down near that birch tree near Grandpa's,"
she said. "Thanks," I said, and walked briskly
toward the tree. It was fluttering from flower
to flower in Mr. Doubleday's extensive garden,  
a celestial blueness to soothe the weary heart.  
I didn't know what I was doing there. I certain-
ly didn't want to capture it. It was like
something I had known in another life, even if
it was only in a dream, I wanted to confirm it.  
I was a blind beggar on the streets of Cordoba
when I first saw it, and now, again it was here.