2017-09-23



[Vincent van Gogh (1888) ].......



2017-09-21


These wonderful things
Were planted on the surface of a round mind that was to become our
....present time.
The mark of things belongs to someone
But if that somebody was wise
Then the whole of things might be different
From what it was thought to be in the beginning, before an angel
....bandaged the field glasses.
Then one could say nothing hear nothing
Of what the great time spoke to its divisors.
All borders between men were closed.
Now all is different without having changed
As though one were to pass through the same street at different times
And nothing that is old can prefer the new.
An enormous merit has been placed on the head of all things
Which, bowing down, arrive near the region of their feet
So that the earth-stone has stared at them in memory at the approach
....of an error.
Still it is not too late for these things to die
Provided that an anemone will grab them and rush them to the wildest
....heaven.
But having plucked oneself, who could live in the sunlight?
And the truth is cold, as a giant's knee
Will seem cold.

[.....


xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx....]

A last world moves on the figures;
They are smaller than when we last saw them caring about them.
The sky is a giant rocking horse
And of the other things death is a new office building filled
....with modern furniture,
A wise thing, but which has no purpose for us.

Everything is being blown away;
A little horse trots up with a letter in its mouth, which is read
....with eagerness
As we gallop into the flame.

--from A Last World; John Ashbery



2017-09-19


This Room
--John Ashbery 
The room I entered was a dream of this room.
Surely all those feet on the sofa were mine.
The oval portrait
of a dog was me at an early age.
Something shimmers, something is hushed up.  
We had macaroni for lunch every day
except Sunday, when a small quail was induced
to be served to us. Why do I tell you these things?
You are not even here.


PBS had a brief remembrance of John Ashbery when he died a few weeks ago. Included was an interview but I wouldn’t recommend paying a whole lot of attention to it as John Ashbery did not like interviews. From Interview magazine:

ASHBERY: I don't read my poems very much after I've written them besides at a reading. I put them away and then it's on to something else. I mean, I'd love to say yes, and that would be wonderful for this interview, but I'm just not good interview material. And yet, people always want to interview me. And, of course, the interview is a tragic fact of our time.
FITZGERALD: Why?
ASHBERY: In order not to deal with things, people interview them or their creator.
FITZGERALD: The interview's a form for people to avoid encountering the art itself?
ASHBERY: I probably shouldn't be saying this for Interview magazine.


Instead I make the PBS reference for the comments section. EarthSpeak provides a good rundown for everything John Ashbery wasn’t, which is as a good place to start as any for appreciating his poetry. Now why the general public largely expects strict sanctimonious authenticity from poetry, unlike all other art forms where non-utilitarian facets are widely accepted and enjoyed on a daily basis, I’m not too sure. Possibly I can blame the politicians.



2017-09-17



 ...3.
Now, only the willing are fated to receive death as a reward.
Children twist hula-hoops, imagining a door to the outside.
If we tried to leave, would being naked help us?
And what of older, lighter concerns? What of the river?

Children twist hula-hoops, imagining a door to the outside,
when all we think of is how much we can carry with us.
And what of older, lighter concerns? What of the river?
All the behemoths have filed through the maze of time.

When all we think of is how much we can carry with us
small wonder that those at home sit, nervous, by the unlit grate.
All the behemoths have filed through the maze of time.
It remains for us to come to terms with our commonality.

Small wonder that those at home sit nervous by the unlit grate.
It was their choice, after all, that spurred us to feats of the imagination.
It remains for us to come to terms with our commonality
and in so doing deprive time of further hostages.

--from Hotel Lautréamont; John Ashbery (1927 - 2017)



2017-09-15





Autumn approaches
and the heart begins to dream– 
--Bashō





2017-09-04


Haiku- Summer 2017


an open doorway 
filled full with light
and bird songs


quiet avenue
with the warmth of the sun-
memorial day


across the table
from me sits an empty seat
filled with sunshine


backyard chatter light fading into fireflies


a dragonfly perched
on the tip of a reed-
morning meditation


children swinging
only just so high above
clouds of dust


sunday evening,
through empty yards
a breeze strolls


dog days of august,
the yard out back starts
to tell it's story


morning crickets
for a moment I forget
what day it is



2017-09-02


[ Plans We Made For Every Summer ; Justin Santora ].../.....



2017-08-31



A Poem- for August 
Through wind I follow the sky.
Few cumulus clouds as well.
Dropouts to absently plod
about the dream pool full 
of an otherwise transparent
evening. Cardinal shadows
for lonesome crows. Such is
the veil weeks after gaugeless 
rain, when bare grass tastes
of recycled stock, pine planks
light as cardboard, barn burner
flint ready to ash. Come a brim 
countryside harvest but this
above, this empty cup, rinses
days from these fields gone
blind from chrome in the sun.



2017-08-29



The Woman in Sunshine
--Wallace Stevens 
It is only that this warmth and movement are like
The warmth and movement of a woman. 
It is not that there is any image in the air
Nor the beginning nor end of a form: 
It is empty. But a woman in threadless gold
Burns us with brushings of her dress 
And a dissociated abundance of being,
More definite for what she is— 
Because she is disembodied,
Bearing the odors of the summer fields, 
Confessing the taciturn and yet indifferent,
Invisibly clear, the only love.



2017-08-27



[ Territory ; René Magritte (1957) ]......




2017-08-25



--Doug Anderson

She sits there on that high hill    just sits there and lets things pass through her until one snags and she fits it into the pattern of this fine mesh of    what    spirit?    But, ah, there’s a cowboy hat and a cherry bomb tattoo and it snags    and what she lets through may, I say, may be caught second time around like that oil pan off an old Hudson or that artificial leg    toward morning she’s collected some radio signals from a dead ship    and a janitor’s song and some folderol from a church picnic with iced tea fried chicken collards and a whole lot of stentorian god-speak with apple pie and ice cream.    I’ll be damned if all those things aren’t moving around in one another’s magnetic fields, some kind of counterpoint that happens each time she breathes    it’s a mobile only no wires    there’s a piece of mirror turning on a spider web and now she’s a    signal beacon    says come on up I’ve got something to read and somehow it all works. Then she pulls this silk thread and it becomes a form.




2017-08-23



René Magritte
--Shuzo Takiguchi (trans. Mary Jo Bang; Yuki Tanaka) 
Released silhouettes
flow incessantly like water,
flow between mountains
swiftly like a kaleidoscope.
The solitude of  the North Pole
bustles with human silhouettes.
Endless transmission of  ABC. 
On the shredded shore
a silk hat burns
like a mirror trick,
like a human echo
burns a silk hat endlessly.
Then the flames
were received like ABC. 
On the night of a beautiful lunar eclipse
the silhouettes smiled.


2017-08-21



--René Magritte (trans. Jo Levy) 
A few companions had been doing too much talking beside the purple water. The troupe, panic-stricken, ran away, and I found I was incapable of following them. I stepped into the water and the depths turned luminous; faraway ferns could just be seen. The reflections of other dark plants stopped them rising to the surface. Red threads took on all sorts of shapes, caught in the invisible and doubtless powerful currents. A plaster-cast woman advancing caused me to make a gesture which was to take me far.




2017-08-19


[ Aphrodite and the Three Graces ]..................


[via Marat Elkanidze]



2017-08-17


.....
Here in the gloaming,
a wormwood haze — 
the “m” on its head,
a “w,” amazed
at what the
drink itself does: 
Vermouth,
god bless you — th. 

.....
What really matters now is begonia,
he thought, distracted while reading — 
their amber anther and bone-white petals
missing from a jade pot
by the door — not a theory of metaphor. 

.....
The blue moon opens all
.....too quickly and floats
.....its head-
....................y fragrance over
..............................the path
.................before us: 
And so we slit
its throat, like a florist. 

.....
These hearts-on-strings
.....of the tenderest green
things that rise
from dirt,
then fall
................toward the floor,
...............................hang
.........................in
.............the air
.......like —  
..........hearts-
on-strings of the tenderest
green things — 
.....they rise from dirt
then fall toward
............the floor,
.....hanging in
...............the air like —  
...............................these
hearts-on-strings of the
tenderest green things,
.....................................rising
from dirt then falling
toward the floor,
..............hanging
......in the air like 

--from August; Peter Cole


[via POETRY May 2017]





2017-08-15


Common-Law Kundalini
--Rodney Jones 
A sudden loving settles into your own weight . . .
click, then roll over onto your back
and you are there above yourself, 
the human spirit in full cloud-drift,
a lust fieldstripped to eye and ambition
which moves through walls and doors 
and rises to the carnival of looking down
with no power but that of seeing
all of it momentarily unchangeable: 
the shadow-tinseled moonlit fields
and silvery water towers on stilts,
the vole in the unblinking talon of the owl. 
Even better, asleep, in dream-buoyancy,
I have seen more than I ever saw
pretzel-munching in some cloud valley 
thirty thousand feet above the sorghum.
Once a pelican stopped to question me.
Once my friend Herbert McAbee 
bumped into me out of the mist
with a talking sheep under his arm.
Often I have achieved much in basketball, 
for many dream flights launched
from the magic floor of some actual gym
where old men smoked by a potbellied stove, 
but removed from time, unblocked,
and watched by sweethearts, cheered,
I rose and dunked and hovered 
with fear's iodine in my throat.
When I am up there, it is not poetry.
In the dream's onliness, it feels 
wingless, bird-elegant, experimental,
requiring the decisionless decision-
making of dreams. But somehow, 
why do I do this if not for the freedom?
Sometimes I wish I had never heard
of the name of Sigmund Freud.


[via blackbird]


2017-08-13



LXXXIII (Chanterelles)
--Rodney Jones

Black trumpets, whale-colored pamphlets, or shingles, or ears, book-
marks of the netherworld, breakast food of the box turtle.

For a long time, she could not find them, hovering just above them
the way an inanimate lamp will hang blindly above the lucidities
of geometry.

And then she saw them risen in clusters on the mossy rocks, firm and
articulate, as when first translated from the original rain.

Bat wing, toad mask, vole shield: they turned darkly in the alchemy of
the skillet—in the mouth, they transmit a tenuous signal,

a hint of perfume, but musical—songs with morals, light things broad-
cast before the planetary news on the underground station.


[via poetry daily]



2017-08-11



Lay, Lady, Lay ; Hudson (2017) ]


b - Larry Grenadier
d - Jack DeJohnette
g - John Scofield
k - John Medeski

Written by Bob Dylan.


2017-08-09



Wings
--John Godfrey 
I come off a little bit ventilated
but you must realize the material world
is constantly crumbling under my eyes
it's too much for the novel tongue I speak
the glitter of pavement in my brainstem, you
must accommodate the polytonal grimace
of the set lips becoming a smile, and
you must accept the thin section of arm
advancing across your peripheries to grip you
in pleasure, measuring feeling in your restraint
We have lived through the most furious little
chunk of history for this? that we must
unburden ourselves on night roof air, presuming
the poise and perks of champ pigeon teams
planing the evening winds 
until, signaled from the roof with a flag
we become American birds




2017-08-07



Something to Look Forward To
--John Yau

A blue and green city, with the sun rising behind it,
.....just not swiftly enough
Don’t worry about being perfect. Just make sure you have
.....some juice left in the pump

I have many other remedies on hand, not just history’s bags
.....of sumptuous soot
Hello, I am beauty’s representative; I work in the
.....self-improvement sector

Don’t worry about being perfect. Just make sure you have
.....some juice left in the pump
How do you see yourself on the material plane of
.....observed phenomena

Hello, I am beauty’s representative; I work in the
.....self-improvement sector
Have you ever been sideswiped by a bad investment in love

How do you see yourself on the material plane
.....of observed phenomena
You might need a reevaluation, an estimate, or an era to expire

Have you ever been sideswiped by a bad investment in love
Before you decide that you are nothing more
.....than a clump or splatter

You might need a reevaluation, an estimate, or an era to expire
Have you learned how to remove yourself from every mirror you pass

Before you decide that you are nothing more than a clump or splatter
Let me tell you about the palm trees on the horizon of your future

Have you learned how to remove yourself from every mirror you pass
A blue and green city, with the sun rising behind it,
.....just not swiftly enough

Let me tell you about the palm trees on the horizon of your future
I have many other remedies on hand, not just history’s bags
.....of sumptuous soot



[via POETRY July/August 2017]


2017-08-05


from The Forest Sounds Like Waves
--Ken'ichi Sasō

Today Is Four Billion Years of Personal Experience

Today brought to mind the era of fish.
Are we heading against the tide?

Today brought to mind the era of amphibians.
Are we expanding our field of vision to include both sea and land?

Today brought to mind the era of reptiles.
Do I feel the naked form of the globe in my belly?

Today brought to mind the era of small nocturnal animals.
Can we survive without succumbing to dinosaur politics?

Today brought to mind the era of forest monkeys.
Can we contemplate a healthy life?

Today brought to mind the journey of Australopithecus.
Are we demolishing dead-end thinking with creativity?

Today brought to mind early humans, smiling and exhilarated.
Are we shouting out the awe of being alive?

Today brought to mind the arrival of people at the islands of Japan.
Should we discuss this with the people of Asia?
< Hello   Friends     To start, let’s disarm and shake hands>

Today should we try to tightly embrace DNA worn out from
living, the environment, and war?
< Hello   Living in the mixture of all those eras of human history is great!
In this heart, the poem of humanity is crying with a smile on its face!>

Today I greeted a bird that was born unable to sing.
Will it walk across the lands known as authentic human society?

Making the most of the cell of a dream amidst reality—today,
with a new feeling, will we speak and share our voices?


[via asymptote]




2017-08-03

[ Multitasking ; Alex Tarampi (2012) ]................




Illustration for Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind



2017-08-01


Harmon mute hardscrabble,
swept changes reverberate  
token horizons off the floor,
summer flight for altitude 
following the weather vane
feather hinged and forgotten 
with amplified power, mango
syncopate elixir, lovingly 
bemused steel strung
disorder shot in an ulta- 
light polyurethane. It is
violet wind, wild organics 
on the other side of sun
glasses, harvest emerald 
supranormal numerated on
uptoned gravity, equatorial 
message beamed to echo
bottomless mass inductions 
spun clockwise out of time,
molecular confection ripe, 
like water, like air, blended
space momentarily solving 
I me mine, a briefly charged
repose ever to slide by again.


2017-07-30


There was this stranger who came into our town
He was tall, and had a dark look about him
And a special brilliance was in his eyes
And when he looked at us
It was the feeling he could see right down to the bottom
We may have been mistaken in this
But at the time, no questions were asked
The questions always come later
All we cared about was the mystery we sensed in this stranger
And we waited to see what would happen

One evening, that was different from any other
He got us all together in the big auditorium
He stood there, on the huge stage
The only light was on him
And we waited in the dark
Then, out of his tallness came the chanting
First, as a whisper we could hardly hear
The flibberty jib on the bipperty bop
The flibberty jib on the bipperty bop
It didn't make any sense
We were caught up in something we didn't understand
He had trapped us, without our knowing it
Possibly it was his manner
And we came alive to him
As he slowly moved us with his chant
Through the land of hush
Into insistent, savage, throbbing crescendos of ecstasy
As if it were the only thing we could do
We started to chant with him
The flibberty jib on the bipperty bop
The flibberty jib on the bipperty bop
And he was up on the high stage, laughing with all his might
Shouting yes, yes, yes
But there were those among us who were jealous of his power
Who felt they should be in the center of the stage
With the light shining on them
They were against our hero
And the chanting
And our going to be with him every free moment
And so, little by little, a little later
These critics set to work
To make nonsense out of the sense of what we were doing
And they succeeded
They destroyed our hero's faith in himself
He didn't have it any more
After a few, disappointing times
In the big auditorium
The light gone out of him
We all stopped going
And the man who had once seemed so tall
And who now seemed so much smaller
Left our town
Saying no, no, no

We lived through the boredom of the time that followed
Telling each other pale stories of what once was
And what might have been if
We lived on histories and hopes
We did this
Until the miracle we never thought would happen again, happened
Another stranger came into our town
And he too was tall and dark
And had eyes that could look right down into the bottom of you
And he got us all together in the big auditorium
And with the light on him
We were in the dark
He chanted
The flibberty jib on the bipperty bop
The flibberty jib on the bipperty bop
And we joined in, and the magic was in us
And he was laughing
And all his might was with him
And he was shouting yes, yes, yes
But there were those among us who were jealous and so forth
You know, you know what they did

Little by little, a little later
They put us back on the narrow path
This is the way things have been in our town
For as long as anyone cares to remember
By the way
How are things in your town?

--Ken Nordine (1957)