Flowers by the Sea
--William Carlos Williams 
When over the flowery, sharp pasture’s
edge, unseen, the salt ocean 
lifts its form—chicory and daisies
tied, released, seem hardly flowers alone 
but color and the movement—or the shape
perhaps—of restlessness, whereas 
the sea is circled and sways
peacefully upon its plantlike stem


I Eat Breakfast to Begin the Day
--Zubair Ahmed 
I create time
I cannot create time
I’m frozen in place
I cannot be frozen
I’m moving but don’t notice
I notice me moving, I pay attention
To the small yet immense yet
Small movements that guide
My limbs, my hair growth, my joint oils
I don’t think about it
I don’t feel it either
I don’t have emotions right now
I see films of divine quality
I don’t see any films
This black
This not black
To me I am
I am not to me not
I walk with this hollowness
I walk with this blooming
I’m moving outward forever
Onward eternally inward
I create all objects like shampoos
And cats, I create nothing
Like space and antimatter
I resign to the clocks that keep time
I surrender to the clocks that don’t keep time
I’m sure about it, the color white
I’m not sure about it, what is word?
Oh, the loops and unloops
Destiny unfolds in my knees
I eat breakfast to begin the day

[via POETRY July/August 2017]


Journey into the Eye
--David Lehman 
Having no choice but to go down, the sun
without a hint of its will to disobey, hung
for the moment suspended from the rapidly
vanishing blue of the sky, like a pearl
from a pole, a streetlamp, or a chandelier
which, with the emptying of the ballroom,
stops swinging of a sudden and is so still
it seems it never could have moved. Still, 
The sun was going to go down, but first
invited my rowboat to join it, and so I
devised a journey into the eye, and embarked
on it, gliding without work of oars or arms
over the clear and calm watery floor, cool
as an ice-skating rink, peaceful as sleep,
summary as myself in a boy's blue overalls,
freedom's uniform, fishing at memory's end.



Paradise was hardly what Psyche
With her bleeding blackberries and nervous orgasms

Could have foretold, enjoyed,
And renounced for the sake of some querulous abstraction

Designed to keep us unhappy but alive.
Call it civilization. Call our disobedience instinctive.

Or say we obeyed an angry muse, who ordered us to dance.
“Or else?” I asked. She sighed before answering.

“Or else a dismal armchair will be your lot
With chamber music your sole narcotic—music that will make

You face your former self, and grieve over incidents
Scarcely recalled, and eat without pleasure, and drink

Without thirst, and dread what shall never come to pass.”
In the revelation of our nakedness, we danced.

--from Mythologies; David Lehman


[ Blissfest Music Festival ; Harbor Springs, MI ]

The Indians are correct: spending three days dancing in the beautiful outdoors with a community of people does wonderfully good, enlightening things to the soul.


--Stanley Moss 
Give me a death like Buddha's. Let me fall
over from eating mushrooms Provençale,
a peasant wine pouring down my shirtfront,
my last request not a cry but a grunt.
Kicking my heels to heaven, may I succumb
tumbling into a rosebush after a love
half my age. Though I'm deposed, my tomb
shall not be empty; may my belly show above
my coffin like a distant hill, my mourners come
as if to pass an hour in the country,
to see the green, that old anarchy.


Listening to Water
--Stanley Moss 
Water wanted to live.
It went to the sun,
came back laughing.
Water wanted to live.
It went to a tree
struck by lightning.
It came back laughing.
It went to blood. It went to womb,
It washed the face of every living thing.
A touch of it came to death, a mold.
A touch of it was sexual, brought life to death.
It was Jubal, inventor of music,
the flute and the lyre. 
"Listen to waters," my teacher said,
"then play the slow movement
of Schubert's late Sonata in A,
it must sound like the first bird
that sang in the world."


--Stanely Moss 
I argued with a dear friend, a psychiatrist
who didn't think dogs smile and dream.
I told him I thought butterflies, frogs and dogs dream
and smile- that the whole Bronx Zoo is like me,
but I don't think every Greyhound bus,
cheese, beggerman and thief is named Stanley.
I've seen trees smiling, dreaming, kissing and kissed.
I don't think the world is a mirror made by Jesus,
rather sooner or later, like Columbus
every old sailor sees a mermaid, that Jesus
smiled and dreamed like us, and Judas
had a dog that smiled and dreamed like us.
My good dog Bozo ran wild with my shoes.
Because I sleep and dream old news
secrets I keep from myself, I smile in deceit,
while my dog smiles, mounts a wolf at my feet.


He was a wise man who invented beer. ~Plato
[ Fish Ladder IPA ; Grand Rapids Brewing Co. ]....................


From 'The Collected Writings of Joe Brainard', Life:

When I stop and think about what it’s all about I do come up with some answers, but they don’t help very much. 
I think it is safe to say that life is pretty mysterious. And hard. 
Life is short. I know that much. That life is short. And that it’s important to keep reminding oneself of it. That life is short. Just because it is. I suspect that each of us is going to wake up some morning to suddenly find ourselves old men (or women) without knowing how we got that way. Wondering where it all went. Regretting all the things we didn’t do. So I think that the sooner we realize that life is short the better off we are. 
Now, to get down to the basics. There are 24 hours a day. There is you and there are other people. The idea is to fill these 24 hours as best one can. With love and fun. Or things that are interesting. Or what have you. Other people are most important. Art is rewarding. Books and movies are good fillers, and the most reliable. 
Now you know that life is not so simple as I am making it sound. We are all a bit fucked up, and here lies the problem. To try and get rid of the fucked up parts, so we can just relax and be ourselves. For what time we have left.

[via crashingly beautiful]


Nests in Elms
--Michael Field 
The rooks are cawing  up and down the trees!
Among their nests they caw. O sound I treasure,
Ripe as old music is, the summer's measure,
Sleep at her gossip, sylvan mysteries,
With prate and clamour to give zest of these—
In rune I trace the ancient law of pleasure,
Of love, of all the busy-ness of leisure,
With dream on dream of never-thwarted ease.
O homely birds, whose cry is harbinger
Of nothing sad, who know not anything
Of sea-birds' loneliness, of Procne's strife,
Rock round me when I die! So sweet it were
To die by open doors, with you on wing
Humming the deep security of life.

It's worth taking a look at the bio of this, Michael Field.


What’s unbound still continues
on the other side of the alarm clock.
Actually, not much of anything really.
Coreless daybreak beyond motive
into the fickle contours of clouds.
Their therapy reckoned as I stand
up to the scale after the morning shower.
Navigations shrugged. Slowly,
I am again. Ionic soliloquy
laden to more, hint of much less,
corporeal vat of sunlight. Humid
perception always with at least
one more day to go. And evolving
composure. All the faucet features
of a world indigenous, makeshifts
I make my trouble in lucent delirium
to a soaked rapport charged fresh
by life shimmering encounters,
mirage of expectant agelessness. 


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


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)]


[ Blues Farm ; Ron Carter (1973) ]

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)


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.


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.


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]


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


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]


--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.


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


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

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


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