Like vanishing dew, a passing apparition or the sudden flash of lightning — already gone —thus should one regard one’s self.


Not here and now but now and here.
If you don't know the difference
is a matter of life and death, get down
naked on bare knees in the snow
and study the ticking of your watch.

--Jim Harrison; from After Ikkyu




See and realize
that this world
is not permanent.
Neither late nor early flowers
will remain.




--Du Fu (trans. Wong May)

A cool wind arises from one end of the sky.
My friend, I cannot vouch for your intent.
Migratory birds arrive & part
Do we hold them to their schedule?
How full of water are the lakes & rivers
In Autumn! 
Good writing
Resents happy circumstances.
Good writers are rarely spared.
The demons of this world
Their gargoyle faces
Are made glad
Whenever men of talent hobble. 
One ought to have a chat
With poets of the land
Purported to have
                The wronged souls
Whether freezing water is their element. 
                                    But for the likes of one
We won't see again,
Fish, fiends, & friends 
I throw this poem 
Into the Miluo River.



[ Bare oaks, Newlands, late autumn; Gregoire Boonzaier]



--e. e. cummings

Nobody wears a yellow
flower in his buttonhole
he is altogether a queer fellow
as young as he is old

when autumn comes,
who twiddles his white thumbs
and frisks down the boulevards
without his coat and hat

-(and i wonder just why that
should please him or i wonder what he does)

and why(at the bottom of this trunk,
under some dirty collars) only a
was it perhaps a year) ago i found staring
me in the face a dead yellow small rose



--e. e. cummings

here's a little mouse)and
what does he think about, i
wonder as over this
floor (quietly with

bright eyes) drifts (nobody
can tell because
Nobody knows, or why
jerks Here &, here,
gr(oo)ving the room's Silence)this like
a littlest
poem a
(with wee ears and see?

tail frisks)
         We are not the same you and

i,since here's a little he
or is
it It
?     (or was something we saw in the mirror)?

therefore we'll kiss; for maybe
what was Disappeared
into ourselves
who     (look).   ,startled



--e. e. cummings

i go to this window

just as day dissolves
when it is twilight(and
looking up in fear

i see the new moon
thinner than a hair)

making me feel
how myself has been coarse and dull
compared with you, silently who are
and cling
to my mind always

But now she sharpens and becomes crisper
until i smile with knowing
-and all about

the sprouting largest final air

      inward with hurled
downward thousands of enormous dreams




.....[ Autumn Wind and Stars ; Karl Schrag (1988) ]



--Mark Strand

At the edge
of the body’s night
ten moons are rising. 

A scar remembers the wound.
The wound remembers the pain.
Once more you are crying. 

When we walk in the sun
our shadows are like barges of silence. 

My body lies down
and I hear my own
voice lying next to me. 

The rock is pleasure
and it opens
and we enter it
as we enter ourselves
each night. 

When I talk to the window
I say everything
is everything. 

I have a key
so I open the door and walk in.
It is dark and I walk in.
It is darker and I walk in.



--Mark Strand

I empty myself of the names of others. I empty my pockets.
I empty my shoes and leave them beside the road.
At night I turn back the clocks;
I open the family album and look at myself as a boy.

What good does it do? The hours have done their job.
I say my own name. I say goodbye.
The words follow each other downwind.
I love my wife but send her away.

My parents rise out of their thrones
into the milky rooms of clouds. How can I sing?
Time tells me what I am. I change and I am the same.
I empty myself of my life and my life remains.


--Mark Strand

Your best friend is gone,
your other friend, too.
Now the dream that used to turn in your sleep,
like a diamond, sails into the year's coldest night.

What did you say?
Or was it something you did?
It makes no difference -- the house of breath collapsing
around your voice, your voice burning, are nothing to worry about.

Tomorrow your friends will come back;
your moist open mouth will bloom in the glass of storefronts.
Yes. Yes. Tomorrow they will come back and you
will invent an ending that comes out right.


.....,........[ Paul Rouphail ]

[via this isn't happiness



          Light Control
          --Melissa Broder

          I have never been inside myself
          Another place wants me dead
          It is built in a ring around my core
          Like asking a donut how to live
          It can only cry and be eaten
          Don’t you see
          Angels have tried to help me
          And I smiled for them
          Feeling genuinely good and kind
          Then after a while I got tired
          Of being on good behavior
          They never asked for perfection
          But I felt I needed to perform
          And the smile stayed no matter what I did
          Even when dying improperly
          I left everyone I knew in the other room
          But I picked them back up again
          Teach me to die teach me to die
          I want to create a beautiful dying
          The end will need to be dark and soft
          Like walking home to your real mother


I think the knowing we know less and less might be the knowing! The wisdom of knowing we know nothing.  This leaves room for the mystery, and what I love about the poetic form, is that it allows for—and celebrates—mystery: negative capability, learning to love the questions themselves, or at least, to sit with them. A poem is a realm where we can live in a question—and generate only more questions—and that’s a complete work of art.

I will say that there is one thing I have learned about obsession (though not through poetry) and that is: the day after you have a romantic dream about a person, do NOT contact them.

Something I have learned about god (though not through poetry): god’s will is never urgent.

Love: love is a verb, baby. I want it to be a feeling, a drug, but it’s a damn verb.

Something I’ve learned through death: that I am a person who will talk to a tree.

          Likes: being in a flow state. Dislikes: fear.

           --from Interview with Melissa Broder,  APR


--Melissa Broder

The sky told me nothing about myself

The stars told me nothing about myself

Jupiter gave me zero

Except that I am dust

Which is a lot to go on

But not enough to stop the death

Where are we going to live?

I said to my unknown self

When one of us is dead

She did not say

But opened up a curtain

Where her silence lived

And I went behind the curtain

And laid my skeleton down

I lay in silence as she stroked my tired head

And then I heard a roaring crowd

And knew that I had been onstage

And knew that I was good



,,,,..  ...,,[ Opulent October ; Tom Thomson ]



--Wendy Battin

If you can taste the oak in aging love,
then no betrayal overcomes the taste
of smoke on the lips and fire in the throat.
You drank some drug that no blood test can trace.

Love asks every thing, but will take nothing
for an answer. How you savored feta,
olive oil, oregano. Your wit rang
a blue note in sullen America.

And if you're gone, I'm not. The love goes on.
It has its own life, eating through the heart,
and heart eats all the world, the sight, the sound,

the scent you left, that I might track you by,
the road we staggered drunkenly to art.
Open your hand. Let you fly, let me fly.

-- Petrarch--------------------------

Breeze, blowing that blonde curling hair,
stirring it, and being softly stirred in turn,
scattering that sweet gold about, then
gathering it, in a lovely knot of curls again,

you linger around bright eyes whose loving sting
pierces me so, till I feel it and weep,
and I wander searching for my treasure,
like a creature that often shies and kicks:

now I seem to find her, now I realise
she’s far away, now I’m comforted, now despair,
now longing for her, now truly seeing her.

Happy air, remain here with your
living rays: and you, clear running stream,
why can’t I exchange my path for yours?



--Wendy Battin

The wall erased, its graffiti hang in the air:
We are open all night, like old men's windows.

The trees creak in the cold wind:
doors that rarely open, opening.

A man's borders include the ax he swings, the branch
it splits. The cold peal traveling elsewhere.

And who opens like a door cannot
say who might enter, or question

the gifts we make to morning, boosting
the last of our loves over the wall.




--Wendy Battin

Only now that we've come and come to rest,
now that we've hinged apart like wings,
back-stroked on the bed and sinking--
boatmen and waterbirds
dream the same dream: the dream of not flying.
No one else dreams it.


"Only the twilight crow knows how I feel."
--Wendy Battin

Only a fluke of sight,
the astigmatic
twilight makes a
crow shimmer. Who
knows black feathers knows
how no-light finds its prism.
I was not light this morning, now I
feel I scatter.



....[ The Open Door ; Leon Spilliaert (1945) ]



--Kate Northrop

Come, let’s go in.
The ticket-taker
has shyly grinned
and it’s almost time,
Lovely One.
Let’s go in.

The wind tonight’s too wild.
The sky too deep,
too thin. Already it’s time.
The lights have dimmed.
Come, Loveliest.
Let’s go in

and know these bodies
we do not have to own, passing
quietly as dreams, as snow.
Already leaves are falling
and music begins.
Lovely One,

it’s time.
Let’s go in.



--Kate Northrop

                                   (tired and high-pitched)

Ghosts have been tied into the trees.
At dawn they pivot
In the wind slowly.

Where the moon windows in
I am of those
Who can’t stand it

Kept awake, humming with trucks
While anything lunar
Won’t rut, ruminates.  Overhead, uh-hunh

Days, the neighbor’s girl plays a game: what is?
What is dusk, she says, as the sky
ends it begins.

I play myself. What is death?  What’s poetry?  What
Is time?  Time needs no hanky, time blows by
the Kleenex flowersOr time’s

so slow, starry-cold, even is cold
            and sure, little admonishments.

Were you awake all night?

I was.  I was awake all night.


--Kate Northrop

You in the door look back
        and are no longer there,

although that is the hall
        through which you walked a hundred times
thinking well, what of it?—awake

        in the middle of the night—

and that is the window where the sky drew back and night came on,

        where the planes banked in
scheduled and flashing from the west—

        Your hand was pulling shut the shade
and mornings, your hand pulled it up again

though you are not there, you in the door going over the days,
        going as a wave goes, that is

nowhere, and all your lovers now? Those real,
        imagined? The sad,
gratified sighs?

        All that while,
through the evenings, didn't something
        quietly call,

something off in the marginal light,

in the vapor through which
        the faces of passengers dimmed

and flickered? That slight
        rivering, insistent

beneath the blare of the television, beneath you as well, at the surface

busy with addresses, with pictures & books. You crowded the place,
        you in the door

who looking back now—over the hallway, the shine
        of the relentless floor—

can no longer be sure

you are the person indeed who had that body
        and lived days in it there.


...[ The Walk-Falling Leaves ; Vincent van Gogh (1889) ]