423b2e
423b2e

9.27.2012

frivolous friday


what I've learned this week ....


xxx

9.25.2012

galway kinnell


Oatmeal
(When One Has Lived a Long Time Alone)

I eat oatmeal for breakfast.
I make it on the hot plate and put skimmed milk on it.
I eat it alone.
I am aware it is not good to eat oatmeal alone.
Its consistency is such that is better for your mental health if somebody eats it with you.
That is why I often think up an imaginary companion to have breakfast with.
Possibly it is even worse to eat oatmeal with an imaginary companion.
Nevertheless, yesterday morning, I ate my oatmeal porridge, as he called it with John Keats.
Keats said I was absolutely right to invite him:
due to its glutinous texture, gluey lumpishness, hint of slime, and unsual willingness to disintigrate, oatmeal should not be eaten alone.
He said that in his opinion, however, it is perfectly OK to eat it with an imaginary companion, and that he himself had enjoyed memorable porridges with Edmund Spenser and John Milton.
Even if eating oatmeal with an imaginary companion is not as wholesome as Keats claims, still, you can learn something from it.
Yesterday morning, for instance, Keats told me about writing the "Ode to a Nightingale."
He had a heck of a time finishing it those were his words "Oi 'ad a 'eck of a toime," he said, more or less, speaking through his porridge.
He wrote it quickly, on scraps of paper, which he then stuck in his pocket,
but when he got home he couldn't figure out the order of the stanzas, and he and a friend spread the papers on a table, and they made some sense of them, but he isn't sure to this day if they got it right.
An entire stanza may have slipped into the lining of his jacket through a hole in his pocket.
He still wonders about the occasional sense of drift between stanzas, and the way here and there a line will go into the configuration of a Moslem at prayer, then raise itself up and peer about, and then lay  itself down slightly off the mark, causing the poem to move forward with a reckless, shining wobble.
He said someone told him that later in life Wordsworth heard about the scraps of paper on the table, and tried shuffling some stanzas of his own, but only made matters worse.
I would not have known any of this but for my reluctance to eat oatmeal alone.
When breakfast was over, John recited "To Autumn."
He recited it slowly, with much feeling, and he articulated the words lovingly, and his odd accent sounded sweet.
He didn't offer the story of writing "To Autumn," I doubt if there is much of one.
But he did say the sight of a just-harvested oat field got him started on it, and two of the lines, "For Summer has o'er-brimmed their clammy cells" and "Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours," came to him while eating oatmeal alone.
I can see him drawing a spoon through the stuff, gazing into the glimmering furrows, muttering.
Maybe there is no sublime; only the shining of the amnion's tatters.
For supper tonight I am going to have a baked potato left over from lunch.
I am aware that a leftover baked potato is damp, slippery, and simultaneaously gummy and crumbly, and therefore I'm going to invite Patrick Kavanagh to join me.


xxx

9.22.2012

biker's poetry




"Said Red Molly to James that's a fine motorbike
A girl could feel special on any such like
Said James to Red Molly, my hat's off to you
It's a Vincent Black Lightning, 1952
And I've seen you at the corners and cafes it seems
Red hair and black leather, my favourite colour scheme
And he pulled her on behind
And down to Boxhill they did ride

Said James to Red Molly, here's a ring for your right hand
But I'll tell you in earnest I'm a dangerous man
I've fought with the law since I was seventeen
I robbed many a man to get my Vincent machine
Now I'm 21 years, I might make 22
And I don't mind dying, but for the love of you
And if fate should break my stride
Then I'll give you my Vincent to ride

Come down, come down, Red Molly, called Sergeant McRae
For they've taken young James Adie for armed robbery
Shotgun blast hit his chest, left nothing inside
Oh, come down, Red Molly to his dying bedside
When she came to the hospital, there wasn't much left
He was running out of road, he was running out of breath
But he smiled to see her cry
And said I'll give you my Vincent to ride

Says James, in my opinion, there's nothing in this world
Beats a 52 Vincent and a red headed girl
Now Nortons and Indians and Greeveses won't do
They don't have a soul like a Vincent 52
He reached for her hand and he slipped her the keys
He said I've got no further use for these
I see angels on Ariels in leather and chrome
Swooping down from heaven to carry me home
And he gave her one last kiss and died
And he gave her his Vincent to ride"

~ Richard Thompson, 1952 Vincent Black Lightning

xxx

9.17.2012

shut it down !!!


An Argument for its Closing: Dead Gitmo Detainee’s Poem  
By Harriet Staff From Amnesty International’s website:
Adnan Latif died at Guantánamo on Saturday, after being held over 10 years without charge—despite a judge’s order that he be released.
Latif protested his treatment with a hunger strike and poetry; these lines were cleared by government censors and serve as a tragic reminder of the urgent need to end indefinite detention and close the prison:
 “Hunger Strike Poem”
They are artists of torture,
They are artists of pain and fatigue,
They are artists of insults
and humiliation.
Where is the world to save us
from torture?
Where is the world to save us
from the fire and sadness?
Where is the world to save
the hunger strikers?
Full post, including ways you can take action, here.

Posted in Poetry News on Monday, September 17th, 2012 by Harriet Staff.

xxx

9.16.2012

nocturne



That scraping of iron on iron when the wind   
rises, what is it? Something the wind won’t   
quit with, but drags back and forth.
Sometimes faint, far, then suddenly, close, just   
beyond the screened door, as if someone there   
squats in the dark honing his wares against   
my threshold. Half steel wire, half metal wing,   
nothing and anything might make this noise   
of saws and rasps, a creaking and groaning
of bone-growth, or body-death, marriages of rust,   
or ore abraded. Tonight, something bows
that should not bend. Something stiffens that should   
slide. Something, loose and not right,   
rakes or forges itself all night.


~ Li-Young Lee
from Rose

xxx

saving the best for last



"I think in our culture we put too large of a significance on our 'firsts.' 
I’d like to believe that firsts aren’t as important as lasts.
The person you spend loving for the rest of your life, 
no matter who or how many came before, 
is the important one." 

xxx

9.13.2012

frivolous friday




xxx

9.11.2012

eating poetry




Ink runs from the corners of my mouth.
There is no happiness like mine.
I have been eating poetry.

The librarian does not believe what she sees.
Her eyes are sad
and she walks with her hands in her dress.

The poems are gone.
The light is dim.
The dogs are on the basement stairs and coming up.

Their eyeballs roll,
their blond legs bum like brush.
The poor librarian begins to stamp her feet and weep.

She does not understand.
When I get on my knees and lick her hand,
she screams.

I am a new man.
I snarl at her and bark.
I romp with joy in the bookish dark.


~ by Mark Strand
from Selected Poems
xxx

9.10.2012

oceans to fly



"Everyone has oceans to fly.  
If they have the heart to do it, is it reckless?  
Maybe.  
But what do dreams know of boundaries ?"

~  Amelia Earhart

xxx

9.08.2012

li-young lee, again




excerpt from Persimmons:
 
This year, in the muddy lighting
of my parents’ cellar, I rummage, looking   
for something I lost.
My father sits on the tired, wooden stairs,   
black cane between his knees,
hand over hand, gripping the handle.
He’s so happy that I’ve come home.
I ask how his eyes are, a stupid question.   
All gone, he answers.

Under some blankets, I find a box.
Inside the box I find three scrolls.
I sit beside him and untie
three paintings by my father:
Hibiscus leaf and a white flower.
Two cats preening.
Two persimmons, so full they want to drop from the cloth.

He raises both hands to touch the cloth,   
asks, Which is this?

This is persimmons, Father.


Oh, the feel of the wolftail on the silk,   
the strength, the tense
precision in the wrist.
I painted them hundreds of times   
eyes closed. These I painted blind.   
Some things never leave a person:
scent of the hair of one you love,   
the texture of persimmons,
in your palm, the ripe weight. 


~ by Li-Young Lee,
 “Persimmons” from Rose.

9.07.2012

frivolous friday




xxx

9.04.2012

is it poetry ?



Sweet Tooth

 A little girl made of sugar and spice and everything nice was eaten by someone with a sweet tooth the size of an elephant’s tusk.
         Ah, he said, this darn tooth, it’s driving me nuts.

         Then another voice is heard. It’s the little girl’s father who says, have you seen a little girl made of sugar and spice and everything nice?--Incidentally, what’s that thing sticking out of your mouth like an elephant’s tusk?
         My sweet tooth, and it’s really driving me nuts.
         You ought to see a dentist.
         But he might want to pull it, and I don’t like people pulling at me. If they want to pull they should pull at their own pullables.
         So true, said the little girl’s father, people should pull at their own pullables and let other people's pullables alone. But still, he asked again, I wonder if you’ve seen a little girl made of sugar and spice and everything nice?

~ by Russell Edson
from The Tormented Mirror: Poems by Russell Edson 

xxx

9.03.2012

li-young lee


Li-Young Lee is probably my most favorite American poet.  At least, in this moment, I cannot think of another whose work I consistently fall in love with, poem after poem.  Yes, I have my infatuations:  Tony Hoagland, Denise Levertov, Marge Piercy, Carol Ann Duffy, to name a few - all great poets in their own right.  But Li-Young Lee ..... he's the stuff of grown-up infatuations, the brooding poet with a complicated past.  From Blossoms is poetic perfection.  I don't think that of many poems.  I would not change a word of this poem.  It haunts me with its aching beauty.  ~ rdg


From Blossoms

From blossoms comes
this brown paper bag of peaches
we bought from the boy
at the bend in the road where we turned toward
signs painted Peaches

From laden boughs, from hands,
from sweet fellowship in the bins,
comes nectar at the roadside, succulent
peaches we devour, dusty skin and all,
comes the familiar dust of summer, dust we eat. 

O, to take what we love inside,
to carry within us an orchard, to eat
not only the skin, but the shade,
not only the sugar, but the days, to hold
the fruit in our hands, adore it, then bite into
the round jubilance of peach. 

There are days we live
as if death were nowhere
in the background; from joy
to joy to joy, from wing to wing,
from blossom to blossom to
impossible blossom, to sweet impossible blossom.

~ by  Li-Young Lee 

xxx 


9.02.2012

pretty things


a very girly post

































 

xxx