Wednesday, July 24, 2013

poetry readings - bukowski

poetry readings
by Charles Bukowski

poetry readings have to be some of the saddest
damned things ever,
the gathering of the clansmen and clansladies,
week after week, month after month, year
after year,
getting old together,
reading on to tiny gatherings,
still hoping their genius will be
making tapes together, discs together,
sweating for applause
they read basically to and for
each other,
they can't find a New York publisher
or one
within miles,
but they read on and on
in the poetry holes of America,
never daunted,
never considering the possibility that
their talent might be
thin, almost invisible,
they read on and on
before their mothers, their sisters, their husbands,
their wives, their friends, and other poets
and the handful of idiots who have wandered
from nowhere.

I am ashamed for them,
I am ashamed that they have to bolster each other,
I am ashamed for their lisping egos,
their lack of guts.

if these are our creators,
please, please give me something else:

a drunken plumber at a bowling alley,
a prelim boy in a four rounder,
a jock guiding his horse through along the
a bartender on last call,
a waitress pouring me a coffee,
a drunk sleeping in a deserted doorway,
a dog munching a dry bone,
an elephant's fart in a circus tent,
a 6 p.m. freeway crush,
the mailman telling a dirty joke


Saturday, July 20, 2013

the sailor - geof hewitt

The Sailor
by Geof Hewitt

In my movie the boat goes under
And he alone survives the night in the cold ocean,
Swimming he hopes in a shoreward direction.
Daylight and he's still afloat, pawing the water
And doesn't yet know he's only fifty feet from shore.
He goes under for what will be the last time
But only a few feet down scrapes bottom.
He's suddenly a changed man and half hops, half swims
The remaining distance, hauls himself waterlogged
Partway up the beach before collapsing into sleep.
As he dreams the tide comes in
And rolls him back to sea.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

by Roberto Bolano

Books I buy
Between the strange rains
And heat
Of 1992
Which I've already read
Or will never read
Books for my son to read
Lautaro's library
Which will need to resist
Other rains
And other scorching heats
-- Therefore, the edict is this:
Resist, my dear books,
Cross thy days like medieval knights
And care for my son
In the years to come
F.B. -- He dead
by Roberto Bolano

Francis Bacon
Learned to live
Learned to bear
The slowness
Of human dusk
Its unbearable stench
The art of patience
Similar in many ways
To the art of indifference
Francis Bacon learned
To live with hours
To live with shadows
Of some illegible
"My gift to you will be an abyss, she said..."
by Roberto Bolano

My gift to you will be an abyss, she said,
but it will be so subtle you'll perceive it
only after many years have passed
and you are far from Mexico and me.
You'll find it when you need it most,
and that won't be
the happy ending,
but it will be an instant of emptiness and joy.
And maybe then you'll remember me,
if only just a little.
"Now you walk alone along the piers..."
by Roberto Bolano

Now you walk alone along the piers
of Barcelona.
You smoke a black cigarette and for
a moment think it would be nice
if it rained.
The gods haven't granted you money
but they've granted you strange whims
Look up:
it's raining.

your distant heart - roberto bolano

"Your Distant Heart"
by Roberto Bolano

I don't feel safe
The adventure doesn't end.
Your eyes shine in every corner.
I don't feel safe
In words
Or in money
Or in mirrors.
The Adventure never ends
And your eyes are searching for me.

"it's nighttime and i'm in the zone alta - roberto bolano

"It's nighttime and I'm in the Zone Alta..."
by Roberto Bolano

It's nighttime and I'm in the Zone Alta
in Barcelona and I've drunk
more than three cafés con leche
with some people I don't
know beneath a moon that sometimes
seems so miserable and other times
so alone and maybe it's neither
one nor the other and I
haven't drunk coffee but cognac and cognac
and cognac in a glass restaurant
in the Zona Alta and the people I
thought I was with really
don't exist or are faces floating
at the table next to mine
where I'm alone and drunk
spending my money on one edge
of the unknown university.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

solitude - roberto bolano

by Roberto Bolano

Does it amuse you that I write in third person?
Does it amuse you that I sometimes say in 100 years
we'll be completely alone?
I know nothing about you except you're my sister
In cold apartments by the barrio gótico
Sometimes listening to the rain
Or kissing
Or making faces in the mirror

"the nightmare..." - roberto bolano

"The nightmare begins over there, right there..."
by Roberto Bolano

The nightmare begins over there, right there.
Further, up, down, everything's part of the 
nightmare. Don't stick your hand in that urn. Don't
stick your hand in that hellish vase. That's 
where the nightmare begins and everything you do there
will grow like a hump on your back.
Stay away, don't hang around that equivocal point.
Even if you see the flowering lips of your true
love, even if you see some flowering eyelids
you wanted to forget or get back. Stay away.
Don't run circles around that mistake. Don't
lift a finger. Trust me. The only thing that grows there
is the nightmare.

"write of widows..." - roberto bolano

"Write of widows, the abandoned ones..."
by Roberto Bolano

Write of widows, the abandoned ones,
the elderly, the handicapped, the mad.
Behind the Great Wars and Great Businesses
that move the world--there they are.
Living day to day, borrowing money,
studying the little red stains
of our cities
   of our sports
      of our songs.

"in a thousand years nothing will be left..." - roberto bolano

"In a thousand years nothing will be left..." 
by Roberto Bolano

In a thousand years nothing will be left
of all that's been written in this century.
They'll read loose sentences, traces
of lost women,
fragments of motionless children,
your slow green eyes
simply will not exist.
It will be like the Greek Anthology,
but even further away,
like a beach in winter
for another wonder, another indifference.

daybreak - roberto bolano

by Roberto Bolano

Trust me, I'm in the middle of my room
waiting for rain. I'm alone. I don't care
if I finish my poem or not. I wait for rain,
drinking coffee and through the window watching a beautiful
of courtyards, with clothes hanging still,
silent marble clothes in the city, where wind
does not exist and far off you only hear the hum
of a color TV, watched by a family
who's also, at this hour, drinking coffee together around
a table: trust me: the yellow plastic tables
unfold into the horizon and beyond:
into the suburbs where they're building
apartments, and a boy of 16 atop a stack
of red bricks contemplates the machines' movement.
The sky in the boy's hour is an enormous
hollow screw the breeze plays with. And the boy
plays with ideas. With ideas and with frozen scenes.
Inertia is a heavy transparent mist
emerging from his eyes.
Trust me: it isn't love that's drawing near
but beauty with its store of dead dawns.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

having a coke with you - frank o'hara

Having a Coke with You
by Frank O’Hara

is even more fun than going to San Sebastian, Irún, Hendaye, Biarritz,
or being sick to my stomach on the Travesera de Gracia in Barcelona
partly because in your orange shirt you look like a better happier
     St. Sebastian
partly because of my love for you, partly because of your love for
partly because of the fluorescent orange tulips around the birches
partly because of the secrecy our smiles take on before people and
it is hard to believe when I’m with you that there can be anything
     as still
as solemn as unpleasantly definitive as statuary when right in front
     of it
in the warm New York 4 o’clock light we are drifting back and forth
between each other like a tree breathing through its spectacles

and the portrait show seems to have no faces in it at all, just paint
you suddenly wonder why in the world anyone ever did them

I look
at you and I would rather look at you than all the portraits in
     the world
except possibly for the Polish Rider occasionally and anyway it’s
     in the Frick
which thank heavens you haven’t gone to yet so we can go together
     the first time
and the fact that you move so beautifully more or less takes care
     of Futurism
just as at home I never think of the Nude Descending a Staircase or
at a rehearsal a single drawing of Leonardo or Michelangelo that
     used to wow me
and what good does all the research of the Impressionists do them
when they never got the right person to stand near the tree when
     the sun sank
or for that matter Marino Marini when he didn’t pick the rider
     as carefully
as the horse

it seems they were all cheated of some marvelous experience
which is not going to go wasted on me which is why I am telling you
     about it

Monday, July 8, 2013

voice mail villanelle - dan skwire

Voice Mail Villanelle 
by Dan Skwire

We're grateful that you called today
And sorry that we're occupied.
We will be with you right away.

Press one if you would like to stay,
Press two if you cannot decide.
We're grateful that you called today.

Press three to end this brief delay,
Press four if you believe we've lied.
We will be with you right away.

Press five to hear some music play,
Press six to speak with someone snide.
We're grateful that you called today.

Press seven if your hair's turned gray,
Press eight if you've already died.
We will be with you right away.

Press nine to hear recordings say
That service is our greatest pride.
We're grateful that you've called today.
We will be with you right away.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

the story - mark strand

The Story
by Mark Strand

It is the old story: complaints about the moon
sinking into the sea, about stars in the first light fading,
about the lawn wet with dew, the lawn silver, the lawn cold.

It goes on and on: a man stares at his shadow
and says it's the ash of himself falling away, says his days
are the real black holes in space. But none of it's true.

You know the one I mean: it's the one about the minutes dying,
and the hours, and the years; it's the story I tell
about myself, about you, about everyone.

Friday, July 5, 2013

the accident - mark strand

The Accident
by Mark Strand

A train runs over me.
I feel sorry
for the engineer
who crouches down
and whispers in my ear
that he is innocent.

He wipes my forehead,
blows the ashes
from my lips.
My blood streams
in the evening air,
clouding his glasses.

He whispers in my ear
the details of his life--
he has a wife
and child he loves,
he's always been
an engineer.

He talks
until the beam
from someone's flashlight
turns us white.
He stands.
He shakes his jacket out

and starts to run.
The cinders crack
under his boots,
the air is cold
and thick
against his cheeks.

Back home he sits
in the kitchen,
staring at the dark.
His face is flushed,
his hands are pressed
between his knees.

He sees me sprawled
and motionless
beside the tracks
and the faint blooms
of my breath
being swept away;

the fields bend
under the heavy sheets
of the wind
and birds scatter
into the rafters
of the trees.

He rushes
from the house,
lifts the wreckage
of my body in his arms,
and brings me back.
I lie in bed.

He puts his head
down next to mine
and tells me
that I'll be all right.
A pale light
shines in his eyes.

I listen to the wind
press hard against the house.
I cannot sleep.
I cannot stay awake.
The shutters bang.
The end of my life begins.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

the serpent - theodore roethke

The Serpent
by Theodore Roethke

There was a Serpent who had to sing.
There was. There was.
He simply gave up Serpenting.
Because. Because.

He didn't like his Kind of Life;
He couldn't find a proper Wife;
He was a Serpent with a soul;
He got no Pleasure down his Hole.
And so, of course, he had to Sing,
And Sing he did, like Anything!
The Birds, the were, they were Astounded;
And various Measures Propounded
To stop the Serpent's Awful Racket:
They bought a Drum. He wouldn't Whack it.
They sent,--you always send,--to Cuba
And got a Most Commodious Tuba;
They got a Horn, they got a Flute,
But Nothing would suit.
He said, "Look, Birds, all this is futile:
I do not like to Bang or Tootle."
And then he cut loose with a Horrible Note
That practically split the Top of his Throat.
"You see," he said, with a Serpent's Leer,
"I'm Serious about my Singing Career!"
And the Woods Resounded with many a Shriek
As the Birds flew off to the End of Next Week.

Monday, July 1, 2013

the favorite - theodore roethke

The Favorite
by Theodore Roethke

A knave who scampered through the needle's eye,
He never trembled at a veiled remark.
His oyster world was easily come by;
There were no nights of sleeping in the park.

Fearless and bold, he did his fellows in,
Only to gain fresh triumphs and applause.
His insolence could wear no patience thin.
He lived beyond the touch of mortal laws.

O he was Fortune's child, a favorite son
Upon whom every gift and thrill were showered,
And yet his happiness was not complete;
Slowly his matchless disposition soured
Until he cried at enemies undone
And longed to feel the impact of defeat.