Tuesday, February 24, 2015



Down a black hole is where I go
to bank the fire, to make it flare,
the light creates this extraordinary halo

round each & every friend qua foe.
Blinkered, second geared
down a black hole is where I go,

outside’s a world of TV snow.
Inside, the haunts of hibernating bears
where light creates this extraordinary halo.

I don’t look up or say hello
except to white rabbits, pair by pair
down a black hole is where we go,

the answer to everything a simple no.
Stepping a deep woods trail, a deer
bears the light of this extraordinary halo

pierced by a poisoned arrow,
sirens & furies fired it there.
Down a black hole is where I go,
the light creates this extraordinary halo.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Anselm Berrigan

Anselm Berrigan [Poetry Foundation]

Armed with an early
termination fee, a
delusion with regard
to neither denying
nor being of the past,
a lazy fly to center,
a transcription of
a stain on the soul
of the off-looker

. . . In
that we’re waiting on
the okapi to organize
and go on strike, or
counterstrike. In that I
am waiting for the stuffed
okapi, the evil kitty, the
frozen hop, the spineless
doggy, the tubby fox
with babe to organize
and resist. I don’t think
the destructive will aimed
on the inside is elusive
if one is sensitive, but
the tangle of sentences
is hard on the eyelids.

. . . I like
to pay for time as I go
or am just used to doing
so and currently willing
to remark upon it under
the rubric of being
personal, though it’s
just as personal to wipe
my dirty hands across
these pinkened eyes or
pluck that bug from
my wind, both banal
gestures devoid of

. . . I’m a child
programmed to punish
the world.

. . . there’s at least a
germ of truth in there
infecting my psyche.

. . . it’s necessary
to finally renounce violence
everywhere in one’s life
but in one’s self-accusations
isn’t it.

Lydia Davis

Lydia Davis [Reuters]

from Lydia Davis's Can't and Won't:


I have a problem in my marriage, which is that I simply do not like George Frideric Handel as much as my husband does. It is a real barrier between us. I am envious of one couple we know, for example, who both love Handel so much they will sometimes fly all the way to Texas just to hear a particular tenor sing a part in one of his operas. By now, they have also converted another friend of ours into a lover of Handel. I am surprised, because the last time she and I talked about music, what she loved was Hank Williams. All three of them went by train to Washington, D.C., this year to hear Giulio Cesare in Egitto. I prefer the composers of the nineteenth century and particularly Dvořák. But I’m pretty open to all sorts of music, and usually if I’m exposed to something long enough. I come to like it. But even though my husband puts on some sort of Handel vocal music almost every night if I don’t say anything to stop him, I have not come to love Handel. Fortunately, I have just found out that there is a therapist not too far from here, in Lenox, Massachusetts, who specializes in Handel-therapy, and I’m going to give her a try. (My husband does not believe in therapy and I know he would not go to a Dvořák-therapist with me even if there was one.)

Monday, February 9, 2015

Anne Shaw

Anne Shaw [University of Arizona]

from Anne Shaw's Dido in Winter:

Unruly Clock

How strangely things unmoor themselves.
For instance, overhead: shadow of a bird
without a bird. As paint peels back
from the porch front, cloud-thread
raveled out against the blue. How my body
craves extinction. Yours, a tenderness.
On top of or below. As the preposition
wanders from its noun. The lip
and its restriction. You, the fricative angel
in my bed. How a bulb turns on
in the farmhouse: a private
radiance. And the body's rapt attention,
apparent slips of tongue. Some truths
I kidnap back into the dark. My realm
of unbecoming, kingdom of shatter and thrust. Fields
in the side view plated now with water over loam.
The little clatter the mind makes, and each
peculiar crevice of a heart. Such beds of flood
and thistle: their many endings, turnings,
passings-through. Then all my slick retractions
flattering a passage through the skull. There is luck
and luck's remission, there are freckled hands
on locks, tallow-meshes hanging in the trees. And the bees
relentless, hungry now, summer or its semblance
bent in sad arrival, creeping charlie tiny in the lawn —

In Motion

Alone on Sunday afternoon, I watch the dog's paws twitching as he sleeps.
His dream turns like a newsreel, simple chase
between snapped branches, lurching toward a sky,
the path irrelevant, his prey a prayer, the blue flame of his being
flared to high. Call it small recurrent animal, this dream
that all dogs dream, like that relentless dream of ropes and stays
in which I turn my body like a filmstrip
to the light. Yes, pin me
to the window, watch me jerk
from frame to animated frame. Each small, belabored increment. Each day
a pink sun moving south against the wall
glides through the strictures of winter. The camera
lucida or obscura. Here are my lumpy socks, my unmade bed. No tragedy
in these particulars. But friends, when I sit at your table
there's a voice in me that says Give
up. Give up. It pumps along like a half-dead frog.
Ladies and gentlemen, it says, this train has left the station. Wave
to your friends on the platform. You may begin
to panic at any time.

Sunday, February 8, 2015


[photo by Tova Olivia Pappas]

The penny dropped
falls to silence
where I remain for a long time
copper greening
at the bottom of an empty vase.
What fits me alone?
What to claim?
What to carry into wilderness —
a cliff, a ridge, a blind corner
antler splinted,
foxes at low windows,
pantry gutted by sly invaders.
Disturbed cats
flee to high places.
Feral we pace, unceasing
noon, dusk, dawn
blunder makes a music play —
riotous dance.
Owls & night-coiled snakes
outside the cracked glass

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Susan Howe

[Prufrock's Dilemma]

from Susan Howe's The Midnight:

Ten thousandth truth

Ten thousandth impulse
Do not mince matter
as if tumbling were pat
parable preached in
hedge-sparrow gospel
For the lily welcomes
Owl! art thou mad?
Why dost thou twit me
with foreknowledge

To this the Nihtegale
gave answer that twig
of thine thou shouldst
sing another tune Owl
Still in Ovid cloth of
scarlet the Owl and her
"Old Side" blue thread
Listen! Let me speak!
the Wren replied I do
not want lawlessness . . .

Evening for the Owl
spoke wisely and well
willing to suffer them
and come flying night
from the Carolingian
mid owl falcon fable
In their company saw
all things clearly wel
Unfele I could not do

Nihtegale to the taunt
Owl a preost be piping
Overgo al soke iseon
sede warme inome nv
still one bare word
Go he started mid ivi
Grene al never ne nede
Song long ago al so
sumere chorless awey