Thursday, December 13, 2018



Smoke has been the sign of human settlement

ever since Prometheus' defiant act,

ever since people settled down to roasting,

torching, scorching and cremating, ever since

human history began its smoldering.

The pale blue smoke of campfires and

the black smoke of plunder, burning stakes,

and crematoria; they both have stained the sun

and its starry vault in this accustomed hey hue.

Puffing on a cigarette I'm sitting high up on a hill,

watching limpid supper smoke weave its way

from the valley across the reclining sunrise;

but it's the sickening fun of burning brains

that tickles my memory for taste and smell.

Could they be burning books somewhere?


Sandor Kanyadi
Dancing Embers
translated by Paul Sohar
Twisted Spoon Press 2002

Wednesday, December 12, 2018


How To Make Rain

Start with the sun

piled weeks deep on your back    after

you haven't heard rain for an entire

growing season    and making sure to face

due north    spit twice into the red clay

stomp your silent feet    waiting rain

rain to bring the washing in    rain

of reaping    rusty tubs of rain    wish

aloud    to be caught in the throat

of the dry well    head kissing your back

a bent spoon for groundwater    to be

sipped from    slow courting rain    rain

that falls forever    rain which keeps

folks inside and makes late afternoon

babies    begin to bury childhood clothes

wrap them around stones    and skulls of

doves    then mark each place well enough

to stand the coming storm    rain of our

fathers    shoeless rain    the devil is

beating his wife rain    rain learned

early  in the bones    plant these scare

crow people face down    wing wing

and bony anchor    then wait until they

grow roots and skeletons    sudden soaking

rain that draws out the nightcrawler

rain of forgetting    rain that asks for

more rain    rain that can't help but

answer    what you are looking for

must fall    what you are looking for is

deep among clouds    what you want to see

is a girl selling kisses beneath cotton

wood    is a boy drowning inside the earth


Kevin Young
Most Way Home
Zoland Books, 2000

Tuesday, December 11, 2018


 ~ Yale ~
edited by Barry Rosen

Monday, December 10, 2018


Breaking News

What's to be done with “Breaking News?”

I watch the news with the sound off and read the captions

So there is no sound of anything breaking

A second ago it was a cyclone

Now it's two planes nearly colliding over Indiana

The breaking news is now old news for all the passengers

It's not even news, it's good luck, they're still alive!

We need more good luck on television news —

By the time its breaking news reaches us

The cyclone may have died down to 

A light breeze, there’s no way 

To make news with mother nature

For instance, it's raining as I write this

But probably not as you read this

And if it is, it's just our luck


What to say to

A Mexican gal

Working high off

In the mountains

With a quick greeting

For us to step out

Back and see what

They do — dyeing

Wool over a cast

Iron pinion fire —

The dyes stir with

Wool skeins in two

Deep tubs boiling as

Bare armed she works

Ingenious pulleys to

Lift out and bleed

Magnificent colors —

Nothing like we see

Anywhere else in old

Town until we look up

To the sky, and another

Worker drapes the dipped

Wool over makeshift

Drying racks, neither

Women bothering much

To wear their masks

For the wicked vapors

Since out of nowhere

In the smolder of heat

And poisons she says

They are both

“Going to win the

Lottery” — fast toothy

Grins — “Yep, going

To win big-time

A million bucks!”

Cross Country

In all our windows

It’s the moon

On the train

Mother Earth

Lonesome far

Out in the snowy woods — 

When we wanted

A friend to visit

We built

A snowman

Bob Arnold
Heaven Lake

Longhouse 2018

Sunday, December 9, 2018


The Sun Also Fizzles

That's this place, between

geography and evening? The sun

also bludgeons; a car has three wheels;

and what's the wrong way to break

that brick of truth back into music?

Money belongs together. I'm right

where I wanted to leave me. Rain

belongs together. At mirror,

I've neither me believed.

I've come covered in arena dust,

my mouth a sleeve's end,

meatless. I've come somewhat up,

and I'm here to lick

the static from the ground.

Twice, I've been evidence of,

if anything, my breathing.

Not particular, I've pissed against

a cage, pretending wind.

Swallowed whole, a songbird might

could claw back through the hawk —

or so I've thought.

The choosing of a word

might be its use, the only poem.


Graham Foust
A Mouth in California
Flood Editions 2009

Saturday, December 8, 2018



More an historical narrative and portrait-driven
wonder on the counterculture streamlined
back-to-the-land movement once upon a time in Vermont.
The tribes arrived when gasoline cost 20 cents (I remember)
a gallon, and land was cheap, and some of the
ragamuffins were filthy rich, others had strong backs,
a mighty handful persist to this day. Not quite
the seminal text on the subject as Robert Houriet's
Getting Back Together, written in real-time
and it felt it; Daley digs in deeply to the
Green Mountain state decades after its
zenith dream-time and finds many of
the key locations, people, and she 
cherishes the heart that came with it.
A wiser proof reader should have been hired:
it has never been "Woodie" Guthrie (and
never will be), and "Further" was certainly
not cosmopolitan author Tom Wolfe's
prankster bus, but Oregon's own
Ken Kesey's.
Veteran commune photographer Peter Simon's
work graces the front cover of this
handsome book.
The resonant message: thousands came
and an uncountable stayed and made a viable community —
one outlier became mayor, congessman, then senator, 
and almost the president.

[ BA ]

University Press of New England