Wednesday, February 20, 2019


Out of the corner

of his eye the

other world, the one

that always seems like

real one, the one

without us

on the hill a

saddle of light.

He dreams he wakes

in his childhood

room, can't find the

light to write this

down, then wakes for

real, finds light and

paper, writes To

place back the stone

of origin

and enter the

world of end-time

pools of


in the


A long way from the Andes

the sound of a wooden flute

rides up the escalator

at Lexington Avenue.

Sudden as birds

two girls' hands

break into conversation

across the car.

Under the snow the meadow

more like a river than the river.

Threadbare hillside, whose colors

go out as clouds gather.

Two crows cross the frozen lake

without a sound.

dusk, Ninth Avenue, face

bathed in a cellphone glow, cowboy

Narcissus, at his tasks


Michael O'Brien
Flood Editions 

Tuesday, February 19, 2019


Summer Time — The Full Moon 
Four Days After July 27th

my mother silently went to heaven       four days ago

and tonight       is the full moon

my mother quietly completed her work

                         the last penance called living

when she breathed in and exhaled       as though reaching

as far back as to the Inca Empire

                                          the thin river of her life

                                                          trembled like a thread

snow     everything is fine

she is     happier than the moon      she does not have to wander about

                                      among the dark clouds

she does not have to       shine serenely

                                   and slowly leave

she has obtained       the permanence

of her existence by not existing       ah

I forgot to say, thank you       because your leaving

this world was      too soon      and too quiet a sigh

what is called permanence is       transient

because it only exists inside me

in this finite inside

infinity       that is a permanence is       now


ah       full moon

                      please shine

on my beloved       my mother

                    please flutter

                like a spring breeze

            quietly over the repose of her soul


                               drops of light


Kazuko Shiraishi
New Directions 2009
translated from the Japanese by
Yumiko Isumura & Samuel Grolmes

Monday, February 18, 2019



No one visited all winter

No one —

Everyone decided

There was too much ice

From the road to the house

We’d see squirrel tracks

Cat tracks

Fox tracks

In the lightest snow

They came

Town Rain

Isn’t it great

When it rains —

Suddenly everyone is running!

Beauty Queen

The old cat

Is deaf —

Purrs louder


come to

them be-

fore it

is too


Problem Solver

I saw the face of god today —

now having lost half my readers because of the

word god, no hard feelings, let’s continue

as I was saying I saw the face of god

in fact his whole body and soul

he was walking towards us in an old Rangers team jacket

cap, shorts, he maybe even had his god beard, I believe he did

the sun returned after five straight days of rain and

no one showed up on the park bench right

outside of the grocer’s

but the two of us

and how good does it get

when god speaks to you

as we rise to leave walking the side-

walk toward this bearded transient 

waving confidently one arm in the air

shouting these very words —

“You guys are the salt of the earth —

(pointing) I hate those other people”

what a



Bob Arnold
Heaven Lake

Longhouse 2018

Saturday, February 16, 2019


B R U N O     G A N Z
(1941, Zurich ~  2019)


Written In My Hermitage
On A Snowy Evening

For more than seventy years, I have been making

Myself dizzy observing men.

I have abandoned trying to penetrate men's good and bad actions.

Coming and going is a sign of weakness.

Heavy snow in the dead of night —

Under the weather-beaten window, once incense stick.

Light rain — the mountain forest is wrapped in mist.

Slowly the fog changes to clouds and haze.

Along the boundless river bank, many crows.

I walk to a hill overlooking the valley to sit in zazen.

After spending the day begging in town,

I now sit peacefully under a cliff in the evening cool.

Alone, with one robe and one bowl —

The life of a Zen monk is truly the best!


One Robe, One Bowl
translated by John Stevens

Friday, February 15, 2019


Mandelstam in Theodosia

Let me go; I wasn't made for jail.

     (arrested in Theodosia in 1920

Mandelstam was not mistaken, he wasn't made

for jail, but jails were made

for him, countless camps and prisons

waited for him patiently, freight trains

and filthy barracks, railroad switches and

gloomy waiting rooms kept waiting

till he came, secret police in leather

jackets waited for him and party

hacks with ruddy faces.

"I will not see the famous Phaedra,"

he wrote. The Black Sea didn't shed 

black tears, pebbles on the shore

tumbled submissively, as the wave desired,

clouds sailed swiftly across the inattentive earth.


July, the blackbirds have stopped singing.

I sit on a bench by the bank of a slow river,

I hear the hate-filled quarreling of lovers,

whom I don't know and never will.

Sweaty athletes run along the avenue.

The morning sun shines indifferently

on the calm dark water

that is apathy personified.

A little boy carries a plastic bag

bearing the garish logo Men's Health,

souls almost never meet,

bodies do battle cloaked in darkness.

A rain frail as haiku arrives in the night.

Light bells mumble at dawn.

While we're alive.


The sandals I bought many years ago

for twenty eros

in the Greek village of Theologos

on the island of Thassos

haven't work out at all,

they're just like new.

I must have gotten,

quite accidentally,

a hermit's, a saint's sandals.

How they must suffer

carrying an ordinary sinner.


translated from the Polish
by Clare Cavanagh
Farrar, Straus and Giroux2018

Thursday, February 14, 2019


Polish Immigrants

how do they break away from the land

where even stones take root

how do two languages share one mouth

like two women in one kitchen

how do they bring their bloody bodies

wrapped in accordions instead of bandage

through Security

do new hotels remind them

of boxes of german chocolate

is it true that their pillows

are stuffed with soil

softer than any feather

their faces differ from the locals'

by the number of wrinkles

as if they started

sculpturing something new out of their skin

but then stopped having changed their minds

and never finished their reincarnation

the tiny wrinkles in the corners of their eyes

twisted and shiny from sweat

like bonbon wrappers

but when you look into those eyes

you are looking down the barrel of a gun —

what do you need

in the territory of their city

painted on the wall of the restaurant

Taste of Europe

and there

that very taste

fills your eyes with saliva


Valzhyna Mort
Factory of Tears
Copper Canyon Press

Wednesday, February 13, 2019


City Lights Books


"Light flickers on and off ruffled layers of leaves."

A modest size book of what Clive terms
"Minims, Thoughts, Essayettes
and Mini-Descriptions"
and I leave it to you
to find the many
dozens of excellent

Shearsman Books

Tuesday, February 12, 2019


Hair Song

My son’s hair is

More than mine

Longer than mine

Prettier than mine

Not mine but his

Mother’s and mine

I Keep

I keep a small

hatch door I built

in  my work room

ajar to hear my

wife and son talk in

the kitchen where all

the best talking has

always been done

11 Years Old

I see how much

He has grown when

Bending to kiss him

As he sleeps an arm

Out of the covers

Is very very long

Out In The Woods

Young son








for one



to fly



In the bakery

dad carries out

a trim white box

of Sunday delicacies

his little daughter

follows, white cap

ignored, holding a

cookie to her nose


Bob Arnold
Heaven Lake

Longhouse 2018