Monday, August 31, 2015


Rene Daumal


     Dust, dust of the oceans, first handkerchief above the wave, call
to the free cloud. . .
     The cloud suddenly falls as a block of stone.
     Dust, rock dust, into this rock. I will plant my freedom, into this
rock now scattered to the wind.
     The burning sand eats our foreheads, simoon of flames.
     Smoke, smoke from the burning of bodies, smoke full of illu-
sions, in you I will plant my fancy.
     Smoke returns to the ocean, flask of dirty water where a hunch-
back Venus scoffs at hope through her satisfied teeth.


Rene Daumal
Le Contre-Ciel
The Overlook Press 1990
translated from the French by Kelton W. Knight

"Rene Daumal was born in 1908 in Boulzicourt, a small town near
the Ardenne mountains. He would die in Paris just thirty-six years
later. Most of the intervening years were spent questioning the implications
of that birth and impending death and the authenticity of the
man they represented."

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Saturday, August 29, 2015


C H A R L E S    B U K O W S K I

[ Charles Bukowski to Ron Silliman March 1967 ]

       [ . . . ] I have read the critics — Winters, Eliot, Tate, so forth,

the New Criticism, The New New Criticism, the demands of Shap-

iro, the whole Kenyon crowd, the Sewanee crowd, I used half a life-

time reading the critics, and while I found the content pretensive

I found the style somehow pleasurable, and now it's nice of you

to tell me that the best of them are trying to get "human dignity,

self respect, the kind of pride you find in a wild, free stallion" back

into verse. that sounds as phoney as a horse's rubber asshole to me

but if that is your insight and/or your outlook, it's yours, and fine.


DUTY TO BE BEAUTIFUL?" you scream at me in large caps. Ron-

ald, "duty" is a dirty word, and "beautiful" is a put down word. you

want to knock somebody off his dusty little legs — just demand that

he be "beautiful."

( Ecco 2015 )

16 August 1920
Happy Birthday Charles Bukowski

Friday, August 28, 2015


41 years and counting . . .


Heavenly Ring

Tonight —

because of her

because of me

& the telescope

I bought for her

birthday and she

has become so adept

she calls me out into

the chill spring eve to

look straight up

through lenses to a

miraculous visitation

with Saturn, of all places


 © Bob Arnold





Thursday, August 27, 2015


Edwin Mullins
Van Gogh ~
The Asylum Years
 Unicorn Press

Wednesday, August 26, 2015


 Xian of Eight Rivers

China is made of earth, of sun-dried mud.
In this part of China everything is made from the earth:
the houses, the walls around cities, and villages,
the tombs scattered over the countryside.
Even the people.
There are hills below that appear to be piles of mud
set out to dry in the sun, naked,
without a single tree or bush.
They crowd around the landscape
like the coils of bulging intestines
tossed on the ground outside butchers' shops,
slowly unraveling.
Sometimes we fly so low that we almost touch them.
And then I notice that the wind has brushed
some kind of pattern into the earth: a mysterious alphabet
written in the mud,
struggling to communicate something precise.
But there is not a single animal
or human being in the yellow desert below.
Not a single village.
Suddenly we are landing: Xian,
the geographic center of China,
where Chinese civilization was born,
in the cradle of the Yellow River.
In front of the terminal,
three children are playing with a lump of earth:
they are bundled up in jackets
and brightly printed cotton trousers.
I join them in their game
until a young woman comes out of the terminal
to call me in for dinner.
One of the children grabs me by my overcoat,
to keep me from leaving.
So do the other two, clinging to me,
asking me not to go.
The young woman comes out again,
and yells at them to stop.
They let go, disappointed.
One of them calls to me as I turn away:
Come back soon!
We eat quickly and then prepare to take off for Lanchow.
My three new friends wave goodbye to me. The littlest one
gives me a present: a pebble,
a precious gift.
In this part of China there are no stones.
You have to go to Karelia to find stone,
very far north; or to the Caucasus;
or to southern Siberia, along the slopes of the Pamir,
slanting toward the steppes of Central Asia.
I put the pebble in my pocket,
to take back home, to show what a precious gift
I was given by a little Chinese girl: a pebble
from the cradle of Chinese civilization.
A civilization made of earth,
a civilization without bones,
without a skeleton for support.
A civilization of assembled customs,
which suddenly unravel,
dissolving into thousands of separate gestures,
thousands of calligraphic icons,
thousands of smells, colors, flavors,
thousands of different shades. And then just as suddenly
they solidify again into tradition, memory, habit.
It is this absence of stone, of solid, durable material,
which makes China such an exquisite thing.
Everything is reflected:
an unimaginable number of movements,
of patterns, thoughts, images,
of which we see the copies in immense numbers,
but never the originals.
The originals were destroyed long ago.
Here are the four elements out of which China is made:
Earth, Wood, Porcelain, Silk.
The most durable of these is Silk.
I should add a fifth element: Poetry,
which is the most durable of all.


translated by Walter Murch

( Counterpoint 2013 )

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

S T E P H E N   R O D E F E R
1940 ~ August 22, 2015

Stephen Rodefer was an American poet and painter 
who lived in Paris and London. 
Born in Bellaire, Ohio,
 Rodefer was one of the founders of the
 poetry movement.

Monday, August 24, 2015


 Wave Books, 2015


A notch

at the top of the mountain —

the eye

without a thought

threads the sky through.

How hours take

the stain of hours

and hold beneath their bloom

these things arranged

to resemble a season.

Summer's hum and lag.

To walk into it —

breathe the frequencies

that knot the air, another

animal baffled

to be an animal.


A split glyph

drags south

over a parking lot.

The suction

of dusk.

We watch it



from margin.

Your face

in the half-light.

The aphasia

of the shape

of your face

in the half-light.



the hour.


As if a field guide

could prevent

the present

from disintegrating

around us.


A noun

staggers through

the gloam, the



opening, closing.


To imagine a morning

the first

sounds from the street

and the house, its halls



Antique glass

smudges limbs

(more blue

than green)

flared out 

over a roof

To imagine

the raw circumference

of a field

as it wakes

what we make of it

where our senses

send us


Wave Books, 2015

Saturday, August 22, 2015


G U Y    D A V E N P O R T   &   W E N D E L L    B E R R Y

The Paris Review Interview
w/ Guy Davenport

Friday, August 21, 2015


Umberto Saba

The Shop-Boy With the Wheelbarrow

It's good to recover in ourselves

lost loves, or reconcile ourselves to an affront,

but if life pent up inside weighs you down,

take it out of doors.

Throw open the windows, or go down

into the crowd; you'll see how little it takes

to cheer you up: an animal, a game,

or, dressed in blue,

a shop-boy with a wheelbarrow

clearing the street with a loud voice,

who, if he finds the slightest downward slope,

runs no more, but flies.

The streets are full of people at that hour

who don't keep quiet after dodging him.

The noisier the uproar and the wrath,

the more he swings his hips and sings.


Umberto Saba
translated by George Hochfield & Leonard Nathan
SONGBOOK, the selected poems of Umberto Saba
Yale 2008

Wednesday, August 19, 2015


( Ecco 2015 )

I Wrote Myself A Letter

      I sat down at my desk and wrote myself a letter. And

then I threw it away. I wrote my grandfather a letter and

I tore that up also. I wrote my mother a letter, but

I kept that one. I was exhausted. Three letters in one

sitting. I had myself a schnapps. I looked out the window.

It was snowing. A mother and father went jogging up the

street pushing a baby carriage. A hawk was circling

overhead. My grandfather was dead and so was my mother.

But that didn't mean we couldn't communicate. At least

I could share my thoughts with them. They didn't answer,

of course, but that didn't matter. My mother had been a

nurse and, of course, that helped. My grandfather sawed

lumber and that didn't help, but who cared. He was a kind

man. He made model airplanes in his spare time. I went into

the living room and sat down on the sofa. My father ran away

from home when I was three. My mother never told me why.

We never heard from him again. But I don't think about

any of this. It was a beautiful day outside. Three little

mice tiptoed across the lawn. One of them had its arm

in a sling.


Ecco 2015

Late at night  is when I read James Tate’s last book, and I believe it may be known as his best book. I’m laughing out loud. From what I understand Daniel Halpern at Ecco took a copy to Tate at his hospital (death) bed so the poet at least saw it. Imagine then dying and never seeing the book float from his hands. I feel for him. It’s even possible I’m over loving the book just because he died; who knows what I am doing? But I know I am enjoying many of the poems. All prose poems.

Monday, August 17, 2015


B O B   J O H N S T O N   W/  F R I E N D S

( May 14, 1932, in Hillsboro, Texas ~ August 14, 2015 )

photo: Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum


 Walking Woman with the Tambourine


 "Walking Woman with the Tambourine is the final book of poems by Janine Pommy Vega. The author completed the manuscript and left it as she wished with her executor Bob Arnold.  Janine Pommy was born on February 5, 1942, in Jersey City, New Jersey, and grew up in Union City, New Jersey where she was the valedictorian of her high school class. At the age of sixteen, inspired by Jack Kerouac’s On the Road, she traveled to Manhattan to become involved in the Beat scene via poets, and soon friends, Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso, Peter Orlovsky, Jack Hirschman, Lenore Kandel, Hettie Jones and the street genius Herbert Huncke. World traveler as well as a teacher in the prisons and the schools, Janine Pommy Vega passed away on December 23, 2010 at her home in Willow, New York." 


New and available now from Longhouse ~
144 pages

 Perfect bound softcover


Shipping $3.95 ~ U.S. orders with Paypal

Buy now through easy-to-use Paypal, US Orders, $20.90


International orders ~ complete $35 with Paypal payment

all orders may be made by Paypal or check
mail order here:


 PO Box 2454
 West Brattleboro, Vermont 05303

Walking Woman with the Tambourine


She beats a Tibetan drum for the road kills, animals litter
    the roads as bait, a spiraling cycle of death
The drum she holds up hums in her skeletal frame
She marches against squat nuclear towers, alien shapes
    leak poison into the river
She breaks into cryogenic sleep of ordinary folks
    lulled unconscious before the TV
Wake up! Wake up! she calls through the windows.

Costumed revelers circle the square
Central among them is the cadre of drummers, women drummers
    beating Brazilian rhythms, 
The woman with the tambourine glides over the pavement,
    her hips sway, we are moved to follow
the belly-dancing sisters jangle bracelets, anklets, tinkling coins.

Diminutive marcher with a Buddhist drum
    circles the prison where a man is to die
She circles slowly, the people gather—a thousand
    two thousand—we are moved to follow
Through the night the entire town parades—saying no,
    saying no—the man to die looks out the window
At dawn the lights flicker off and on.

Here is Sampano! sings the woman. Sampano is here!
Giulietta Masina with her tambourine
    calls the townspeople down to the circus
She breaks into dance, the acrobats do back flips
the goat climbs up an empty ladder
tiny mirrors on the tent flap blaze in the sun.

She walks through cities and civilizations
    from Paleolithic through the Neolithic Age
through secret entries in the heart of the market,
    down the well and out the hidden river.
She is in plain view, arriving from somewhere
    we did not catch. What is your name?
She carries her mother folded onto her chest
    like a skinny package.

The woman walks behind friends she knows
    and friends she doesn’t
The cemetery holds the usual suspects
People have a lot to say, the band kicks in—
    brass instruments and conga drums—
The woman with the tambourine unties her dead
    mother and drops her down
As soon as the bones hit the ground her mother
    springs up, alive alive alive again.

            Willow, NY, November 2009

"Walking Woman with the Tambourine" by Janine Pommy Vega © copyright 2015 by Bob and Susan Arnold

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Friday, August 14, 2015


Clarice Lispector

                              T   H   E      C   O   M   P   L   E   T   E     S   T   O   R   I   E   S


Clarice Lispector


Edited by Benjamin Moser

Translated by Katrina Dodson
645 pp. New Directions

Wednesday, August 12, 2015


( 1910 )



My father —

An old lumberman now

Tells me a little yarn about one

Of our descendants who were all

Sawmill owners and loggers and

How Grandfather Henry when he was

Cutting off Mt Greylock for his mill and

For the state of Massachusetts carving a

Road out to the mountain’s summit also

Worked over one landowner for most of

One night about a particular oak tree he

Wanted and left quite pleased from his

Visit with the man because he was given

Permission to cut the tree he had already

Earlier in the day cut down


 © Bob Arnold


 it's one of those things