Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Monday, September 28, 2015


Yves Bonnefoy
The Anchor’s Long Chain (Ales Stenar)
translated by Beverley Bie Brahic 


They say
Boats appear in the sky
And from some of them
The anchor’s long chain may rattle down,
Down towards our furtive land.
The anchor bobs over our fields and trees
Seeking a place to moor,
But soon a wish from above yanks it free; 
The ship of elsewhere has no use for here,
Its horizon lies in another dream.

It may however come to pass
That the anchor is heavy, unusually so,
And rakes the ground, rumpling the trees.
Someone saw it snag a church door,
Catch the arch where our hope fades,
And a sailor had to shinny down
The taut, jerking chain,
And free his heaven from our night.

Friday, September 25, 2015


Y E T   A N O T H E R   F A N

It's a great shame

Madame Mallarme

that to sad us your

hands seem swans

on tortoises drifting

elegant in the sea

While birds whine

at the sun we lay

our aching eyes in

your lap and an iron

balustrade holds

firm round our heart

Gently white planes

rove the horizon

as your wings beat

to earth and trample

our freckles into

coral and grass


F R A N K   O' H A R A 


Thursday, September 24, 2015

Wednesday, September 23, 2015




By truck we were

Heading home the same

Time we saw fox heading

Home by the side of the road

Muddy legs like quick

Moving boots he made

His way and I swear

We looked at him

And he looked at us

And the Earth was whole


© Bob Arnold
The Woodcutter Talks

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Monday, September 21, 2015


Dear K —

This old nondrinker notices just how much drinking is in your letter from this gala event you attended. How our society depends on the drink to grease the gears, to get us through. To get everyone involved through. It’s the non-drinker, trust me, they have no idea what to do with.


Somewhere out there someone has a video of you on their cell phone doing “Chain, chain, chain, chain of fools” in a conga line.


It’s customary to think we are now all in the chain of fools since we are all drunk. Have to be. Unless we aren’t getting through.


My father would be uncomfortable with me, who wasn’t drinking, while he was drinking. Finally when he was loose and relaxed enough, he’d cozy up to Sweetheart and me and take out his forever shirt pocket notebook filled with lumber scribbles and house information, cabinets to order for a kitchen job he recently measured up for a young couple eager for their first home, and he’d write down just what it would cost to get us tickets for an Amtrak train trip since he had been listening to us prattle along about a long cross-country voyage and it sounded like fun. Into the notebook went all the information, which of course looked like nonsense to him when he sobered up. Sweetheart still remembers this sort of sad testimony about the man. Nothing ever came of it, not that we expected any, the guy was just relaxed and feeling happy.


A close friend felt more like himself when he finally got me to drink down two bottles of red wine with him the very last time he visited here. He didn't know all I wanted was to see him smile. I must have felt somewhere in the soul this could be a last visit, although I would have never predicted it. My friend, to us, would live many years longer. He brought the two bottles of wine (which he drank the most from), Breyers ice cream, and a jar of unsalted old man peanuts that he seemed to relish. A loving gesture.


The stout Jack Daniels bottle sits on our kitchen shelf not quite polished off after a very long winter and chilly spring, along a dreary episode with the flu. Neither of us wanted any of the whiskey. But the bottle label looks dignified like a Harley Davidson emblem. We tried the hot-toddys and got nowhere with them but sipped them down like medicine. Sweetheart only once. Me every night for a week. I’m not sure it cut a lick but I gave it a try for the first time. It all still tastes like gasoline to me, as does wine, very foreign, but nothing matches the stuff I used to swill down when I was with a Chinese foot doctor for a few years and the concoctions he insisted I swallow I’m sure were part bark, roots, dirt, animal droppings, insect wings and bat guano. Pretty pink pig ear grease. The squiggles of homemade calligraphy down into my gut.


What will be left of us when the world is pulverized?


What I like about this Mexican hole in the wall restaurant where we eat is the owner is a limping long haired native with a wolf grin and wide striped shirt and he moves with the deliberation of a wise animal. And he owns the place and he’s owned the place a long time and he’s made it work. Congratulate the man! He hires women all in Spanish tongue, a bit of Indian shade to each of them, fluent in their tricky language and half may smile at you. Just their pacific faces beat out the entire history of most of the white customers that wait for their take-out orders.  There is little to speak of from this white world except consuming, Facebook, cell-phone, money making, bill paying and a rent to meet. Where’s the beef? Where’s the trail? Where’s the music? It’s MP3 and throw away the vinyl, the field recordings, the personal heavy boxes of records, so many journeys. The real heft that instills a real memory. The stuff that makes you feel hurt in places and so you are alive.


I listened to Boz Scaggs during an interview, and there’s the Texan musician looking a bit wasted after decades of road life, making a music out of this young man heart of once upon a time and somewhere in his serious litany of remembrance he suddenly turns me on and I really hear and see and bear down with what he’s trying to get across. It’s almost like he has the partial heart of Hank Williams and Jimmie Rodgers sincerely deep down in his bones. It is true. I can hear the cadence and the calmness of the dust trail and animal ploving and how slow both the Red River and Rio Grande can flow. Only a true Texan. Like you, he says, he was raised in Oklahoma and Texas. I like these guys. Always have. He has a new and very popular album now out. Try to play it at your music store job. Put a Texas blues into the Texas hallways, trap it into the book catacombs, drizzle it down into the store cafe. Sexify the styrofoam.


I have a steel wall to build today. Happy days are here again.


all’s well, Bob

Saturday, September 19, 2015



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 pinyon fire —

The dyes stir with

Wool skeins in two

Deep tubs boiling

Out of control 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

Poisons and probable

Embarrassment she says

They are both

Going to win the

Lottery — fast white

Grins — “Yep, going

To win big-time

A million bucks”


 © Bob Arnold

Friday, September 18, 2015

Thursday, September 17, 2015


B R O A D S T O N E    B O O K S



Baint an Fheir

Poem: Plod. Poem: What's left of your bones.

There, see. Poem: 'Blunder follows blunder'

he wrote, (tapping the floor) beginning again to

take note, and grow up. Little incidents connect

to make a afbric where air meets in its heat cold

too to the lip tangible in its flow, woven through,

walled in. The verb: gathering. The verb: locate.

The verb: stop. Acumen, praise. White is the colour

of your true love's hair — Wood Angelica, Butterbur,

Purple Loosestrife — now. Yes. The verb: to see.

                 The verb: to know. This then.



Maurice Scully
Several Dances
Shearsman, UK, 2014


Even Maurice admits it's been years & years and it has been years & years since we have been in touch, but poet's have a secret weapon, are you listening? they have books no one wants to read that they can send as gifts, and they do, and we who receive many of these books must be thankful. Often they will be the best books you will read all year, and the worst. Be thankful. Someone is sharing. Sharing has disappeared if you haven't noticed. Sharing now means something on computer stupidity and that's not what I mean by sharing. Maurice has sent his most recent book from Shearsman, that fine fiddle of a press in the U.K. Maurice won't believe me, you won't believe me, but I had been recently wanting to read something new by Maurice. No doubt he read my mind. I opened his new book that he sent as a gift and came upon an opening word by Frank Samperi who really never did anything wrong with a poem. No failures.

Sunlight is
on things.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015


C A R L O S    D R U M M O N D    D E    A N D R A D E

M U L T I T U D I N O U S    H E A R T

It happened in Rio.

I was walking on the Avenida close to midnight.

Breasts were bouncing amid lights flashing countless stars.

The promise of the sea

and the jangle of streetcars

tempered the heat

that wafted in the wind

and the wind came from Minas Gerais.

My paralytic dreams the ennui of living

(life for me is the wish to die)

reduced me to a human barrel-organ remotely

in the shopping arcade of the Hotel Avenida sultry sultry

and since I knew no one, just the soft wind from Minas,

and didn't feel like drinking, I said: Let's end this.

But an excitement throbbed in the city its long buildings

cars with tops down zooming toward the sea

the sensuously roving heat

a thousand gifts of life for indifferent people,

and my heart beat violently, my useless eyes cried.

The sea was beating in my chest, no longer against the wharf.

The street ended, where did the trees go? the city is me

the city is me

I am the city

my love.


Carlos Drummond de Andrade
Selected Poems
bilingual edition
translated by Richard Zenith 
Farrar, Straus and Giroux 2015 

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Friday, September 11, 2015


E D W A R D    T H O M A S


Yes. I remember Adlestrop—
The name, because one afternoon
Of heat the express-train drew up there
Unwontedly. It was late June.

The steam hissed. Someone cleared his throat.
No one left and no one came
On the bare platform. What I saw
Was Adlestrop—only the name

And willows, willow-herb, and grass,
And meadowsweet, and haycocks dry,
No whit less still and lonely fair
Than the high cloudlets in the sky.

And for that minute a blackbird sang
Close by, and round him, mistier,
Farther and farther, all the birds
Of Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire.

( Penguin Books )

Thursday, September 10, 2015


Edited by Max Brod
Translated by Ernst Kaiser, Eithne Wilkins
Exact Change
Franz Kafka
(3 July 1883 – 3 June 1924)

"The voices of the world becoming quieter and fewer."

young Franz Kafka

Before setting foot in the Holy of Holies you must take off your shoes,
yet not only your shoes, but everything; you must take off your traveling
garment and lay down your luggage; and under that you must shed your
nakedness and everything that is under the nakedness and everything that
hides beneath that, and then the core and the core and the core, then the
remainder and then the residue and then even the glimmer of the undying
fire. Only the fire itself us absorbed by the Holy of Holies and lets itself
be absorbed by it; neither can resist the other.


FK,  Prague

Two possibilities: making oneself infinitely small or being so. The second is perfection, that is to say, inactivity, the first is beginning, that is to say, action.

Towards the avoidance of a piece of verbal confusion: What is intended to be actively destroyed must first of all have been firmly grasped; what crumbles away crumbles away, but cannot be destroyed.

Franz Kafka with his fiancee Felice Bauer 1917

Wednesday, September 9, 2015



for Nina Hutchinson

Once there was house and home

And books against the cold.

We are all gipsies now —

Pea-pickers, pickpockets,

Haters, procrastinators,

Wanderers in the salt dunes,

Tellers of strange fortunes,

Bathers in cold waters —

Sleeping, like John Clare,

With our feet to the pole star.

Canadian Pacific

From famine, pestilence and persecution

Those gaunt forefathers shipped abroad to find

Rough stone of heaven beyond the western ocean,

And staked their claim and pinned their faith.

Tonight their children whistle through the dark,

Frost chokes the windows. They will not have heard

The wild geese flying south over the lakes

While the lakes harden beyond grief and anger —

The eyes fanatical, rigid the soft necks,

The great wings sighting with a nameless hunger.

Recalling Aran

A dream of limestone in sea-light

Where gulls have placed their perfect prints.

Reflection in that final sky

Shames vision into simple sight —

Into pure sense, experience.

Four thousand miles away tonight,

Conceived beyond such innocence,

I clutch the memory still, and I

Have measured everything with it since.


Derek Mahon
Oxford University Press 1968

The Paris Review: The Art of Poetry ~