Wednesday, March 30, 2016


B L A C K     P R E S I D E N T

If a black man could be president

Could a white man be his slave?

Could a sinner enter heaven

By uttering his name?

If the terminator is my governor

Could a cowboy be my king?

When shall the cavalry enter Deadwood

And save my prince?

An exo-cannibal eats her enemies

An indo-cannibal eats his friends

I'd rather starve myself silly

Than to make amends

Blood on the altar       Blood on the lamb

Blood in the chalice

Not symbolic        but fresh


Marilyn Chin
Hard Love Province
Norton 2014 

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Monday, March 28, 2016


photo ~ bob arnold

Love and Landscape

Don’t ask us how we crossed the saltwater marsh

Grasses were high and easy under foot

The last stream was spanned by a driftwood plank

Thrown carefully into the muck

I didn’t sink and you didn’t sink

And when we came to ocean

Skittering of sandpipers

You held your dress and walked into the spray

It must have been also the sudden daylight that I loved

What I Hear

This river water is

The warm breath of

Her whisper, what I hear —

The brown and white flurry

Of her thin clothing

The sweat of handwork

That musses the long

Blonde hair — dirt across

The forehead, may I wash

It off? thicken my hands

In that hair, kiss what I love

Away from our work and bathing

Part whisper and part water


Rarely pausing

Though I have seen

It stop the flutter

Of its amazing

Wings and perch

Nearly invisible

On a wire against

The evening sky —

And be sighted —

And being very

Still, be thought

Of as not there

How We Build

It is a day

Of sawing slab wood


Then stacking

And be done

Tucking away insulation

Fixing windows

Sharpening every tool

The happy moment

Is there are still

Small grasshoppers

In the slip of meadow

That it is 28 degrees

At 7 this morning

And I wash your hair

In one bucket of

Strong spring water —

There is nothing like it



Bob Arnold


Sunday, March 27, 2016


J I M     H A R R I S O N

(Grayling, Michigan 1937~ Patagonia, Arizona 2016)

Bird Nightmares

The worst dream ever that all the birds in the world died overnight.

Science couldn't figure it out but then a humble graduate student

from Caltech said that a prodigious number of quasar particles were

speeding toward earth at 5,0000 miles per second. These particles sup-

posedly pass through us harmlessly from a galaxy that had a black

hole the equal in power to five billion suns. Is God thinking too big? I

wondered. So the birds were destroyed by this surge in cosmic power.

Bird-watching groups committed suicide en masse. They were in a

medieval hell without birds. It was soon discovered that the quasars

were reducing human intelligence by a fatal half. Minor wars broke

out everywhere in the world. Luckily no one was bright enough to

press the red button. Dogs ate dogs. Married couples murdered each

other in great numbers to no surprise. Animals went berserk, unlike

us they couldn't adjust to being stupid. People were reduced to read-

ing poetry because it was shorter. A raven on the verge of death said

to me, "Why did you do this to us?" The same question they always

ask us. A few swallows were found in Brazil deep in a cove behind a

giant waterfall. Brazil kept these for themselves, wanting to be the

only country with birds. There was money in it. Thousands died try-

ing to visit the birds. The waterfall made Niagara look like a trickle.

Many stayed with the birds until they starved to death.


Dead Man's Float
Copper Canyon Press 2016


Jim Harrison's New York Times obituary

Thomas McGuane on Jim Harrison




Columbia University Press, 2016

Friday, March 25, 2016


Knutersi Christiani osas Karl Kalkun, Bastubacka Märteni osas Jaan Kaplinski
Foto Viktor Mendunen
Kersti Gailani kogu

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Wednesday, March 23, 2016



There is a grey thing that lives in the tree-tops

None know the horror of its sight

Save those who meet death in the wilderness

But one is enabled to see

To see the branches move at its passing

To hear at times the wail of black laughter

And to come often upon mystic places

Places where the thing has just been.


S  T  E  P  H  E  N     C R A N E
Complete poems



Monday, March 21, 2016


J I M     H A R R I S O N

Reverse Prayer

I pray for Mandelstam hiding covered
with snow in a ditch. The Stalinists want to kill
him and finally succeed. I want him to escape
to Nebraska, please God. I pray for Lorca
that the assassin's guns won't work and he'll
escape like a heron flying west to the Mediterranean
then across the ocean to Michigan where he might
dislike the snow but at least he's alive.
He loved Cuba and Brazil for their music which
we don't have much of here. Please God, save him.
I even pray for Keats that he won't die
so young but get another thirty years or so
to write poems in Rome. He likes
sitting with my girlfriend on the Spanish
Steps. Can I trust him? Probably not
but I want more of his poems so I'll overlook
his behavior. And of course Caravaggio
the king of painters must live longer,
God. Why create a great painter
then let him die early?


Dead Man's Float
Copper Canyon Press





The river for weeks is low

Visitors arrive

Call it a creek

We know better

Say nothing

Next month in a downpour

Bridges wash out

Trees go down

Days of mud

No one visits

Walking From Town Between
Midnight and 4 A.M.

I must have carried out
Every peeper in this valley

Home with me, 13 miles
Trees shiver in light rain

The moon following the
Fences following­

A hillside of fog lies down
Generously in an apple orchard

Here is where a few sheep
Suddenly break into a run

A horse pounds the night
Meeting you at barbed wire

What is the sound between us
It is water that has brought me back


Just before supper
I watched a storm draw in
Taking light
The trees toss
No matter
I have finished carrying
Elm from the edge of the woods
Bucked, split then stacked
I am done
Well used
Come snow


Bob Arnold
Where Rivers Meet
Mad River Press


Sunday, March 20, 2016


Counterpoint Press, 2016


C L A U D I A     S E R E A

You made me write bad poetry for years

You must stick your head in the oven,

and fake your own death

in every poem,

that critic said.

Honey, you have to open a vein

with your pen

every time.

But I couldn't help it.

I was young

and had a breeze for heart.

I was a bright green leaf

in your arms.

Light passed through my flesh

and refracted

translucent emotions.

I wrote about birds taking flight.

Gosh, white horses,

and poplars with eyes.

For years, I wrote

about being blind.


Claudia Serea
Nothing Important Happened Today
Broadstone 2016

Saturday, March 19, 2016


Here is a little (literally) dream book for you —

and not only are the islands remote 
(try Thule, one of the southernmost 
of the South Sandwich Islands)
you will probably never wash up onto one

the subject is mesmerizing and impossible
and the format of the book, a soft cloth,
will go with you anywhere in your dreams
all of this Earth

Friday, March 18, 2016


 S T R E E T    P O I S O N
the biography of
I C E B E R G     S L I M
Justin Gifford
Doubleday, 2015

Wednesday, March 16, 2016


New and available now from Longhouse 2016 ~
Bull & More Bull

136 pages, perfectbound softcover


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 West Brattleboro
Vermont 05303

Tuesday, March 15, 2016


Public’s Disgust With the Democratic Party Propels Sanders

Thomas Frank

Thomas Frank is the author of "Listen, Liberal, or What Ever Happened to the Party of the People?" and "What's the Matter with Kansas?: How Conservatives Won the Heart of America."

Updated March 14, 2016, 3:22 AM
Bernie Sanders is a fine politician, but that is not why he has emerged from obscurity to win so many Democratic primaries. The real story here is the breakdown of the ideology pursued for decades by the Democratic Party’s dominant faction. 

The party gave up its historic mission to serve working people years ago and chose instead to represent the New Economy’s winners.
The Great Recession started in 2007, and for millions of average Americans no recovery has come. For most of the years since then, there has been a Democrat in the White House, and those Americans have a right to wonder why the eloquent hero they voted for has done so little to improve their situation. They see that banks, health insurance companies and Silicon Valley are doing extremely well; why, then, don’t their wages grow?

The answer, and the key to Sanders’s success, is staring us in the face: Because the Democratic Party gave up years ago on its historic mission of serving working people and chose instead to make itself into the party of professionals, of the New Economy’s winners, of a group they love to flatter with phrases like “symbolic analysts,” “wired workers” and the “creative class.” 

This shifting allegiance is the fundamental reason that Democrats began to identify with Wall Street back in the 1990s (and then with Silicon Valley) but what makes this story so aggravating is the way Democrats keep choosing professionals over workers again and again. One class of Americans they reward with subsidies and forgiveness; the rest of us get discipline. The 1994 crime bill and the end of welfare were all brought to you, remember, by the same Democratic administration that rolled back the rules for banks and telecoms. The North American Free Trade Agreement and its many successors have brought, well, freedom to those who employ but anxiety and diminished lives to those who work. The present Democratic administration has hounded individuals who lied on mortgage applications, but it seems to find top bankers incapable of wrongdoing. And in these years of galloping industrial concentration and power grabs by Silicon Valley, antitrust enforcement has dropped off the agenda. 

Democrats habitually brush off economic despair with references to “globalization” and “technology,” as though their complicated free-trade deals were the unknowable doings of the Invisible Hand Itself. The problem is not changing the economic system, they say, it is adjusting ourselves to the changes sweeping the world. When they look at inequality, they see not economic failure but individual failure, usually having to do with education, a subject of pious reverence for the professional class. You’re falling because you didn’t study hard enough or you didn’t go to a good school or you majored in the wrong subject. 

What Bernie Sanders represents is the public’s growing disgust with this kind of liberalism and, hopefully, its final repudiation.



 the ny times