Saturday, April 30, 2016


D A N I E L     B E R R I G A N

 (May 9, 1921 – April 30, 2016)



Smaller than the Radius of the Planet

There is a patch like ice in the sky this

evening & the wind tacks about, we are
both stopped/fingered by it. I lay out my
unrest like white lines on the slope, so that
something out of broken sleep will land
there. Look up, a vale of sorrow opened by
eyes anywhere above us, the child spread out
in his memory of darkness. And so, then, the
magnetic influence of Venus sweeps its
shiver into the heart/brain or hypothalamus,
we are still here, I look steadily at nothing.
"The gradient of the decrease may be de-
termined by the spread in intrinsic lumin-
osities" —the ethereal language of love in
brilliant suspense between us and the
hesitant arc. Yet I need it too and keep
one hand in my pocket & one in yours,
waiting for the first snow of the year.


J.H. Prynne
New York Review of Books 2016


 J.H. Prynne

Friday, April 29, 2016


Geography Lesson

She learned the names of rivers
and of mountain ranges.
For rooms full of visitors. So willing was she —
it was a way to impress the new men in her family,
who were on leave from the Pacific
or Pearl Harbor, facing a long, silent war.

Always maps, and the nervous
mapmakers, changing their minds.

She learned to follow
the slow curves of a river
to a source in the high wall
of the Andes. To follow
the Orinoco, the Amazon, the Nile.

Sometimes the rivers went underground.
You could hear them murmur the names
through canyons and grottoes,
emerging up ahead.

Always the maps, big glistening maps
with worn-out folds,
which Time was always changing.
The blue and brown and green fields
asked to borrow a new history —
changing names, or having their names erased.

Her own name had been changed —
the forever name buried,
left at the border.

She could unfold the maps completely
and follow the drift, as if allowed to swim away
from the family boat,
where they were sitting out on deck,
heads down over nautical charts —
at some distance.

Slow curves in a northerly direction,
to the high points, where the mountains become one.
Does this ever happen?


S A B R A     L O O M I S
House Held Together By Winds
Harper, 2008

Thursday, April 28, 2016





Copper Canyon Press 2016

In aWord,
     a World

I like nouns that go up: loft. And ones that sink: mud. I like the ones that peck: chicken. And canter: canter. Those that comfort: flannel and pelt. Cell is an excellent word, in that it sweetly fulfills sound in a small, thin container. Unlike hell, which is disappointing. Overall. Wanting in force and fury. I like that a lone syllable names a necessary thing: bridge, house, door, food, bed. And the ones that sustain us: dirt, milk, and so on. What a thing, that a syllable — birth, time, space, death — points to the major mysteries with such simplicity, as with a silent finger. And to our very vital parts: head, snout, heart, butt. And our fundamental feeling: fear.

C . D. W R I G H T


Wednesday, April 27, 2016


To A Snail

 If "compression is the first grace of style,"

you have it. Contractility is a virtue

as modesty is a virtue.

It is not the acquisition of any one thing

that is able to adorn,

or the incidental quality that occurs

as a concomitant of something well said,

that we value in style,

but the principle that is hid:

in the absence of feet, "a method of conclusions":

"a knowledge of principles,"

in the curious phenomenon of your occipital horn.


M A R I A N N E     M O O R E
Penguin 2016
(first published in 1924)


Tuesday, April 26, 2016


T H E L O N I  O U S     M O N K
Photo by Echoes/Redferns

Monday, April 25, 2016


On Building A Stonewalk In November

This river drifts the land,

In the long air of pines

I smell spring.

Down here, don’t wear gloves,

Don’t wear boots with leaks,

Stay working, and of course

Use the flat stones —

All the things

One learns

In a first year —

The boots take awhile, I know.

But come to you water gentle,

Very clear

Draw strong

Carry the river home to bathe.

It is November / wide open / colding

There is ice you shouldn’t trust.


Hiking down from a hillside

Snow packed, saw on the shoulder

There is no doubt now

of rain in the air

I stop at a sound

Far / nearing / wait

Two crows flying

Calling, wide apart

One straight south

The other — eastward

Belly on the tree line

I've lost sight of one

For keeping with the other

Dog Meat

Up on the hill where the sun warms

Under thick maples he used to

Pull a sled of sap buckets past,

I’d see him right there as I walked the road

Pastured in a circle of stamped snow,

Content with hay and pail of oats —

Soft brown except where the hooves

Bushed long white hairs.

Never seemed to move from that place

Though his eyes would see me from a distance,

Wait and turn his head as I went by —

We would look at one another, and I

Remember it very clear today as I pass

And he’s nowhere around —

Sold for $350 I found out later.

The first time in seven years

I haven’t nodded to him my hello,

And this walk isn’t the same.

Sugarhouse Gone

You’d think it would have

Lasted forever like some

Of them around here do —

This one halfway nested

Beneath the ground, piled

On stone. Downstairs, then

Empty of buckets, if you looked

Above between wide floor boards

You would see where tubs

Of sap are brought to boil

And a few souls go at it day and night

In this tiny place with windows lit,

And open shutters of the cupola

Dieseling clouds of sweet steam

Had you at some point in the day

Lean for a cooling moment out the

Sugarhouse door — feeling a realness

In yourself, the redwing’s flight over

Steep pasture, dry mud on high boots —

All of this for warm days and cold nights.

While the fire that bubbled your syrup

Was somehow the same fire

That burned you down.  


Bob Arnold
(Mad River Press)



Saturday, April 23, 2016


  L  O  N  N  I  E      M  A  C  K



V  U  E
(San Francisco)
(Sub Pop, 2000)

Friday, April 22, 2016


J O H N     G O D F R E Y
photo Ted Roeder

Everything Beautiful

Buick, big old boat, purrs

Backs into the square of moonlight

where the path is worn

Notice you must the pang

in the air

                 You hear

a little of bells, a little of hypnosis

I have traced all this to my body

Everything beautiful, and everything

that ever goes wrong

One giant light of green

and one of gold, inject the glow

chosen sky by the city

Tiny Gold Dress

Days so fleet you have to've

seen unruly ones

I do all the time

Someone I soon trust

puts your hand in mine

Just what I'm looking for

Start with the body

and search me

Won't find me sleeping

I dig my six feet

and you stand there in

your tiny gold dress

Can't believe my eyes

Your smile knows

Your ever-so-slight lisp

Ahead of me in the

opposite direction

Big man alerts me

I shed little bits

of chivalry

I caress like one bereaved

Forethought and hindsight

in the flesh

Peanut shells under bed

Lamp nearby of

fire and roses

Ribbons of smoke sketch

momentarily an orchid

Pool Cake

When she sleeps on the floor

When the umbrella blows

into her hand

The whole landslide is missing

She treats me like a conversion

I am a probability

Eclipses her in sheets of snow

How many emotions on

the tines of a fork

Her particular disguise for dust

The haves are equidistant in time

You could say everything is minus that

To those who waken stealthily

Sew up the hat real neat

Frost ascends the blade


Muddy plastic spoon

Barefoot on eolas

First they nab the tramp

Words sort and sink

Ash glitters on her collar

Jumpseat vapor smell

She interrupts herself

I too blow smoke

Can't hardly overhear

Farewells then walk alone

Night briefly unwraps

Inevitable hallways



the best you can-can

Time hangs in braids

There is room for

that hip in the

blazing gold drum

Do not hasten

The crosswalk aglow

Maybe learn nothing

Signature footsteps

I know what to do

with the wrong dream


The City Keeps
Wave Books, 2016


Wednesday, April 20, 2016


B A C K R O A D     C H A L K I E S
C H A R L E S    O L S O N

photo: bob arnold 




Monday, April 18, 2016



Under the waterfall

Leaves finally reach

Bottom and stay put,

Every known foliage

Puffed into a hive

May strike you dizzy

When the sun is on them

And water above flows

Clear, the shaken colors

Point into your eyes

First winter light  


Take two squared stones and

Drop them almost side by side

Lift the thinner slab of rock and

Bust your guts setting it on top

Now you got reason to sit down



He watches my entry

Down the tilt of pasture

Clumps of mud sinking rubber boots,

Chain saw load and fuel jugs,

Holds an eye on me

In his one position.

When I set to work he sets to work,

Drops off the long spring of telephone wire.

Through the day picks at brush piles, goes

Back onto the wire, withstands the heat, watches.

It is only when the saw is shut down I hear what

He says, the scale of whistles both sharp

And gentle to the ear, no one pitch alike, perhaps

The voice of many birds together, in this new one who

Peers down as I leave and now stars to sing.


Never see how —

But see how —

The pine tree

Has grown a foot

Since a year ago


Bob Arnold
some of these poems appeared in
handset letterpress from