Wednesday, February 28, 2018


City Lights

The Cherry-Blossom Proof

The Milky Way is shrinking,

So the cherry blossoms are growing

Larger. You send me longish letters.

Therefore, God exists.

In the Other Pocket Dust

Sisyphus had a bad back.

Why? Well, I get up in the morning

And my wife wants me to carry

A big blue bag of garbage

To my son now

Sleeping in a studio in N.Y. Five flights he will not carry.

Oh I say I'm not supposed to carry

More than five pounds of garbage

And she crosses the border with it

There was a dead body like little Pedro rolled down the

Hill by Bunuel and not the long kiss

Of L'age d'or but the dog and dog-dream

In Los Olivados. How do you abandon dirt?

The blue bag also rolls down by itself, full of Pedro

Something little Pedro always wanted to do

It's a cold day. Man is garbage.

Sisyphus has a bad back.

Dirty Pond

       What is music

    We wander through the park until we reach green dirty


    You buy earrings

You lean you hair over our son

and kiss him until he cries



David Shapiro
City Lights Books

Tuesday, February 27, 2018


My Wife Fights To Protect Man's 
Natural Environment

My delicate wife fights to protect
man's natural environment.
Mornings her slim body vanishes in clouds
of soot and sulphur, on streets giving birth
to cars and hunger, to nooks in skyscrapers
ceaselessly breeding large families,
among mines and mills, in the spastic depths
of a city built from rust and concrete, crawling,
motionless, like a gray glacier. I look for her in vain
— then suddenly I find her, lost, in a train
(am I lost? fleeing myself?)
and through the thick raster I scarcely recognize
her uncertain smile in the group photograph
illustrating a labored feature on new methods
of protecting the environment in the local paper,
which once more promises iron and coal,
a car, a new steel mill, and a Poland of sorts

for every family. Ours too, alas.

Who Isn't

Fear the God

who isn't

in your heart.

Not Much

Our poor dead

gaze at us with their

empty eyes

and see everything to come —

but even they can't help

or warn us,

since neither war nor peace

has taught us much.


His terrifying fits of rage


He worked hard in the forest, he knew how to do everything. He
wanted to teach me everything too, since he believed that only phys-
ical labor would save me when the next war came. Remember, they'll
know you by your hands, he used to say. If your hands are rough, you
go right, if they're delicate, educated, you go left, to the camps or up
against a wall.

  He taught me to plow, to use a scythe, to reap. To tell edible from
inedible plants. Most are edible, you won't starve to death — he said.
He tried teaching me to fish, but quickly gave up; I proved to be a
remarkably stubborn pupil. He showed me how to build a hut, to
dig a shelter. Even how to make a fire, though he'd never managed
it himself.

  He taught me to use an ax. I was a little boy, but I could chop wood
as well as my virtual comrade in misery from The Seven Samurai. And
also from The Magnificent Seven? I don't remember.

  More than anything, though, for reasons I still don't understand
he wanted me to learn to swim and o stay under water as long as I
could. It may save your life when you have to escape — he'd repeat.

  During my next-to-last summer vacation, we worked together in
the woods. He gave me the easiest job, wood barking. We'd leave in
the morning, get back at night. On the way home he liked to take dips
in a woodland lake. One evening he dived in as usual and didn't come
back up. I thought he'd swum across and was waiting for me on the
other side. I circled the lake, not a trace. His stuff had vanished too.
I went around a second time, a third, no luck. I didn't know what to
do. Scared, I couldn't find the road in the dark. I wandered a long
time before I got home.

  He was there, as if nothing had happened. Alone. Mother had
gone out looking for me in the night. He was silent. So was I. I was
afraid to say anything.

  And that's how it stayed.

  I didn't learn much. I would have died in the wilderness. I would
have died trying to escape.


When the telegram came, I went straight to the hospital from the
station. He lay in an oxygen tank. He wasn't expecting me, he gazed
at me absently. At last he recognized me. He cried. His right lung,
removed a few days earlier, already journeyed through its uncertain,
crippled afterlife.


Ryszard Krynicki
seleceted poems
translated by Clare Cavanagh
New Directions 2017

Monday, February 26, 2018


Can You Imagine

Can you imagine this

Being your life at six

Years old walking out

The woodshed door as

A blue heron lifts up

From our old truck

And you run inside

Even though you

May be late for

School to tell us

About the bird this

Big (arms can’t spread

Yet big enough) as

We look into your

Expression loving that

Bird we missed

Two Spoons

It’s Valentine’s Day —

We are 22 years married

And share strawberry shortcake

At midday, the waitress saw

To bring two spoons

Our son comes home from

Fifth grade, says Kevin

Gave Angela a $30 bracelet

And she didn’t want it — all he can

Remember is most of the class cried all day


one more

day of


and then

he is





Little Ones

I went out before the rain and scythed the roadway. Only me out there, though Kokomo, our kitten, would certainly follow me anywhere. Yesterday I was scything and a neighbor was walking by, she limps and her elder dog wheezes. I can hear them coming from fifty feet off with my back turned on an old dirt road. She knows the pooch is going to die any time now, but I mentioned how she still wags her tail. What a heart an animal has. I’ve tried to learn my lessons from birds and animals and the great Mother more than other humans, but occasionally a human being becomes a spectacular moment. So as I am saying adieu to the neighbor and her dog heading up river for the mailbox, I turn and look down behind the stonewall and there’s my buddy Kokomo who has made his silent stay all the way to the road and by my boots where I stand. . .peering out with those glorious eyes. Beaming. It was his first look at a dog. I left myself and thought more about him. I know he is everything to me that I give to my one grown son. It can’t be helped.  

I'm In Love With You
Who Is In Love With Me
Longhouse 2012


Friday, February 23, 2018


Her Garden

In order to decorate her garden

In order to burn her moist jewels

The night came, above the soft grass

Above the graveyard, inside the tombstones the night came

Above the graveyard, inside the tombstones she stands

Memories vividly burn

Memories moist from sweet nectar

From that border the blue bird again

From that border again flying back to her garden.

I shall scoop the night dew from the thicket of asparagus

Like a cutworm on a tomato flower

I shall seek her fragrance there

O, but her spirits have been gradually wilting

As expected from a distant blue sky

As expected from going after that little bird's shadow

Right now            on a leaf of grass a cabbage butterfly

Idly folding wings and falling asleep

As expected, she is like the heart of that small insect

As expected, she is here quietly sleeping.

Hirato Renkichi
Spiral Staircase
Collected Poems
Ugly Duckling Presse

M O R E !!!

Thursday, February 22, 2018








What a big



sometimes are!



        you can


your voice!



     the earth





many years



held you






like this?


JD Whitney
All My Relations
(book 2)
Many Voices Press 2018

Meet your cousins !
This is a back-pocket size book
ready for you to take anywhere.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018



Strong, personal, deep-seated essays on
Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Blanchot, Freud,
Derrida, Poe, Woolf, Hemingway,
David Foster Wallace, Melville,
Thoreau —
with now and then odd quibbles:
the author describes Melville's Pittsfield home "Arrowhead"
which "lay at the base of Mount Greylock."
Far from it, miles away. Greylock actually 
overwhelms the small old mill town of Adams
which lays at the base of Mount Greylock.
Quibbles. Stones in a spring stream rushing
down the Thunderbolt Trail.
An important book.

Yale 2018

Tuesday, February 20, 2018


The essays in this handsome collection are so toothsome, so vital, so nourishing I begin to feel while holding the book and reading, say about Niedecker, or immersing into Emerson or George Bradley's cosmos (so few have since heard of this poet) and then the author spotting Ursa Major "standing on her tail" over Times Square, as if I am holding a picnic basket, and the gingham cloth for over the spring grass, and I'm with the girl, or the boy, however you prefer, and we are tempting our meal to never end. There is the slope of the hill, the splendid view, and since when has a book of essays on poetry and poets felt this good to you? Or think of it as toolbox, and I can in my combined life of feasting and working hard, as you grab in the slot for hammer, cat's paw, nail-set, 12 point handsaw, just as exact and precise each tool for the job are these essays. You'd be a fool not to own this book for your poetry library. It could very well be the first book for your poetry library.

[ BA ]

375 Parkside Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11226

Monday, February 19, 2018


Small Difference

We bought

a jackknife

for our son

his first

I thought the

blade was sharp

you liked the

pretty handle


I stopped thinking

About my name today

When in the truck

Returning home with

My son after working

Together at a farm

Splitting wood

Picking kindling

Around the chopping

Stump, slinging manure

Onto the winter garden

And later hiking

High into the heather

Pasture, now in the

Truck with his gloves

Still on he sized it

Up by saying he didn’t 

Like the name Bob — it

Was too short, only three

Letters — and it sounded

Like a name half-city


Suddenly Mississippi

he lost his

lucky rabbit’s

foot, green with

a key-chain in

Greenwood, MS

so returning to

find it wait-

ress brought

it to us on

a tray


I kid him

& he argues

with me which 

turns me to

argue with

him as he

begins to

kid me

I'm In Love With You
Who Is In Love With Me
Longhouse 2012

Sunday, February 18, 2018



I have followed this musician's career from the start and on the bright-side: this is the father of Rufus and Martha and equally sweet singer Lucy; also Loudon Wainwright and Leonard Cohen were related (Rufus had a daughter, Viva, with Lorca Cohen) and LW can still play, from time to time, a fine, nimble talkin' folk-blues of his own mode. 
Otherwise, the book's storyteller is a wiggler on the edge of irksome.