Sunday, September 30, 2018



Orion In December

                            Charles Burchfield's painting and note

"tortured by a multitude of thoughts,"

he lay awake, looking at luminous sky

"black studded caves" of night

first two emerging stars

then a third, Orion's belt

"peace and comfort"

came with recognition,

with resolution and familiarity,

"some Being saying 'All is well' "

                                                 .   .   .

This night, Orion

enormous in the East

—tremulous sky

pines dark

against starlight

—the constellations

no longer testify

even as they offer


the word cries out

thrall of space

but legato to emptiness


that brought us close,


with loneliness

even as we pointed

to clustered stars

in those dark nights,

soulless nights

of stellar distances


Michael Heller
Night boat Books



Saturday, September 29, 2018


O T I S     R U S H
M A R T Y     B A L I N
F  A  R  E  W  E  L  L


Field flecked purple with nightshade

and lupine. Ruby-throated bird

at the bottlebrush bloom. One's

own mediocrity sharpens it.


Forrest Gander
Be With
New Directions


Meanwhile, back to Thursday. I’m sure at age 14, where Kavanaugh likes to begin things, he was a good boy, a good son, to his dominating judge mother with the frizzled bleach blonde hair and the somewhat submissive father Kavanaugh obviously looked up to. You want to honor this boy who mowed lawns and tried to use his parents as fine role models. There is no doubt he is compulsive and worked against his own type to achieve what he had for goals, and without a doubt he has suffered psychologically with these pressures, which came on in full display during his Thursday combative tour de force. There we saw Scott Fitzgerald’s Crack-Up in full force inelegance. In fact, with both Ms Ford, and Kavanaugh’s primal testimonies we seemed to have a moment of exorcism where we saw the 15 year old girl Chrissie appear in the voice and even appearance (in and out) of Ms Ford, and damn straight we saw the petulant, preppy, jock swagger 17 year old Kavanaugh. It was astonishing to see. This is what human science has forecasted when rock bottom is reached with identity. I don’t know about you, but two minutes into Ms Ford’s testimony, and agony, Susan and I both had tears welling up in our eyes. For her, for us, for everybody. It was a declarative human moment. In Kavanaugh, straightening his name plate, his paper work, anal to a fault when he arrived at the table to begin his testimony, I said to Susan, “Here he comes and the game face is on.” He then proceeded to prove to everyone why he should never be a judge, a coach, or a teacher, anywhere. He should return home to Ashley and his two daughters and rebuild what is probably a ruined abode.

New York Times

Thursday, September 27, 2018



City Lights Books


Tan Tien

As usual, the first gate was modest. It is dilapidated. She can’t tell
which bridge crossed the moat, which all cross sand now, disordered with footsteps.
It’s a precise overlay of circles on squares, but she has trouble locating
the main avenue and retraces her steps in intense heat for the correct entrance,
which was intentionally blurred, the  way a round arch can give onto a red wall,
far enough in back of the arch for sun to light.

If being by yourself separates from your symmetry, which is
the axis of your spine in the concrete sense, but becomes a suspension
in your spine like a layer of sand under the paving stones of a courtyard
or on a plain, you have to humbly seek out a person who can listen to you,
on a street crowded with bicycles at night, their bells ringing.

And any stick or straight line you hold can be your spine,
like a map she is following in French of Tan Tien. She wants space to fall
to each side of her like traction, not weight dispersed within a mirror. At any time,
an echo of what she says will multiply against the walls in balanced,
dizzying jumps like a gyroscope in the heat, but she is alone.

Later, she would remember herself as a carved figure and its shadow on a blank board,
but she is her balancing stick, and the ground to each side of her is its length,
disordered once by an armored car, and once by an urn of flowers at a crossing.
The stick isn’t really the temple’s bisection around her, like solstice or ancestor.
This Tang Dynasty peach tree would be parallel levitation in the spine
the person recording it.

Slowly the hall looms up. The red stair’s outline gives way to its duration
as it extends and rises at a low angle.
In comparison to the family, the individual hardly counts, but they all
wait for her at a teahouse inside the wall.
First the gold knob, then blue tiers above the highest step,
the same color as the sky.

When one person came to gain confidence,
she imagines he felt symmetry as flight after his fast among seven meteorites
in the dark. He really felt like a globe revolving within a globe.
Even the most singular or indivisible particle or heavenly sphere will adjust
when the axis extending beyond itself is pushed, or the sphere it is within
is pushed. What she thought was her balance flattens into a stylized dragon
on the marble paving stones.

Yet she’s reluctant to leave the compound. Only the emperor
could walk its center line. Now, anyone can imagine how it felt
to bring heaven news. She is trying to remember this in Hong Kong
as the tram pulls suddenly above skyscrapers and the harbor
and she flattens against her seat, like a reversal occurring in the poles,
or what she meant by, no one can imagine how.


Mei-Mei Berssenbrugge
I Love Artists
University of California Press

Wednesday, September 26, 2018


Liveright, 2013


"On Thursday, a man who has been accused of sexual misconduct by two women, and who has been nominated for a position on the Supreme Court by a President accused of sexual misconduct by twenty women, will attempt to persuade eleven Republican men that he deserves that position—a position that would give him the authority to help decide, among other things, what options are available to women if they get pregnant after being sexually assaulted. What more damning demonstration of the solidification of male entitlement could we possibly get?"


Jia Tolentino is a staff writer at The New Yorker



A day without rain is like

a day without sunshine

Success Story

I never got on good

relations with the world

first I had nothing

the world wanted

then the world had

nothing I wanted

Substantial Planes

It doesn't


to me


poems mean


there's no


to the


and yet


walks the


Small Song

The reeds give

way to the

wind and give

the wind away

Pebble's Story

Wearing away 



away away

The Scour

It was so windy

last night the snow

got down nowhere

except up against something.


It's nice

after dinner

to walk down to

the beach

and find

the biggest

thing on earth

relatively calm.


I like nonliterary,

uneducated people,

beach riffraff:

they are so aloof and

unengageable: you

can rope them with

no interest of your own.


I have nowhere

to go and

nowhere to go

when I get

back from there


A. R. Ammons
The Really Short Poems
Norton 1990

Tuesday, September 25, 2018




A person put together like a bundle of sticks, tied tight with twine and leaned in a corner because he or she looks beautiful there. A person swept up like sawdust on the shop floor after a day spent building sturdy furniture.  Or a person imagined in the egg-filled nest abandoned in the live oak, a nest that will fall in the wind. I told you one morning a person is an empty train moving through the mountains at night and waking a woman who listens to the wind in the trees when the train has passed. She gets up and goes outside in her nightgown, walks across the chilly grass and steps into the creek that runs across her land. She stands there feeling the cold water and the stones, returns to her home and lies back down. Her skin is the color of a candle in the dark.

And you whom I've loved forever disagreed, asserting that a person is something else entirely, a subway car full of sweating strangers, rushing under the river at night while tugboats and tankers negotiate the currents and flounders look up from the mud. A person is the newspaper that falls to the floor, amongst all those aching subway feet, and a person is the woman who leans to pick it up, smoothes it gently and begins to read.

She will walk home soon through the balmy summer streets, to her husband who's cooking and singing as he waits for her. A person is the sidewalk that leads to her front stoop. A person is the music she hears in the distance, a song she remembers from church. She hums it, growing hungry as she walks. A person, I said then, is the glass of wine she savors, the bottle she shares with her husband. But another kind of person is the bike someone stole from the rack in front of the library, a bike which was given with love, for Christmas, that's being stripped now and spray-painted gold. On other days a person is more like the opossum with a baby in her pouch, who sniffs at the back door. We watch her push the garbage can around, trying to knock it over but afraid of hurting her baby if the can falls over on her, so she gives up and walks off across the weedy grass to look for papaya, broken open and rotting, or for mango and starfruit waiting in the bushes. A person is that appetite for sweetness in the dark.

Michael Hettich
Bluer and More Vast
Hysterical Books, 2018

Monday, September 24, 2018


Bob Arnold on the new hut job summer 2018 —
the stone hut ( 33 years old ) is right
over his shoulder 


Bob spent this past June and July clearing ground, setting sills into granite (bolted) and building this new Porch-Hut. One day it will get a name. Bob may write a small book about its construction. For now here are some photographs I took while Bob was at-work. Spruce framing with many native tamarack, hemlock and pine logs cut from trees on our land and peeled on site and set in. The floors are hand-stenciled by Bob and you can see the bookcases are ceiling to floor and permanent. 

All a continuation after a many months reading on the Birdhouse of Bob's book Stone Hut (Longhouse).

Tiny one room in the woods of books to come —
and there is another room above this one

Narrow stairway built of hemlock logs and thick pine slab

Bob hand stenciled all our house interior
but this new hut floor is a favorite

Roof purlins on!

Take five

Stone, Timber, Woods
& Star

By a pond

All photographs by Susan Arnold
June ~ July  2018

Saturday, September 22, 2018


Knopf 2014


Street Corner

There was an angle

where I went for

centuries not as a

self or feature but

exhaled as a knowing

brick tradesmen engineered for

blunt or close recall;

soundly there, meanings grew

past a second terror

finding their way as

evenings, hearing the peppermint

noise of sparrows landing

like spare dreams of

citizens where abstraction and

the real could merge.

We had crossed the

red forest; we had

recognized a weird lodge.

We could have said

song outlasts poetry, words

are breath bricks to

support the guards singing

project. We could have

meant song outlasts poetry.


Brenda Hillman
Pieces of Air in the Epic
Wesleyan 2005