Thursday, January 31, 2019


Thomas Merton, looking younger each year,
in an undated photography in Kentucky
in front of his hermitage

A mainly Buddhist publisher took a chance on this
Catholic writer and her Catholic subject ~
you can as well.

A lovely addition to the Merton library.


Wednesday, January 30, 2019


I’m reading one more interesting book on an open field theory of poetry and its place, this time by Terrance Hayes and all about Etheridge Knight, a poet I followed closely for almost 50 years, in some ways reminding me of another I love Chester Himes, both ex-prisoners, a great deal of their work being done through the inmate and prison perspective. In other words, always a prisoner once out. Himes took off for Europe (like Baldwin) because of the outcast feeling; Knight took it out on himself with drugs, violence, even to his wives and partners etc., Sonia Sanchez was one, who continued to love him and was always an equal. Long ago I used to read to my all women students in the boarding school each winter “Feeling Fucked Up” one of the most liberated and celebratory poems from that era. The young women were startled then ( 80s ) at the freedom of language. “You can do that?” they’d ask. I told them they could do anything if it improved the page, taking that old saw one more step. Hayes catches the importance of all this time and writes well, including some sketchy loopy ink drawings that are perfect. 

Wave Books
Terrance Hayes

Monday, January 28, 2019


Book Lover

If looks could kill

then here it is —

the famous poet 

after his reading

meeting my wife

who is asking him

to sign his books

that mean next to

nothing to her and

they both know it


knew it was

a strike

watching her

skirt twirl


Oh how fiery we are when angry

We carry on from room to room

Our son in school

The dog and cat fast asleep

From room to room

How fiery!

And right into bed

A.M. Report

Snow overnight —

Every bird at the feeder

Looks like a hobo


Bob Arnold
Heaven Lake

Longhouse 2018

Friday, January 25, 2019

Thursday, January 24, 2019


University of Chicago Press


J O N A S    M E K A S
1922 ~ 2019

Wednesday, January 23, 2019


The Government Lake

          The way to the toy store was blocked by a fallen tree
in the road. There was a policeman directing traffic down a
side street. I asked him, “What happened?” He said, “Lightning
in the night.” I took the turn and drove down the street
looking for a way to turn back. Other streets were blocked by
fallen trees, and I couldn’t find a way back to the toy store.
I kept driving and soon I was on the outskirts of town. I
got on a highway and drove, soon forgetting the toy store and
what I was supposed to get there. I drove on as if I was hypno-
tized, not noticing the signs for turnoffs. I must have driven
a couple of hours before I woke up, then I took the next exit
and had no idea where I was. I drove down a straight tree-lined
lane with farm houses on either side. There was a lake at the
end of the lane. I pulled over and parked. I got out and
started walking. There were several docks along the shore.
I walked out on one and watched the ducks swimming and diving.
There was something bobbing in the middle of the lake. I stared
at it for a long time before I realized it was a man’s head.
Then, a moment later, it was a coconut. No, it was an old tire
floating right side up. I gave up and started following the
ducks. They would suddenly fly up and circle the lake and
come down and splash land again. It was quite entertaining.
A man walked up behind me and said, “This government lake is
off-limits to the public. You’ll have to leave.” I said,
“I didn’t know it was a government lake. Why should it be
off-limits?” He said, “I’m sorry. You’ll have to leave.”
“I don’t even know where I am,” I said. “You’ll still have
to leave,” he said. “What about that man out there?” I said,
pointing to the tire. “He’s dead,” he said. “No, he’s not.
I just saw him move his arm,” I said. He removed his pistol from
his holster and fired a shot. “Now he’s dead,” he said.

Source: Poetry (January 2019)


The Government Lake
(Ecco, July 2019)

Monday, January 21, 2019


After Work

Long day for us both

Field work hot sun

Resting later on

Taking off your boots for you

Then your socks

I can’t stop


walking out

from her bath

one lasting

water drop

between those


Folk Song

It was a Sunday morning

When we decided to chase

The freight train flat on the

New Mexican plain —

Straight and longly forever

It seemed like the barren

Road we were on, rails

Running  parallel,  sun

Rising, three locomotives

Strong — we all galloped —

And when we reached

Ahead and to a bend in the

Road we stopped and ran out

As close as we dared and

Almost better than the

Sight of the train itself

Felt the earth shake at

Its approach up and down

Like a planetary drum

This shooting star comes

Thundering over the rise —

A good man knowing a

Good thing when he sees

It waves to us with two

Blasts of his train whistle

Quivering and heart-filling

Like the best folk song


what bedspread

what blanket

what cloth I

have watched her

hand spread smooth

with an elegance


on my-


Bob Arnold
Heaven Lake

Longhouse 2018

Sunday, January 20, 2019


Susan and I traveled this route in 1979

Saturday, January 19, 2019


Considering the Snail

The snail pushes through a green
night, for the grass is heavy
with water and meets over
the bright path he makes, where rain
has darkened the earth’s dark. He
moves in a wood of desire,

pale antlers barely stirring
as he hunts. I cannot tell
what power is at work, drenched there
with purpose, knowing nothing.
What is a snail’s fury? All
I think is that if later

I parted the blades above
the tunnel and saw the thin
trail of broken white across
litter, I would never have
imagined the slow passion
to that deliberate progress.

New Selected Poems
Thom Gunn
edited and with an excellent
introduction by Clive Wilmer
Farrar Straus Giroux 2018

Thursday, January 17, 2019



The Old Poets of China

Wherever I am, the world comes after me.

It offers me its busyness, it does not believe

that I do not want it. Now I understand

why the old poets of China went so far and high

into the mountains, then crept into the pale mist.


Mary Oliver
1935 - 2019