Monday, September 30, 2019



An interesting moment that you may have seen on Sunday morning CNN, all quiet on the western front, and there is Robert DeNiro barely tolerating one more question about the state of our nation under the Rat King. In the usual DeNiro calm before the storm, something I like about him and the characters he plays in movies. Suddenly out of nowhere, as the interviewer is ending one thought and about to begin another, DeNiro has one of his haiku tourettes spells, splendid in this case, and almost shouts out a “Fuck ‘em, Fuck ‘em” all directed at the commander-in-chief that lifts out an immediate “Whoa” from someone off camera which is also delightful in its immediate reaction and sound. It’s all now a sound piece, separate from any reality except its own, completely commanding in itself. DeNiro has become all the characters he has played in one fell swoop. Cinema is in the TV studio. It’s serious and unstoppable. The interviewer, ever a chubby company newsman, doesn’t quite know what to say except to remind himself and maybe the audience that what DeNiro has just done doesn’t bother the FCC regulations since CNN is a cable TV programmer so the FCC can’t touch them, and as if DeNiro cares. It had to be done. It had to be said. We hear it. We’re with him. It’s one more little slice of regurgitation that comes out about Donald J Trump.

               [ B A ]


Twelve Bells Press, once upon a time, asked me for a piece on stone work that was pulled from my book ON STONE (Origin 1988) and I was happy to comply. Here is the full published booklet, now I believe long out of print.

Saturday, September 28, 2019


The river sings praises. . .

The river sings praises. Stars in the trees.

The smell of thyme and peppermint,

Our brows are freshened by a little breeze

We are the children, this is God's present.

The grass is soft: the woman without bitterness

The lovely willows make everything rejoice:

Pleasure's a certainty for those who will say yes.

Never again would you want to leave this place.

I am absolutely certain. . .

I am absolutely certain that tomorrow will be fine

That after rain comes sun

That my neighbour loves his daughter

My enemy is a bad man.

Also I have no doubt

That I'm doing better than almost everyone else.

Also I've never been heard to say

Things have got worse

The race is degenerating

Or that there are no women who are happy with just one man.

In all those matters

I am more generous, more trusting, more polite than the discontented

For all those matters

Seem to me of little consequence.

Yes, friends, now the grass is all eaten up. . .

Yes, friends, now the grass is all eaten up

And word is going round the continents that life

Is no longer worth living

The races are old, expect nothing more of them

The little planet is nimble and picked to the bone

It's all over and done with, for a while there was some chatter about it

Nothing more. We are

Merely a rare little generation of eyewitnesses

And the age will be called

The Age of Rubber


The Collected Poems of
Bertolt Brecht
translated by Tom Kuhn & David Constantine
Liveright 2018

Friday, September 27, 2019



The man I wish I'd had the gumption to become

back when I was green and restless

requested that when he finally let go

his bones be fashioned into a kind of xylophone

and that the rest of him be buried

by the lake he loved.

He wished that his bones be played

on chilly autumn evenings when loons called

and leaves whispered a leathery language

as the wind prepared them to let go.

Beside the lake his sons could make a fire

and burn his clothes and books,

then roast whatever they could catch and feast.

But he died before I noticed, fell away

as a propped-up scarecrow falls from his scaffold

or the way memories fall from our minds

and become like small animals, mice or voles,

that know there are hungry owls in the woods

but can't stand to stay in their cramped nests any longer

and need to take a look at the moon.


Michael Hettich
To Start an Orchard
Press 53 / Winston-Salem

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Friday, September 20, 2019


D E N N I S     S C H M I T Z
1937 ~ 2019


the man away from home
has memorized his wife’s
slip, charts his journey with a mental
ruler across her
chest, the sleepless islands.
sometimes with a small boy’s
geography he can’t
rough out where he loves
her & is lost
around her navel sunk
in sweat like a tide-pool.
he pictures his tongue
squirming, heavy
fish finding a way to gasp
out love as taste shrinks
this last water.
from a case of samples
he takes a lipstick
to plan a local version
of her body
as big as the motel bed.
on it he thrashes all night
misinformed by the old maps.


A terrific book
with a lousy title

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Wednesday, September 18, 2019


With smooth stretches, with dimples,

with puckers.

Sliding along,

smitten by its own force.

A stream, blazing furnace.

At eye level,

the sun has gone back to bed.

                                                                                    ( vanishing point )

Rain — to speak

through the foliage

without raising one's voice.

Leaves — to smooth out

word by word

the worn silk of their brooding.

                                                                       ( May, the month of May )


surveillance of the water

and the sky nearby.

Flying in veers, in swerves.

Crossing, criss-crossing

the stitches of the wind

as far as the eye can see.

                                                        ( swallows, recovering their territory )

With a stroke, with a shriek, every which way

taking out the tacking threads from the wind.


arrogant swallows

panicked by an invisible obstacle.

                                                                                 ( idem )

Smooth in its speechlessness,

the vast plain of the daylight

opens out.

Slack, motionless,

yet with no fixed point,

like one coming back to oneself.


                                                                (a new )


Haze and light,

from these heights draped

to the other shore — invisible.

The gaze hardly alights.

                                                                 ( in one stroke )

Beyond the haze,


the mountain climbs back up its slope.


in the heat,


                                                          ( from the window )

Stars in summer

in the trees.


night-time outbursts.


                                                               ( before the whole night )

Calls and responses

cry out above our heads.

Laths — your support, where is it?

Musical roof frame

ever being renovated.

                                                                  ( mentally, Paul Klee )


like, at eye level,

the base of the night

blocking the view.

                                                                 ( non-place )

Steeple, willows,

jagged shore.

Children's luminous


Impalpable hubbub.

                                                         ( a whole )

At high noon,

in summer,

they are walking through the snow.

At the edge of the road


a gravel pile

— a pothole.

                                                        ( July, high up )

Cut wheat.

The light, on the ground,

carries the night.

                                                          ( midsummer )


at the heart of summer.

The darkness

of devouring daylight.


like a raised stone.

                                                                 ( split in two )

Shadow, daytime ink

like a brushwood made

of golden-headed needles.

Will you last, rampart,

with your thousand open cracks?

Anthracite is such dense

daylight, ready to explode.

                                                             ( daylight fluting through )


gulls have alighted,

as if at he edge of the path,

on a line of reeds

they crease for the pleasure of it.

                                                                 ( propitious white stones )

Taut all day long

the bow of the summer

—noises and echoing sounds—

joins thetwo extremes.

Motionlessness of the heat.

                                                               ( sonorous space )


Pierre Chappuis
Like Bits of Wind
Seagull Books