Tuesday, March 31, 2020




They sap man’s substance

as moon the dew.

A rope grows erect

from the crown of the head.

A black swan hatches

from a pebble.

And a flock of angels in the sky

is taking an evening class

on the skid pan.

I dream, so I dream.

I dream

that three times three is nine,

that the right-hand

rule applies;

and when the circus leaves

the trampled ground will

once more overgrow with grass.

Yes, grass.

Unequivocal grass.

Just grass.

Miroslav Holub
Poems Before & After
Bloodaxe Books 

Monday, March 30, 2020


March 2020

YOKEL ( 25 ) ~

Come Closer

Once long ago in old Vermont

We stopped the car on a mud road

Into a village to ask directions from

Anyone we could find, and while you waited

In the car I went and stepped into a store, barely lit

And so dark and cavernous it seemed early-Spring-bear-like

As I finally saw a figure sitting in a rocking chair, a man,

And he asked out of the darkness how he might help

I’ll never forget that time nor that man, and of course

I have completely forgotten the name or place on the map

But it was real

Because —

A few years later, in the peach of summer, closer to home and

Again on an old road we stopped for directions, and this

Time I entered a hilltop farmhouse and could hear someone

Beckon to me to come closer down this sun dusty hallway

With the palest afternoon light, and by a corner woodstove

Sat a very old and rickety wood built man, ancient as the

Plaster walls, and he asked what he could do for me 


When I stepped back out the door I saw the maple trees dark

Leafed, trapping summertime in their bonnets — while broad 

Fields went to upper pastures shadowy lush and holding on

Holding on

                                                    for Richard Levasseur

After Chores

It’s just like her —

that small dish

of scented soap

at the big cast iron

kitchen farm sink

for smaller hands



bib overalls

grubby cap

in the fancy deli

for a pizza slice

sits with tourists

he once sawmilled

boards for me and I

haven't seen him in years

I said hello how you been are

you taking a break?

a break from what?

from work

I don’t know...are

you taking a break?


from what?

from work

Bob Arnold

Sunday, March 29, 2020


Back Road Chalkie
R O B E R T      F R O S T
Spring 2020

Saturday, March 28, 2020


Roots and Branches

      Sail, Monarchs, rising and falling

orange merchants in spring's flowery markets!

messengers of March in warm currents of news floating,

      flitting into areas of aroma.

tracing out of air unseen roots and branches of sense

      I share in thought,

filaments woven and broken where the world might light

      casual certainties of me. There are

      echoes of what I am in what you perform

this morning. How you perfect my spirit!

      almost restore

an imaginary tree of the living in all its doctrines

      by fluttering about,

intent and easy as you are, the profusion of you!

awakening transports of an inner view of things.

Robert Duncan
The Collected Later Poems and Plays
edited with an introduction by Peter Quartermain
U Cal Press, 2019

Put your good hands into the good hands of Peter Quartermain's
guidance through the later world of Duncan, fertile ground

Friday, March 27, 2020


                                                                   Tom Brenner/Reut
Donald Trump rose to power with the determined assistance of a movement that denies science, bashes government and prioritized loyalty over professional expertise. In the current crisis, we are all reaping what that movement has sown.
                          T H E     N E W     Y O R K    T I M E S    27 March 2020


My favorite of all Hrabal books
Whenever I want to go to masters of the
very short text (or the longest)
I head to eastern Europe ~~~
whether Peter Handke and his gemstone
A Sorrow Beyond Dreams
or here with Bohumil Hrabal's
All My Cats
read astonished

Thursday, March 26, 2020



This is the design, cover photograph, and overall
Philip Whalen while alive book I fell for
over 50 years and I still hold it close to my heart.
I'm more than grateful that the good folks at Wave Books
have reissued the masterpiece, with this cover photo
as frontispiece at least, and an afterword
by David Brazil.

(Wave Books, 2020)

Wednesday, March 25, 2020


Jesus Cooks

Jesus saw the multitudes were hungry

and He said, Oh Lord,

send down a short-order cook.

And the Lord said, Abracadabra.

Jesus took the fish,

a slim green baby,

in His right hand and said, Oh Lord,

and the Lord said,

Work on the sly

opening boxes of sardine cans.

And he did.

Fisherman, fisherman,

you make it look easy.

And lo, there were many fish.

Next Jesus held up a loaf

and said, Oh Lord,

and the Lord instructed Him

like an assembly-line baker man,

a Pied Piper of yeast,

and lo, there were many.

Jesus passed among the people

in a chef's hat

and they kissed His spoons and forks

and ate well from invisible dishes.


Anne Sexton
The Book of Folly
Houghton Mifflin

Tuesday, March 24, 2020



R E A D      M E

Miscellany Presented In Reply To
Scholar Lou About To Leave For Huainan

I was sent far away to enjoy life alone

who would have guessed I would meet an old friend

taking pity on broken wings with kind words

soothing ragged fins with life-saving water

our feelings as colleagues haven't changed

but the joys of companionship are new

wandering without a goal wasting time

immune to the pains of spring dancing drunk

even if the pleasures of wind and moon have ceased

the stars and frost we've shared has brought us closer

treating fame as a calamity

we chose the Tao for our neighbor

our schemes were roof tiles in a storm

our suspicions simply misperceptions

wearing an official's hat I still write poems

despite your poverty you still carry a sword

suddenly our parting is today

this happy time won't come again

what is it that's dragging you off

my spirit is leaving with you on the river

I'll have to console my shadow on this side of Heaven

what can I do on that stream to the west

what can I do alone but go fishing

Liu Tsung-Yuan
translated by Red Pine
Written in Exile
Copper Canyon Books

Monday, March 23, 2020

YOKEL ( 24 ) ~


Two carpenters

Rebuild the church steeple

On the ground

for Greg Joly


A beautiful pickup truck with the fanciest side mirrors

on both doors. It seemed like 3D. This is the truck the

heavy set worker arrived in. The t-shirt was gray and

molded over a barrel chest and double barrel gut. The 

arms the size of my thighs. Something happened along 

the years because he couldn’t hide the limp. He was 

coming to measure up a wood pellet furnace. I could

tell he didn’t know all that much about the furnace

except he burned pellets in his own wood pellet stove.

He knew the pellets were shipped to the northeast

from the Rockies, Pennsylvania and somewheres in

Canada. Canada always gets a “somewheres”. It’s a big

place. Since he didn’t know much about pellets, and

his body was a steady worker’s, I asked him what he

did before pellets. Farmer. One word sufficient. But

said with the great tongue of a cow so it sounded like

I suddenly loved the word more than ever.

He said he once had a farm called River Maple. And I

said my wife and I for thirty-five years have passed the

large barn sign for this place and always wondered why 

it wasn’t Maple River. Well, which came first: the river or 

the maple? he asked me. I said, The river — it feeds the

maples to grow. He smiled at that, as if his grandfather 

who gave the farm this name once explained it to him 

this way when he was a boy. Yes, he suddenly looked

boyish as we said goodbye when he left.

July in the Sun

We pick blueberries this way —

I wear jeans and t-shirt

you wear a pretty dress

the rest is easy

After the War

He’s hobbled around on one good leg and

The other fake leg for nearly forty years —

That’s what his government gave to him

No one could give him the tenacity to survive

He did that all on his own, plus with 

A monthly pension paid by the same government

The best thing that ever happened, is how

He sized his injury up — a hard drinker’s grin

One leg for all these years paid income. Not bad!

He’s built his own spot in the woods

Does everything another seems to be able to do

Complete with junker cars, thrift clothes, a garden

And maybe she’s a wife or a girlfriend

But she looks very close to dying —

I didn’t have the heart to ask her story

Bob Arnold