Thursday, April 30, 2020


Now Always Snow

                              to N.B.

like snow the Lord is all there is

when all there is is snow

when the soul is all there is

the snows the soul and light

but still just this

that there are those

like death is all there is

to know that they are even here

darkness is also part of light

when the snows come again


as maybe all that is to come

but there is no way to know for sure

as corpses do and do not exist

oh there is the Papier-Mache-Country

no question what it means to exist

when The People is a verb

that means to not exist

and what does it mean to exist

what's the point of this being

even the Holy Face is just a Mold

that is as if there only is

the country that is Darkness-and-Holy-Face


but there is one thing that exists

when these are suddenly no more

— oh God again the snows! —

they are not just as this one thing is

only Numbness Country

they are such that they are and are not

and only by virtue of this exist

but there are things that only are

a whirlwind as if by a miracle is

in a moment Death-Country is no more

oh God again the snows

the soul the snows and light

oh God again the snows

but should it be that they are not

the snows my friend the snows

the soul and light and snow

oh God again the snows

and snow is all there is


Gennady Aygi
Into the Snow
translated by Sarah Valentine
Wave Books

Wednesday, April 29, 2020


   with their pipes

hunched under spring sky

   old men make clouds

in the widow's veil


blown from dandelion

spring breeze

puffs through the skeleton

of a bird

the farmer talks corn,

pointing where the corn

is talking

my mother stock-still

before the balloon I put

on my father's grave

he removes his glove

         to point out


   walking in the rain

I pass a stranger

                I know


Raymond Roseliep

Monday, April 27, 2020

YOKEL ( 29 ) ~


Glassy shine

Of the old truck

Behind the bush

Beside the barn


At the far corner table

Of the fairgrounds in a

Cage nearly hidden by

A sheet thrown over

As if neglected stood up

Rooster with feathers made

Almost mossy but wild and

Dangerous streaks of

Yellows and reds bristle

When I dared to lift

Halfway the sheet

Spring Air

Rainwater —

Enough in the

Flat of a field

For a pair of ducks

To float all day on


When pig turns

It’s all head


Ahead of us a man

With long open curls

Of gray hair carries

With one hand and leaning

Into his side a cage the

Size of a table holding

Two full-size toulouse geese

And three magnificent slime

Pond green behaved ducks

Many Spring Seasons

What I take to be

Ducklings skittering

Again across the pond

As I watched yesterday

Are old leaves blowing

Over the thinnest ice


Kids think

Nothing of

Running 100

Yards to the

Rides running

Back the 100

Yards asking

Us for money

And running

Away the 100

Yards a third

Time laughing


Paced off at thirty feet

Pairs of men toss horseshoes —

Some young and careless, others

Older and seasoned, a few older

But having to teach someone a

Lesson — my favorite was the guy

About my age who pitched his

Shoes alone — back and forth

With a ringer every third toss

Dropping softly into the sand —

He never tired, never overthrew,

Scuffed his way stake to stake

And when I left him for a moment

To watch another team finding

Later his lot vacant, shoes picked

Up with him sitting across the

Arena under a tree watching this


Favorite places at the fair

Heard far off as we approach —

Bell of horseshoes

Shaking working horse ground

Bob Arnold

Saturday, April 25, 2020


I Open the Curtain

Before I go to bed I open the curtains.

When I wake up I want to see the living dark

and the pines and the sky. I know a grave;

if you're there you do not see the stars.

Orion has arrived now in the west, hunting, hunting -

he has not come any farther than I have.

The cherry tree outside my window is naked and black.

The sky is a bell, dizzingly blue, where the hard

fingernail of the new moon is writing something.

Winter Morning

When I woke this morning the panes were frosted over,

but I glowed from a good dream.

And the stove poured out its warmth

from a woodblock it had enjoyed the whole night.

Across the Stump

It is the roots from all the trees that have died

out here, that's how you can walk

safely over the soft places.

Roots like these keep their firmness, it's possible

they've lain here centuries.

And there is still some dark remains

of them under the moss.

They are still in the world and hold

you up so you can make it over.

And when you push out into the mountain lake, high

up, you feel how the memory

of that cold person

who drowned himself here once

helps hold up your frail boat.

He, really crazy, trusted his life

to water and eternity.

One Word

One word

— one stone

in a cold river.

One more stone —

I'll need many stones

if I'm going to get over.

I Look At the Stamp

I look at the stamp on your first letter.

It's a month or more since it came.

During that time you've haunted this house,

called to me, frightened me, changed

from Ate to a green Erinye.

Today I got your photograph:

it is a girl sitting alone on some logs

near the darkening ocean.


Olav H. Hauge
Trusting Your Life
To Water and Eternity
chosen & translated by Robert Bly
Milkweed Editions, 1987 

Friday, April 24, 2020


New Music

The lovemaking grows more intense, not less.

Ten million men and women out of work

The price of a sound currency. Tim Page

Brings us "The New, The Old, The Unexpected,"

Two hours of new music every day,

Six hours of sleep, eight of work, and art

Simmers on the back burner with desire

For Fame, for Fortune, Rules: choose one, not both.

The reasons for not moving grow more lame.

Ten million stories in this naked city

And one of them is ours. I'm like Tim Miller

Spraying my name in paint upon my chest,

Reminding me of who I am. A man

By any other name's a refugee.

I shall not back away, but take my stand

Where love and honesty are one, not both.

It gets more complicated with the years

And less so. There must be ten million ways

Of making love, but all I need are three:

The new, the old, the unexpected. Grace

Is like New Music hitting with the foce

Of tidal waves, or like the atmosphere

So clear these mornings we forget it's how

We've always lived and breathed as one, no both.

I touch you on the eyes, and chest, and wrist.

Ten million dollars wouldn't change a thing,

The price of a sound mind. "Tim Dlugos knows,"

Voice-over from an old-time radio

Reminding me of where I used to be.

I'm here, and so are you. To make it art

Is easy when you're musical as we.

Live it or live with it: choose one, not both.

Tim Dlugos (1950-1990)
A Fast Life
Collected Poems
Nightboat Books, 2011

Thursday, April 23, 2020


Buddha In Glory

Center of all centers, core of cores,

almond, that closes tightly in and sweetens, —

this entire world out to all the stars

is your fruit-flesh: we greet you.

Look, you feel how nothing any longer

clings to you; your husk is in infinity,

and there the strong juice stands and crows.

And from outside a radiance assists it,

for high above, your suns in full splendor

have wheeled blazingly around.

Yet already there's begun inside you

what lasts beyond the suns.


Rainer Maria Rilke
New Poems [ 1908 ]
translated by Edward Snow
North Point 1987

Tuesday, April 21, 2020


Overnight At A Buddhist 
Mountain Temple

Massed peaks pierce

the cold-colored sky;

a view the zazen hall


Shooting stars pass

into sparse-branched trees;

the moon one way,

clouds another.

Few people come

to this mountaintop;

cranes do not flock

in the tall pines.

One Buddhist priest,

eighty years old,

has never heard

of the world affairs.

Chia Tao (779-843)
Colors of Daybreak and Dusk

Monday, April 20, 2020

YOKEL ( 28 ) ~

Peaceable Kingdom


We went to the town fair

For the first time in our lives

To watch the work horses and

The work horses were there,

Somehow they never disappoint you

Led out from trailers in wraps

Of leather harness, some gilded

And special for the day —

The horses could teach anyone how

To stand, how to wait

Their heads turned the other way

From a stone sled loaded by six

Men and one more on a tractor

Who are having a difficult

Enough time managing each

Block weight onto the sled,

One after the other until

What is expected to pull

Gains to 3500 pounds and

Later double that

Three-man teams talked

Amongst themselves soon

Showing they had trouble

Of their own making

A horse pair obey —

Names Frank, Chris, Josey

Revealed an intimacy from

These tough men with bloody

Elbows dragged by reins

Along the stone sled down

A twelve foot course hollering

Hold up there! and watching

Their feet and legs aren’t

Crushed by this plowing

Entertainment drive

How does a trophy and 

One hundred fifty dollars

Grab you — awarded to the

Winner — the horse teams

Feel none of this, it is

Another day blinking

Flies and hasty sun,

Horse paired up to

Horse because they

Work best together

The least we could do

Would be to hope a little

More grain and hay came

Pitched down for them

That night, a rightful

Pat on the hind quarters,

And any of us can walk

Over to where horses

Huddle and with

No celebration or

Much of a sound,

Wait until one

Lifts his head and

Large eyes brighten

We meet


Has a way

When you’re not sure

Of having you place

That finger to your nose

Makes No Difference

Work horses

Stand in the rain

The sun, more rain

Bright leaves and snow


At the fair

This cow who

Knows this farmer

Won’t go easily

To the strange

Water tub tugged

By rope and hind

Legs holding back

The pinkest nostrils

Breathing ahead of

All its body along

A porcelain edge and

Always how massive

But somehow terrified

The great animal

Head down grazing

Goose thumps into

Fence post


Out in the open midway

Of flea market sellers

Unwrapping their tables

Look to the sky

Wondering with a

Neighbor hawker if it

Will rain — and who

Knows, none of us —

But one old-timer

Under a canopy

Slowly unpacking his

Nest of goods took no

Mind to the rain that

Seemed to be falling

All of a sudden as he

Stepped out of the

Tent and dusted off

His hat announcing

To no one it was

Only fizzling

(to be continued next week)

Bob Arnold