Monday, October 26, 2020



D I A N E     D I     P R I M A

1934, Brooklyn ~ 2020


P O E T S     W H O     S L E E P


                                           drawn & scribed by Bob Arnold


all drawings
Bob Arnold

Sunday, October 25, 2020


National Gallery of Art, D.A.P


Friday, October 23, 2020


L E A V E S     O F     H YP N O S
a selection
translated by Cid Corman

I think of that army of cowards with their appe-

tites for dictatorship that will perhaps be seen

again in power, in this forgetful country, by

those who will survive this time of damned al-



We are being torn apart between the avidity for

knowing and the despair of having known. The

goad will not renounce its sting and we our hope.


Act as primitive and forsee as a strategist.


To judge by the subsoil of the grass where a cou-

ple of crickets were singing last night, prenatal

life must have been very sweet.


Acquiescence kindles the face. Refusal gives it


The poem's line of flight. It should be within the

power of each to feel.


Imagination, my child.


Eternity is hardly longer than life.


I think of the woman I love. Her face is suddenly

masked. The void is in its turn sick.


Get intelligence going without the help of ord-

nance maps.


We are like those toads who in the austere night

of the marshes call without seeing each other,

bending to their love cry all the fatality of the



One need not love men to be of real help to them.

Only desire to improve that expression in their

eyes when it lights upon others more impover-

ished than themselves, to prolong by a second any

pleasant moment of their lives. After this move

and each root treated, their breathing would

become calmer. Above all don't deprive them al-

together of these painful paths, after whose effort

follows the evidence of truth through tears and



Horrible day! I was witness, some hundred meters

away, to the execution of B. I had only to press

the trigger of my Bren gun and he could have

been saved! We were on the heights overlooking

Cereste, arms enough to make the bushes creak

and at least equal in number to the SS. They un-

aware that we were there. To the eyes around me

everywhere begging for the signal to open fire I

answered no with my head . . . .The June sun

slipped a polar chill into my bones.

He fell as if he didn't make out his executioners

and so light it seemed to me, that the least breath

of wind could have lifted him from earth.

I didn't give the signal because this village had to

be spared at any price. What is a village? A village

like any other? Did he perhaps know at that ulti-

mate instant?


The time of enraged mountains and fantastic



Accumulate, then distribute. Of the mirror of the

universe be the part that is densest, most useful

and least apparent.


Keep with respect to others what you have pro-

mised yourself alone. That is your contract.


Sing your iridescent thirst.


The fruit is blind. It's the tree that sees.


The people of the meadows enchant me. Their

frail and venom-free beauty I don't grow tired of

reciting to myself. The vole, the mole, dark

children lost in the chimera of the grass, the slow-

worm, child of glass, the cricket as docile as any,

the grasshopper that clicks and counts its linen,

the butterfly that stimulates intoxication and an-

noys the flowers with is silent hiccups, the ants

sobered by the great green expanse, and immedi-

ately overhead the meteor swallows. . . .


Grassland, you are the day's encasement.


Since the kiss in the mountains, time is guided on

the golden summer of her hands and the ivy



Children accomplish this fond miracle of remain-

ing children and seeing through our eyes.


This is the hour when windows escape houses to

catch fire at the end of the world where our

world is going to dawn.


Are we doomed to being only the beginnings of



If life could only be a disappointed sleep. . . .


There are two ages for the poet: the age during

which poetry, in all regards, mistreats him, and

that when she lets herself be madly embraced.

But neither is wholly defined. And the second is

not sovereign.


Plunge into the unknown which cuts deep. Com-

pel yourself to whirl about.


There's no more question of the shepherd being

guide. Or so the politician, this new general far-

mer, has decided.


Formerly at the moment I got into bed, the idea

of a death for the time being in the bosom of

sleep proved pacifying, today I go to sleep to live

some hours.


All the virtue of the August sky, of our trusted

anguish, in the meteor's golden voice.


"My body was more immense than earth and of

it I knew only a very tiny part. I receive such

innumerable promises of felicity, from the bot-

tom of my soul, that I beg you to keep for us

alone your name."


In the depths of our darkness there is no one place

for Beauty. The whole place is for Beauty.


A war had begun which, though most of his country was
soon occupied, occupied Rene Char still more. . . .He was
about 36 then, and the poetic journal he kept of and at
that time comes to us under the auspices of his Resistance
code-name, HYPNOS, the Greek divinity of Sleep.

I read this now during the Covid pandemic and much of it aloud
to the one I love as we travel around, truck and book in lap, and
what are these tears in my eyes?

No book like it on earth.


Rene Char
Leaves of Hypnos
translated from the French by Cid Corman
Mushinsha/Grossman, 1973

Wednesday, October 21, 2020


Henri Michaux by Claude Cahun – Paris, France, 1925

I have in me a strong propensity to intoxication. I am a man
obsessed, and everything is my meat, Thus, when I read, the first
pages hold no interest for me. They are too straightforward. But
after a few hours it all gets fluid, and then find a real pleasure.

The trees here are well lit up and luminous. I do not see them,
I only see their glow. My eyes are always wide open like a baby's,
and like a baby I only turn them when something shifts in front
of me.

I cannot very well explain myself. While it is true that I speak
more often about what bothers me, I also have my share of little


The bottom of the Amazon like the current is constantly shifting.
You can sometimes remain aground for three or four weeks. The
more you push the deeper in you get.


                                Manus (38 degrees C. heat) Brazil

All along the right bank of the river for about a mile an
enormous, very high wall. Behind and above it — Manaus.

This town of 100,000 is 1,200 miles from everything, and any
road you take, at the end of it there is just the jungle.

The local people regard their town as a heap of rubble. Yet
indications of wealth are everywhere — a Big City theater as well
as some new monuments. In a small neighborhood theater as well
as some new monuments. In a small neighborhood theater you
read, 'Here in 1911 Pavolva danced.' The pound sterling was
then small change, but the rubber prices fell and now there are
only memories.


To tell the truth, at Iquitos I was already beginning to have
my fill. I'd have liked to go unobserved; to make myself very
small and arrive in Paris where I could hide myself in my books.

But soon I would wake up with still all Brazil to be crossed.

Which is one reason why this looks like the twentieth time I've
been on this one trip.

And it's becoming one tedious. . .


The Amazon isn't like the Napo

The Napo swims slowly toward the Amazon


Home again.

Worn out.

Above it there blows an unquestionable wind.

Oh! the wind!

I'm from a country of wind

In my country even the poorest has his wind

The air is never harvested, it puffs, that's wind,

We always have a lot, and we need it — wind!  wind!

The man who has grown up

Who has spent years in the passionate hand of the wind

I'd no idea I was this attached to my country

But this wind. . .

The wind. . .


Tattoo Marks

The jungle Indians do not, in the strict sense, tattoo themselves.
That is, they do not make deep incisions in their skins.

They may make a design on their faces to go have lunch at a
friend's, then rub it out on the way home. Everyone has mentioned
how attractive this is. There are certain colors, however,
that smudge badly. For us they would be an inconvenience. The
Turks were quite right to have pointed out how unseemly a face is.
There it is on top of your clothing, sticking out, with glances
escaping from it like madmen. Everything unhealthy and bestial
that your skin has about it vanishes with the application of a
line, a spot of rouge. Your face becomes not so much intelligent
as intellectual, it becomes witty. That calms. It was always my
feeling when my Indians had tattooed themselves that now we
would be able to talk (the exception being the case where the
design confines itself to a stupid exaggeration of the facial contours
and their one or two basic elements).

It does not take much of a prophet to predict that before long
the white race will on its own take up tattooing. I am told that
current opinion is flatly opposed to this — and much else. Prophets
say, 'You'll see'; that suffices for both them and me.

I only add that tattooing, like all ornamentation, can both
bring out a surface and even readily make the same surface
disappear, just as a tapestry makes the whole length of a wall
disappear. Well, now is the time to have the face disappear. It is
truly impossible with a face to have a modest look — provided
that it has not been specially arranged for that.


Henri Michaux
translated by Robin Magowan
University of Washington Press 1970

Lordy, Michaux on any subject and anywhere
any time, any place, and here I become surprised to see
it was all translated by a friend, Robin Magowan, ever thoughtful
as his own poems. My book note says I read this book first in 1970.

[ BA ]