It’s nice to have a nice physique,

But face it, a face is what’s unique;

We fall in love with one of those,

Not with the hands, or somebody’s toes.

If you love a voice or verses

You might as well love shouts and curses,

And to fall in love with naughty parts

Is like falling in love with farts—

No, the face, the window to the soul

Is how we know the person as a whole,

For it’s as if the face were a thought

That can never be known and never be bought.

Come, let me look in your eyes again—

Was that you, with another, in the rain?





How much kissing is too much
When the mouth is beautiful?
How do we know when beauty is full?
How much divinity lives in the tongue
When the tongue does not speak?
Neither love, nor bodies mild and meek
Can measure kissing’s soft ecstasy.
Beauty and sublimity are silent,

So why don’t we shut up?
It is good that you were silent;
I learned to love thought
Which washes over the world.
Behind my words, a riddle sits on a throne.
Speaking is not enough,
No, speaking is never enough
When kisses are set upon by your moan.


The bird species in most cases
Picks a mate for life.
A life can be filled with songs and kisses,
Joy as far as the eye can see.
How can we hate when love sings from every tree?

Humans and crawling mammals
Tend to move from wife to wife.
There is a life of tunnels,
Of secrecy and sad satiety,
But you were like the lark singing above the strife.

You remembered for hours
Words of a beautiful song
That told of songs bedecked in flowers
With birds singing from every tree.
How can we hate when things like these agree?

Tell me what you are thinking
Of love and life.
Meteors and stars in the vast sky are blinking
As far as the eye can see.
But not for long.




“Invade your privacy?  I will give you your privacy forever!” –Portrait painter’s plea

Let me paint you.
The valley doesn’t know itself.
You have listened by flowers
When I, bold, told you the dozen
Goings of the sun, and the soreness
In my mind when you are gone.
Both of us are offended by ourselves
In photographs, and when mirrors
Map our sublime faces they fail;
The glass plate destroys the significance
Of longing that stretches in many
Directions far away.
Only my mastery in the painting art,
The valley laying out its perspective
In the singular sun, can allow the mystery
To go home at last, the multiple sufferings
Seeing what is happy and one.
I quickly sketched your nose and told you it was
The best nose, but you would have none of it,
Though there was a moment when your modesty dropped
And I thought perhaps you knew.
Is it possible for you to know how
I saw you once without me being specifically in the picture?
Let the painter satisfy the life no longer here,
And the living, too—vaguely sad, vaguely near.


Where is your sighing lullaby?
Last night strings
Played the mystic tune.
Usually desire sings
The words beneath the mystic moon.

The tempo is usually slow,
Like flames running across a stream,
The flames not certain which way to go,
Like perfume drifting through a dream,
A dream with dreams by you and I.

The words were immediate, not a test;
We listened and listened, and got no rest;
You were stranger, lover, and guest,
Someone I dreamed to know
Even as I moved by your elbow
And heard the sigh in your sigh.

The earthly tones conveyed unearthliness;
This perfume was one of your own;
A love was melodiously confessed—
You and I roaming to a mystic home
Where dripping love is welcome
And love in love is best.


Helpless in your beautiful face,
Helpless to triumph over the body,
To secure a new life in a different place,
To say the words sounding like the sea,
Eating your fame insatiably.

Helpless in your beautiful face,
Helpless to love a face less beautiful than your own,
Helpless to put yourself in someone’s place—
They do what they want, and do it alone.
They sail the seas, like you, the surface, the tone…

Helpless in your beautiful face
To make mirrors with soundtrack and plot;
You see only the beauty of your race
And never what the race sees not.
In your country beautiful faces are rounded up and shot.

Helpless in your beautiful face
To continue the beauty in a different sphere;
You will be erased, and there will be no trace
That you once reigned down here,
Where loves and the sea and the moon were near.


Because I belong to myself, not you.
Galleries of paintings on love only prove
Painters should have had something better to do.
They preach in their paint that love’s elusive,
And most of the time untrue.

Because I belong to the new, not you.
Libraries of books on love prove
Only the old is possibly true.
The pleasing poems I read are few
And nothing that’s written or read is new.

Because I belong to the past, not you,
A past you can never know,
And the more you try, the more I’ll lie,
The more I’ll know
My past is me and will never die.

Because I hate beauty—
Beauty that dies.
I hate the tears in hopeful eyes.
Songs of love the singers sing prove
Lies are sung and loves’ truths
Are falsehoods fed by lies.

Because even when I love, I do not love.
I am merely sickened, I ache;
I am anxious to prove
To myself you aren’t sick for my sake—
And therefore cannot love.

I will not, by any means, abandon you,
Only love—and the question whether love is true.

Let’s study love no more.
Love just leads to war.


There was enough in these words,
There was enough in this face,
Enough danger surrounding
This safe and secret place
To make his lips on hers
A pleasure inside a pleasure,
A life within a life
No measurement can measure.
A focus and a will,
A purpose and a want,
A love in love with love,
As loves forever taunt.


How is it going?
How should it go?
There’s something I want to tell you,
But you already know.
How can I say it
In a new sort of way
That makes a difference
Among the things I say?
I hope you want to hear it,
I understand if you don’t.
Love too often speaks—
Okay then, I won’t.
New information
Is not what poets tell.
The heart of the buyer,
The advertisers sell.
This is even simpler:
The poet must find
A word for a love already on the mind.
You didn’t see this coming
As simple as this was—
The halves keep dividing,
That’s what it always does.
The purpose of division?
The One is a prison
From which you must flee,
Set theory’s two parts already are three.
My heart that loves your heart
Is expected, although,
You don’t quite believe it.
How does my poem grow?
How does it say the things
You already know?


File:Pierre Mignard (1610-1695) - Time Clipping Cupid's Wings (1694).jpg

Everything loving can fit into a cartoon,
The history of love is contained by the moon:
A lover’s mind is a cave, bathed in moonlight,
The eye not seeing, but feeling the stare of its eyesight,
As the lover looks at Mona and cries, “I cared for Mona a lot,
But it ended the one time—the one time—I forgot.”
The moon, a cold stone, shows organic rot
How to be eternal; above the ruminations and the plot,
Phases of root and branch and flower are the phases we forgot.

Cupid drawn by a cartoonist with a dirty mind
Has no sound or smell and makes you almost blind.

The look of what this man is doing
Is not okay for viewing.
The hot sun white at noon.
The dark contrast.  The cartoon.


The movie is about you, the poem is about somebody else.
Lessing says paintings furnish bodies in space,
Poetry actions in time; the interesting, talking face
Is neither a painting nor a poem; it’s myself.

I am acting as myself because this is how the movie is cast,
The best acting is not acting— it’s you being real.
A movie, like a painting or a poem, makes you feel
You are living in the present, not trapped in the past.

Since life is worth watching
Even when it’s not worth living,
We go into someone else’s past.
We escape our own, not great because it will not last.

This art object describes you,
But it also describes your neighbor, too.
Poems are for your neighbors.
Paintings and movies are multiple, but not true.
Your life is fine, but interesting to only a few.

Watching the poem, I felt
I wanted to be somewhere else,
Because I am never myself
Unless I know I will last,
Even though it is easy to think nothing will last.
The only alternative? the horror
That this will last and last and last.

Someone wants to cast  you in their play.
You are going to fulfill a dream,
Even if it’s a dream
Dull in a dull day.


She once existed, and she will exist,
As a scent from trees, as a twilight mist,
But here I look at her mouth, just kissed
By so many kisses, kisses to replace
The first kisses that kissed her face—
Desire approving this death, time approving this place.

She exists, as romance strives romantically to be
Her face kissing the part of the face she is able to see.
Is there another reason for poetry?

She forgets the beginning, and doesn’t know how life ends
But feels the moment and how it tends
Not to be momentary, but is like the mist that gradually blends

With poetry always written for her,
Where those who belong to analysis were
Ignorant of why and when poetry shall occur.


Can too much loving make us weep?
When we get more loving than we can keep?
I will be there, soon, love, I will be there, soon.

Great love means great worry.
Great fear means great hurry.
I will be there, soon, love, I will be there, soon.

Who will look at the moon alone
From the prison of their frozen throne?
I will be there, soon, love, I will be there, soon.

Love, that makes us love the same things,
Has lost a rose in Saturn’s rings.
I will be there, soon, love, I will be there, soon.

Sorrow, who wrote the poems of old,
Scorned the warrior, bedecked and bold.
I will be there, soon, love, I will be there, soon.

God, who sees all things slain,
Painted us from shadows small and vain.
I will be there, soon, love, I will be there, soon.

There is a path we are on,
But the path we are is gone.
I will be there, soon, love, I will be there, soon.


21. Because this reason goes along with the other reasons.

20. You know very well why.

19.  Okay, maybe this one doesn’t fit.

18. After #19, this had to be good.

17. This one makes you think a little, doesn’t it?

16. Yes, yes, your hunch was correct, this is how others see it!

15. Yup. We’re not kidding.

14. Google if you don’t believe.

13. Doesn’t apply to you, but it certainly applies to them.

12. This is so lame, instead of “21 reasons for 21 reasons,” it should be “20 reasons for 20 reasons.” I mean, really.

11. We are—exactly—half way through the reasons.

10. Don’t look away! The really good reasons are coming.

9. Told you. And you thought it was France!

8. Did we make your day?

7. Nailed it.

6. A great reason because it subtly undermines all the others.

5. Are you excited for the top 4?

4. Maybe this should have been number one.

3. Ha. Bet you didn’t see this coming.

2. Boo ya.

1. The most important reason:  you read them.


Because I am strangely attracted to love,
Not as attempts by whim or fancy,
But purely tender as the eternal dove:
The light of the other the light by which I see,

You may note me smiling as if in pain,
Or hear my laughter sounding like tears;
For when does love ever rest upon the plain,
Or gaze straight into a face for years?

There is much to consider when the beautiful
Sink to their knees and wish to die.
Weeping and ashamed, I told the philosophical:
Because I cry too much, I cry.


“Sally forth, my friends” –old saying

Sally only smokes in boats.
Sally gives up on wet afternoons.
Sally tries hard all winter.
Sally wants what bears want.
Sally goes slowly through stores.
Sally makes it her business to sit.
Sally has several foods for each sauce.
Sally rounds up pages of poems.
Sally takes a bus only if it’s snowing.
Sally only eats with company present.
Sally makes it seem she’s not in charge.
Sally is, after all, like other people, despite her opinions.
Sally watches TV to forget you.
Sally has a secret lovely singing voice.
Sally has a language she never uses.
Sally hates what the girls hate.
Sally secretly likes the same things she always liked.
Sally has nice ears, so what?


We’re all going blind.
If only we could see better,
We wouldn’t be ashamed of our mind.
What is going on in the workshop?
We’re all going blind.
We think with the sun’s thoughts
After the sun has gone down,
And left, in its wake, the crimson-tinged cloud.
We go down vistas
With eyes that travel those vistas down
Of leaves that speak, with gains and losses, all over town.
It would be better to be a criminal in a flat landscape.
Our sight is robbed by conveniences.
There is a certain statue that resides across the river…
We’re all going blind.
So let’s guide each other!
We don’t see. But we’re kind.


The genius is the only one
Who can love herself and hate people.
The genius understands every motive
And the origin of every motive.
The genius can be smilingly alone
In a room full of laughing people.
The genius has none of those friends
Who are not really friends.
The genius has only private wants,
Not public needs.
The genius is a genius at being left alone.
The genius is mundane on the outside,
Exciting on the inside.
The genius could be from the cold north
Or the warm south—geography has nothing to do with genius.
You don’t travel to experience genius.
Genius is right beside you when you first fall in love.
Genius is what you don’t notice until it’s too late.
Genius is nice—but not nice.
Genius always gives a little to accident.
Genius was up late at night
But will never tell you.
Genius is comfortable—but never comfortable.
Genius lives with fear and lust
As others live with sunny boredom.
Genius is strange, but in a beautiful way.
Genius goes out all the time, and always finds something.
Genius sleeps in a bed of thinking.
Genius transcends Time and timing.
Genius takes what makes you afraid,
Goes one step further, and laughs.
Genius is sensitive before you are
To what you are most sensitive about.
Genius is right in front of you
And terribly far away.


When the wings falter,
And landscape is no longer scanned,
When we forget to fly,
Every step is planned.

When the flight fails,
And we are forced to land,
We dance with our heavy bodies.
Every step is planned.

Take it up with the sun,
Complain, at once, to the moon.
Say goodbye to the sky.
You’ll be dancing soon.

Famous for the moment,
Perfumed and grinning and tanned,
You found art in your foot.
Every step is planned.


Run from love.
You will lose your sleep.
You will lose your sanity
Among everything you keep:
Letters of theirs with marks one can hardly see.
Run from love.

How many times
Will great triumphs
Sink under their sighs?
How many times
Will you forget your whole life,
Looking in their eyes?

Run from love,
Before it is too late.
Soon, all that is not love
Will be hate.

Run from love.
Run from design and rhyme
Formulated all for them
Who will be so touched.
Reason needs to condemn.

Run from love
And all its doubt.
The moon is sliding beneath the earth.
And the mind is coming out.

Run from love.
Wanting love, you will lose your sleep.
Run from love.
You’ll make the others who love you weep.


When I’m away from you I’m lost in grief,
A grief stretching on to greater sorrow;
Whether mean or kind, the world’s a thief,
The prize, you, a prize more prized tomorrow.
With each degree of intimacy barred,
All thoughts are pain, all feelings, sorrow.
Everything that I once loved is marred,
A bright past accusing a dark tomorrow.
Where are you? You are there, reading this,
Which is, for reasons given, closed to you;
Pointless, then, this poem, for pointless all my bliss.
Nothing in poems can tell us what is true.
Loving thoughts burn into the smoke of speech
Which covers a love no song of love can reach.


Unable to say what pleasure of this kind is,
I thought of love deprived of sound;
If love’s moan were not allowed, strange the bliss
To silent performance strangely bound,
Love’s fate, to have no sound at all:
All sighs, songs, gasps, pleadings, taken away—
Not that love would seem a dumb show of hate,
Or love itself die as night dies in day,
For eyes and smiles and stroking hands
Can always picture love love understands—
But still it would be strange to have no sound
When love lives in her face—and all around.
But if her face is musically unique,
It should be easy for my poetry to speak.


The homeless need to give me money.
I have a mortgage and need it more.
The banks are depending on me to get rich.
Should we care about the flea that makes the vagabond itch?
Life goes upward and onward forever, sad to say.
Not that I’m going to get into a conversation with a bum
And make a pitch to them for cash as they give me a strange look.
We might become friends if we talked,
Though I hate that I-haven’t-bathed smell,
And I don’t have time for conversation.  I’m on a lunch break
And there’s not one good decent lunch place around here
Except for the Indian restaurant I had my heart set on,
And they’re closed for improvements.
Slyly borrowing money to get more. We get it. We have nothing
But the need for money.  Even love
Is a strategy to get more money—you want something
You can use to change something into something else.
When we walk into a restaurant money is everywhere.
Even when we just walk along, the meter is running.
We need money even to experience nonchalant nature. Do you think
There’s anything for free?  Do you?  Money is always on the brain.
Quickly pull some out and make someone happy.
Or save it.  You know money will eventually do it for you.
No one is going to just come up and buy you.  But if they
Wanted you, wouldn’t that be flattering?  I love you
And that means I would be willing to pay for you.  The
Exchange—of which money is the light when want rubs against want;
All this money and rubbing and money and rubbing,
Exchange, exchange.  Trade ancient for modern
In every university’s office and banker’s stall.
I want the light right now.  I want the money.
The money that makes money is the best money.
The one with more money always needs it more than you.


By way of introduction we would like to simply point out the loneliness of this poem, how it captures the whole ‘sophisticated, outsider’ culture of modern life from Pound to Eliot to Auden to Ashbery.  Noel Coward, welcome to the pantheon of Modern Poets.  In this holiday season, when people without family feel lonely, this poem by Noel Coward is dedicated to them.

Should They Wish To Lay Bare Their Lives In Their Language

Sitting outside this cafe in the afternoon sunshine
His mind felt pleasantly alert.
It had certainly been a good idea, this little continental jaunt;
Here he could sit, for hours if need be, just watching and listening.
Later, of course, in the bar of the hotel or in the lounge after dinner,
He would get into conversation with various people and draw them
Out subtly to talk about themselves, to tell him their stories.
His knowledge of French being only adequate, he hoped that
Should they wish to lay bare their lives in their language,
That they would not speak too rapidly.
Of German he knew not a word,
So whatever he gathered would have to be in English,
Slow French, or by signs.

At this moment in his reflections his attention was caught
By the seedy-looking man whom he had noticed before
Buying a ticket for a boat. Something in the way he was standing,
Or rather leaning against the railing, struck a familiar chord in his mind.
He reminded him of somebody, that’s what it was, but who?
He scrutinized him carefully,  the grey suit, the umbrella,
The straggling moustache, the air of depressed resignation.
Then he remembered—he was exactly like a commoner,
Foreign edition of Uncle Philip.
Aubrey sighed with relief at having identified him.

There is nothing so annoying as being tantalized by a resemblance.

Uncle Phillip! It might make quite an interesting little story
If Uncle Phillip, after all those years of marriage,
Suddenly left Aunt Freda and came here to live
In some awful little pension with a French prostitute.
Or perhaps not live with her, just meet her every afternoon here at the pier.
His eyes would light up when she stepped off the boat
(She worked in a cafe in a town on the other side of the lake and only had a few hours off),
And they would walk away together under the chestnut trees,
He timidly  holding her arm.  Then they would go to some sordid bedroom
In the town somewhere and he, lying with her arms round him,
Would suddenly think of his life, those years at Exeter with Aunt Freda,
And laugh madly.

Aubrey looked a the Swiss Uncle Philip again; he was reading
A newspaper now very intently.  Perhaps, after all, he was a secret agent
As he had at first thought and was waiting for the boat to take him
Down the lake to the town on the other side of the frontier,
Where he would sit in a bar with two men in bowler hats
And talk very ostentatiously about his son who was ill in Zurich,
Which would give them to understand that Karl
Had received the papers satisfactorily in Amsterdam.

At this moment a bell rang loudly and a steamer sidled up to the pier.
The man folded his paper.
He waved his hand and was immediately joined by a large woman in green
And three children who had been sitting on a seat.
They all went on to the boat together, the children making a good deal of noise.

Aubrey sighed. Just another family.

(from the short story, “The Wooden Madonna,” by Noel Coward, 1939)


The Annunciation - Robert Campin

There was a chaste kiss
That played on our lips
For a moment or two—
To have that kiss
What would a soul that loves those lips not do?

A familiar name
Stayed on our lips
For a moment or two—
To swim in that name
What would a name that loves that name not do?

What was long ago in the heart,
By this life, and this art,
Was a rhyme, a simple one,
That knew whom I had spoken to
When God—who hides from all—was you.


And so I went with her
Into the leaves that were shining,
Into the leaves,
I went with her gaily,
We held hands,
And kissed occasionally.

Better leave the breathing
To one who has the will
To smother you in sighs,
Will leave off breathing
To save the breath for sighs,
Sweet and slowly sighing
For love and breath and eyes.

Can you bring your memory
Into the smell of now?
Can you teach me how?
I want to be new
Here in this place with you—
Kissing more than once in a while.

ALL I GO THROUGH—new scarriet poem

Sun NASA 1 June 008

Perfection is the living presence
Living without sense or essence
Of symbol. Living in present tense,
Control of wavering coincidence
Is not done with metaphor’s lie;
God as lamb is a sham, but not you,
You don’t have to die.

Fate is not straight; love’s tune
Curls like smoke that blurs the moon;
Words are dead, are dead! But love will love you soon.
What is poetry’s body? You’ll find it in June,
In a breath of dust, particles of trust
Once a whole word; but now all around
The great June sun scatters into sound.

All I go through,
I go through for you.

The sly theorist,
Who slyly says we don’t exist,
The cold moon, by the cold sun coldly kissed,
Seminars unknowing, all the meetings I should have missed,
But went to, hoping by a hug to be hugged or kissed,
When all it was, was a blinding mist,
Leaked from symposiums where I learned the gist:
The point, the fact, does not exist.


Drowning, one inch sun,
You shone, once,
On everyone,
Sublime in a sublime sky,
Spectacular in my eye,
Able to walk among
Towering subjects of poems,
You dissolve, now, in a glass,
Small, and on your own.
Hazy, unique poison,
You will be my end
And once you gave life to worlds.

Poetry is saying
What you’re not really saying,
Evoking a sun
Less than a dream of a cloud,
Not sexy, not real, not exciting.
You hide in writing
When others lie out loud.

In love you play at war.
You defeat each other.
You are your prisoners,
Hoping you treat each other well.
You cannot tell
How much of yourselves you capture,
How many of your enemy fell.

Love sells to the seller,
The selling can never stop.
You will never find a body
Until the bodies drop.
You will never find a voice
Until the voice lies,
Or the soul vanishes
In the sunrise.

Poetry, that had a tear in its eye,
Is now a cold-hearted spy.
War, all war, is music,
Making the throngs throng.
Do you know we need the bad
To make the good song?
Do you know if you give to what gives away,
Love and giving are wrong?


Who, then, is this Judith Butler?
Google her face.  Never heard of her.

Holy crap she looks like a man.
Theory does what theory can.

The couplet is an interesting device
For this poem—reproducing like mice.

It ridicules thick-necked jocks,
Brainless oafs in team-striped socks.

It notices girls with little bird faces,
Thinks of all the physical disgraces.

These are its children, the swarm
Of humanity, smelly and warm.

They say attention to looks is unkind—
And yet the body is the mind.

As a teen I had terrible skin
Which inside and outside almost did me in.

A few pimples? How can you complain?
But you do.  Ugly face means doubtful brain.

But then you find that beauty is lurking
Behind the ugliness—a poem starts working.

How did poems rescue disgrace?
Why’d you write poetry? I had pimples on my face.

But a life has phases: the beautiful child
With perfect skin, and mild

Becomes the haunted adolescent,
Ugly, hairy, angry, prescient.

Keats and Byron were my Superman.
I hated Beats, Modern, Ash Can.

So let’s unleash our ire upon
Eclectics who hate beautiful Byron.

And no, we don’t have a reason why
Beyond a truth that lives in the eye.

For truth that asserts itself in the mind
Is a light in the cave of the blind.

Everything under the sun is queer
To the liberals who hate Shakespeare

Kind of the way the subject of race
Matters to liberals of nervous grace.

Lost in Dante’s midlife-crisis wood,
Academic theory would be understood.

Academics need to express change
Far away from the shooting range.

After Sputnik made the sciences champ,
The Humanities became chilly and damp.

No one took out a loan for college
Until Sputnik caused the race for knowledge.

But now loans go for art and writing.
Billions in debt for questionable lighting.

If gender is performance, the audience is slow.
Ask Judith Butler, she ought to know!

We really wonder about Queer Theory:
Did a look in the mirror cause the query?

Butler’s a rat in the maze of her text:
“I look like a man!  Okay, what’s next?”

If one has a face that looks like a witch,
Perhaps it’s time for a gender switch.

When procreate beauty falls in disgrace
We call it the revenge of the ugly face.

God grants ladies reproduction.
Beauty is for reproduction’s end,

Since beauty inspires reproduction,
Love is our death as well as our friend.

But if ugly things reproduce,
What is beauty’s use?

Fleeting pleasure, food, attention,
A nice review, a poem’s mention?

In the higher realms, pleasure and hope
Push away the misanthrope,

The scholar, the rule, the task, obscure
Lose sight of beauty and make us poor.

Beauty, of course, can live within:
In Butler’s heart and in her kin.

BUT IS ONE —a new scarriet poem

She is more precious than gold
Handled daily by creeps.
Her inward burning sun
Is dismissed in flaming deeps.
Your restless urges advance
And she sleeps.

Her heart is severely unloving
And then she surprises you.
No valley of silent stars
Is safe from what she can do.
You find you have a name when
She calls you.

She aspires to no art, no writing,
She keeps busy with nothing at all.
Without speaking a single word
She made this poet fall.
My library that weeps
Is now small.

She moves erect with purpose and knowledge,
But every step makes me sigh,
And when she nibbles an orange
She drinks my oceans dry.
Her firm denial she’s pretty
Is a lie.

Her signature utterance is a bitter laugh—
With teeth as white as the sun.
She wastes the day and is lazy,
But her work always gets done.
She doesn’t seem human—
But is one.


“there is no way to sing this” -Donna Hilbert “Where It Happened”

My poetry fails,
The world is too rude.
Idea of naked
Kills reality of nude.
My passion’s big
And cannot be contained
By a poem that grew,
By a moon that waned.
What now the now
That desires to last?
Only me fooling you
With passion from the past.
My excitement fails,
The world is too calm.
I want it to look.
But it’s sailing on.


A lyric is just a lyric,
A song is just a song.
The world keeps repeating itself.
Is that so wrong?

You have a love,
But you had a love before.
You got older.
You couldn’t have that one anymore.

There are types, types of people,
All exactly the same,
Now and when you were growing up.
But who are you to blame?

The world is wonderful,
But not as wonderful as we think;
It’s molecules spinning around
Like water going down in the sink.

The bright love you had
Is routinely fading away.
The night you write in your mind
Is a kiss in another day.

You want it to be real
But maybe, you think, no,
You have to do something, you think,
But the fast is too slow.

But you don’t have time to wait,
But you think, I have time,
To read another’s thoughts.
Is yours a happy rhyme?

Are others wiser than you,
You think no, that can’t be,
But a yes comes around
With a mirror and it’s me.

You gave at the window
Like everybody else
When the evening came
And the dream, but you were not yourself.

A lyric is just a lyric,
A song is just a song,
The world’s a riddle.
Is that so wrong?

You took a walk in the woods,
You parked yourself on a rock,
You let the trees remind you
That you have a writing block.

But you like trees
And not having anything to say.
To hell with you, I’m going there today.
I’m going to have wisdom,
I’m going to have class,
I’m going to have grace,
And you are just an ass.
But maybe when I’m lonely
I won’t think that way.
I’ll think of a lost queen
On a lonely, foggy day,
And I’ll keep repeating “lonely,”
Or any other word,
And then I won’t feel proud,
I’ll feel absurd.

Others are funnier,
You aren’t so good, you know,
You said the wrong thing to him,
Yes, I know, I know.
But here are the seasons,
The seasons come and go,
You can have something new,
Or at least…I don’t know.

Do you love him?
Is there magic in this drink?
Is there a way out?
Oh tell me there is!
They have lost their clout.
This has lost its fizz.
Now let me help you;
That feels good.
I guess we can have a party
Here in our neighborhood.

A lyric is just a lyric,
A song is just a song.
The world keeps repeating itself.
Is that so wrong?


Psychology and the social sciences are too in love with their own sophisticated terminology within their own scientific-tinged aspects to recognize what most people rather crudely refer to as a “broken heart.”

The heart is the most important thing in existence, but science sees it either as an organ that pumps blood or a valentine shape of mere sentimentality.  But broken hearts do exist, and the heart that is broken is real, and the sciences “of the heart,” psychology, the social sciences, the whole of the humanities, in fact, is but a square shape of no consequence compared to—and there is no other way of saying it—the human heart.

What is the heart?

The heart can only be described as that which escapes breaking—or does not escape this fate.

There is no greater tragedy than a broken heart, and yet it often happens—because it happens to the heart—without the world noticing.

It happens to many in high school, or in college, or right after college; someone—who may not even intend to do it—breaks your heart, and the heart that never stops giving suddenly stops giving—the innocence of the child—who wonders and loves—is no more.

The heart, once broken, never really heals, and the broken-hearted soul tries, but never quite loves again.  They have an organ which pumps blood, but they no longer have a heart.  They cannot love.  They are wary of true love. They call true love impossible or naive. Lack of trust or paranoia is the symptom of the heart—which belongs to a soul—that is broken.

For the broken-hearted, belief in love fades like the stars in the face of routine day.

Can the broken-hearted write poetry?

No, they cannot.

The broken-hearted do everything to relieve their pain; they stupidly meditate, they thrill to cheap entertainment, habits become a narcotic, they drink, they laugh, they retreat from the world, they take poetry classes, they get Ph.D.s, they explain, they make money, they have affairs.  But the broken heart, even amid the laughter, hangs on like an odor. It never goes away.

And those rare few, those happy few, those poets whom the world praises?

They are the fortunate souls who miraculously managed to miss, by pure luck or innocence, the most terrible of fates—the broken heart.

There is only one thing you must resist, if you feel there is hope for your heart, for your capacity to love: when you look in the face of the rare poet who smiles serenely—who smiles from the heart, for the sole reason that it feels good to smile—do not envy them.  Smile back with your heart.  Have no thoughts but good ones. Stay in that place for minutes, for hours, for days, for years.


1280x720 Wallpaper landscape, tree, lake, reflection, grass, horizon, clouds, evening, autumn, naked

Nature plays shadowy music
As when the wind ripples the moody lake—
And the changing colors of the sky
Drowns the day for Belinda’s sake.
A wind that rattled the dying leaf
On the twisted tree
Now whispers warnings in the dark
Until Belinda kisses me.
Only then do I forget myself,
Forget the music and the leaf,
Forget I am in the world
And watch without belief.


You say my poetry unfairly seduces
And trades in methods that are mad,
But just as education has its uses,
I, too, teach sadness not to be so sad.
You never loved learning and its books,
And fled the lure of handsome teachers.
If love’s embarrassing long looks
Are cured by wisdom’s lonesome preachers,
You already know what poetry does
And what I, the critic-poet, can do;
I’m the poet your school-girl always was
And what your vulnerable beauty always knew.
Love is a madness, and so it isn’t true,
But my madness includes love and my love includes you.


What if death
Were not the death of you—
But the death of the world?
Your soul, unspeakably alone,
Living on, alone, alone?

In the old times, those times

Known only by ancient rhymes,
Poets—known faintly by their traces,
Feeble markings in the sand,
Ravaged by sea or jealous wind,
Howling intimately across the ruined land—
Intimated in letters lovely faces
Of goddesses who could not write,
Their glowing bodies poems in the intimate night,

True poets, they!
But old times have flown away.
Poets who are not poets do not exist today,

Except this one who is in my bed,
Her feet, her breasts, her handsome head.


What happened to poetry’s pithy wisdom and memorable phrases? Modernism killed it, with its banal “petals on a black bough” and its pretentious “wheel barrow” and its “difficulty.”

In the humanities, the best experiment is always on oneself, and Thomas Brady, editor of Scarriet, the great poetry experimenter of our day, presents his own pithy wisdom to vindicate his own criticism of Modernism.

In morals, there’s no good; there’s only bad not getting it right.

Sculpting poetry is an art, requiring meter, rhyme—and grammar.

You shall know Venus by his actions and Mars by her disguise.

If we find no fault with the brick, can we still criticize the house?

Life is hardness, responding to sharpness.

The poet is one who longs for the sea, but cannot swim.

The scientist is a poet who guesses.  The poet is a scientist who doesn’t need to guess.

Never assume the worst example of a thing is what it is.

Modern poetry implies the following: “You are not smart enough to not understand my poem.”

Art is not what it is, but what we take away.

I belong to the lesser, but the lesser is the greater.

The chief difference between painting and film: one needs a soundtrack.

Mercy is not logical.

Realism in painting ponders what abstract painting forgets.

For some, the cartoonish is true.

The opposite of comity is comedy.

Art is the means by which morality escapes its oppressive character.

It’s better to be unreasonable than timid, for the timid possess no reason at all.

Every time we want something, the answer is no, because every yes has a no right behind it.

Perspective is geometry in painting and grammar in poetry.

Naked should dictate dress; dress should never dictate naked.

The topic has replaced the poet.

Obscurity is cured by love.

A race of plain women and handsome men is a conquering race, handsome women and plain men, a conquered one.

Conversation is not poetry.

Why does art let history tell it what to do?

Comedy is the sentimentalist’s last resort.

The true formalist is not known by their line, but by their stanza.

The best thing your poem can do for you is make someone fall in love with you who otherwise wouldn’t.

When the success of something condemns it, you know something is afoot.

There is more on my lonely island than on your social network.

If it looks like wisdom, it’s probably not wisdom.

The knight, love, slays the dragon, lust.  The light that guides the knight?  Good taste.

I hate filth. I love free speech.  The great human dilemma.

We can love anything—even hate.

Your stupidity enjoys something.  Your criticism understands it.

Quality in poetry is easy; the quantity in poetry is the difficult thing.

The more well-constructed a poem is, the less it says.

Poetry is never a ‘criticism of life,’ life is a criticism of poetry, the poet’s pride notwithstanding.

All poets want to be read, but the spoken poem is the one they remember.

Nothing changes, except the individual’s experience; group change is illusory.

The universe is vast, but I have lived where you have lived.

Sports-watching is theater for people who don’t like theater.

“She loves you” is more poetic than “I love you.”

The more in love, the more silent.

The tree reflected in the lake is more poetic than the tree.

Poetry is love which cannot speak, speaking.

The mouth cracks jokes; but the eye is always serious.

I do not know what you are or who you are, until I know one thing: are you moral?

I looked for genius and never saw it, until one came to me, knowing what I was looking for.

Love goes from being secretive to being public and then longs for secrecy again.

Knowing when you have seen something before is not knowing, but remembering.  Knowing involves not having seen it before.

The poet’s job is not to know—only to be understood.


Lyric poetry was born from graffiti of Classical Greece.

Lyric poetry was spawned by the epigram, and concision, the memorable, the august, the mournful, inhabited the lyric soul by necessity, due in large part to the physical atmosphere surrounding the funerary monuments upon which epigrams were inscribed.

Ekphrasis lives in the epigram: its meaning, ‘to write on,’ to physically inscribe, chimes with ‘to write on (about) someone or something.  The surface, as much as the subject, determines its source.

A rhyme, a couplet, is a great way to be brief and memorable:

Go tell the Spartans, passerby,
That here, obedient to their laws, we lie.

Inscribed on a monument to the Greco-Persian wars by Simonides (b. 556 BC), this is a war poem, just as much as the Iliad is.

Let’s face it: everyone wants to write something that is remembered.  You might write an epic, and one line of it is recalled; or you might write one memorable epigram among thousands; in either case it’s an epic task.

But it doesn’t have to rhyme; brevity is all.

Pound’s “make it new,” (1934) a stupid phrase, but one, nonetheless, that became famous, is a mere 9 letters in length, and is beaten out only by the famous, “Odi et amo,” (I hate and love) by Catullus, which is only 8 letters.

Since life is short, a short poem can be successful for that very reason; think of the popular elegiac trope, ‘oh life is short! drink today!’ as symposium and mournfulness mingles.

The Romans brought satire and obscenity to the august Greek epigram, and the Roman poet Martial (40 AD) is known as the “original insult comic:”

Long poems can have unified strength,
But shit, your couplet, Cosconi, has too much length.

This critical spirit, alive to measurement and unity, lived in all eras of poetry, from Ancient to Romantic, until it died in the looseness of the modern era.

Shakespeare’s works are bursting with epigrams:

For as the sun is daily new and old,
So is my love still telling what is told.

One of our favorite epigrams is Pope’s

I am His Highness’ dog at Kew.
Pray tell me sir, whose dog are you?

And William Blake has many wonderful ones:

A truth that’s told with bad intent
Beats all the lies you can invent

The questioner, who sits so sly,
Shall never know how to reply

If the sun and moon should doubt,
They’d immediately go out

Some are born to sweet delight
Some are born to endless night

We are led to believe a lie,
When we see not thro’ the eye

One simply cannot imagine any of these coming from the pen of a Jorie Graham or a John Ashbery.

Coleridge called the epigram a “dwarfish whole.”  The idea of the “whole” seems to be what irks the loose and open moderns.

The early 20th century had its wits—Dorothy Parker, J.V. Cunningham, Ogden Nash—but as we move closer to our era, compressed wit and wisdom seems to have eluded our poets.

John Crowe Ransom, another early 20th century writer who attempted to be witty,  wrote:

In all the good Greek of Plato
I lack my roast beef and potato.

But like “Make it new” and Williams’ silly wheel barrow, this has no wit whatsoever: Plato was the most lifestyle-conscious, political science, ‘meat-and-potatoes’ philosopher ever, a superficial view of his ‘forms,’ notwithstanding.

Just give us, “Little strokes fell great oaks” by Benjamin Franklin.  And writing epigrams of an afternoon, we believe even Scarriet can do better:

Hart Crane was totally insane.

Robert Lowell was a broken bowl.

Sylvia Plath fell victim to wrath.

Delmore Schwartz never wore shorts.

Appearance is all, even in the depths.

Just enough hunger prevents insanity.

Beautiful women are wrong in love and right in everything else.

Boredom is the devil’s only weapon.

Feminism wants one thing: freedom from love.

A woman is pretty until she is loved; then she is beautiful.

A woman is ambitious in love; when she is loved, cautious.

A man is cautious until he is loved; then he’s ambitious.

A man is beautiful when loving; when he is loved, pretty.

We have two choices in life: sleep or poetry.

Death has this advantage: it is the only thing that’s not complex.

There are 3 types of poets: One puts emotion in poems, one leaves it out; the genius does both.

Parent to child, lover to beloved want to be friends—but cannot.

Music exists for one reason: to add body to poetry.

The right context is just a way of saying the wrong context is no context at all.

Public speaking is the art of joking while serious.

Good sex for couples is based on one thing: whether it is before or after dinner.

Desire hopes; love knows.

Love can cool desire as it increases it.

Friendship is love’s runway: smooth on takeoff, rough on landing.

Nature’s not right just because the ingredients on the box are wrong.

Nature wishes to create us and kill us: people tend to do this, too.

Why is life tragic?  Nature wants more, humanity, less.

The endless dilemma: guilty for caring too much, guilty for caring too little.

All successful endeavors—moral or not—have one thing in common: the future.

Literature is politics with the politics put tastefully out of sight.

The greatest error the mind makes is thinking truth is for it—and not the heart.

Betrayal wounds hearts, but sensation kills more.

Depth is all, even on surfaces.


She was young, but womanly, too,
He was quick, passionate—but true,
The ever-loving.

She was virginal, but brighter than sin.
He saw her window and looked within,
The ever-loving.

Theirs was immediate attraction.
Her breasts swelled; he took action,
The ever-loving.

Speech stopped is best for love.
Do not justify further adventures of
The ever-loving.


Before I go to India,
Before I go to France,
I wonder can I ask you if you and I can dance,
If maybe I can ask you to kiss me on the face,
Even though I haven’t been to any place.

Before I go to Russia,
Before I go to die,
I wonder for a moment if you and I can try
To simply be together, and touch hands, and dance,
Before I go to India,
Before I go to France.

Before I go to London
With its mists and its rain,
I wonder before I go, if I can pick your brain,
Is poetry simple?
Or diplomacy insane?

Before I go to London
To learn the language of Peru,
Is there anything here that I need to do,
Before princes and ambassadors tell me false from true?

Before I go to Mexico,
Before Hanoi’s rivers call,
Is there something you and I can do that’s meaningless and small,
A kiss on the lips, without worldliness at all?

Before I go to school
By holy rivers’ banks,
Shall I bend my knee here and give my country thanks?
Shall I gaze at the sky that’s always the same,
Before I board the ship and play the waiting game?

Before you learn your trade
Which lies about lies,
Will you scorn innocence and sever all your ties?
Or will you take my hand, and learn how to dance,
Before I go to India,
Before I go to France?


For every one who hurries,
There’s a million who are still,
Resting, without worries,
By a valley, or a hill.

For every one who hurries,
There’s a million sleeping by,
Beneath clouds slowly moving
In a slow and cloudy sky.

For every one who hurries
There’s a million who are free,
Under grass where rain is falling,
On a mountain, or with me.


Weeping Willow Tree nature scene surreal Ohio landscape sunrise photography silhouetted trees blush pink dawn fog 10 x 8 print

The cypress, that funereal tree,
Inspires the saddest poetry.
Even the willow does not belong
To its sad song.

I once saw a willow tree
Hiding a book of poetry,
Stooping down as if to know
How verses go.

The proud cypress is a tree
Which has no need for poetry—
Unless read in a low room
Which is our tomb.

Imagery of willow tree
Populates our poetry,
But the cypress finds us alone at night
Afraid to write.


All readers are gullible,
All conversationalists are bullies,
All athletes boring,
Movie buffs are all pretentious,
The responsible all preoccupied,
All artists distracted,
All writers sentimental,
The good, all dull,
Socialites, trivial.
Only the bad, who do nothing all day,
Are worthy to read this poem,
Are worthy to be my friend,
Are interesting to me.
They listen for awhile,
Then they burst out with something,
Something that makes me think.
That’s why I’m the lazy one’s friend,
Though it’s you I secretly admire,
You, I will love in the end.


On Wit and Judgment

Resemblance is the heart of wit.
Once in a while I am guilty of it—
I’ve made bad puns in my time,
Jokes, metaphors—instead of rhyme,
For no, it isn’t simile—
Metaphor isn’t poetry.
Judgment, which is more august,
Is the faculty I trust:
Judgment discerns differences:
And that’s what Good Taste is.
Resemblance, to some, is all.
My friend laughed at her downfall:
She can’t hear the word ‘stanza’
Without thinking of Tony Danza.


Do not read this to the end,
Glance fondly at what I send,
As if it were a picture in a book,
Or a polite, goodbye look.

You hate descriptions to go on;

With a frown  you say, “It doesn’t matter, it’s gone.”

You are not one for talk.
You like to sit, or go for a walk.
You are proud, in a moment offended
And when you’re hurt, it’s not easily mended.
I said something a week ago,
Innocent—but yes, I know, I know,
I shouldn’t have said it—
It might fix itself, but you won’t let it.

You are a poem that lasts a year,
But blurs up when I hold it near.
The whole of you is mysterious and vast;
I’m nostalgic for even a week that’s past,
A day, an hour, I look back
With ardor!  Take me! I’ll quickly pack.

But when I am packed, ready to go,
I notice I have moved too slow.
You are gone, unsentimental, fast,
In a future of your own, mocking what I loved in our past.

Lovers always under one roof
See each other and never need proof,
But lovers who are often away
Tell each other what they did that day.

But not you.  You would rather walk
Among roses than talk.

When you love, it is like a flower opening,
It is like when the shy and talented finally sing,
It is like sunrise, or night descending on her beautiful wing—
But the conditions have to be just right.
You are private and modest, like a church at night.

I stand beside you now, my heart beating fast,
Waiting for you, mysterious!  Oh mysterious!  and vast!


That you want to spend the day in Dolphy
With your head covered up so that no one can see,
And Dolphy, too, doesn’t mind.
Dolphy, too, wants everyone blind.
Dolphy’s hills are warm and blue and kind.
You and Dolphy the only ones seeing,
No one else knowing whether you’re sleeping or peeing,
Hidden from all, just you two.
You are the one kissing but Dolphy is also you,
This is how your love for Dolphy goes
When she’s kissing you not wearing clothes,
Better the day, or the only day, this day,
Everything else background to Dolphy,
No guidebooks, no story, no film of Dolphy,
No painting of Dolphy, invisible Dolphy,
Dolphy only beautiful loving Dolphy, Dolphy’s love
The little stream, the life, the dream soaring above,
Just real enough you know the hand is yours and Dolphy’s
Where the seeds and the ice are served
In Dolphy’s kitchen by the sea.


No one is going to lie to me.
Everyone lies to you.
All of my poems are perfect.
None of your poems are perfect.
I will not grow old and die.
You will grow old and die.
Nature will not be indifferent to me.
Nature is totally indifferent to you.
Art, philosophy, and learning will set me free.
Art, philosophy and learning will enslave you.
I will accept imperfection and be happy.
Imperfection accepted is the measure of misery.
I will work for the best and satisfy myself by that.
The worst always finds the best and makes it its host.
All who really know me will love me.
No, they will hate you or pity you.
I don’t want anyone’s pity.
You are going to get it.
But you are different; you will tell me a good thing.
I am not different; I am like all the rest.
Where is my comfort, my dignity, my truth?
Where is our comfort, our dignity, our truth?


File:Batoni Diana and Cupid.jpg

Kiss me on my foot,
I’ve walked so many miles.
Kiss me on my lips.
I’ve forced so many smiles.
Kiss me on my belly.
I have no baby there.
I want to be yours like in a poem by Shelley.
I want to care.
Kiss me on my face,
Between my mouth and nose,
A soft, whispering kiss;
I want one of those.
Kiss me on my hands.
They will not care if you do.
They work all the time,
And vacations are few.
Kiss me on my thoughts.
I have a million thoughts,
More thoughts than you have kisses.
I thought when the love god shoots his shaft
Sometimes he misses.


This poem is and isn’t
Like one who isn’t present.

Like a love that is and isn’t,
But is passionate and pleasant,

Like a sky that holds the light,
But darkens slowly into night
For the sake of a farther light.

She never knows it isn’t,
He never knows it is,
As shadows drown the shy
So the shy might shyly kiss.



Floods have taken my grave,
I get no rest.
A poem is parked
In my heart which beats in my breast.
I get no rest.

East wind and chilly rain.
I get no rest.
A poem promised
Sun, said to bloom golden in the west.
I get no rest.

Sadness keeps me awake,
I get no rest.
A poem played
A sweet tune, but the poet was an engineer, the poem only a test.
I get no rest.

She keeps me awake.
I get no rest.
Her poem sang
Love in the beginning, but she hasn’t written the rest.
I get no rest.

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