WHEN YOU TRAVELED

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When you traveled, as people often must,
Far away, leaving the excitable for a quieter dust,
I hope you know that I loved you.

When you traveled, as people often will,
To the other world, where night is still,
I hope you know that I loved you.

When you traveled, so trouble feels like a dream,
And I saw that picture, of you smiling by the stream,
I hope you know that I loved you.

When you traveled, and every death needs a lane,
And you were curled up sadly, on the plane,
I hope you know that I loved you.

When you traveled, and from the dawn
Of the different world, you saw it coming on,
I hope you know that I loved you.

 

 

 

THE LOVE INDUSTRY

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Like Edgar Poe’s unparticled particle, the vibrating ether which is the material/spiritual whole of existence, pervading all and containing all, matter compressed and spread thin to a radical degree simultaneously, so it is material for a moment and then not—and this is how moments exist, measured and recorded by the finest measuring devices, but not really existing at all as moments—like our universe and like our existence, which is, and which is not, the love industry is everywhere and nowhere. It has no product and is all products; it is invisible, yet everywhere seen; it has no clients, yet everyone is one; it has no advertising, and yet everything advertises it; it is completely off the radar, and yet is the radar; it is every thought, but has no thought at all.

I love someone and yet hate her; I hate her precisely because I love her to such a degree that expression and consummation of the love felt for her I instinctively know to be impossible; I think about her love in the same exact ratio as I tell no one about her, and this love is real—it belongs to circumstances and things which happened, and these occurances completely dictate what and how the love can be told and explained, and so it cannot ever be adequately told and explained, because those circumstances are gone and in the past, and are too strange and particular to explain. And these events, these circumstances, and the feelings and thoughts which accompany them, are so complex and strange, but at the same time, so plain and banal and routine, they continue to haunt and remind me of her for these reasons: the banality of the love makes it strange, the strangeness of the love makes it banal, and for this reason it resides, and cannot be banished from the mind, and only this love occupies this high place in the mind, only this love dominates, and is, but cannot be expressed or understood at all.

The love industry has no sales or tokens; every message that might be sent is not.

If I were to send a card to her on her birthday, nothing could be written on the card without it seeming hostile and inappropriate, even though the card were sent with the simplest motive of admiration and tenderness and love. The gesture would immediately be devoured by questions and guesses of ‘what does this really mean?’

If only the air were clean again.

If only the past could be scrubbed and we could start anew.

If only the love industry were not everywhere.

Then there would be somewhere she and I could go.

 

 

WHAT I FOUND IN THE VOID

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What I found in the void
Was not mystical, but plain,
As when you look up at the sky
And wonder if it will rain.
Or you may wonder when you will die,
But nothing up there will tell you,
No matter how cloudy the sky.

Symbols may populate your brain,
But what I found in the void
Was simple, and far more plain:
A cloudy shape just a cloudy shape—
Not a myth depicting war, or whatever the main
Reason is for love, metamorphosis, rape,
Sorrow, paranoia, pictures, pain.

What I found in the void
Was my poetry and beauty,
But not of the spectacular kind,
Not something yammering in my mind,
Just something mildly pretty
Is all I found in the void—
And then I came back to you:
Your purse, your appointments, annoyed.

A RELIGIOUS TRACT

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“Melody is the essence of music” –Mozart

There is the thing. All that is, all that was, all that will be. It is what we are in, what we learn and observe, what affects us, what was here before us. It was here before us, and is responsible for us, and we can detect vaguely, or somewhat exactly, by selecting incidents from the past, how we came to be—how it were impossible that we could not have come to be. And this is what is. This is the thing. It is me, and all that I am is because the thing did exist and does exist. There is the thing.

The thing is the good. If I am honest with myself I acknowledge this is the good, because my being, my body, my senses, my ability to feel and think, to love good and want the good—all this is not through my ability to manipulate, or alter—but is what was given to me, actual and intact—this is the thing.

Then there is what limits the thing. It is what humans do in their present life as they seek to alter and manipulate and change and contemplate the thing. And because of the absolute value in its given totality, the thing is not altered, changed, manipulated or contemplated except as it is limited by what is not the thing.

To know which is which. Which is the thing and which is a limitation of the thing. This is the true religion and the true philosophy and the true knowledge and the true art and the true love—the understanding of what is the thing and what is that which limits the thing.

To pretend, or to calculate, or to think, or to act, or to believe, at any moment, that the thing is a part, or a part of a part, and not an absolute whole, is to live not in the thing, but in a limitation of the thing. And because the thing is the whole thing, limiting the thing is always available to us, and a common thing to do. But it is not the thing, and limiting the thing is never the thing.

To choose is not to limit the thing, because choice is the thing. You exist because a choice was made by the thing to include you. Therefore choices qua choices do not limit the thing. A choice may be made to limit the thing, but a choice in itself never limits the thing, because the thing contains in itself certain choices. The thing exists uniquely, and is not amorphous; it is the thing, but the thing is not an abstract oneness—otherwise you would not exist as a unique product and you would not be part of the the thing.

But to purposely limit the thing is a common pursuit, a very common pursuit, (it defines most people) and its attempt to defy the thing is an act against the thing.

Much of what passes as human activity is the pursuit of limitation.

The thing cannot be limited, but since the thing is unique and includes you—and you are unique—the thing is not immune to a radical attempt to limit it, and this attempt is how many radical humans define themselves.

Why did the ancients separate poetry from truth, calling them radically different? Because they knew the thing was the truth, and there is no way to assault its unity as the radically creating thing of all that is given, and further gives, and needs no alteration—and is the thing, for that reason. The thing comprises all that was and is. It is that which science seeks to understand: the stars and their position in space, the planets and moons, and how the orbs and stars move, the origin, and material substance, of the universe of stars, the non-continuous (counting) mathematics and the continuous (geometry) mathematics, the biology of breeding, survival, and the pleasure, including human laws and government, of the whole. This is the thing, the “best of all possible worlds,” the science of the this, but not that.

The beautiful music is the thing. The “wrong note” is the thing temporarily paused, the limitation of the song because the song is paused (but continues to exist and will always exist).

Limitation is error and chance, and poetry (speech which can never be “wrong”) belongs to error and chance—in as much as it is poetry, for the thing cannot be poetry; poetry is the alteration of the thing, not the thing, even if it worship the thing and seeks to improve it, for obviously the subject of a poem is not the poem. The poem—poetry—is, by definition, not the thing. Poetry belongs to the category of what limits the thing.

And yet great poetry, in its choices, may come close to the spirit of the thing.

The thing can only be changed by limitation, and limitation is done by what is not the thing. The thing is, by definition, not limitation, but the thing.

Poetry limits the thing, and all radical human activity, like poetry, is limitation.

Abortion is limitation. Consciousness of race is limitation. Crime is limitation. Poetry, the vast majority of poetry, is limitation. Harsh laughter is limitation. At times, limitation is mistaken for the understanding of the thing itself—and when this happens, humankind is particularly prone to confusion and suffering.

What is the thing? It is that which was, and is, and will be, and cannot be limited, and which builds for its children towering cities beside beaches and forests, with sighing flowers, stretching, forwards, backwards, sideways, upwards and below, into the trembling, blue vastness of twinkling eternity.

 

 

 

 

I SANG FOR ONE LOVE—A SONG OF ORPHEUS

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I sang for one love—just one love—alone,

Though many loved me—as was their right to do.

But they crushed my head beneath a stone

And drank my blood, because I loved only you.

They loved my music, but when it was known,

That you, Eurydice, were the one to whom I sang,

Though you sleep eternally beneath the world’s moan,

The death of my limbs in the night woods rang.

It was after I lost you, in that backward glance,

And all unkempt, singing nightly my musical moan,

That the jealous killed me.  I had no chance.

Jealousy is love, Eurydice. But Eurydice, I love you alone.

POEM INSPIRED BY TWO OR THREE BEN FRANKLIN EPIGRAMS

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“A penny, etc” –Ben Franklin

The best way to tell a lie is not to tell one.
But if an emergency makes you lie, tell half a truth.
Here’s the truth: I love you. And once that truth is in,
This is the best I can ever do for proof:
Truth’s other half will be you, in my arms,
And that truth will end all lies and alarms.

Our memory is often wrong.
We don’t remember the beginning of the song,
And yet if the song weary us, we are sure
We don’t want to hear that song anymore.
So end the song, which pleased in the beginning,
A beautiful song for love that harmonized with sinning—
And there’s many more songs to hear.
Love is like music, I fear.

You cannot convince another to like your song.
Your lover will tire of you, before long,
Whether or not she remembers, how you held her, once, in your arms,
You held her! And love ended lies and alarms.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AT LEAST I AM ONLY ONE

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At least I am only one, and feel only an individual’s pain.

Once I was God, and felt everyone’s loneliness and sorrow.

Please don’t do that to me again.

My pain’s enough, and my pain might even make me happy tomorrow.

What I suffer now may fall somewhat away,

And by that lessening of sorrow,

Make me glad now, next to yesterday.

She broke my heart, but that was years ago,

And yes, I still love her, and dwell on the past.

But the past swims away and takes with it that pain

When I was a god of sorrow,

Because I loved her again and again,

And she took my whole tomorrow.

Now, if I happen to see her in pain,

I, in what might be called revenge, count that as my gain.

I’m happier than God—whose sorrow is everyone’s sorrow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

FROM IRAN: 7 POEMS BY HESSAMEDIN SHEIKHI (B. 1990) TRANSLATED BY SHERRY(SHOHREH) LAICI

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Hessamedin Sheikhi, journalist and poet, Iran. Trans. Sherry (Shohreh) Laici

***

I could write about the citrus,

the smell of lemon,

the bitter taste of pomegranate,

but I would like to write about rare words,

such as you.

*

The farms are burning!

They grew tall, magnificent wheat

Which wasn’t feeding the children.

*

Time brings slow ruin,

But this lonely ruin

Is me—ruined by war in a day.

*

I’m grandfather’s watch—since he died, sitting alone

Since you left.

*

Do you look fondly upon this leaf?

Finally, finally, I am changed!

*

Life is nothing but the profit

From long term deposits.

Give me your hands.

*

If we could hear

Soldiers reading out loud letters

Sent by those who love them,

War would end.

 

 

 

 

 

PASS THE YAMS

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Where is poetry? In the Thanksgiving feast?
What is this that consumes, yet grows?
That takes away, yet more and more knows
All those wants, that want what they want the least,
Loving only the going, not what goes?

It has been decided that we will go outside,
Walk the grounds near the river and play with sticks,
Assemble outside, where hills and woods and bricks
Were long ago assembled, and old trails veer wide
Of tall grasses which hide the dangerous ticks.

We did some hiking and camping, true,
In places of historic value drawn on maps
Where the derby oversaw working class caps
And hanging out in the library I decided I really loved you,
Or knew it, by myself, in the Y, swimming laps.

But these are memories, and if I daydream,
And respond to you slowly, as our family members
Gather here to eat and then go to their separate slumbers,
I am, as you know, exactly as I seem,
In love with a muse, a mind—which is but a memory of hers.

WHAT BECAME OF YOU

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What became of you?
I tried to love you—
You were determined to go many miles without a man.
If I cannot hold you, then let me write you a poem when I can.
If I cannot kiss you, let me kiss you with poems instead,
Like that one, you told me, long ago, you read—
Which sings of things today you barely know,
Because of all that happened. Because you had to go.

DON’T FORGET TO TELL HER EYES

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Don’t forget to tell her eyes

You love her. She’s what sight buys.

Sight buys love with no return.

Knowing can learn, but unlearn;

Memory fades. But eyes burn

With the flame they look on,

And mutual flaming fire

Feeds fire, fed by desire

Living as both fuel and fire.

Love songs can tickle her ear,

Scents crawl in the middle of the night,

But in love, endearing fear

Is engendered by sight:

Her flaming eye burns

With fury, as she learns

You are not as good as she thought.

She intends to return what she bought,

But she cannot; dreaming, now she sees

The shadow sliding from your face by slow degrees.

 

THERE IS A BORDER

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“Cold pastoral” —Keats

Enticement is blind,

For enticement,

With its beautiful flame, does not

Count nearly as much as the reason—the goal that’s in the mind.

Do not ask why love belongs to birth, or that breeding

Is fed by the forbidden thrill pornography is feeding;

Fleshy enticement is not meant to offend;

It is enticement only, for a specific end.

You may not participate in lust

Unless you surrender your sanity to beauty and her madness,

Losing all sense of civility and safety and trust.

Look at these prisoners of love;

Can you detect a restlessness and sadness

As they are drawn to pictures and mirrors

Of continual winter: a whirl of candied, perfect flesh,

A lovely storm of pussies and nipples;

These prisoners of love, these cripples,

Know lusty wind isn’t warm; it’s cold; lust always new and fresh,

Forming the perfect model, the writhing statue

Of what they always wanted, and always, in secrecy, knew.

The border between pornography and art confuses you.

It no longer confuses me.

I found a cold, dark mountain pass to invade

Those couples sobbing in the shade,

Who look for love the most, and cry out loud for poetry.

 

 

 

 

I CALL UPON MY CHRISTIAN GOD

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I call upon my Christian God to protect me from this
Hindu lady. Her delicious kiss
Will make me forget
My God, and yet,
I see my God in her eyes,
And will martyr myself for her paradise.
The passion I will go through
For the God of gods I will willingly do,
As long as I am strong
And can worship long
The virtues and beauties of you.
What do I remember if your hand
Is my hand holding her hand?
And memory, in the eternal now,
Leads me on the path that is hers, anyhow?

SEX IS MUSIC

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Sex is music,
And a rhythm anyone can play,
A common theme as much as yesterday.
But music is not sex.
Give me those holy tones
Which melt above accidents and groans
And go inside the silver ear
As golden heaven lingers here
To please me in ways I cannot understand.
Sex is music, but now her hand
Is on the violin
Vibrating the receptors where sex has been,
And vibrating much more:
The loves whom the loves who love the most most implore.
I almost allowed you in my brain
With your beautiful confusion of evil and smile.
You confused me for a while.
Music is not sex.
No more will you perplex
The notes that swim in me
Which played about your ears when I wrote you poetry.

I’LL NAME EVERY LOVE HE HAS

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I’ll name every love he has:

Her eyes he loves to peer into—

Her eyes are one of his greatest loves,

Deep in those eyes he forgets all.

No one is wise

Who does not count, as one of his greatest loves, her eyes.

And down he looks into them because he is tall.

Her shoulders are great, great loves of his

And he can almost remember he went to divine love, from anxious care,

When he first saw those shoulders, bare,

And gently put his hands on them, prior to moving towards her for a kiss.

He loves her shoulders almost as much as he

Loves her eyes, and he loves to hold her shoulders tenderly.

Her waist is one of his greatest loves, and he loves

Her waist for where it is, and how it looks and feels, and how it moves.

There is no doubt her waist is one of his greatest loves.

He loves the way his kissing face around her waist moves,

A kissing orbit attached to the flesh, an orbit slow, slow, because it loves.

And when he loves her waist, he also loves her legs,

And feet, but I must stop—love that talks too much is love that begs,

And description waxes to death, and even breath that breathes, in love, must have a pause, as

Alive to love, craving love, a slave to love, I name every love he has.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TO THE WOMAN WHO READS ON THE TRAIN

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And most of the time she reads.

As if someone broke her heart and she fled into a book

And she no longer needs

His love. Or the laughter love engenders. Look!

Love could be here, but books

Say love is absent. Looks

Lovers send are missing on page

After page, where writers journey, age after age,

Losing their imaginary loves. I can name

The most famous: Beatrice. Dante brought Beatrice fame

Because to her memory he imaginatively wrote

All the beauty we might hear in a musical note,

Sighing to us before it melts away

In one of those old songs a scratchy LP might play

When an old record player, with a needle still sharp,

Hums into action, and produces the sound of the trembling harp.

The mechanical conditions for music must be just right.

A lovely woman who madly reads is considered the perfect gem.

Look at the guys trying to see what book she’s reading but she doesn’t see them.

A person will remove their glasses before they retire at night,

But I think she keeps her glasses on, and there, by the lamp, in bed, she reads,

And she’s missing someone, someone who once read aloud to her—whom she hardly needs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MY POETRY CAN ACHIEVE

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My poetry can achieve,

Just with the way it makes the reader breathe,

A simulated feeling of love, I believe.

The same way the eye

Engenders love if it happens to spy

A Michelangelo die

In the shuffling distance of a further room,

When, descending great marble stairs,

One glances back, and, between three figures, sees

A woman, with marble thighs, on her knees,

The solidity of the female form fending off the abstract tease,

As something real is ruthlessly pictured,

As though, for all its closing gloom,

The appalling darkness permeating the museum room,

Were a friend, because it keeps

From too much contemplation those aesthetic leaps

The artist suffered, and you now look

Superficially—a shortcut to all the depth you might find in a book—

Towards reality, and all it makes you believe

Of life. And as you read this, for a moment, you don’t breathe.

There. Did that feel like love? Or was this merely a fancy trick

Of a poem’s ghostly rhetoric?

Yes, it was a trick. And love requires a true object. Darling, it requires you.

But there weren’t many poets in the museum. And true poets are few.

 

 

 

 

 

I HAD BEEN WANTING

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The cold mathematics of moving bodies in space
Is impressive; moon, sun, stars, the giant sky
Is reality, and almost comforts us, and many, about to die,
Pushed down by death in this sad, familiar place,
Will find the vast nothing of outer space belongs to their goodbye,
The moon, the one we loved, the moon to whom we cry.

Or will it be you, more than any other memory,
You, more than any other being
I will ache for beyond all ceremony,
Beyond chance, you, the one I would rather be seeing?

I had been wanting to get closer to you for quite some time.
There is no doubt, since my birth, I was destined to rhyme,
And here I am. Rhyming.
I was born on the other side of the earth from you.
This is difficult to see, even from outer space, where black leaves behind the blue.
We met when vast distances fell away, and of course there was a miracle of timing.

We met on a train. You laughed. I looked into your eyes.
Then other things happened. Beneath the skies.

 

LEONARD COHEN WONDERS: DID THEY DO SUZANNE ON SNL?

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KELLYANNE (First woman to run a winning presidential campaign)

 

Kellyanne takes you down to a rally by the river.

You can hear the votes go by, you can spend the night forever

And you know that Trump’s half-crazy but that’s why you want to be there

And he feeds the crowd the truth about trade deals with China

And when you tell Hillary you have no vote to give her

The echo chamber media gets you on its wavelength

And lets sexism answer you’ve always been her lover.

 

And you want to travel with her and not seem too unkind

And you know that she will trust you

For you’ve touched her perfect electorate with your mind

 

And Trump was not a lawyer when he walked upon the water,

Planning from a lonely office of Trump tower

And when he knew for certain only drowning men could see him

He said Americans will be builders, as trade deals will free them

And Hillary was broken long before Wikileaks would open

And the truth about the Saudis sank beneath your wisdom like a stone.

 

And you want to travel with them

And you know that they will trust you

For you’ve touched the New World Order with your mind.

 

Now Kellyanne takes your vote as she leads you to the rally.

She’s wearing scarves and feathers from Saks Fifth Avenue counters

And the votes pour down like honey on the candidate, the builder

And she shows you where to look away from CBS towers

There are heroes who are builders, there are children in the morning.

They are leaning out for love and they will lean that way forever

While Hillary holds the mirror

 

And you want to travel with her and not seem too unkind

And you know that she will trust you

For you’ve left the perfect protest in your mind

 

 

POLITICS OR LOVE

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Are they so different, politics and love?

Money and friends in nice houses and revenge.

Don’t they both make you cry when it’s done?

Both are about saying what you need to say in just the right way.

But they are different in one important way.

One will never do it, and one will always do it, for pay.

When money springs like a tiger, and the seducer is merely warm,

War and suffering funds the political gain,

But love will always steal the show. And doesn’t need protection from the reign.

 

 

MIRACLE

 

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There is something I meant to tell you
When I was singing my song.
There was something I meant to tell you
When I loved you—
But now, what good will it do?
Yesterday the night seemed particularly long.
There is something about time
Which is always wrong.
I would like to be in the same place,
And look upon you with the same face,
With the same love we had!
But time makes it impossible.
The impossible is wrong. The impossible is sad.

I READ THE NEWS TODAY OH BOY.

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The top ten reasons Trump defeated Hillary Clinton for the U.S. Presidency:

10. The Rising Cost of Obamacare

9. Hillary Is A Crook, Gets Away With It, And No One In Washington Cares

8. Hillary Failed To Articulate, In Person, What She Was Going To Do When Elected

7. White Guys Are Tired Of Being Called Racists And People In General Are Sick Of Anti-People Identity Politics

6. Hillary’s Entire Message Was: “Trump’s Gross, Vote For Me.”  Really? With Your Marriage? And Your Corruption?

5. Town Versus Gown.  Liberal Arts Colleges Produce Pointy-Headed Liberals—And Little Else.  The Real World Bit Hillary

4. Taxes, Regulations, and Trade.  Trump Offered Hope For A Sluggish U.S. Economy With A Staggering Debt (Rust Belt, Especially)

3. Hillary’s Open Border/Globalist/Destruction Of The Middle East/Pro-ISIS/Pro-NATO/Make Russia The “Aggressor”/Policy.

2. Some Read Wikileaks, Got Outside the Liberal Echo Chamber, And Lost Trust In The Mainstream, Corporate Media

1. Hollywood Is Boring And SNL Isn’t Funny

THE VOTE FOR NOTHING

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“In Fum-Fudge great is a Lion with a proboscis, but greater by far is a Lion with no proboscis at all.” Lionizing, Edgar Poe

There is a vote for nothing.

We can desire nothing. We can think of nothing. We can move towards nothing.

We can choose nothing.

It is a very pleasant thing.  I think I will do nothing today.

We love and need and want nothing, like nothing else.

When love speaks to us—and what is more desired than love?—it whispers “sweet nothings.”

When we are in pain, we always feel something: whatever is hurting us, we feel.

The opposite of pain is simply to feel—nothing.

To feel nothing is bliss.

When we are truly comfortable with a friend, we can be at ease with them—doing nothing. That’s the test of friendship.

In friendship, in love, we find it meaningful and reassuring and pleasant to be next to someone we care about, doing absolutely nothing.

Nothing is the elixir of those voting for Hillary.

Voters for Trump want lower taxes and less regulations to stimulate business and grow the economy and create jobs and wealth.  They want borders against illegal immigrants for the safety and success of all Americans. Things like that. Agree with it, or not, to vote for Trump is to vote for something.

Likewise, with Jill Stein.  One votes for her to help protect the environment.

The libertarian candidate, Gary Johnson.  We know what that means. You are voting for the philosophy of less government and more individual freedom regarding issues that don’t harm others.

Ah, but none of these votes reach the profound bliss of nothing.

These voting choices preach good, but good with conditions: goods which are good, but which must be worked for.

But a vote for Hillary.

What is a vote for Hillary?

It is a vote for nothing.

Many people are voting for Hillary just… because… she is… a woman.

Just as strong friendships exist when two friends can hang out together doing nothing, so it is with the unconditional love of one woman for another.

You are a woman.  She is a woman. That’s it. That’s enough. It is nice just knowing there is another one similar to you in your presence. And of course this can work with any group with which you identify.

Just wanna be with my peeps. Nothing more.

It is the utterly simple companionship based on nothing—just two people occupying the same space together, in the simplest kind of empathy.  Nothing else is required.  Nothing.

What did Hillary do when she was a senator?  Everyone agrees.  Nothing.

In any manner that can be measured, in terms of speech, or policy, or legislation—what has she contributed?  Nothing.

What is her legacy?  Nothing.

Hillary is most famous for the nothing of erased emails, the nothing of vanished documents, the nothing of unnamed villains conspiring to make it seem she has done something wrong.

In Hillary’s case, we look in vain for something.  Does she have a personality?  Is there anything, when we look at her?

No. There is nothing.

A vote for Hillary says: let the future be the same as the present.  No change, please.  Nothing.

It is her secret appeal, if she has one.  No, there isn’t any appeal.

But of course, it is a greater appeal than any other.

The appeal of, and for, nothing.

And to argue with the Hillary Clinton status quo of blissful, unthinking nothing?  Is there anything we can say?

No. There is nothing.

We argue for—something—in vain.

 

 

 

 

THE POLITICS OF THE PIGEON

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The politics of the pigeon is to sit on a roof

Or land, or fly together into the shadows

With its locally formed flock.

Meanwhile, a mathematician seeks a proof

Fanatically. The business deal bores me.

Work began on the deal exactly at eight o’clock.

Wake up, shower, dress, train, phone and bus.

Love requires a certain local discussion of us.

But a mathematician will seek a proof in solitude for years.

Too bored by business, I was penalized.

I was bored. You can’t imagine. That’s the secret of all my tears.

 

 

KISS THE GOOD LIFE GOODBYE

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She loved him, and it was sweet how she did.

Her husband was her father. He treated her like a kid.

She needed equal love

And he gladly complied.

He loved her. She was beautiful. But her love for him died.

He wouldn’t give up the good life, he

Had children and wrote beautiful poetry.

All she had was his love, but it changed to hate

Because he had the good life, and wouldn’t make her the one. He wanted her to wait.

He loved her, but he came to be seen

As the lover who was always in between.

He found her in parts, in a poem or a kiss.

She decided to be the one. He always would miss.

 

 

THERE IS A THIRD

Image result for sacred and profane love in painting

O love, there is a third—

Between hate and love,

And it’s real, though it has no word.

It’s how I feel towards you.

And this, stronger than the other two,

Consumes me with merciful fury;

It makes me cunning and willing to wait,

A cunning child of love and hate!

It means no harm, but the harm done

Makes me pause, and makes me worry,

Makes me swim, and makes me run.

It wants no love—but the love it had

Makes it artistic and longing and sad.

It wants the future, but hates to hurry.

It can’t be master; it can’t be slave:

The former was too meek, the latter, too brave;

Fallen is the tower; buried is the cave.

It looks like you and it looks like me,

It has beautiful lips. And reads poetry.

It is not love. It is not hate.

It is love in a drama of love. Love in a lovely, sweet debate.

Some call it revenge, but it’s not really that.

The hate is a mouse. The love is a cat.

It was happy. And now its happiness is sorrow.

It has its hates, my love. But will love you, tomorrow.

 

WHEN YOU THOUGHT I HAD INSULTED

Image result for weak man, strong woman, in painting

When you thought I had insulted—
As joyfully, just to you, madly in love, I exulted—
There was no hope for me.
A woman’s love is chiefly about her dignity.
A woman feels she needs to be treated with respect.
The weak—of course!—is what the strong is obligated to protect.
Ancient doctrine says the male is strong,
But today that doctrine is completely wrong.
The woman—that’s you—is strong,
And the man—that’s me—is weak.
You insulted me.
You thought, and felt, but failed to speak.
I was in love.
The ancient God was now two.
I was weak, very weak.
Far more than you knew.

YOU’LL DO WHAT YOU NEED TO DO

Image result for looking confused in painting

You’ll do what you need to do,

As the possibility of happiness presents itself to you.

And what can you do about the possibility?

Nothing. Don’t think about asking me.

I have no idea. I’m just writing poetry.

The only thing I’ve got is making this poem end.

That’s what I’m doing, that’s where I’m going,

Hoping happiness is around the bend.

Happiness is never here. Or if it’s here, it’s flowing,

And everything is possible, and happiness always deferred,

And that’s why I’m moving to the next line, looking for the next word,

Which will change what I said before,

So it’s more confusing and unstable than I can say.

The poem arrives. Love arrives.  And then they go away.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SONG FOR THE QUEEN

Image result for paradise in painting

I’m a Yankee Doodle Dandy.

And a deplorable. I’ve said things

Which a heavenly choir never sings.

When I’m calm and listening to Clair de Lune,

And the peace of the world sends mist around the moon,

You can see I am a peaceful member of the human race,

As here I sigh, and forget yours and my disgrace.

With the bad economy closing in,

We still consider the little things: the difference between a smile and a grin,

The difference between mania, jealousy and love, which now

Creates voids, and causes me to turn away from what you might allow

Me to do when you are in a good mood,

As you shoo me away for the sake of how it looks

To them, on the correct side, reading the right books,

A rhetoric memorized

For comfort, and their idea of paradise.

I’M SORRY I TRIED TO MAKE EVERYONE LOVE ME

Image result for a woman turning away in laughter in painting

I’m sorry I tried to make everyone love me.

I should have been thinking of you:

Your eyes which hold the universe,

Infinity in your mouth, too.

You, in a bad mood, lying on your bed,

Was the landscape I should have explored.

You didn’t speak. I should have seen your silence was wisdom.

It wasn’t because you were bored.

Your secrets were important, so important to you,

I should have loved everyone who knew those secrets, too,

And rebuked myself for wanting to know

What they were. I should have realized a lover, to you, was not a friend, but a foe.

It should have been clear to me it was your loving that was silent, silent, in the void.

That’s why you didn’t text me. I thought you were annoyed.

I should have seen all your actions

Were for everyone, not just for me,

And the biggest mistake of my life was writing you poetry.

 

 

 

 

 

THE MORE HE LOVED, THE MORE HE WAS HATED

Image result for the seducer in a cape in renaissance painting

First, he was the delicate man who read poetry: “everyone must be good!”

They heard him at the festival. Everyone understood.

But eventually it became apparent he was completely naïve.

To prevent a backlash, he asked the only one he really loved to leave.

Then, the seducer at Tyre, in the cape his mother washed

During the financial panic when the revolution was squashed.

After that, a composer, whose unsteady inventions, morose, yet sublime,

Filled the stadiums with those who worshiped a philosophy of stadiums on time.

They had to be on time. They had to meet the conditions,

To attend his concert, and hear his exaggerated renditions.

They had to sit close enough, as a live audience, to hear

His body. He played with confidence. He had absolutely no fear.

He didn’t miss a beat, but, what they couldn’t tell,

Was increasingly in the afternoons, he began to drink and yell.

His third wife got to him and told him he was no good,

And convinced him that all his glory was luck, and had nothing to do with his will,

That everything simply is, and nothing is possible.

Nothing, she convinced him, improves,

And he believed her. It was the end of his life. And his loves.

 

THE DEMON HAS SPILLED THE WINE: HALLOWEEN POEM

Image result for walled garden in painting

The demon has spilled the wine

In the young girl’s dream.

Blood, the passionate drink,

Has been thrown on the garden, stalled,

And finance took you up in its invisible arms,

So you would be invisible.

I am out of my league, trying to write on this.

I know poems. A tasteful illumination of an eager kiss.

What do I know of children, and their dreams?

Demon rhetoric, and its schemes?

And all I know of blood

Is the horror when it comes in a flood.

And I have seen gardens, walled,

And felt regrets. I should have called.

My girlfriend was a nice introvert. I should have let myself in,

When outside, finance was cavorting with sin.

 

 

IF I COULD TELL YOU SECRETLY I LOVE YOU MADLY

Image result for secret lovers underneath the moon in renaissance painting

If I could tell you, secretly, I love you madly,

Would you accept me gladly?

Because there is no other way but secretly

I can hold you close to me

And tell you what I want to tell:

The secret, heaven; the reason for the secrecy, hell,

The heaven, a love that’s happy, for no one’s ears but ours;

A whispered love that’s whispered, beneath the lovely stars,

A love with no announcement, a love without a view;

A love with me secretly slipping, like poetry, into you.

A love behind a railing, and the moonlight sliding

Along the railing, sliding and sailing and gliding

On the lake, the moonlight’s silver poison coloring a brook,

And everything falling, a secret, leafy, candlelight of a nook

Catching us, who never a love like this forsook.

Look for my sign; I will make it only for you.

The sign: T Expect it in the plainest of places.

Keep your beautiful eyes out for my clue,

You, my moon, fairest of all the faces.

 

 

 

WHEN THE FIRST COLD OCTOBER WINDS

Image result for pulling a living body from the grave in painting

When the first, cold, October winds
Blow umbrellas apart,
And leaves fall, and my miserable heart,
Becomes more miserable, as it finds
Broken avenues filled with rain,
Ushering in winter’s promise of still more pain,
I want to hibernate. I tell my friends:
Bury me, until April rises in the valley where winter ends,
Kissing delicately with dreaming rains the cool flower beds.
Now, you could wake me for Thanksgiving’s feast,
Or Christmas eve, or Christmas day, at least,
When holy morning in darkness slowly spreads.
But no. The whole, dark, season let me sleep.
Unless you hear from her. Then drag me from the worms that creep.

 

JEALOUSY

Image result for lord byron sad in painting

Jealousy is my Achilles heel.
And you have brought me low since you found out how I feel.

The greater the man, the more jealous they are.
Jealousy connects the earth to the gleaming star.

If you admire someone inferior to me
The ratio of my pain is my superiority.

And this is the cross that I must hold:
To see you love bronze, when I am gold.

Now here is the prophecy, and the great soul’s curse,
To sink below the bad, to be even worse.

So, if you cannot love great poetry.
Go love a dog.  Leave me.

 

 

AESTHETIC DREAM

Image result for autumn leaves on the ground at night

There is no in between:

You are a misanthrope,

Pleased by life’s aesthetic dream,

Or, you put your hope

In vehicles, lots of talk, a favorite team.

Who I am, I have no doubt.

Yesterday evening, as I walked about,

I felt paradise in the misty, quiet, warm, autumnal air,

Loved the solemn way the small, red and yellow leaves blew around,

And cursed people, laughed at them, and didn’t care

If perhaps they heard me; cursed some creep’s motorcycle sound

That broke feverishly loud against the night,

As people in bad taste outfits walked around,

Poorly shaped, chattering, ugly, oblivious to my plight:

Why can’t I find a sensitive soul like me?

A deep, beautiful soul to love? Without fanfare? With a song, or tea?

Ah! The million things we have to do to make things right!

Breath for the sick, poems of love, sleep that continues in the long, long night.

 

 

 

 

THE BEST SONGS INVOKE THE MOON

Image result for moonlight in renaissance painting

The best songs invoke the moon:

Moonlight Sonata. Clair de Lune.

The best poems? Ode to a Nightingale.

The Raven. A bird in the dark cannot fail.

See where the Skylark flies?

The best poems hide birds in their skies.

In the prison, the guilty has nothing to say.

“Prison is everything,” I heard a prosecutor say.

Around my moon the mist is singing

To memory, and memory, to the fleeing world,

Brings the only thing worth bringing:

Memory. Before the world runs away.

“Memory is everything,” I heard a songwriter say.

 

SEXUAL ELEGANCE

Image result for swinging london

Let us take our jackets off and dance,

In a video, which portrays sexual elegance.

You can almost smell the perfume, but no.

Perfumes of every kind will have to go.

Music is the master. The wan arpeggio.

The dancers are but half aware

There is a camera there.

They do not laugh. They half-smile.

And, then, oh, perhaps, they do laugh, after a while.

The tempo of the piece is not too slow.

The eye of the audience should not linger long

On breasts thrusting out, or the moving parts below;

The key to elegance is a skimming, and an ease

Of viewing. Show what must be shown. Don’t tease

The viewer with too much covering up of flesh

That wants to get out, but is hidden.

Show a flash of breast, or two. Don’t make things too forbidden,

Because elegance is neither stuffy nor risqué.

It whispers regrets. And, then, kisses them quietly away.

 

 

 

 

HOW BEAUTIFUL YOU ARE

image

How beautiful you are

Beneath this beautiful star,

Beneath this fateful sky,

Which turned, and made you cry.

Priestess! how well you listen!

Beneath these stars, which glisten,

In the valley of the sky,

Which changed, and almost made you die.

I loved this world—but loved you too late.

How well I focus now

On you.  I wonder. I wonder how

Your fate is my fate.

It is too dark not to see.

You fly directly down

To love me—with a frown.

 

ZOMBIES

Image result for penny lane fireman with an hourglass

In the third debate, Hillary Clinton promised she would not increase America’s national debt by “one penny.”

Under Obama, the national debt increased from 10 to 20 trillion dollars.

Hillary has promised not to raise taxes on the middle class.

Where’s her tax revenue coming from, then, to pay down the debt?

We know she’s in with Wall Street, so she certainly won’t add taxes to the rich.  She won’t bite the hand that feeds her.  That’s not her style.  She certainly never bit the husband who fed her.

With America’s growth rate currently at 1%, there is no way the debt does not go up astronomically under Hillary.

So her claim that she will not increase the national debt by “one penny” is a complete lie.   Fact-check, please!

So what is she going to do?  She will “invest” in “jobs…” or something.  She says she will invest in women and green jobs (though Stein and Bernie supporters doubt this) and even so, this has little to do with the hard economics upon which everything else rests. Hillary will spend a lot, and continue the current U.S. policy of crushing and destabilizing the Middle East, and the debt will increase.

Maybe one question everyone should be asking: If the debt increases to 40 trillion, does it matter?

But no one talks about that.  Because that would involve thinking.  And Zombies don’t think.  “I-will-not-increase-the-debt-by-one-penny.”  That’s better. That’s how you talk to zombies.

The elimination of Glass/Steagall (which separated investment from retail banking) by Bill Clinton and the support by congressman Barney Frank (D) of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac led to the housing crash; yet somehow Hillary manages to blame the debt of 20 trillion on Bush, because he happens to be a Republican.  This is what the Democrat Zombies do: just the blame Republicans.  The zombie army will follow, to the ends of the earth.

Trump says he will cut taxes, and Hillary’s canned response is: you’re cutting taxes on the rich! This is what the Democrats always say, ever since Reagan cut taxes, and increased tax revenues.  Zombies go berserk when they hear this. A couple of sentences can explain why tax cuts are good: but the stupid Republicans, who are also zombies, stare into space, and let the retort, “you hate the poor, and love the rich!” go unanswered.

It’s not about Republicans and Democrats.

It’s about how vile and stupid the United States has become.

The Republicans should explain it this way: it’s not tax cuts for the rich; it’s tax cuts for job creation and growth.

If you have two modestly successful corporations taxed at 50%, this will bring in far less tax revenue than if you have 10 very successful corporations taxed at 25%.  Yet, for Democrats, strangling business in the cradle by over-taxing and over-regulating (enriching the lawyer class) is good.  Because it hurts “the rich.”  So the zombies march to the unemployment lines, happy, because at least the Democrats are punishing “the rich.”

My local ABC news affiliate, after the debate, had two “experts” weigh in, so that the zombies watching the telly could quickly grasp the significance of what they just viewed, and both the Democrat and the Republican talking heads said the same thing: “Hillary won the debate. Trump said stupid things. Hillary will win the election.”  Both of them.  Like zombies.  Especially bad for Trump—said the Democrat media zombie—was Trump’s statement that he wouldn’t accept the results of the election.  But as Trump said in a speech the next day, why should he agree to accept the results of the election when there is precedence for candidates having the right to question the election results: think Gore in 2000.  It’s done all the time. The media zombie was only talking like a—zombie.

Hillary has promised to not add “one penny” to the debt.  Yes, and maybe she won’t add any CO2 to the atmosphere, either.

The winner of this election will be the one who hides their creepiness the best.

Sex not only sells, it distracts. “Hey, hey LBJ, how many kids did you kill today?” shouted at a Democrat in 1967,  has been replaced, in 2016, by “Bill Clinton is a rapist!”

I think we should just sing ’60s songs.

“In Penny Lane there is a fireman with an hourglass. And in his pocket is a portrait of the Queen He likes to keep his fire engine clean. It’s a clean machine”

Image result for penny lane fireman with an hourglass

 

THERE HAS BEEN A LOT OF TALK

Image result for little girl praying in painting

There has been a lot of talk on equality and identity politics,
But what will always be true
Is no identity can possibly approach the presence of you.
The ego is bigger than anything.
You may like song if you don’t know how to sing,
But if singing is what you do,
No rival can ever sing better than you.
Ego is bigger than sympathy; no one is really sympathetic at all.
Go on. Be alone. Take, or do not, take this drink.
Every belief in equality will before the other, fall.
Describe your rape to your feminist friend: they secretly think,
“Was he cute? Didn’t you enjoy it at all?”
He fell in love with the love of his life but that lovely love was a fail:
I’ll pretend you raped me. And you will go to jail.
This is the horror we discover is true:
We face love alone. And this can’t matter to you.

WE HATE OURSELVES THE MOST

Image result for self hatred in painting

We hate ourselves the most,
And love others, in despair:
Who sing to our shadow as it lies on the ground:
There, our misshapen head, here, our ungainly hair,
A warped silhouette stretched across the earth,
Which has no ease, no past, no arc, no birth,
Ourselves, but not ourselves! We hate the sound
Of the voice we own, and the mirror that looks in our eyes,
And yet they love our face, and fill our face with sighs!

I hate myself the most,
And love you, in despair:
I need to love you, the more frequently
I doubt you, and you seem not to care;
I cannot love my voice, my fate, my ghost
Who knows myself that none can see:
Myself, hiding behind paint or poetry,
I cannot love my face, my voice, my eyes,
And yet you love my face, and fill my face with sighs.

If I stop hating myself,
I will not love you.
My love, you are smarter than love.
That’s why you hate me like you do.

BECAUSE PEOPLE JUST WON’T BE QUIET

quiet-car

When you and I were together, we rarely made a sound.

We didn’t like it when others were around.

We went into the quiet car and quietly held hands.

We knew touch goes beyond what thought understands.

Understanding dies every time a sound is made,

Unless it’s music, sinking into a darkening shade

Like this aching verse, sinking, so it almost makes us afraid,

So pleasant the visit and the touch

Of our hands, that we don’t notice the noises of the train that much.

When drunk and loud passengers annoy you,

You curse them excitedly and I ask you

To lower your voice so the drunks can’t hear.

They might hear, and though I laughed, it was a genuine fear

Because you were quietly mine, not meant to mingle or fight,

Especially trapped in a train car late at night.

My arm around you was quiet, and quiet my hand,

Which played with yours, and, when I kissed you,

That was quiet, too;

Good, therefore, in a way that was easy to understand.

We sank into kissing in the quiet car

Until my stop.  And then we remembered who we were.

No. We remembered who we were not.

We got off at different stations. Character. Plot.

We each went home to a different star.

But we won’t forget the quiet of the quiet car.

In the quiet car you have to be quiet, it is true,

But now, in the middle of the kissing, I have something to say to you.

 

 

 

I THOUGHT LOVE HAD TO DO (A SCARRIET SONNET)

Image result for shakespeare sonnets

I thought love had to do
With all the intricate things I found in you.
I thought love was the only time
You could be the single reason for my rhyme.
But now I find love is waiting by a door,
Saying the right thing, struggling. I don’t like it, anymore.
I thought the whole point of love was you,
The truth, looking into your eyes, mesmerizing, your eyes, mesmerizing and true.
I thought that love had to do
Nothing—but look like you,
Under me, entirely lying,
And under you, me, sighing and dying.
But if love has to be these other things,
I’ll still love you and for you my poetry sings.

I WANT THE WORLD TO KNOW

Image result for wedding in renaissance painting

I want the world to know

I love you. The world must know.

Knowing causes love, as love, to grow.

Love can be a secret appetite

And think itself love, but secrecy,

And all that crawls inside the night

Feeds delusion; no poetry is worth the name

Unless it bring the poet fame.

The unknown has only the unknown to blame,

The unknown is the greatest shame.

The death of the poet himself is bliss,

But the death of his poetry is hardly this.

His poems should be read and loved,

Not by springs and pools of the dove,

Where nightingales sing aloud, out of love,

But in the eyes and ears of men,

Who memorize poems, so they can be loved again.

If the world thinks you are wrong,

I’ll correct them with my song.

There are poets who celebrate drink,

And seem sensual and wise

As they write that soon tomorrow

Comes, ending happiness and sorrow,

So go ahead, and drink today,

And sacred love must hasten away.

But I will not drown myself in any set of eyes,

Loving this one at dusk, that one at sunrise;

Love is not a brief instant.

Love is not what we quickly want.

Wine can be a paradise,

But love that lasts is best; sensuality betrays

Tomorrow, and all the ways

We died in our yelping yesterdays,

Hoping for an arrow

To repel all sorrow.

The known is what we know;

And all that we have, we can have before we go,

In the understanding of the going.  Only then may we

Live in our poetry.

Girls who are socially needy

Circle around men, the lustful and greedy,

And find the hell of secrecy

And shame. When a girl is crying for help, trapped and alone,

Raped in the trivial unknown,

A secret shame which imitates death

A secret lust hides in the invisible breath

Forever. Of poetry never read. Secret life is truly dead.

After the shame, we know the truth: love is how much of love is known.

Marry in the sun. True love does not wish to be secret, or alone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BOBBY Z!

Image result for bob dylan

Robert Zimmerman, aka Bob Dylan, has won the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature.

The great critic, Christopher Ricks, is happy.

But many people are objecting to Dylan’s literature Nobel because Dylan “is a musician.”

Here is Ryu Spaeth in The New Republic:

My main problem with giving Dylan the Nobel, besides the memories it invokes of playing too much Super Smash Brothers in a dorm room that reeked of stale bong water, is that he is a musician. It’s a category error. Music is an entirely different mode of expression that uses tools that are unavailable to the writer. Like, is the ache on a song like “Girl From the North County” expressed by the lyrics or the harmonica, or some combination of the two? Music is melody and rhythm and harmony, and at its best writing can achieve only one of those characteristics (rhythm). There’s a reason you always hear that Walter Pater line: “All art constantly aspires towards the condition of music.” It’s because music exists in this other sphere where form and subject are identical, where the sound of a harmonica represents nothing more than the sound of a harmonica. How can any other art compete? Dylan adds words to that sound, but the sound is a bass line, so to speak, anchoring his art.

This is all to say that “Girl From the North County” is a song, not a poem, and that Bob Dylan is a musician, and that he shouldn’t be awarded a prize that is meant to be for writing.

Ryu Spaeth has either taken too many bong hits or played too many video games.

He links Dylan to Super Smash Brothers. Why?

He uses Pater’s idea, that all art aspires to music, and the idea that “the sound of a harmonica represents nothing more than the sound of a harmonica” to dismiss words which, as everyone knows, in a song, coincide with music. Does Spaeth actually believe that simply because pure music is pure, that words used in songs are not significant as words, as literature?  Why in the world would he think this?

Spaeth might as well say that poetry is not literature.

A song lyric absolutely is literature. Why is this even an argument?

There’s a guitar in the mix. So what?

A nation’s literature will always include its folk and popular songs—songs which express everything literature expresses.

And since this is true, songs with words cannot possibly be categorized with music, for Spaeth describes music as “an entirely different mode of expression that uses tools that are unavailable to the writer.”  So where in the world should song lyrics be categorized, if not with literature?  There’s no “category error,” as Mr. Spaeth insists.

Another reason giving Dylan the Nobel is an inspired choice: American folk music is great and it, too wins with this award, since Dylan comes out of it.

And, another reason: it raises the bar for songwriting.

Not every song Zimmerman wrote is great. But again, so what? He wrote iconic songs.

Scarriet has written a great deal about the relation between song lyrics and poetry.  The One Hundred Greatest Hippie Songs of All Time.  The Top One Hundred Popular Song Lyrics That Work As Poetry.  They still get tons of hits!

Poems and songs are closer to each other than we might think, and we shouldn’t be afraid to push them closer together—even if it is more challenging to write poetry that is popular, like song, and to write songs that are good, like poetry.

If you can dance to a poem, will it fail the critical test, and only please the popular taste?

Musical poetry fell away from the critical taste in the 1920s, when craven authority usurped traditional poetry; the coup took many material forms: painting, building, film, photography, morals, and government, and smashed its fist through everything sacred, whether it was Nazi rallies, war planes, or ambitious art fraud: lurid spectacle and bad taste became the rule; manipulation, panic, and electrical communication created the sad effect of a great panic, in which the sedate and the beautiful became devalued; the screams of ecstasy and pain invaded every grove.

The new authority was so perverse in its tastes, that a reversal of good and bad occurred almost instantaneously.  Man had been an elephant, peaceful and tough-skinned, but the clamor and noise of modern life triggered a stampede, in which the elephant became highly dangerous to himself and others—“I accuse” merged with “I follow”; the elephants needed to be moved—they moved, and individuality and civility both died.

Love with a long-term focus is good; love with a short-term focus is bad—but in a stampede, everything “short-term” tends to be seen as good; and so we see how panic not only ruins everything, it makes us seek our ruin.

We seek oppression, with furious indignation and uncontrolled self-pity; we seek hunger, with the diets of religious fanatics; we seek the critical, squeezed out of all popularity, led by fake, manipulated, elite praise; and finally, we seek the popular just for its popularity, though it contains no merit—which diminishes the capacity for pleasure itself.

This is how people behave in a stampede.

This is what occurred in the 20th century: Byron and Shelley were beaten up by little men.

Poetry ought to be popular—because popularity should be poetic, not crass, and this is how great democracy thrives, not by fiat, but by subtle art; we see the reverse happened in the 20th century, as the modernists donned hair shirts and spoke against the splendid beauties of the 19th century and the past in general. Modernism became puffed up about a moment, not understanding that no moment is “modern.”  The modernists wanted love, not the infatuation of the 19th century; but infatuation is love—there is no difference, except love is infatuation that lasts, and momentary modernism was against this whole concept (lasting) altogether.

Look at the limerick—in the 19th century or the 20th century, it is still a limerick, a form which is amusing, but will quickly weary the educated taste.

Rhetoric, and even thought itself, belong to the music of language; poetry was imprisoned in image in the early 20th century; poetry of music was mistakenly associated with narrow Victorianism. And poetry as poetry died, and Man went back to grunting.

When spheres make music, but poetry does not, there’s something rotten in Denmark.  And look what happened to Denmark’s music.  Bach to Brahms was 200 years of glory.  In a mere 100 more, death metal hammers out our demise.

It is not easy to make great art, to make great music, to make great poetry. But why make these things more difficult, by confusing the spatial with the temporal?

The stampede needs to stop.

Bob Dylan winning the Nobel might help.

I heard someone complain that Dylan was a “white guy.” This doesn’t deserve a response.

Another beef against Zimmerman is to list authors considered great (in the opinion of the indignant commentator) who didn’t win—but this has nothing to do with Dylan and songwriting.

Finally, and this is heard often: this was merely a bone thrown to the Boomers, an old, failed, generation of influential losers. “Stale bong water,” as Spaeth, perhaps angling for a Nobel himself, puts it.  I recall that in the 1960s, LBJ was vilified because he bombed Vietnam—the protesters didn’t care that he was a Democrat.  Republicans and Democrats—neither one got a free pass. In today’s post-Boomer, “enlightened” atmosphere, the intellectual Left is simply the lapdog of the Democratic party—as the country sinks.

To contemplate the difference between song lyrics and poetry has endless philosophical interest.

If a poem already has a tune written for it, no matter how good it is as a stand-alone-poem, does that seal it off forever from us as a poem? Because it came into existence with its melody attached, it is forever condemned to never be a poem. Are there such things?  Poor unfortunate songs, forever exiled from poetry unfairly? And if not unfairly, can we then say true poetry will forever be the kind of thing that can never wear a melody?

Is there a realm where great songs and great poems touch but do not meet, since we know critically acclaimed poems are not songs and songs are not critically acclaimed poems?

To merely state that songs are not poetry, and therefore the Nobel Prize for Literature should not go to a songwriter, is inane.

To demonstrate how Dylan was the middle of American music: John Jacob Niles, the great folksinger born in 1892, wrote “Go Away From My Window,” a lovely and haunting ballad, which was first released in 1930.

Go away from my window
Go away from my door
Go away way way from my bedside
And bother me no more.

As the melancholy song continues, we find out “go away” is spoken by a heartbroken beloved, and one intuits this right away by the sad and beautiful melody of the song—which makes the lyrics even more heartbreaking.

I’ll tell all my brothers
And all my sisters, too.
The reason that my heart is broke
Is all because of you

How can one do better than this?

This is what Dylan does.

Go ‘way from my window,
Leave at your own chosen speed
I’m not the one you want, babe
I’m not the one you need
You say you’re lookin for someone
Who’s never weak but always strong
To protect you and defend you
Whether you are right or wrong
Someone to open each and every door
But it ain’t me, babe,
No, no no it ain’t me babe,
It ain’t me you’re lookin for babe

Dylan removes the sentimentality: no longer is it: Leave me, because you broke my heart. It is Leave me, because you want too much from me.

The tortured, hopeless, brooding entanglement of love-hurt break-up, in spite of the love, in the Niles song, is replaced by a pragmatic, disentangling break-up, where there is no love, but only dependency.  The speaker in the Dylan song, despite the echoed phrase, “Go away from my window,” and the melancholy spirit of the song and the words, (“babe” is a tender address) is saying something entirely different from the speaker of the Niles song.

Both songs practice “escape from emotion” (the poetic virtue expressed by T.S. Eliot in 1922).  The Niles song says “go away” instead of “I love you.”  The Dylan song says “go away” and means it, without irony.  The interest lies in the way the Dylan song rewrites the Niles song, but Dylan also uses Eliot’s advice: the “escape” from emotion in the Dylan song’s farewell lecture founders in the traditional structure of the sad love song itself—Dylan is fighting against the form he’s working in, while adding to its possibilities.

It is certainly true that the musical accompaniment will drive home the point I am making about these songs even more—but this doesn’t mean that in these remarks, I am not talking about literature.

 

I AM TODAY

image

I am, today, a god

To myself. If a god made me,

That god, too, is a god, and if a god is a god by what he makes,

He is not a god by what he takes,

But a fortunate god who fashions, invents, gives, and fakes.

I accept all mistakes

That made me, fashion me,

And fool me, and make me feel

I am a god. Unless I am a god thinking of a god, I am not real.

 

DON’T THANK ME

Image result for bob dylan with a bird feather

Don’t thank me; I gave you a good time

Because I wanted you forever;

You left me. Now, hearing bird songs and holding a feather,

I do the one thing I know how to do: write rhyme.

Pathetic, I know, but I once saw a poet treated like a king

Because he had a bird who could sing

And that bird, too, flew away.

Now I walk up the palace steps under the sun

To meet the king. I am read by everyone.

Thanks enough, when love tells you, Thanks. I cannot stay.

 

I CAN LOVE FOR A THOUSAND YEARS

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I can love for a thousand years—

But not for a day.

I am sick with a fever,

A fever that interferes with work and play.

I think of the universe—

Stars, and the singing gale.

When I attempt to love the earth,

O breath of wind! I fail.

I dream of the universe—

Stars, and my fortitude.

I said goodbye, forever,

Because once he was rude.

I slide through the graveyard,

On numerous grays of dawn,

By the beautiful statuary,

Adorning the lawn.

The oak and the sky are different shapes,

But always agree in tone.

Where the thickest grass is,

You’ll find a home.

I haven’t changed these thousand years

Beneath that stone.

 

 

 

 

 

I AM PROBABLY LONELIER THAN YOU

Image result for second debate

I am confused by the TV news.

It seems to choose to show me what is real.

I know enough that in my heart I feel

You and I can’t quite agree on what we feel.

So we sometimes have an argument, or two.

I am probably lonelier than you.

My country, which I love,

Once had, as its symbols, sunflower and dove.

Has it changed? In the station, now, they push and shove.

I am confused by the latest news.

Yesterday, a new policy. Different. New.

I am probably lonelier than you.

I would rather stay home with tea and cat;

People confuse me, so I prefer that;

Men have wants. I prefer the purr of a cat.

Yes, there’s always something wrong. A rat.

I know. I see online you have friends. Even a love, or two.

I am probably lonelier than you.

 

 

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