Image result for killed her children in painting

“How you must think and wonder how I must feel out on the meadow while you were on the field. I’m alone for you and I cry.” Shaman’s Blues—The Doors

There is a great confusion about the genders these days; this is natural, since they mingle now more than ever; but the confusion does a great deal of harm, since romantic thoughts oppress us constantly, even if we revel in crude jokes.

One of the great misperceptions is that the female is more tender, more affectionate, more sentimental than the male. This is not true, and has never been true. Men are the sentimental ones. Women are pragmatic. Why?

The reason is simple. Throughout human history, women have borne children. In the 19th century, roughly half of children survived childhood—your own dear child drawing its last little breath in your arms: this was the one constant of motherhood—a task not for the weak; the human race would not exist if sentimental feelings rebelled against motherhood. For the most part, they did not. Women are tough. Sorrow would have made them insane had mothers been sentimental.

From simple, Darwinian reasoning we arrive at the secret. Women may wear pink frills and men blue stripes, but inside it is the opposite.

Women may doll themselves up, but the-tiger-that-feeds-on-the-lamb is the true nature of the womanly soul.

How could it be otherwise? How could the woman live through the historic sorrow of watching her own children die? Nature, the breeder, would not breed unfit, sentimental mothers. Woman is the ultimate pragmatist, while men walk the meadows and sail the sentimental seas of pretty dreams.

This is why romance is so problematic. Men want it. Women do not. Romance is sentimental and men constantly seek it as an end in itself. Women see it as a means to an end.

Take the lovely, romantic phrase, “I’d love you to want me.” It happens to come from a 1972 song, from an era when deeply sentimental, romantic songwriting was very popular, and expressed the highest genius.  The post-war boom in the west was an era in which hardships in life, including high infant mortality, were fading, and all sorts of factors were contributing to an explosion of romantic sentiment—and it is surely no accident that during this time, with the phenomenal baby boom popularity of the Beatles, that men in general were overtly taking on sentimental, or “womanly” attributes, such as long hair and deeply sentimental, romantic personas.

What are “womanly” attributes?  Such a discussion would be an interesting one, but let’s see what we can do with just a narrow piece of the whole debate.

For the man, “I’d love you to want me,” means “I get a tremendous thrill out of the fact that you love me—for the man, love is nothing more than this: I love that you love me; and here we have an infinite loop of mutual love; love for the sake of love; love loving itself with the aid of two people who are meant to love each other, etc.  Love is all.  The ultimate sentimental expression.

For the woman, “I’d love you to want me,” means “I am glad you want me to love you—because this means you are in the proper state to be highly loyal to me, and I can use this loyalty to produce children and a stable family.”  Or, more cynically, if you like, “I can use this loyalty for all sorts of things, not necessarily for children”—sure, with modernity there’s an increasing number of women who choose not to have children; yet these women will still retain the same impulses towards men; it just plays out differently in a variety of social ways—impulses which converge on the confused and increased state of gender-mingling itself.

Gender roles will elude their true identity: we see this in our example of the woman truly being the gender which is less sentimental—despite the general culture seeing it the other way.

What makes things even more confusing is that oppressed cultures will flip—women will take on male attributes, and visa versa.  A culture which is dominated and conquered, so that its men “do not feel like men,” will see this occur most radically.  Men, for instance, will become more “macho” the more their society, their country, their community, is crushed and destroyed—but the gender-wheel is such that “more male” will turn into “more female” and “more female” will turn into “more male.”  For example, in oppressed cultures, women will tend to become sentimental fools who rely on the authority of misbehaving men; we know the true nature of women is to not be sentimental; but here we see they are. Loyalty is what sentimental men should have to prove to the pragmatic woman—who requires loyalty in a father. In oppressed cultures, the man seeks and gets loyalty from the woman—which is not ideal.  This is not to say that a certain amount of loyalty is not a good trait in both sexes, but it is the sentimental gender, not the pragmatic one, who should prove loyalty.

One could respond: what’s wrong with gender identity becoming blurred?


Whether blurring should occur or not, is not the point of our essay.

Here’s the point: if men and women have been hard-wired in natural, Darwinian necessity to feel and behave in a certain way, this is sure to be a source of social confusion and pain for the individual, if unconscious shifts occur, to say nothing of the impact on society in general.

The complexity of the whole issue is self-evident; cross-gender prohibition is not the aim here—only an understanding of the larger issue.  To lament sentimentality or to censor pragmatism is not our purpose—and it should be added that any analysis of this subject should be made in the largest possible context, and with an understanding that the pieces are not as important as how the pieces fit.

A further example will help, and we’ll reference another popular song from the recent historical period in question: The Doors’ 1966 song, “The End,” the eleven minute, theatrical piece on their first album, which rode the charts in the Summer of Love, in 1967. The Beatles and Stones are the better showmen, but Jim Morrison’s shaman may finally exceed the showmen when it comes to lasting, historically significant, recorded music.

1967 is roughly the same window of time in American culture as the 1972 song mentioned above, “I’d Love You To Want Me” by the artist Lobo—a passionate song of romance, not critically acclaimed, but effective, nonetheless.  In “The End,” Morrison, the singer, evokes explicit oedipal rage and lust—and if we examine what “killing the father and loving the mother” entails, we see it is nothing more than an extreme example of the impulse of the romantic male we are attempting to illuminate: killing the father and loving the mother is the ultimate expression of that loop of love (and yes, it’s loopy, too, of course) which is love endlessly loved in a purely unconditional manner: the love of the child for its mother. The oedipal impulse is the example par excellence of sentimentality, or romance, crushing, in heightened passion, pragmatism.




Image result for river god drowns the maiden in painting

Lyric love is done with you

And lyric love is done with me,

Because I’m the only lover

Who wrote you poetry.

Love is very common

And lyrics are common, too.

But I was the only lover

Who wrote poetry to you.

Now you give me yawn for yawn

And seek a love that’s new.

Lyric love’s fee is love.

No more poems for you.


Image result for train commuters

You ask the cruel silence why

More people don’t read poetry.

The answer is missed because it’s too plain:

Look at these faces boarding the train,

Tired faces, no longer innocent, yearning, or young.

To slip and trip on a beautiful tongue

Is neither their design nor desire.

Their soul sleeps by an obscure fire.

They wear death; they lack beauty’s youth;

A poem’s beautiful truth

Is meant for a beautiful face,

Beautiful, despite age, and disgrace

Visited upon sentimental eyes

Which sees beauty killed, and where it lies.

Not pretty, they find poetry

Insults the face which neither sings nor sighs.

The torturous mountain and tumbling streams

Soak the valley, where trees hang like dreams.

Grey mist falls fast; dense green covers the lower road

As you descend, as lights into shadows lightly go.

If your weakness makes you slow,

Nature becomes a picture.

As much as you love how nature aspires,

You cannot live in her airs and fires.

You rage against the sky, but it backs off.

You haven’t enjoyed poetry—since that cough.










I am a film. I go about, trying to explain my scenery to myself. The music in my headphones must be right if my soundtrack is to give pleasure; it can’t be a song with its own agenda; it has to rise to the egotistical sublime of my life. When the Doors abandoned me, and Bittersweet Symphony and Waterloo Sunset and I’ll Be Around and My Sweet Lord and A Day In the Life of a Fool, and Mozart piano concerto no. 17 and Moonlight Sonata and Gould Goldberg Variations by Bach and Chopin and Satie and Debussy and You Don’t Own Me and Be My Baby and Is That All There Is? wandering the park under the moon, I found Brahms’ Fourth Symphony, and fell into the sea. And woke on the train home.


Image result for river god drowns the maiden in painting

A seducer is a victim.

Only victims can have victims:

For wrong begets wrong;

Distortion must distort

Discord’s beautiful song:

Beautiful, because the discord

Corrects its beautiful wrong,


In the middle of the heart which sings inside its song.

Helpless demon, beautiful in your sadness,

You hated me that I took up your helplessness in gladness.

First, the beautiful poet cries,

And then, the beautiful poet’s reader cries.

Philosophers die with ignorance

Before they make us wise.


Image result for school of fools in painting

The problem with teaching is this:

The best way to teach is to convey what is true to oneself, so that one is not disseminating second hand information; one can undoubtedly best teach what one really knows to be true for oneself, and oneself is the very proof of that knowledge. If an obese person were to teach a weight-loss class, we would laugh. A poet we pay to teach us poetry would need evidence that he is, in fact, a good poet.

And yet we are told constantly that everyone is different—what is true for you is not true for me. Your first hand truth is not only second hand for me; it may be entirely wrong for me. Someone has different genes than you do—their diet and regimen would not work for you. The poet teaching you may be good, but it would be foolish to be like them—their poetry belongs to their experience and their nuanced use of language is entirely their own.

You see the dilemma. First hand is either wrong for you or shouldn’t be imitated. And second hand is well…second hand, and could be wrong for the same reasons.

And further, the more teaching fails, the more desired teaching is—the many who do not learn seek new teachers and more failure; the ‘education complex’ feeds more and more failure and the ‘teaching industry’ is unable to face the terrible truth that the self-taught are the true learners; teaching, beyond a kind of crude furnishing of information, is impossible both within and without, in both spirit and letter.

At enormous expense, degrees and diplomas are sought, diets and exercise are tried; the growing ignorance breeds more desire for diplomas and diet books; a defensive mania is ingrained to the point where the true secrets of the self-taught are entirely pushed aside as undocumented superstition, and teaching becomes so ridiculous that new subjects to teach are invented, increasing folly with folly; unable to teach, earnest teaching of what is entirely unnecessary commences, and since one cannot measure a lack, the lack is now an even larger apple the ignorant donkey chases; and in the very wake of more ignorance and folly, more certified professors, deans and experts are created: the certified certify the certified who certify in an infinite chain.

The terrible impact of the education folly is hard to see; stuck inside infinity, people “carry on” in whatever line of trade is offered, and the misery index climbs in millions of souls for causes unnoticed and unknown; ignorance is its own salve (ignorance is bliss) and ignorance among the educating and educated classes is more happy and more ignorant, still. Bad poetry grows apace, and yet imagination thrives among the practitioners of bad poetry—the social whirlwind surrounding book publications and live readings of bad poetry whirling bad poets about in a blind, eager, p.r. frenzy is the context in which bad poetry is imagined to be good. Imagination and teaching and learning roar on with full force, not abating, but increasing, even as knowledge and wisdom and pleasure and vistas to all these things fade and decline. Of course, in a few places, good teaching does manage to occur, as long as it is not too carefully watched, and sorted, and certified, and inspected.

Scarriet now offers some advice to counter this general folly.

The truly good can, and should, be imitated. This is one of the secrets of self-taught successes. There is no such thing as an excellence or a skill which does not belong to everyone. The more successful something is, the less unique it is, and the more it should be copied.  Also, a vast number of excellent things can be copied at once, and the combinations of excellence picked up will naturally combine with one’s own unique character (which is a given) —and this is all the originality one needs. Don’t buy into this idea: since you are different from the master, or the master template belongs to a bygone era, it does not belong to you. Yes it does. It’s all you’ve got. Steal it. Take it. There is no successful poem (formally excellent, moving) or successful diet (high protein, low sugar, balanced) which is not true, or not true (with very rare exceptions) to your needs.

Trust then, in the first hand excellence delivered to you. Be suspicious of all that is second hand; however, realize that a bygone era’s excellence must be second hand—therefore do not reject this kind of old excellence for being second hand, but make its excellence first hand for you.

Avoid teaching for the sake of teaching.

And that’s it. This is all the advice necessary.

You will notice that Scarriet prints original essays—and original poems by the same author. It is as first hand as we can make it.  We follow our own principle, and glory in it.






Let that be the love: a silent understanding,

In which you, nor I, ever have to speak.

Love is too willful. Love is too demanding.

We know we loved when both of us were weak

And, for those kisses, I would be weak again,

But kissing is rude. We need understanding.

Those who know, and would speak,

Should not. Theirs is weakness about the weak.

Let everyone return to innocence and silence.

I kissed you, and have not kissed anyone since.






There is a love who makes me love

Sweetly and true

And that love is your love.

Just a picture of you.

I’ve seen you go in for dinner

With a beautiful friend or two

And then I see your picture,

And then I see it’s you.

It’s you. I never have to guess.

You have a love that makes me love,

Always looking new.

Every picture is different, depending on the dress,

Depending on the atmosphere where the picture is shot,

And the expression of the eyes always means a lot.

There is a love who makes me love

Sweetly and true

And that love is your love.

Your love is you.



Image result for eliot's sybil trapped in a jar

Life is long—too long for sorrow.
If I die, rather than face a sad tomorrow,
It’s because of life’s length;
Had it been a day of sadness, then I would have the strength
To continue, but these years
Are too much for my tears.

I cannot go forward and I cannot go back—
I am a wasp trapped in a jar.
One thing defeats love.  Politics.
My lover dealt me a mortal blow—giving me more politics than I could bear.
I cannot love again. Desire feels too far.
His official gesture killed me. I need love, but I’m too proud—and he’s right there.


Image result for man giving a woman a letter in painting

What is meant for you

Is meant for everyone.

Everyone’s love is the love that measures the love of everything I do.

I sent this to you alone—

But it belonged to someone else before me,

And it doesn’t matter if I keep it, or give it away.

It just is. It’s not to give.

I can send it to you, but I cannot give it to you, because others see what is mine every day:

Those eyes you love, and personal things in my poetry.

It is not mine. It is not yours. Nothing truly belongs to us that is ours to give.

So giving is impossible, therefore loving is impossible; it’s impossible to live

Without living the messy life of everyone.

Send you my ass? I might as well send you the sun.









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I only know poetry.

I only know the beauty of your name.

I don’t care what others say, or what others wear.

I am not the same.

I love you, but I was never here to be with you,

Only to love you, love that will possibly bring us fame.

I fell in love with your name,

And I love to say your name,

And I do, but not in this poem,

And you know why. You know me.  And our shame.

You saw what it did to me,

When I fell in love with your name.

You don’t know how much I love you,

Because you think I want a coarser fame.

I told you you were a poet.

You didn’t understand.

This is not a tongue. Or a game.

This is not a hand in a hand.

I succumbed to the sound of your name.







Image result for marilyn monroe and the dance number

Why is there Marilyn Monroe?

She’s not my mother, but I think I know.

Here’s the reason why this goddess must come into view

(And perhaps it’s the same reason I get excited by you):

To make all men look ugly by comparison.

A vain man is an abomination.

Men are supposed to murder and kill

To protect their females. Men will come after them. They will.

Marilyn Monroe is the template of female cute,

Forcing men to wear a similar suit

Which makes them look stiff and all the same.

Marilyn Monroe is the name of the game.

She is the aspiration and the map

And every woman is her—or you’ll get a slap.

Every man has to do what he has to do.

But I cheated. I wrote this poem to you.





1. Why love fails. You like me? You must be stupid. You love me?? You must be really stupid! I can’t possibly love you. You hate me? What discernment! What wisdom! Come here! I love you! I love you!

2. What you should do during the national anthem. A guide. Stand in awe. Sit in protest. Hand on heart in respect. Kneel in confusion. Prostrate in love. Stand on your head means you would like a visa. Hand on head in spoof. Fetal position if you are simply not feeling well. Talking aloud if you’re crazy.

3. Sometimes I meet someone who looks smarter than I am, but I’m always disappointed. Sometimes I meet someone who is better looking than I am and I am always disappointed, too.

4. Life is not fair. The male is happy, even when he kills or is being murdered. The female is sad, even when she is making love.

5. In evolution, what is evolving, and why? Sharp teeth evolve. No, sharp teeth don’t evolve. What really evolves? Breeding. Roaches and rabbits evolve. But do they? What truly evolves? And why? Do we know?

6. Out Damn Scandal. Hillary supporters call other people stupid. It boggles. The ultimate irony. Or maybe not.

7. What keeps life alive? Lack of death. What keeps death alive? Lack of logic.

8. All art is nothing but this: the dead living.

9. Only one thing dies and is born. Love.

10. Argument lives forever.

11. The greatest artist tends to be the male who moves towards female sensibility without being homosexual. If you have no art whatsoever, you will probably be a female who moves towards male sensibility without becoming homosexual.





Image result for funeral in renaissance painting

Who will mourn more

When you are no more?

Whose sorrow will be worse?

Your ghost’s, crying, “not yet, not yet!”

Or your retinue’s, who will disperse

Slowly? Quickly? And who in your crowd will most pitifully cry?

Will the day of your death let

The rains come? Will there be a grieving nurse?

Who will be sadder: the world, or you, when you die?

Will oceans lament? Will the sparrows know?

What speeches will be spoken, when you, at last, whisper goodbye, and go?

What sentimental gestures are obligated to be made

When ruin puts on the human soul—

Death making it ugly—and removes it to that hole

Where every human shade

Makes its way, and the interminable sorrow

Of life ends; but we do not go—no,

Because life is a constant going—

What does your elegy know? Is sorrow the same as knowing?

Is love the thing which makes you see, at last

The one who really loved you, going

Back, just for another glimpse of you,

When life was bright, in the bright past?

Who will stay, for your death, and feel, at length, true sorrow?

Who will stay, now, to make for you, a true memorial for tomorrow?

Or is regal sorrow killed by a life too smart and quick to last?

Smart and quick never made us afraid.

Time exists. Look at this cemetery and its long, deep shade.

All is limited. Even love. When you flee,

I’ll be dying; your death won’t mean that much to me.




Image result for a train in romantic painting

I still never do that

Even though my followers tell me I should,

Making arguments on paper

Which describe the beautiful and the good.

It seems easy, the way they say it,

And it would be easy to do,

And if I forgot myself

It might be exciting for me, and wonderful, and true.

I would be on some train.

A stranger would look me in the eye.

And he would have a book.

And I would let him lie.


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The poet who never suffers,
Writes his poems for you,
Who dreams for whole days, and is free of suffering, too.
You wake from a summer dream, which began at twelve o clock—
When the tree’s shadow climbed the moss on the mossy rock—
You wake from your sunny sleep
And hear the distant sounds of wandering sheep,
And find all changed: darkness devouring the flock;
Deep in shadow, tree and rock;
The workers home from work,
And the moon’s cunning
Still in the running.

The poet who never suffers,
Writes his poems for you,
The moon, new,
And you, barely there,
Combing your langorous hair
As the dawn sees
Your hair in a long tease
Against the sunlight flickering in
Where you and the poem patiently begin
With a sigh in the garden,
And, upon the hill,
You going about, wherever you will.
And the misty sun, like a wall,
Covers all.




Two Male Figures Looking in a Mirror and a Putto. - Jacopo Pontormo, 1518:

1– Men DO like to explain stuff. They absolutely DO. The obnoxious and recent term (2008) “Mansplain” or “Mansplaining” —guys patronizingly explaining things to women—is based in reality.  However, if men do like to explain stuff—and they do—to describe this as offensive (the man is being patronizing) kind of misses the point.  To take offense at what is ingrained behavior is to take offense needlessly and spitefully.  Women: you sort of need to get over this.

2– Men ARE simpler on every level than women are.  Even men who excel at “complex things” excel at those “complex things” precisely because they see the simplicity in those “complex things” which others don’t. “Simple” describes both the great fault AND the great virtue of the male psyche. “It’s complicated” belongs more to the female realm. When a man and woman are having a needlessly complicated argument, to be very objective here, in all honesty, the blame mostly should go to the woman.  The exception, of course, is that the man, with his admired ability to find simple solutions to complex problems, should be able to prevent hurtful and complex misunderstandings from arising and gaining momentum. And that’s a very important exception, mister!

3– When it comes to love, men DO care about looks; they do care about superficial appearances: as much as they may protest, as much as they may say otherwise. This chimes in with their “simple” nature, which really is simple. Men are simpler than anyone will care to admit.  Looks are not important to a man. Looks are everything to a man, and this is the simple truth. A lesbian is looking for sweetness, affection, and understanding. A male homosexual simply believes a handsome man is better looking than a handsome woman. Period. Male homosexuals are just as simple as their straight counterparts: the myth of the sensitive, complex gay male is just that: a myth. So yes, the truism of the “male gaze” is true. Having said that, however, it would be wrong to think males cannot be highly romantic, sensitive, focused, sentimental, monogamous, and cannot find an interesting variety of physical attributes attractive—they cannot help their “male gaze,” but the “male gaze” can be caught, tied up, and enslaved by any savvy woman who wants to do so.  But the woman should never naively think that once she has a man, a man who seems “nice,” that this means “this nice man loves me for who I am.” Sorry, no.  The “nice” man, who seems happy in a relationship, is still thinking about looks all the time. The woman just has to know what she is dealing with, and not get freaked out by superficial signs and superficial behavior of what is not finally connected to what a man really wants—one great satisfying love, not the anxiety and trauma of lonely, partial loves.  But the “look factor” is always there for the man.  But remember, the man is simple.  The “look factor” does not have to mean every feature is perfect: there is a whole creative and dynamic aspect to what “looks” entail.  The wise woman will know how to use the man’s simple nature to her advantage.

4– Men DO like sex, and they like it quickly, and it’s all about their silly little penis, and the only thing that slows down their sex instinct is the “male gaze” which wants to take time to “look” at their beloved in the beautiful stages of undress which match intoxicating stages of increased excitement, and yes, after the orgasm, the man will feel a strong sense of disappointment at being with the naked person who, a few minutes earlier, had made him so excited, and now, after the man’s release: not so much. The man is probably the most disgusting creature in the world at this moment, wanting to move away and secretly revel in his triumph, and be free of conversation and cuddling with a being who is less interesting to him now.  Men can protest all they want (“I feel closer to my woman after making love to her! blah blah blah”) but let the sorry truth be here revealed.  Post-coital cuddling is uncomfortable for the man, even when he feels a necessary bonding with someone he loves is taking place, since bonding of this kind always feels forced to him.  A man does not feel closer to a woman after the sex act.  He always feels more distant.  And this is more true the better the sex is—but only because the law of before (excited) and after (less excited) prevails—and it really shouldn’t be taken personally.  A woman should never delude herself that a man is ever not on the trajectory described here.  Don’t kid yourself.  He always is.

5– Men want to do things for a woman, but if they sense the woman is expecting things to be done, done in a very particular way, or not done, for this or that reason, they will very quickly become disoriented and lose all desire in this area.  Men like to explain and they like to do.  But they do want a partner in all this, they really do.  Women: Disagree, advise, and suggest as much as you can.  Do not mock or resist or fall silent. Do not be a contrarian.  Because then what’s the point?

6– Since men have the “male gaze,” and when it comes to love, care only for appearances, they themselves are vain—and obsessed with their own looks.  By playing on male vanity and fear in the looks department, women, by careful mirroring, can easily own and destroy a man if they take careful note of the mirroring phenomenon and use it well: however, if the woman doesn’t care about her appearance, she cannot influence the man’s opinion of his own looks. If she mirrors him, however, with her vanity, and rewards and diminishes him in the right manner in the looks department, so that he can’t figure out who is more attractive, her or him, or how attractive he really is, and needs to hear it from her—he will feel strangely and powerfully attracted to her.

7– Since men love to explain, it is easy to attract the man by turning his love of explanation into what seems to him a somewhat annoying and addictive folly—in the woman’s eyes. The woman should listen attentively to the fervor of his mansplaining. But she should interrupt frequently to ask questions, to make him feel she is extremely interested in what he is saying, but constantly make him feel he isn’t quite explaining it right, and that he has to do a better job.  He will be exquisitely tortured by this if it is done with the right combination of interest and nonchalance—and he will find himself helplessly attracted to the woman’s superior mind.

8– Do not mirror him, in superficial terms of “trying to be a man.”  This will be a disaster.  Make him feel that you are a woman, and different from him, and make these differences as prominent as you can. This absolutely does not mean you need to surrender any of the things which make you intrinsically superior, or truly yourself—and, in fact, as long as it is established that you are “a woman” to his sensibility, you can then be as “mannish” on top of this established identity as you want, and this will, in fact, make him even more attracted to you.  Always negotiate with the man from the fact that you are a woman first—even if superficially—and then you can be anything you want on top of that, and dominate him much more easily.

9– Because men want sex quickly, explain to him that taking it much, much slower (even if it takes days or weeks or months) will give him a great deal more pleasure—he will like this because he loves things to be explained, and this explanation benefits both of you—love is nothing if not a great mingling: male and female aspects fall into a rapturous blending.  The only catch is that what is male and what is female must be understood and established first, and this will be the first step in actually making love voluntary, so that instead of “falling under the spell” of your lover, love becomes conscious and willed, and this is a far more effective rapture—both of you are fully aware that this is what you are doing and why you are doing it.  Love is then a beautiful and exciting and conscious goal rather than a slothful and doubtful entrapment. Pride will tell us that only if the lover is under one’s spell is the love real and based on how attractive one is—but this is a myth.  The best love is voluntary and benefits from both sides understanding the deep truths about each side, male and female, and the drama and the tricks that must be consciously and delightfully played.  This is ultimate romantic love, which defies both involuntary suffering and boring convention.

10– Men care just as much about breeding as women do—it doesn’t matter that the woman is more at the center of the whole process than he is.  The question of children: Should we have them?  How many?  How should they be raised?  is of infinite importance to the man.  Men care very much how the child is to be raised, materially, morally, and aesthetically.  Never fail to bring out a man’s opinion on this issue. Never underestimate his interest, or the impact it will have if his ideas on the topic of children are downplayed or ignored.



Image result for hermaphrodite to renaissance painting

Is there a female equivalent to me?
What would she look like? Who is she?
When I was a child, I painted in a smock.
In school I put ink on a printing block.

Was I a girl when I first wrote poetry?
When I was a young man and cut my hair
And found a job, no one was there.
If I were shy would she dance with me?

If I ran down the leafy avenue
With everyone getting out of work, would she pursue?
Would she chase me-who-is-really-her, if she knew?
Would she follow me into the evening until the moon
Covered by clouds and serene, came into view?


Anonymous Southern Song artist, Pipa Mountain Bird, in Fu Sinian, ed., Zhongguo meishu quanji, huihua pian 4: Liang Song huihua, xia. Beijing: Wenwu chubanshe, 1988. pl. 96, p. 131. Collection of the National Palace Museum, Beijing. album leaf, colors on silk, 28.9 x 29 cm

When did I first know

I was superior,

A creature of wisdom and dismay,

An animal who knew he was an animal

But that every animal is in his way?

Who knew the moon and the leaf

Were like wine-drinking friends,

But that the leaf and the other things

Belongs to everything that ends?

I hoped, but hoped inside my sad mortality.

It might have been when I loved the world—as it refused to love me.

I think it was when I saw complexity

As simplicity

And this simplicity felt divine

And not only did I feel this; it was mine.

Divinity belonged to me as my pleasure,

Which increased in poetry and music’s measure

In the precise manner I sang my song

To you. So for once I might belong.





Image result for poe morella

Do you know why I love poetry?

It is not the sound of it, nor the fame.

Let me tell you what happened to me:

I fell in love with a name.


All the work that goes into a nation!

I love mine as a candle loves its flame.

I love the syllabification

My citizens speak, and kiss with, and we burn, and die, the same.


But look how my eye adores

This eye, who escaped to these colder shores

Barely intact, but with a strange name

I speak and love, as a candle feels its flame,


A quiet name of many syllables,

Now quietly spoken

Into my ear of a valley between its hills.

I saw. But when I heard, I was broken.


I intoned this liquid name for a day.

A name is how my voice adores

A  voice—eternal and known—and it promises to stay.

The name my poetry loves is yours.



Image result for poet writing in painting

I will just sit here and love

While you do what you have to do.

Loving is good, since to be happy is the only thing that’s true,

And loving is happiness—before you even know what you have to do.

Being happy is the job of love;

I’m telling you to allow me enough time

To love, as I sit here, in my room, and rhyme,

And compose, on this couch, a poem or two,

And show others how to do

The same; education

Is how love teaches the nation

To do things, with sweetness and style.

What you do with a frown, I do with a smile.

What you do in agony, making work organized and steady—

What is it for?  It is for joy—which thanks to me, loved before, and is beautiful, already.




I am trying to seduce you.

I’m trying to block all your wants and desires,

The warmth, you convince yourself, which can be found in all those small fires,

The meals and the convivial laughter with friends.

I’m trying to make sure conviviality ends.

All your small pleasures must go

To make room for one you hardly know

But once, you knew desperately well.

Remember? You looked on love with a sad face.

Remember? Love had a voice and a hand and a place,

Which nothing you know has now.

You don’t remember exactly how

Love murdered your life.

A blue sky? Money? Child? Wife?






Image result for baudelaire and rimbaud and nightmare painting

She cannot love unless she hates.

She never speaks directly—she insinuates

Love, because hate is coming up from behind

As love and hate go back and forth in her mind,

An alternating current of electric power,

Loving me for a minute, hating me for an hour,

Missing me terribly for an entire day

After announcing, to me, who did no wrong, “please go away.”

I don’t blame her for this,

Being a fool for a beautiful woman and her kiss,

But I also know

The engine of opposites is how things go,

The world and the non-world are fighting it out.

In order to have faith, you must have doubt.

In order to love, there must be dreams

Of hate overcome, of overcoming everything that only seems,

Including reasons for hate and fear and doubt

Which burns visible and beautiful and will never go out.

That’s why I love her, even in her hate—

Ugly, beautiful, angry, sweet, unfortunate, lucky, here, late.





If beauty were equally divided,
Where would pleasure dwell?
To my beautiful love I once confided
Her beauty made me unwell—
Her strange sexual beauty wrapped me up in hell.
But if beauty between all creatures were equally divided
All that madness would vanish.
English would be just as beautiful as Indian or Spanish.
Every person would be beautiful alone
Without comparison; none more beautiful than the rest.
The jealousy of the ugly would cease to exist—
Love would cease to be divisive, and every ecstatic moan
Would be decided by surrender—only that would be the test.
Some would surrender often, and they would be known
As loving too often, and yet, by giving themselves away, they would be blessed.
The one I would love would save her love; a sweet torture to be melancholy and glad.
Diluted beauty! She would hardly kiss me at all. And our love would be sweetly sad.



Beauty is not only true—but kind.

I witnessed a modernist lose his mind

Deploring what the imaginative Keats had said,

Who left for Rome—when England’s hedges were all dead,

When frost lay on the garden bed—

At Hampstead—and other places.

I’ve seen the look on women’s faces—

Women who are past child-bearing age,

Proud, and still beautiful, and kind,

Because they kept beauty in their mind—

I have seen women look placidly and calm

On gardens bursting, as the highest balm—

And when they stood with lovely jewels on

Beside friends, their smiles as cold as the moon,

Coldly beautiful, since they knew in frozen beds

They would be lying down soon,

The flowers gray, no more the passionate purples and reds!

I wished I had loved them. Never

Could I—no, never—this much beauty had known

As with you! Remember our sweet moan?

When we loved in nature’s yellow-lighted chapel?

How much can I tell—

If I auspiciously regret what we all regret: beauty lost forever?

Is this a frozen bed?

Its flowers with flowers that once sighed, dead?

So we read modernist verses instead.

Because we would rather forget

The flower—and our enormous debt?





Image result for dead horse beach salem ma

We share the sea.

I stood on my shore and looked across the bay to Beverly.

The sea is a lot to share

But since you no longer care

We can do it easily.

I’ll take the waves, and the seaweed bobbing,

The various land items which the sea is robbing,

And the seagulls that fly from shore to shore;

These are mine, and since you no longer care,

I might take more:

Things richer, and more rare.

The kayaks in the shallows

Will belong to me, and things

Valuable, which do not float: bracelets and rings.

And since you no longer care,

Candy wrappers from the jazz fair,

And the jazz notes

Over the water. The sail boats.

And smaller items we might not see.

You no longer care. So these belong to me:

The glitter in the water from the sun,

The sighs from lovers. Shouts by the sea from anyone,

Who are my friends now, since you no longer care.

Girls in bathing suits with long hair.

Am I taking too much? You don’t argue. You don’t dare.

I’ll take the children splashing near the shore.

And the ocean near your house—since you don’t love me anymore.






Image result for ocean painting hudson river school

I wanted  the boundless sea

Because it was boundless and I always thought the boundless was me.

My breaths go on forever, I always need another one.

I’m unlimited, more unlimited than the sun,

Because every moment I need a new breath, and every day I feed,

And in my brain are infinite memories—and every day I need

To use my infinite mind

To be infinite. Reasonable. Patient. Kind.

A minute in a day has more infinity tucked inside

And inside that infinity I infinitely reside.

I wanted the boundless sea

Because I always thought the boundlessness was me.

I knew that limit was the thing we couldn’t see

And what we couldn’t know was one. Two. Three.

And good things were impossible: Love. Honesty.

Sometimes we reside somewhat comfortably in this or that belief

But joking, or annoyed, we submit to existence, that random thief.

And you can’t tell anyone what you really believe.

Your love and your art were wrong because you didn’t deceive.





How are we to know

If our lover has been true?

The sun comes up and says

See what you can do.

A shrieking bird in the darkness says sing—

Then listen to how he sings to you.

Why is the bird in darkness?

Because the sun is late.

How are we to know

When love turns to hate?

When the earth, this ball of fur

Rotates in space, and resembles her?

The actions of the orbs—can they be understood?

How is the moon good?

What does the moon do when I sleep?

Does she think of me? And weep?





The poet failed to compose the song,
Having loved her—almost to the point of wrong,
Because jealousy began to get in the way
Of anything the lover might say.
A song came through the poet’s open window one night
With a soft, creeping melody
Almost discernible, a snake made of light,
Softly undulating, insinuating itself beneath the bed
Where roses lived, to the ground’s delight.
Then a poem came into the poet’s head
As he dreamed. Nothing else happened that night.

The scent of flowers
Grew in the room during the night’s hours,
And in the morning filled the poet’s mind
With a beautiful scent, but no melody was there,
No melody in the poet’s head which reclined
Upon thick pillows—pillows oblivious to dreams.
There is no shape on the earth but it isn’t what it seems.
One window had light, but the rest
Were dark. Nothing else happened that day.

The wooded paths were long and the poet strode
Down them. He recalled the mare the two of them rode
When he and she were in love and the mare
Paused in a mist; a lake had been there
Where the poet now walked
Past where they had stopped and talked,
Past where they had put down a blanket and loved.
Put down a blanket and loved.
A scent of roses, there could be no doubt.
And the small birds wandered about.
The ruined boulevard.  Nothing else happened that day.

There is no poem but that a song can make it stay.
The poet would fail! Fail again! And fall out of love!
The day after the dream there was no song.
Nor a memory of a scent. Could a rose be wrong?


The Chinese know how to live: corrupt officials,

Seafood caught fresh from the sea,

Drunkenness celebrated in poetry.

It’s a plan that works well.

Heavenly poetry living where beggars dwell.

Poetry for drunks, the poor, the blind

So eventually all of these become refined.

Write your poetry to one who broke your heart

And hates you. Don’t throw her back in the sea.

Love her anyway. Drunk. Corrupt. And shit, don’t forget I’m here.

Don’t forget about me.





Shot out of the cannon of your love,

At first I was shocked, but then I noticed many things above.

The same inducements to pleasure give us pain.

(I’m never trying those things again)

The big picture really does makes sense

Up here, where the air is not so dense

And anger dies in circumstance.

I see you doing town-like things in town,

Wondering if you should buy that gown,

(Have I told you I’m never coming down?)

The string that solves the maze is shaped like the maze.

There is a willingness to fight

When one isn’t right.

And when there isn’t love in the middle of the night,

You get poems for days.




I will say it for you, since you cannot say

Why you love me—yet want to go away.

Love is dangerous. Love has no friends,

No kindness. In love, all kindness ends.

Except in the arms of the beloved. Then you are kind

And for a minute the body is happier than the mind.

Do you want that happiness again? You really can’t say.

Your body cannot speak. Your mind trips along a different way.

You wonder who these people are, who populate your day.

You wonder if they love you, how many of them are kind.

Now love is about to speak. It’s me.

And just before I speak, you find a way to get free.

Love is a mystery, but love can be willed

Like a poem. Like silence. Aren’t you thrilled?







Being wanted is the greatest satisfaction!

Smile! The hungry can take no action

Against your jewels and rings.

The hungry listen patiently while your beauty sings.

You are fed and satisfied

When hungrily your face and limbs are eyed.

Your beauty is all; you have no need

As long as they want and cannot feed.

Their love and jealousy will die

Only when your beauty dies in their eye.

Hunger for beauty is a desperate need.

Beauty brings wolves and wolves must feed.

When beauty is threatened and has to hide

It isn’t beauty, for beauty is beauty seen in all its pride.

Since abundance gave us light, leisure, and food to eat,

Starvation lives with beauty walking the public street,

And since her photo came to the internet,

There’s more sorrow and starvation yet.

Satisfaction is misunderstood:

It can be evil and it can be good,

But it’s always evil, with the removal of clothes,

In seduction, and passion, poor passion which thinks it knows.


Mention the place I’m from,
The cave in the forest; mention that sometimes I danced
The folk dances, the strange hopping to the primitive drum.
And that I composed sixteen modernist sonnets,
Which will have to do, until my resume come.

Mention the places I’ve seen,
The skyscraper elevator where to an Ezra Pound poem I danced
The folk dances, and mention I edited a little magazine
Containing the worst poems imaginable,
Moss-covered jet planes crashing into a futurist green.

Mention all the places,
The winding starlit stairways where shadows danced
The folk dances, and give them names, if you can, not just faces,
Of those who danced those dances, even T.S. Eliot
Who kidded everyone, and put damn Virginia Woolf through her paces.




Be kind to her who doesn’t know
What snow is; my world is under snow.

Be kind to her who doesn’t understand
The body; I found my brain in my hand.

Be kind to her who thought men
Might possibly make her happy again.

Be kind to her who thought the sky
Was clouds; it rains and I ask why.

Be kind to her who doesn’t see
Advice, advice that’s freezing me.

Be kind to her who doesn’t feel
Brutal cold; freezing to me is real.

Be kind to her who made her face
Every face; And I? I have to think of my race.

Be kind to her who understood
Nothing; I am trapped by the good.

Be kind to her who said she had
A new work; an old one made me sad.

Be kind to her who thinks the new
Is always new; I hate I saw and grew.

Be kind to her who thinks
Water hides; I am the water she drinks.

Be kind to her who let others
Sort it out; I am speaking to my brothers.

Be kind to her who was better than us all.
Her name is jealousy; jealousy made me fall.








When it’s hot and the summer sounds

Vibrate like heat itself, you think

Maybe you are done with poetry,

Which sits silently on the page

In code, not really communicating your wisdom and rage.

When it’s hot

You reject poetry in your cool mind;

Your cool mind says it would rather not.

When it’s hot, and clothes slip

To the ground,

And reason melts,

And even fiery love turns to liquid with a sighing sound,

You intend to give up poetry, and sing

Into the ear of your beloved,

But even hearing is a mess,

Thanks to love’s distress.

No poem or song

Can heal love’s wrong.

You think, with the cool sea taking over the land,

You might reach out and take her hand,

But that, too, is in a liquid state—

Joined to the liquid world by love—

So warmly in love, love is the same as hate.






Leaves are waving above the sun
In paintings, in gardens, in the harsh outdoors
Which afflict the eyes of everyone.

You brought me flowers, not for my hands
But for my eyes,
Eyes blind from love, not wanting its cures,

Wanting more love—more, more love. Hear the bands
Play, the heart-pounding trumpet and drum,
Every melody a penny buys

Permitted, as long as love songs are played
For us in the deep shade.

You brought me flowers and I’ll never forget
How you held flowers when we met.

Or did you? Perhaps you did not. You did not.
You chose one of love’s cures
And fell out of love with yourself, and me,
And now, yes, these days, my eyes can see.

When I glimpse you by accident outdoors
I see your legs are too short,
Your chin is too long,
And there are no flowers.
There is no song.

You want an unencumbered life,
A sweet, darling sis.
I’m satisfied to remember—what?
That we had bodies. That we liked to kiss.









Don’t fix the world yet.

Its cries are my lover’s cries.

When the ship is repaired, and sails

My secret happiness dies.

Errors you see on street and pier

Keep officials busy, and these sighs

Are sad, but music, and she is here—

Who will disappear when that perfection

Due the world loosens all ties

To imperfect love, and winds blow in a new direction.

They are finding ways to make life better

So the young will mock the letter

I wrote to her a long time ago

Which made her fall in love with me, and so

I beg you, don’t change the arpeggio

To some new dance.

She will dance away, if she has a chance.

Don’t fix the world yet;

Her imperfect life is my life,

She is my mad and maddening wife—

Who loves me, and doesn’t know

How to escape me, how easily

With a brand new melody,

She could look at me, and wave goodbye, and go.





It was an ordinary conversation.
There was something I wanted to say
As I looked at her as she talked.
I got confused one day.

She was beautiful, a good friend
And I asked myself, what did I say?
Why is she angry, like she’s not my friend?
I got confused one day.

Why did a song come into my heart,
One I forgot and hardly knew how to play?
Why did I find myself talking in song?
I got confused one day.

Why did I hesitate calling,
Why did I contemplate May
And think about June and where she was?
I got confused one day.

Now it’s been years since we loved.
I understood the roads of a good way
Might be bad, but I’m glad
I got confused one day.



You read two poems at once.

The upper meaning wears a white suit,

A beautiful suit, works in New York,

Born in Louisiana, here are the black and white

Photos of the parents. Instructions clear.

Now comes the other meaning, the lower meaning,

The secondary meaning, kissing you,

Hugging you and calling you dear.

And what it feels about porn and presidential politics

And there’s a hair on your upper lip

And outside it is getting dark and I’m tired

And depressed and confusion grows.

I need to write another poem.

I need to go home. And wash some clothes.



for forough farrokhzad

She was dying of me, but I was her life.
While I heard the blood rushing in her breasts, she was my wife.
When she walked, with no place to go,
I was in her thoughts. She longed for my desire in her mirror,
As I gave her light. At her window, love made the sparrows come nearer.
Her deep sobs were anything but comical.  They were slow.
Poetry is woman’s language.
She told me I could not see her. And now I know.



Tom in Romania

Needing to say everything, I must rip away
The veil of poetry.
I’m sorry, for that day, I’m sorry.

I expected us to meet at the garage
Because you texted me suggestively.
But you also texted me you had to pee—
That’s why you wanted to meet at the station.

You changed your mind, and that was okay.
Yet I acted betrayed, like an entitled prick,
I completely forgot you had to pee,
And then I had the nerve to accuse you of testing me,
Which naturally made you furious.

Then! I didn’t call you for five days, clueless
As to what a jerk and ignoramus
I was—reading the romance novel she gave me
Which I had pulled out of my bag at the station.

That day a perfect storm of minor events: to annoy you and make you see
That I, who seemed a beacon of kindness and sensitivity,
Was just another creepy part of the creepy life
You must endure; I’m sorry.

I really wanted you, I wanted you to be my wife;
That awful day the chance to be alone with you blinded me,
And now, in horror, looking back,
I realize that day, which seemed like a minor fight, ended my life.

You exist as a great silent hole in my heart, a lack
Which is my greatest sadness. Needing to say
Everything, I rip away
The veil of poetry
Behind which I hide.
How good is poetry, even the greatest poetry, if behind poetry I died?





Ah, you will always be that egotist

Who I met, befriended, and kissed,

And all the rest, though I felt you would fall

Back into that state where you had no personality at all.

And I will always be that poet who knew

You would tire of egotism—you are, but you are not, you.

Now you’re a feel good poster of capital-letter cliché.


Surrender to the “wisdom” crap, in which all you are

Surrenders. Close the door. Adorn it with a gold star.

I will always be an egotist. I practice to be

More musical, with more harmony,

Such as you find in Cry Me A River, when the G

Chord arrives out of the B flat diminished chord surprisingly

And cheerfully: in the key, I yet move, slightly, out of the key, playfully

So in all that great sorrow, in all that wonderful revenge, I resolve

A love that I love, but also, solve

Forever. The artist—it’s me, my love—conceals

Myself, behind what the art—ah, the art—reveals.













There is a greater despair

Than being sad here right now.

The nurses and soldiers can tell you how

The massacre made so many unhappy.

Others somewhere are sick and not feeling well.

You cannot imagine what it’s like

To be away from everyone, in a prison cell.

There is always a greater despair

Somewhere over there.

These painful facts are so unkind,

I cannot possibly keep them in my mind.

My mind is entirely made of you.

This is what my mind is, and what it likes to do:

To think on happiness as it pertains to you.

I am happy now, but I was happier then

When I loved you purely and wasn’t jealous—

Alas—of your sickening obeisance towards other men.

You rejected me—who loved you—because I was jealous.

On a scale of five my jealousy was a three—

But once you asked, ” I want all your poems to be for me.”

That’s how true love is expressed: in jealousy.

On a scale of five my love for you was a ten.

I saw you today, quietly miserable, and thought of despair,

The kind that says: I will never be happy again.


After that long pause,

It felt like we had nothing more to say;

Acutely, I felt the separation,

As if now you and I each belonged to a different day:

I said something, and suddenly you didn’t want to say

What was on your mind,

And I felt you were making me seem unkind

Because you were unkind;

I wanted to like you, but now I saw there was something in your mind

That didn’t want to talk to me, that was unkind.

These pauses kill relationships every day.

That pause. That one long pause.

And now I don’t care what you have to say.




Now is the sad decline
Of everything that’s mine:
The frozen ground that was my hope,
You, who I held onto, and the rope
Swing that sang over the valley,
Its green more green than green,
A vista that is ours, but never enough seen,
Or that evening when, smiling, you called me into the alley
And suddenly kissed me,
The bright, sumptuous apartments
One could glimpse into,
The boulevards fading; you almost saw them, too;
The bricks haphazardly leading into the park
Where we laughed before dark,
And then, when dark, as we did often,
Hidden, the kisses came more often;
And weren’t you surprised by the fame
Of the day? The day was always the same,
I knew, the same this time:
Not quite the same, a forest of pine,
Rain, desolation, sunlight, and then, decline.





The election is always between the living and the dead.

Bill Clinton or Vince Foster? I vote for one in my head.

I love conspiracy videos. Human nature is really dark.

The nice ones end it all in a Civil War memorial park.

The bad ones succeed, but finally, who can blame

Those who see death and save themselves? You would do the same.

Whistle blowers always have that frightened, nerdy look.

Success is sex. The sexy steps the cruel and sexy took.

Vote for the voting record when you cast your vote

In democracy’s dark booth. Forget the song in the long coat.

Don’t listen to conspiracy videos, no matter what they say.

Let the dead and the lonely go. Look the other way.








Amy is not enough; I also want Sue,

Stella, Laura, Beatrice—because I can’t have you.

Stoop down, read the whole list, and if you’re not there,

Stooping has not been in vain—not listed belongs to the list of care.

What stays only is what stays with me.

O Look about you, if there is no sign of me,

Read! I am secretly signaling you in my poetry.

Read carefully the whole list

Of muses—whom poets pretended to have kissed.

The fact that you don’t see your name

Pleases me: your absent love is how I will build my fame,

And your knowledge that you don’t exist

Is how everything that lives loves—by being missed.

No! Not Amy am I missing.

The world doesn’t know you’re the one I’m kissing,

If only in my mind—

Where poetry lives—for you—who was unkind.






You’ve read Cosmopolitan, the tips on sex,
The clothes and lubricants are yours;
You’ve purchased the right perfumes,
You’ve wandered through the hotels and the hotel rooms,
Rejected the handsome (they were bores),
Quickly dispatched the guy who’s now your ex,
And settled on me.
You’ve read the books, seen the movies. Now you’re free.
You present yourself in silks, casually.
Now what am I thinking? What do I see?
This is the component of love which troubles you.
You cannot read the mind of the one you love.
You may ask me, or tell me, or guide me on what to do,
But what about careless thoughts in the mind?
A conversation which proceeds carelessly?
I’m face down. I murmur something French and sing-songy.
I want to tell you something, but it comes out uncomfortably.
I’ll be a poet. Now what am I thinking? What do I see?
What is your inclination now? Right now what do you think of me?
What is the heart of this? Is it liquid? And what is poetry?



You’re free at last. Get away from my face.

You’re free, and all attachments of every kind are gone,

No more, no more, the slavish pleadings of my gender and my race.

Get out. Take yourself from my sloping lawn.

No more will I kiss you, or take you in my arms

In the international context of warnings and alarms.

The sheets are washed.  Our souls free of wet disgrace.

Free is free. Gatherings not measured. Platitudes are gone.

You wanted to be free. You are free. Leave me.

Stop thinking I will come after you.

The world is large. She told me what to do.




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