EFFICIENCY

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Efficiency, the lauded, is no one’s friend.

If work’s efficient, your employment must end.

Quick robots are making humans obsolete.

I put my humanity, humbly, at your feet.

Where is my use? Where is my pride?

A machine? A poet? Can you decide?

Love is pleasure—the highest efficiency

Makes you happy in a robot’s arms, miles from me—

Out of work, alone, slowly revising poetry.

The news of the layoff came in a flash, from above;

I had no real choice—as in poetry, or fate, or love.

 

 

 

 

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MAY THIS POEM NOT KNOW

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May this poem not know what I’m saying.

For the best poets are just playing.

May this poem not know my mind.

For the best poets are unkind.

May this poem never pause or think

What I’m mixing into this drink,

What in the reader’s blood will flow—

Before the poem has a chance to know.

Yes, I loved you—but it was all in fun.

It’s a sensual poem. Are you done?

ASK ME

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Why would a poet ask for anything?

Like the philosopher, he disturbs

By questioning.

He wants reviews, blurbs,

Public praise, letters of introduction.

He’s empty. He doesn’t own a thing.

The poet is constantly needy,

And needy with honesty.

The poets feels a lascivious heart

Is not as bad as slander.

Do you think a poet has anything?

Do you think truth has anything to give?

A poet is the last one to tell you how to live.

Sit on a hard seat, and listen to him gas.

He’s no ordinary lunatic;

He wants you also to be an ass,

As you celebrate poetry,

And give stuff to him.

This makes you civilized.

O, the ice cold glass!

Before you drink, kiss the rim!

You, too, can be prized,

By writing things on him.

Hey, try poems yourself, stylized

In a way which makes them extra short.

Almost say. Be a modern heir.

He’ll give you a glowing report.

Look for it in that great big pile of papers there.

 

PERFECTION WAITS

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Perfection waits,

In the word, heaven,

Or perhaps somewhere else,

And look, it is almost here,

In the morning’s white-turning-to-blue sky,

With the intersection, the streets, clear

Of traffic at last, the holiday tourism gone by,

Since all obey the calendar,

Like one cell in your body telling you to die.

Everybody listens when the time arrives,

But you missed the signal, thank God.

Here you are, waiting by the stream.

I was afraid you would find my request much too odd.

Perfection is more than a dream.

 

 

 

 

 

 

FAREWELL ALWAYS

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To those we love, it is farewell always.

Those we hate, do not get, from us, a goodbye,

But like those we love, they, too, may give us a wave, when they die.

If rivals receive fearsome displays,

The nothing the hated receive, is more unkind.

Yet the calm we affect

For those we deeply love and respect

May make us seem careless and blind.

We are in this fix and we cannot get out—

We hate with such certainty, and love with such doubt,

That sometimes we find—

In the morning, after the battle,

Everything cold and still—

One we loved with our senses poisoning our mind.

The body hates the mind—

Which tells it where to go.

And death is only bad because of the ones we love, you know.

THERE IS ONLY ONE LINDA

There is only one Linda,

And Linda wants it so.

Linda will always be Linda

As far as Linda will go.

The first time I saw Linda,

I didn’t know Linda was her name.

But Linda came out of her mouth

And that’s when Linda came.

My eyes fixed on Linda

And Linda registered fast.

Her name flew quickly after:

Linda, a memory to last.

Perhaps the leaves she held,

Bunched in her lovely hand,

Will keep the memory,

As I in my memory understand.

She belonged to Linda,

And seemed to want to be Linda,

As I later thought,

When I reflected on meeting Linda

By chance—not sought.

Not seeking Linda, or anyone at all,

I had sauntered up to her.

Sometimes these things occur!

She was indifferent then,

Indifferent now. But when

She complained that even men

Were using her name, Linda,

I wondered what possible agenda

Could there be?

Linda! Tell me.

But Linda remained aloof,

And sad, like any owner,

Turned away, as I cried,

There is only one Linda.

And I have proof.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LOVE MAKES BEAUTY IMPOSSIBLE

I love beauty more than love, and she

Was able, after a while, to see,

Because she was beautiful, this truth about me.

Everything to me gradually became ugly:

The farms we visited, rural places

With ponds and moss, faces

Of other women, sunsets, the sky,

The bees. Music needed her sigh

Before I could listen. Beauty flew

Away from everything. Finally, I knew

Only what she was, what she could see.

Her love took beauty away from me.

Beauty was hers, and love made this so.

Her beauty the only beauty possible to know.

But she knew this was wrong.

She didn’t want her beauty to be all of my song.

She was uncomfortable with her beauty’s report.

She thought her legs were too short.

She didn’t want her beauty filling my head—

So all other beauty to me was dead.

She knew beauty lives throughout

The world; of course she began to doubt

My love for her; it was only beauty

I loved—her, the only beauty, was insanity.

She could not be the only beauty for me.

And now that she’s gone, a door

Opens: Beauty I’ve never noticed before.

But beauty only makes me sad

Because of her—her, who I had.

 

 

 

 

MISANTHROPY [THE ESSAY]

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And love all human kind” —Shelley

Misanthropy is the greatest evil.

Misanthropy’s siren song is difficult to resist.

Misanthropy will make us love—by hating someone else, by hating others.

Misanthropy insinuates itself even into love.

Misanthropy takes many forms, and is the great seductive pull against all that is necessary for life.

The poor depend on small favors from people to survive, and vast millions of urban poor have no escape from the worst aspects of the human race—most of the world’s poor either put up with people to some degree—or they perish.

Great persons emerge from peopled poverty armed with the greatest weapon: a deep love and understanding of mankind.

Misanthropy is the basis of insanity, false rhetoric, slander, crime, and all sorts of human misery.

The rich can select who they associate with, and boss around the rest.

This is why the wealthy lifestyle is so attractive—it allows us to keep needy and annoying people at a distance, but the danger to those who escape the gravity of having to deal with people is that the rich devolve into hateful misanthropy, and end up seeing people as objects.

The rich, at the top of the food chain, fall prey to hatred of those below them. They loathe sprawling humanity—and the buying and selling which caters to humanity’s wants and needs.

This is why wealthy elites hate “capitalism”—which, when we clear away the endless, complex, professorial, socialist, theorizing about it—is just buying and selling.

Pro-capitalists cannot be “elites”—no matter how large their bank accounts. You may be rich, but if you are a businessman, you will always be seen as an uneducated buffoon.  You will never be fawned over in Vanity Fair. You will never be loved by the Windsors. You will never be a senator from Massachusetts or New York. You will not belong to secret societies—unless you are a secret traitor to the capitalist cause.

This is why the elite believes contraception is preventative health care. Less people is considered healthy. After all, in their hearts, all elites feel it is the poor and the ignorant who tend to have more children. Women in poverty who are in the trenches having children and peopling the world live the most painful life imaginable.

Misanthropy belongs to money, and it isn’t stupid; it’s quite logical—which is precisely why its evil is so seductive.

Actually, misanthropy, for all its “logic,” is finally more stupid than stupid, as evil always ultimately is.

“Less people” drives up prices,—college tuition, food, fuel, everything we need—because there are less people paying to keep elitist institutions afloat—institutions whose very message boils down to “less people is better.”

The fashionable Left is educated dumb.

The working class Right, because it is less misanthropic, is even dumber.

But there is no Left or Right.

There’s only top and bottom.

The “right” is near the bottom—those Trumpers, those members of the working class, who vaguely, in an uneducated manner, or under-educated manner, object to elitist manners and logic.

“Left” and “Wealthy Elites” (some call it “Deep State,” some call it Kennedys—or any family seeking to be the new American “royals”) have become the same thing.

Human devolution is always a top/bottom event, not a left/right one (and here, ironically, the Left is correct! but the Left—again, an irony!—is now the “top.”)

Why does the ‘no debate’ philosophy of radical, doom-oriented, environmentalism—misanthropic at its core—spring from wealthy elites?

Isn’t the answer obvious?

Why is liberalism, which favors, in all its edicts, less people on the planet, the essential religion of the richest of the rich?

Isn’t the answer obvious?

It is the siren call of misanthropy—which seeks to free itself  from the torture of living.

Ah, living! The “fever called living” as Poe called it: all the painful, human-centered burdens of life: raising children, exploiting and controlling vast, indifferent nature, the complex and laborious tasks of engineers and businessmen and blue collar workers. And then, in addition, the ‘car salesman’ support of this painful, traditional life with morale-boosting religion—human consciousness giving itself up to something ‘higher.’

And what is this ‘higher’ entity, finally?  This God that the secular Left sneers at?

What is God, really, after all the symbolism is wiped away?

Nature, fecundity, and growth.  Stupid capitalism. What people do.

That’s what it is.

God, a fancy which defies settled, logical, misanthropy, is the opposite of the savvy, scientific, leftist “less people is better.”

“Less people is better” is the modern, leftist, elite mantra.

And the opposition’s mantra, only vaguely understood by the working class members of the anti-Left (anti-Top): “More (and the efficiency and ingenuity necessary so more can thrive) is better.”

Misanthropy seeks escape from “more people is better” pain.

Misanthropy seeks peace, extreme pleasure, future-less hedonism, the ease of limited feeding from natural sources—so much easier than the complex needs of an ever-increasing, “more people is better,” human society.

It is easy to see misanthropy as a good.

Misanthropy is the desire to be alone with the beloved.

To exist in perfection apart from the competing, striving, teeming world.

Misanthropy is the poet, the lover, and the sage.

But, alas, false gods, these.

Misanthropes are smart. The cheerful are stupid. So the elites say.

Misanthropy is extremely seductive—and has a myriad of songwriters and flute players.

Necessity, which is at the heart of labor and comfort for masses of sprawling, buying-and-selling, waste-discarding, polluting humanity, is the most powerful enemy of misanthropy—the phenomenal advance and expansion of human society since its primitive recorded beginnings is proof that misanthropy is the temptation, but not the rule. Misanthropy is the solipsism from which we eventually wake.

But why necessity?  Why is expansion, why is more—the growth witnessed throughout history, since humans were hunter-gatherers—necessary?

Death.

Death makes wild, reckless, cunning, persistent, growing, stupid, capitalist, breeding, life, necessary.

The sorrow of death has one cure. More life.

Crushing sorrow has one cure. More of whatever is good. Never less of whatever is good.

Good always demands there be more of itself.

More is not always good.

But good is always more.

The only antidote to death is life—life, whose essence is to ever increase, in order to safely defy the eternal pull of gravity, entropy, and death.

The highly educated, avant-garde, misanthrope lives in constant fear, as ever-naive, ever-productive, ever-needy humanity—whether the Mozart, or the simpleton—crowd in.

The misanthrope is certain: cunning, sleepless humanity, irresponsibility breeding and increasing, is evil, and this evil can only be remedied by the misanthrope’s “quality of life.” And this “quality” always demands the faucet of humans to some degree be shut off—the “quality” of the misanthrope inevitably means one thing and one thing only: “less people.” Not less pain. Not less bullshit. Less people.

The misanthrope fancies there is no God—in exact ratio to how much he fancies he is God. The misanthrope is certain he knows happiness—in people individually, and in humanity as a whole—and the misanthrope is certain that 50 million people have a better chance at happiness than 100 million people. Not in some cases. But in all cases.

The misanthrope is obsessed with “quality,” and “quality” always translates, for the misanthrope, to “less people.”

The misanthrope asks, why shouldn’t “Nature-and-how-people-live-in-it” define human behavior, rather than “ever-expanding-human-happiness?”

The misanthrope, being a misanthrope, doesn’t want to hear the answer.

All “human behavior,” and all “how should humans behave?” questions include “Nature” by implication, and “happiness” and “expanding happiness” is the only human motivation which can possibly exist. And what is the very essence of “Nature?” It grows.

The misanthrope, in his less-is-better dream, in his desire for the immured, and the peaceful, and the self-ordered, lives in constant, anxious, tortured, indignant, superior, elitist, dread.

In person, he may not be misanthropic at all.

His learning makes him so.

 

HOW CAN I CALCULATE YOUR WORTH?

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How can I calculate your worth?

Diamonds, gold, oil, are tucked inside the earth—

To the penny we calculate their worth.

And the calculation of getting them.

Are you worth more than a gem?

Are you as rare? I got you for a smile,

And you make it infinitely clear

I cannot trade you. You’re here.

Let me be in your quiet company for awhile,

And never estimate your worth

By things we wrestle from the earth.

You’re common, and came to me with ease.

You weep; you say “thank you” and “please.”

So why are you more valuable than gold—

Which everyone wants, and which never gets old?

 

WRITING RETREAT

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Virtue grows to become vice, until it shrinks again, back to virtue.

Vice grows in stature, is virtue, and if it keeps growing, becomes vice again.

The dials of morals constantly adjust.

Vice and virtue are not absolutes.

This wildly fluctuating truth often escapes morally determined individuals—who contribute more to vice as virtuous individuals, than those, who bent on vice, accidentally discover they have done a good thing.

True condemnation must be reserved for those (usually leaders in a position to impact society) who grasp the dynamic described above, and, masking themselves in virtue, fan virtuous behavior into a conflagration of vice.

Love, for instance, is a virtue— until it becomes so predominant that it leads to hurtful promiscuity.

Selfishness is a vice, but growing into a healthy independence of spirit, turns to virtue.

Moral transformations are unpredictable, and even unruly—continually challenging our moral intelligence.

The usefulness of the Program Era—where mere students of literature were converted into students who write literature themselves—has devolved from virtue to vice.

We have gone from: “I would like to become a writer.”

To: (whiny voice) “Look what I wrote!”

Millions who fancy themselves poets (that is, every reader of poetry today) are now purveyors of harm—the virtue of curiosity for what it might be like to be a good writer, has expanded into the vice of certainty that one is a good writer.

The virtue of literature as a bridge to understanding, sympathy, and knowledge has been replaced by the vice of literature as personal soap box. The people have turned into an ignorant mob. Democracy guided by law has grown into a clamor of self-interest.

Not only do the poets ignore any writing which is better than their own—no, the situation is far, worse—they positively resent writing which is better than their own, since they fear it will usurp them and their mantra, “Look what I wrote!”

Talk about the bad chasing out the good.

Vice (for the moment) is rampaging like a flood, through all channels of poetry, to a profound degree, and the Creative Writing Industry is to blame.

In the rush to be someone, no one knows anything.  Like what a good poem is.

Quadrivium has been pushed out by trivium.

The swords and spears of rhetoric, grammar, and logic have crushed what used to be the feminine charms of poetry’s soul: geometry, arithmetic, music, and astronomy.

The virtue of literature—a beautiful device for subtle yet expansive communication within a nation of educated readers—has become the vice of literature—a megaphone for anyone with a loud voice, a sore bum and a big ego.

But this could change, and quickly.

Present vice need not be destroyed and conquered, only diminished—into a virtue.

The clamor will tire of itself, and reduce itself into a voice.

Mine.

And you will hear.

 

 

 

SOME ARRANGE THEIR LIVES THIS WAY

Some arrange their lives this way,

So it ends with sitting, exhausted, thinking of nothing.

There’s a worse way to end: bitter, blaming others,

Moving a lot, blaming others. We’re always blaming others.

So it’s not bad to surrender, I suppose, utterly defeated,

When love is inextinguishable and goes on forever

For this one person, though it didn’t work.

Blame ruins everything, even love.

Why do you want fiction, or poetry,

When you can have the real truth here?

Despair and love combine to make she and I last.

She, alone, and I, alone, just as we were in the past.

 

THE THREE TRUTHS

There are three truths. The first: society is polite

And what is right for them, for you must be right.

This is the truth of laws and what is published and said.

This is language and morality and all that needs to be read.

This is value, in the building and the gem,

These are the rules, and it’s your loss if you don’t understand them.

But there are two more truths, and these apply to you.

Your appetite, your wishes, whatever outside of society you desire to do.

And your truth, unlike society’s, is not one truth, but two.

Democratic society’s one truth applies

To all—but not to the individual; otherwise the self dies.

Those you meet who are dense, cowardly, obedient, and have no soul

Are brittle keepers of correctness; they have no art; they are apes who play a role.

Worse are those who avoid rules, and believe “I am the measure of all.”

Eccentric, controlling, crazy, their goal is to make you crawl.

But self-knowledge and understanding is the Code of Three,

The truth of laws—plus the the double truth of the self—and that would be me.

I love my country, then myself, and then myself expressed in poetry.

I love others as members, like myself, of lawful society,

Secondly, I strive for self-knowledge: what, in my soul do I want?

Thirdly, the truth of you—if I want to love you, but I can’t.

Loving and knowing the society of rules

Is necessary—but this is not the love of individuals—

The passion of sex and jealousy and psychology and murder,

Desire which kills, enslaves, eats, bites, hates law and order,

The emptying impulse, which also fills.

But even the murderer is a victim of rules and laws.

Strict obedience lives in the lion’s claws.

Poetry has one truth: the truth of you: what do you want?

The genius breaks rules for you.  But you can’t.

Escaping truth, you wandered into the shade.

You thought to escape poetry, but found out how it is made.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WHEN LOVE WAS A MOOD

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When love was a mood,

At times it was happy, at times it was rude,

At times it was crude,

When love was a mood.

When love was a thought,

I sold remorse and remorse I bought,

And sometimes we fought,

When love was a thought.

When love was a word,

It was near another and became absurd,

Or was true, but hardly heard,

When love was a word.

When love was a spell,

I wondered and pondered so it made me unwell;

I, in awe, she in her shell,

When love was a spell.

When love was a tune

It circled the moon

And we knew the distance would catch us soon,

When love was a tune.

But when love was you,

It was then I knew

Nothing was true,

When love was you.

 

 

 

THE GREAT LOVE

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The great love is always assumed to be wrong.

“I don’t want to be right,” says the passionate song.

The great love is never between two

People. “I’ll never find another you”

Is what we think, but this is true

Only because something is wrong.

The world is filled with passionate hearts,

But a heart must die before it starts.

Everyone knows inside what is right;

Intricate seeing requires some light,

But morality lives in the dead of night;

Morality guides us every day.

It is who we are. Morality never goes away.

And morality and the heart are the same,

Justice and truth, our life and our name.

The great love, as we suppose, is wrong.

It wonders at the moon. It crawls along.

It is not a decision made by the mind.

It thrills and dissembles. It is not kind.

I heard its sad, inhuman song,

Beautiful and right, ugly and wrong,

Which sounded in the squeaking of a train,

In a voice, desperate because of the rain,

A voice annoyed because of the wind,

A brittle smile refusing to give in,

A secret whisper, a pain, expressed,

Which found no comfort upon my breast.

A despair, which none could see,

Killing her will, poured over me.

A song shared with no one around

Was more than a song. It was ours. A sound.

We saw things others couldn’t see.

She looked with bewilderment at me.

Our love, waking and dying—

Was a fear of a truth, betrayed by lying—

So that our truth, only our truth,

Was the one and only proof,

That something exists which is unique,

A loneliness, terrifying and weak,

Because it moves apart

From every good and perfect heart.

 

ALLITERATION: A BRIEF ESSAY ON POETRY

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A poem is just an interesting person saying interesting things.

I don’t read Heine and Shakespeare and Keats for phrases of pretty alliteration.

The poets today describe Shelley’s statue—and then tell you what it means.

The image at the end of Ozymandias is not an image, per se; Shelley is saying something.

All purely imagist poetry is nothing but pathetic fallacy, or, if not, then it is pure impressionistic poetry, comprised of images only—which more properly belongs to painting and the eye.

Be a Japanese painter, if this is the kind of poetry you are interested in.

Critics complain of “statement poetry,” as if poetry were not the simple desire to say something—which is all it is.

Shakespeare is great because of what he says—as he adds in his art.

Like rhyme, which is avoided because it becomes sing-songy, if one doesn’t know how to do it, poets avoid statements, or speech, because they are deficient there, too. They have nothing to say.

When Shakespeare, the master, asks “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day,” he is not making that silly mistake of trying to describe a summer’s day. No poem could.

Keats, in his sonnet, “The House of Mourning,” professes the same sentiment when he rebukes Wordsworth for writing a sonnet “on Dover.”

There Dover sits, Keats is saying, and a poem about Dover is bound to fail, precisely because poets do not exist to say anything about Dover. That task is for a painter, a photographer, or a travel essayist. Nothing at all against Dover.

There are those who think song lyrics have rhyme and therefore poems should not rhyme. And they reason themselves into a corner, unfortunately: if any attempt at sound as a tool is eschewed, what is left?  Describing what we see—but pure seeing cannot be done with poetry.

We’ve seen trees, and therefore, when trees show up in a poem, we think we see them in the poem.

We don’t.

The poet has not, and never will, make us see, with certainty, trees.

The poet, every time, is saying something about trees.

But critics and readers who are sure that poetry is not someone saying something (having convinced themselves that poetry is far more subtle and attenuated) rejoice in the idea that no reader will agree with another—you do not see the same “trees” I see; correct, but instead of seeing this ambiguity as a bad thing, the ‘poetry as seeing’ error is compounded, as poetry of precise and accessible speech is rejected, and a far more insidious error arises—the one which celebrates ambiguity as a good.

Either way, the poet will go about describing Dover, naively thinking Dover (not actually depicted) really is presented—or: implicitly finding the “poetry” in the very fact that there are a million Dovers.

I have heard, countless times, readers celebrate a poem for meaning a different thing to every person, as if this obvious shortcoming were somehow a virtue. They know poetry cannot be seen. And, for this reason, are sure it cannot be understood, either.

Now poetry can see a little bit, but only in the service of poems like “Ozymandias” or “Shall I Compare Thee To A Summer’s Day?”

These poems do not attempt to describe Dover. Yet every citizen of Dover, if they can read, will read these two poems—and agree on what they say.

 

 

HALLOWEEN

The black cat explained the history

Of wardrobe, whisker, claw, and the clues

He kept dropping became

Obvious enough after awhile.

The rubber Frankenstein reminded no one

Of Mary Shelley. It was useless

To talk of origins. Vampires

Want to suck your blood

And don’t give it another thought.

It’s dark. You’re drunk.

No, really. Don’t think about it.

The witch made some good points.

Her partner, the guy dressed as a gentleman, made some good points, too.

That costume is sexy.

I wonder if it’s true?

 

LIFE IS A FOUNTAIN

Life is a fountain. To escape the mucky earth of graves

We build towers and houses and beds.

The rationalizing and intellectualizing and facebooking,

The bubble of mainstream conspiracy which keeps us aloft

Glitters, and we are crazy and wrong.

Soiled soil, who soiled you?

Few attend the poetry reading. The poet

Is slightly more psychotic than the audience.

“Introverts don’t like to explain things. Accept

Their silence.” The term “introvert”

Becomes another word for creep. Cover-up is all.

Let’s keep the shit under wraps, and pretend

Our political side is good, just because it’s best,

Or let’s send the shit flying everywhere.

Factually speaking, I don’t know whether the facts

Of the conspiracy are true, or not;

These hammy journalists don’t know either.

Partial information is quickly printed, and you decide

Whether you want to appear as the type of person

Who tends to believe in poetry, or not.

We ride the fountain. Facts don’t like facts.

We keep talking and explaining, vainly,

Going with our gut, our eyes, our wants.

Officials do things, and this becomes fact,

Even though the premise may be wildly off.

Even romance and children fail to be profound.

We even sound like a fountain.

Error keeps talking as the earth

Waits, the path—see it?—leading to a dark hole in the ground.

 

 

 

 

WHEN BEAUTY TRIES TO LOVE, WE LAUGH

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When beauty tries to love, we laugh.

The porn actress’s biggest gaffe

Had been innocent; she vocalized a love for a person

Who hated her—which led to her ruin.

She took revenge on eyes of flesh

By putting her beauty before the camera.

Venus looks good, naked, in bright light.

But look at her angry face as she pursues pleasure

Which is of no substance, and has no measure.

Films with tense, obvious beginnings, but no end,

The false paradise of the addict’s dreary end.

Your first cigarette, your first staying up all night,

All leading to “Are you alright?” when you’re not alright.

That’s why modesty stays out of sight,

Abstaining eyes which always remember.

Eternal love! False pledge!

Look at her smiling, out there on the ledge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

POETRY IS A JOKE

Poetry is a joke.

This was well established long ago

When the first clown took the stage

And the fighting stopped temporarily

And laughter was given to old age,

Laughter by poets sad and old.

Poetry is a joke. The jokes were bold.

Poetry is a joke.

This was well established long ago

When tragedy sang the pain of war,

And actors first made their sad gestures

In amphitheaters stony and roomy

For audiences gloomy, but war still went on.

Poetry is a joke.

When lyric replaced the epic

A young and beautiful person spoke,

And, to the elders amusement, dared to complain

That the young and beautiful can also feel pain,

And feel it even more acutely.

Poetry is a joke.

When letters to lovers

Were analyzed by professors

And put away in books

And words were separated from music

And all to themselves words were read mutely.

Poetry is a joke.

There’s nothing I can say—

My love is greater than the Milky Way—

To make my true love stay.

Poetry is a joke.

Ladies. And gentlemen.

I’m sorry I spoke.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HURT, HURT

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Hurt, hurt, as much as you can,

Hurt and flirt, and torture the man,

All of you women, hurt men like mad,

So I don’t feel so alone and sad,

So I won’t feel the horrible pain

Of the dying soldier who dies in vain.

Let me see pain everywhere,

To ease my wretched care.

I won’t feel alone in my crying

If other hearts admit they are dying.

The loveliest melodies sing of wrong

But I won’t be lovely in this song.

This song screams for battle,

For love to kill lovers like cattle.

For blood, and blood in the dirt,

Wars where millions are hurt,

And where the dagger hides in the shirt.

Women were invented by men,

To breed, work, and when

Their flesh is dined upon,

God—who used a virgin to make a son,

As gentle as new leaves,

Cut by bullets, when a battle heaves

Blood upwards, towards the sky—

Causes me to bleed and cry.

 

 

YOU DON’T KNOW

Image result for moon in renaissance painting

You don’t know. How could you know?

We never know what another knows.

The thing we don’t know is what the other knows.

We know the rest. The light, everywhere light goes,

The darkness, and how the darkness leaps and throws

Shadows, and everything else the movement of a shadow shows.

But we never know what the other knows.

I don’t know what she knows.

I only hope the wanting to know sweetly shows.

The music. And anything else that glows.

I want to love her and I want to know.

If only love did not quickly come and go,

And ignorance were not a prerequisite to know!

Do I complain of what must be so?

Does she have to know I know she doesn’t know?

 

 

 

 

LOVE WITHOUT WORK

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My limbs are tired. The flesh I prefer is the eye.

Heaven’s in it. It’s almost an effort to sigh.

I lie around, enjoying beauty,

The kind that’s always been there.

Another ordinary day has offered sun and air.

I don’t try too hard. I wrote her a letter.

The words didn’t make a sound. But they made it better.

I strike the match and its flame

Lights the cigarette. I will never be the same.

 

LOVE IS A BURDEN

Image result for dying in the shade in renaissance painting

Love was a silly dare.

Because it involved care.

When my lover began to not care,

She embraced it. Love is so much care

That we love it when love is no longer there.

She runs from me. I am care.

That was love, but that was where

The burden was, the heavy burden of love and care.

The memory of that bright affair

Is all we have, in our dark care.

And so that was my doom.

She got up and walked into another room

And saw how easy it was

To surrender to joy that involves no love.

Love is a burden because it is care,

And when the burden fades away,

We see why love doesn’t like to stay.

When old age starts not to care

And feels the burden of life fade,

It feels the attraction of the shade,

And then love leaves love,

And happily we see good move;

Good goes, which caused us pain,

And we lie opiated, and let all things fade,

Too lazy to be good, or explain.

She smiles—but feels so much hurt,

Poems are her only means to flirt,

Short, wise poems on the Internet,

To those she hasn’t kissed yet,

And never will, because far away

Her readers sit—and love, it may

Want things, but the burden of love can never stay.

The child grows old, and poems will say

The burden, love, will fly away

Like anything that wisely goes

Before it sees the dying of the rose,

Before it sees the dying of the king,

Who cared too much for everything.

You loved me, but there was too much care.

Love was just a silly dare,

Though I was bold, and you were fair,

As fair as the fairest flower—

Which burdened the ephemeral eye for an hour.

 

 

 

AND IF YOU DREAM

Image result for Woman dreaming in renaissance painting

And if you dream, they call it procrastination,

Which is bad, they say. You lose all, wasting time.

Yet think of all the good I did, putting off

The adventures that could kill me. I would have died of a cough

Had I been ambitious about smoking, a habit I adore,

But I was lazy. I paused. I was too late to open the store;

For then there would be customers. Like an extra pet

Who pees in defense against the other one. Affection will cause you trouble yet.

All my plans backfired when I was scheming.

The best thing that happened to me

Happened when I was looking away dreamily.

I’ve saved myself many times from love, by dreaming.

I’m glad I slept. Otherwise I would have met you,

Who would have broke my heart—dreaming was the better thing to do.

Here’s a list (on your phone) of every attraction

You possess. (A long list.) That’s why I took no action.

 

SHE PICKED ME OUT, A GENTLE SOUL, TO LOVE

She picked me out, a gentle soul, to love—

Finding a different man within—

To love rivers, slow, feeding deer and dove,

To love placid phrases and the easy grin—

Not a fighter and a rival, obsessed with her, and sin.

How could such a bashful guy, casual, and thin,

Be a mountain range of monsters within?

Did I own castles, and a fast plane?

No, I was an ordinary lingerer by inlet, weed, and lane.

I was perfect in my feeling under an urban sky,

Kissing her in a municipal park, as the ignorant walked by.

She wanted to control what, and when, she would see

Me, who honored her wishes, obediently.

Alert to her looks, and safe with the usual advice,

She knew I was a poet.  She thought poets were nice.

She didn’t like gifts. A poem costs less than a rose.

Bad poets are nice. But I wasn’t one of those.

I was a poet ready for mountain and sea,

Cleaning up the universe, for her and me.

I was a good poet. And those don’t come cheap.

Nice is nice, and I was nice. But my love made her weep.

I made her emotional. I looked at her, within.

I found sardonic pettiness, which couldn’t let me win.

She writhed and groaned under my spell

And convinced herself she was imprisoned in hell.

But she was the demon, and it was her light

Making the cave ghastly, ghastly her own eyesight.

She struggled, love’s captive, to be free.

She made that old accusation: jealousy.

But I wasn’t jealous. I was more than that.

A poet wants no rivals. I knocked them all flat.

I was more than a river, feeding deer and dove.

But she won in the end, for a poet has to love.

 

 

PUNISHMENT IS INTERESTING

Punishment is interesting.

Who gets to punish? You, or the fates?

“Getting what you deserve” fascinates.

Love is when we say, “you deserve me,”

And then we put our lover through hell,

Because we know nothing will ever go well,

And punishment happens every day;

Is that what life is? Punishment?

The worst kind is when, without a word, the one you love goes away.

The best kind?  Kissing, and then, too, there’s nothing you need to say.

Punishment is love when punishment involves two.

Death is the great ignore. Death is goodbye I don’t care about you.

Don’t die. Punish me every day. Be silent and strange.

But suffer where I can see you. Stay in range.

 

 

I WISH I WERE SAD

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I wish I were sad, sadder than I’ve ever been before,

So my heart—which is sad—could respond to these waves dying on the shore—

With a slow, somnolent, monotonous sound—

Befitting a slow symphony beginning,

O fated feeling! Sorrow wins! Sorrow will always be winning!

In half-sorrow, I stand, and watch the waves, without turning around,

Listening to their mournful, burrowing sound,

The water, dark, but the waves, hectic, and white,

As they hit the sand, the air, gray, with the coming night,

Unable to move in my sorrow, I’m aware

How I’ve always wanted to be sad, so I might dare

To be crazy and still for hours, to observe

The unfolding light in every cloud’s curve,

Nothing unfathomable, but all known

Eventually, as I look at sea and sky, alone.

But impatiently, I always feel the urge to move,

Moving on to the next thing, the only thing we love.

But besides the poet, who wants to be sad? No one.

Humiliating darkness covers the moon. I should befriend the sun.

Science has always saved me

From cold self-pity by the sea.

I once thought the moon’s phases were from the earth’s shadow.

But we see the phases, not because earth’s shadow throws

Darkness on the moon.

The moon is seen by where the moon goes

In relation to the sun, and where the observing earth is.

Night on the moon is like earth’s, not from a planet’s shadow.

My lover’s moods, or how, or if, she loves, is not a shadow of me.

Earth and moon must be dark or light, and the position of all three—

Dark moon, dark earth, and sun—determines what we see.

Love is not her or me,

It is not the earth shadowing the moon.

Love is the sun, the only light, and only love can tell if love arrives soon.

I can be sad—you made me sad—I can write poems, and crazily stare at the sea,

But also let reason—optimistically guessing the unknown—be the light for me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

POEM WITH AN IMAGE BY SHELLEY

Image result for the little devil in renaissance painting

What is life? Making toilets clean. This is what we do,

And the veneer of vanity becomes thicker

As we move up the totem, standing on this task.

Cleaning solves the old, and discovers the new.

Vain poet, the beauty you praise is not even a flicker;

There’s nothing moral or formal to know—do not ask

Useless questions. A testament,

A love, a landscape painting, a music, a law,

Exist impermanently, a paean to clean,

And if each offends, because secretly we know nothing’s permanent,

We say it’s personal taste, or poor method, but every flaw

Is ours. Vanity makes us blind and mean

To life’s true nature; the swift janitor

Is judge, poet, builder. Clean is all we are.

Smooth, uncluttered, this face in stone.

His majesty’s monument in the wilderness all alone.

 

 

 

 

 

BEAUTY TRAVELS AT THE SPEED OF LIGHT

Image result for drapery in renaissance painting

A festival’s autumn, slanting sun

Found beauty, and there was more than one

Among the young women, walking,

In comfortable clothes, makeup, not much talking.

When light shines in a beautiful woman’s eye

One sees the deepest part of woman’s beauty

And what we have always guessed appears to be right:

Beauty travels at the speed of light.

Beauty and desire have speed,

But love has a greater need:

No matter how swift the beams,

Love needs to be wise, and slow, and draped in dreams.

 

 

INSANITY IS CONTAGIOUS

Image result for insane in renaissance painting

“They fuck you up, your mum and dad” –P. Larkin

A good immune system will stop any germ,

But the mind has an interest where the body does not;

The body grows from egg and sperm,

But the mind alters the ethereal plot

Of what it is; the mind lives with other minds,

And every thought another thinks or does

Is what we are; the life my heart finds

Is you; I am what another was,

In a book’s distant past, or what

Your poem says, or you, or mine,

And all the thinking on the plot

Is reason after a bottle of wine,

The wet earth rising to greet us,

Voices resounding in a green dance,

Sense making sense of the crisis,

The soft, floating network our only chance.

I’ve noticed, in the few meetings we’ve had,

Since our love is no longer ours,

I trigger you really bad

And I am silent like the stars.

 

 

LOVE IS A LUXURY

Image result for harvey weinstein

Love is a luxury few can afford,

The greatest drug to take when you are bored,

Love is a death in the middle of your life,

The secret you keep from your friends and your wife.

Can you afford sleepless nights?

A mountain of sorrow and slights?

Call it a luxury, don’t call it mad,

Call it the greatest happiness possible when you are sad.

Call it kissing, don’t call it speech.

There’s nothing to say. When you reach

This height of luxury and cannot afford more,

Kiss her again and call her a whore.

Why is there insult? Because love is not polite.

It’s not reason. It’s not day. It’s night.

There are some things we cannot buy,

Though marriage and prostitution will try.

But love? Who can possibly purchase this?

It’s not a look, or a sudden kiss,

It’s death itself in the middle of life,

The secret you keep from friends and wife.

 

 

 

I WAS THE POET

Image result for female poets

He was unprepared for what I did.

Though deeply in love with him, I shut the door.

He thought my love was the occasion to kid,

And so I made sure we wouldn’t speak anymore.

His rank dragged him into more affection,

And he scorned me when rank was there.

His rank, not my love, gave him direction,

And I understood the nature of his care.

I heard what I needed to hear, and saw what I needed to see.

This was not politics of girl and boy,

But justice, and how the life will be.

I was the poet; mine, the height and pith.

Without respect, love is a toy,

And the soul will not be toyed with.

THE AUTUMN CROWN

Image result for autumn crown renaissance painting

The autumn crown is worn by many,

Discarded riches hiding a monarchy

Once young. Yet, even then, you found

Blind worshipers don’t stick around.

To acquire a certain amount of gold

This amount of soul must be sold,

And a feeling in your heart will be ignored,

Because your strategy was: acting bored.

You needed attention more than the rest,

And so indifference is what you feigned the best,

Because, sometimes, replaceable as we are,

We build ourselves into a rare star,

One which shines highest and apart;

And this is not done with love, but art.

You calculated the attraction

For gain, by another’s action,

Who moved towards you so fast,

You were startled, and a revery of your past

Brought you into a world of tears,

As you wept for those missing years

When all was fresh and new,

And I removed the crown from you.

 

 

 

 

 

PLAGIARISM WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE

Repeat what others say, if you want to get ahead,

Use “political” and “social” and “religious” and “marginalized”

But never say, “I think.”  You’ll be fucking dead.

The queen has secrets, and they are no business of yours.

Say “minorities” and “progress.” Don’t say, “the queen fucks whores.”

The same things keep repeating, and you will not really

Say anything original. Affect the scholarly. Don’t be touchy-feely.

Say what you are supposed to say. Say what is approved.

Repeat what the repeated have said. Otherwise you won’t be loved.

Don’t repeat what I say, if you want to get ahead.

Be as mainstream as possible, or you’ll be fucking dead.

Plagiarism defines all bad writing, which, to be honest, is nearly all of it.

The minute you try to be a writer, you’ll just be copying shit.

The greatest plagiarist is Nature, and that means

You don’t have to do anything. You can just rest in those quiet scenes.

 

 

POLITE HATE

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Since they civilized me, it has been my fate

To sleep between the covers of polite hate.

There is such a bed and there is such a life.

There is such a trap. And there is such a wife.

To sit uncomfortably and hear poetry read

By a graduate student damaged in the head.

To be smiled at by poets smoking pot

And by a lover who loves, but would rather not.

To listen long to some damn advice

Old, useless, but very nice.

To be held up in traffic slow and slowing,

To listen to a conversation and wonder where it’s going.

To think through problems and see

Solutions are in the force of the personality.

To wait quietly for the beautiful song to begin

And the interruption makes it begin again.

To examine closely the application of the paint

In the museum, and I faint.

To make them unhappy because I am late

And nothing breathes. And we wait.

The tickets are bought. I’m touring the estate.

She’s not here. I lift the ticket and check the date.

I never meant to do this. It’s not me.

But I did it. I wanted it. Gradually.

WHEN EVERY LINE IS BEAUTIFUL

Image result for statue of a goddess

When every line is beautiful,

And love honestly expressed,

Only then may the poet rest

And forget the beauty of her naked breast.

But the sleep the poet earns

Is brief; the sleepless poet learns

Honesty will never be expressed

Which gives the lover of beauty rest,

For love looks, and does not hear,

Even should poetry flow directly into the beloved’s ear.

The poet writes for himself alone.

There is no expression known

That ends the need for beauty’s praise.

The poet must praise for the rest of his days.

Once, I told her, and she understood.

“Oh my God, you are beautiful!” It didn’t do any good.

 

MOTHERWORT

Image result for motherwort

Dreaming in the garden, I lie

Between rows of flowers,

Ashamed before those with keen, scientific noses

Who know the names of flowers.

All I recognize are roses.

Motherwort is not contained

By gardens; it doesn’t grow

Where I usually go.

Or maybe this mint-like leaf,

By the path in my daily walk, is the plant they say can cure my grief.

Perhaps at my feet, where I wait

For my train, is the solution to my fate,

A cure for one who has been a victim of flowers

Which I lie among, in a melancholy state, for hours.

Since the medical properties

Of motherwort dissolve in teas,

Let me take a drink

And I’ll tell you what I think.

For the experiment to succeed

I will go on a fast—except for this herbal weed.

If it makes me glad, then, I suppose,

I will eat the plant, motherwort, and forget the rose,

And be oblivious to every pretty reason why

She, in the garden, made me cry.

 

THE IDEAL CAFÉ

The ideal café allows me to write

Quietly in the morning, and stealthily at night.

The ideal café feeds me caffeine

Which makes my mind muscular and lean.

In the ideal café, Eric Satie drops

From the speakers, and if a baby cries, the crying stops.

In the ideal café, slender girls from France

Pour the dark roast, and give me the occasional glance.

In the ideal café, the simple plate from my finished bagel can stay

For hours, and no one comes and takes it away.

In the ideal café, no one comes in

Calling my name, to argue Republicans, riots, or feminism.

In the ideal café, voices and faces

Are not voices or faces my face notices.

In the ideal café, I can see where Hawthorne wrote

Tales of castles, of ladies dancing, by cypress and moat—

Just across the broad boulevard which runs by the sea

Where the ideal café, low-slung, sits modestly.

In the ideal cafě, I can be

Barely visible, and the barely visible serves me.

In the ideal cafě, thoughts which could disturb me

Tip toe in as poetry.

In the ideal café, no one whose face, or habits, I hate

Stretches out, with a companion, mocking her fate,

And then they argue, and then talk lower, and kiss. And stay,

More in love than ever. Not in my café.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A POEM DESCRIBES NOTHING

Image result for bird on a branch in renaissance painting

A poem describes nothing. My words

Fool you. A poem is my reaction to the thing,

Not the thing. There are no birds

Who fly from branch to branch and sing.

If you want to be fooled, I certainly cannot say

You are wrong, but everything you believe here will die—

A poem is false, and a false display,

Shadows impossible to verify,

Even if what the poet is feeling is true;

A poet describes a feeling for a feeling you cannot see—

Not only is the thing invisible, the feeling can’t be seen by you

And that makes you, the reader, blind.

Why is this truth of poetry almost never told?

Since poetry isn’t history it can only be abstractly mean, or kind,

And those who are truly mean, or kind, don’t care. A poem is cold.

A poem describes nothing. And to try

Is only an insane attempt to pull off an elaborate lie,

A lie which lies about a lie which is lying,

And a bit of empathy is felt because the poetry is trying,

And that’s the best empathy can do.

People need to stop saying a poem is true.

Once, sure, you happily read

My poem. When you loved me. Well that’s what you said.

 

TO SEE HER SUFFER

Image result for abstract painting woman in black dress

To see my love suffer

Is more pleasurable than when I loved her.

There is no greater pleasure

In love, than to see one who made you suffer, suffer,

For lovers always doubt, and love can be feigned,

As easily as lovers in books are named.

She loved me and then she changed her mind,

And intentional or not, I felt it as unkind,

And now when I see her, miserable and sad,

Love, that doubted, now makes me glad,

Because pleasure in love is what we share,

And the more the pleasure, the more the love was rare.

And we, that now, in suffering, remain,

Are proof we did not love in vain.

It proves there existed mutual feeling;

The love which gave love is the same love stealing

Love, the same love, the same care,

Whether she loved truly, or was aware

Of love, when she was with me here now that she is there.

 

NOT FOR YOU

Image result for portrait of a woman in painting

Not for you, her, or the scented belief
Which carries a memory to you on a burning leaf,
Not for you, this faint chaos of smoke escaping gravity,
Not for you, the meaning attempting to escape the poetry,
Not for you, the gloom. Or this perfume.
Not for you, the vanishing memory of her room.
A memory never insinuated an odor so well.
Not for you, the love, or the look which admits it cannot tell.

Not for you, the scent, even as the scent invades
You as it did when she loved you. If memory after memory fades
Into oblivion, until a scent brings the best one back,
Not for you, this one, which now you know, but which you lack.

Not for you, the one you want,
Although this memory will haunt
Your soul inside your mind inside your heart,
Repeating the inevitable end, the inevitable start.
The crashing of the waves, and the sea, ended
When she found a love in all love blended,
Expressed suddenly and briefly, to you, in a cry
Which ran through the air and died in the ear, as all sounds die.

 

 

I LOVED YOU SO I DIDN’T NEED TO LOVE ANYBODY ELSE

Image result for cafe in abstract painting

So here I am, the great lover, confessing to be a fraud.

Not that I didn’t love you. I did. But why?

I loved you so I didn’t need to love anybody else.

I was tired of smiling at the people next door.

Every time I do a favor, I end up doing more.

I’m a nice person. I am nice and I always help.

I loved you so I didn’t need to love anybody else.

To focus on love—not just admire a bunch of things—

Is what genius is, the selfish diva who we hate—until she sings.

The more in love, the more selfish I seemed?

That was real. It wasn’t just something you dreamed.

I was writing my novel, my poetry collection;

Loving you focused me, and gave me direction.

I needed focus. That’s it. I didn’t need any help.

The true romantic puzzles us—how can they be so hot?

Selfishness—the focused laser burning continually on the self-same spot.

The world reduced to—you. Putting a great deal of things together.

I loved you so I didn’t need to love anybody else.

There’s millions of moments in a day.

Pleasure is found at the end of a stick,

Not scattered throughout the universe.

One is best. It’s sad to see millions of moments just floating away.

 

I CAN’T SPEAK OF THIS

I can’t speak of this

Here, or anywhere.

It will ruin my poem, as it ruined my poems published before;

It is for my understanding alone.

To concede you are wrong when you are wrong is sometimes wrong,

And you can make it right only in a conversation with yourself.

Wrong is wrong—poems, the public

Meausure wrong by you. Stay out of its eye.

To be seen is to die.

A lover is in the world, and I would have to write about the world, too.

Our love was love when no one knew.

 

 

 

THE MUSE NEEDS TO HATE YOU

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The Muse who hates you is the best inspiration.

Poems are work, they want to explain

How love is best, love that vacation

From real work—that work unsung, done to attain

Poetic worth, laboring for the demanding Muse.

The Muse who loves you is the one you cannot use.

This is why great poetry comes from the past

When monster Muses refused to let the poets rest.

The pagan Muse fought for every advantage,

The glittering eyes of cruelty

Denoting desperate, beautiful beauty,

Beauty of strenuousness and rage,

Any preoccupation with children, infernal,

The mother Muse mocking men who sought the Muse maternal.

When the Christian era came,

The chaste Muse brought the poets fame.

But in today’s irreligious age, chastity might as well be hate.

I love the Muse who loves me, who doesn’t make me wait.

You permit me to write as you sit right there,

My writing fingers entangled in the tangles of your very hair.

Then my poetry dies in the depth of your kisses and your care.

 

 

 

 

 

 

NEVER TELL YOUR LOVER

Image result for forest in renaissance painting

Never tell your lover you love love.

She will think her eyes

Must compete with a whole forest of sighs,

Each sigh betokening music.

She will think her one face

Must be compared to a human race

Of faces—when you tell your lover you love love.

She will think her mind

Must exist in differences gently, or be unkind,

And she will have to stand blindly

As the world sighs upon you kindly,

And each sigh of the forest, perpetual,

Will bring, each morning, a new nuptial.

She will know the spring, with its silver floods,

Will laugh beside her dark moods,

If you tell her you love love.

She will think the flood of sighs that pours

Over you, compares with how she adores.

She will think her own sighs

Will be compared to all—and comparisons never die.

For her, sighs will turn to roars.

Her face, she thinks, must lie

Beside a world of faces: even yours.

 

 

WHY IS EVERYONE SAD

Image result for sad face in renaissance painting

Why is everyone sad? I know

Everyone is sad. They are sad wherever I go.

The girls are sad, who soon have breasts,

Lovely childhood gone, bringing grownup jests

And cruelty, and if she isn’t rude,

With a sad passivity she suffers the crude

Scenes creating scenes of shrinking space

For the crude, idiot, laughing, face,

The infantile, consumer, lout grinning,

In football jersey, because this side is winning.

And women of middle age more sad,

From this, if not completely mad.

Dignity defeats misery if it can,

But woman can’t, if it doesn’t live in a man.

Everyone is sad if the woman is sad.

She seeks good taste in loveliness,

Beauty brave in nails, face, and dress,

Which the male ignores. Woman

Cultivates woman and ends less human.

There’s her poems, describing suicide,

Rape, unpleasant men, to make poetry hide.

And if a man is smooth,

The woman fears to move.

Why is everyone sad? Death?

No, death’s a pleasant slumber—it does not explain every sad heart beat and breath.

Those in power, sad, knowing it will soon be gone,

And to have no power is misery.

You? You feel irritation at every little thing.

Your plant by the water has stopped drinking.

I wish I knew what made you sad, but my

Sad meditation itself is why

You don’t talk to me anymore.

But who knows there won’t be more sadness in store?

Oh silent one! Every dream I had

Was happy. But somehow I am sad.

Oh misery! I have too much to say.

The sad are dancing, dancing far away.

 

 

 

 

 

NOT FROM HERE

Image result for abstract painting train

Not from here, this train,

Nor the darkness we hurtle through,

The sun going down, I don’t have to explain;

We all know the sun is miles away,

And the conductor, is he from Spain?

These passengers, or you, or you,

Not from here, these commuters,

Already from another day

Spent, huddled with their phones and computers,

Not from here, expertise or parts,

The communication, the view,

Not from here, but here is coming due,

Not from here, but here, sentimental hearts,

I am here, here, moving into ear shot

Of the one I love,

The night, a blot,

Even as she, there, continues to move.

TOURIST PICTURES

Image result for salem ma

I am in tourists’ pictures,

Since I walk around my tourist town,

Pictures I will never see,

Taken by tourists with me in them, accidentally.

They come to see the seven gables; the Seven Gables is famous in a book.

One thing tourists know how to do is look.

Because elephants live in books

And elephants are few,

And elephants need to eat leaves,

They may come to your town, too.

My town is by the water, which watered the tourists’ dreams:

Old World cliffs. New World streams.

I see them peering at maps, and guessing which way they should go,

Following the sea’s edge to the lighthouse;

The moss stinks, and the tide is low.

They spy a heron in the shallow harbor,

Bending its legs in the green water,

Or is that me? Tomorrow a picture will know.

 

 

TRUE POETS DON’T NEED TO WRITE POEMS

Image result for orpheus

True poets don’t need to write poems.

Not being a true poet, I give you this.

Poems need their poets, and so the rumor started

Crazy rumor! That poems mark the poet,

And next to a sad poem you find a poet, broken-hearted.

But the true poet weaves

True poetry in the leaves,

True poetry in the way your eye

Looks, before beauty makes you cry.

The true poet creates the sea

And the stormy look of the sea,

And says things I’ve already forgotten,

Which she once said to me.

True poetry brings her right here,

Where to write a poem would just seem queer.

 

YOU OWNED A BEAUTY

 

Image result for abstract painting green

You owned a beauty—

And while you owned it, I fed

On your glories, but now you live,

Without me, and your beauty has fallen dead.

You hated memories and pictures,

For the picture was you;

But now your beauty is a memory,

Which means you are no longer true.

I have no pictures,

For you gave none to me.

I have a poem, or two.

Would you like to see?

 

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