NOW, FROM THIS ISLAND

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Now, from this island,

I see where I was wrong.

I thought there was an ocean.

I believed storms on this ocean were strong.

Rocks and paths were hidden—double

Uncertainties of blue mist appeared like ocean trouble.

It seemed to me the jungle slope

Was steep, and further into the rain, I lost hope.

My mind was a gusty unknown

As I traveled the island alone.

I didn’t know she was on the land

Attached to the island; we could stand

Anywhere. I could apologize.

Sand was in my eye.

There’s no island.

 

 

 

 

 

 

WIT FOR FLUTE AND ORCHESTRA

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Wit’s relationship with me

Is my relationship with you

In poetry; this is what poetry

Is; this defines what I do.

Poetry I do all alone,

But with it, I can play any tone.

I can be more myself with it than with you.

I heard of someone, today, who,

Worked all his life, and, at the age of seventy two,

Had no one—no one!—to leave his money to.

So I am going to write this poem to you.

We can’t live naked; Wallace Stevens doesn’t  fit

In nature; we need a roof—and wit.

Labor is necessary all the time.

The sun is hot, and into the sun we have to climb.

This tragedy of commuting we cannot share

With anyone, and if we should so much as stare

At someone else with desire, it’s called a crime.

But most desires are passing; only wit

Saves us. This poem is my gift which wraps it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

OWNED

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The artist wants to own what he sees,

The poet wants to own what he hears,

Like I wanted to own you,

You, and all your fears.

But the painter and the poet find

There is too much to own—none of it will be owned.

Ownership, in creation, is the first thing that is barred.

Poetry is not war. In poetry, peace and forgetting are.

Put the painting away. Whatever is wanted is marred.

Of course I want to own all this.

But who owns the last moment’s kiss?

Do you remember when I held you and every living flight of your face was mine?

Do you remember when I loved you in the flowers, and we drank the shadowy wine?

The mind wants to own the body.

The body wants to own the mind.

Why are the more than loving always the less than kind?

I can have this, but only if it doesn’t do anything and it’s blind.

We find there is too much to lose,

So much to lose—that nothing is finally lost.

The body is immense and the mind doesn’t know what to choose.

Take my hand! It’s mine, but now it belongs to you.

I am gone. The distant mountains are blue.

Did you miss me? I’ll find something else to do.

Of course I want.

Do you remember when I held you and every living flight of your face was mine?

Do you remember when I loved you in the flowers, and we drank the shadowy wine?

 

 

 

 

GOD

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God, you must be hiding a lover somewhere.

God, tell me the truth, I’m in despair,

Tell me, tell me, what did you create?

The human? I am one. But look at this template.

I thought the human was the creation, but no;

People? Am I a person? With eyes and words? I don’t know.

You are hiding a lover. Can I say this? I think I can.

The template isn’t human. It’s woman and man.

People don’t exist. We are one of two.

And I want the other one. Tell me what to do.

They are all the same: they surrender with a sigh.

And before that and after that they coldly go by.

WHAT IS MADNESS

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Madness is caused by too much goodness.

When I was bad, I relaxed and loved.

Too much goodness is madness.

The thesis may be difficult to prove,

But it’s true: sanity is when you don’t give a fuck:

I’m still in love with her; she’s moved on.

Years later I still obsess about her, because

She doesn’t give a fuck. I was her pawn.

I was afraid to make her angry. She was always angry.

I was loving and good and never let myself be angry with her,

Until one day, I got really angry at her

Because I never let myself be angry with her,

And I did something stupid and lost her forever.

I’m the crazy one because I still love her

And she’s sane, because she doesn’t give a fuck.

She didn’t give a fuck about anything.

She wanted to be anonymous. Kissing her

Was like kissing water. I knew her

Not to want anything: kids, career,

Art, she didn’t want to make anything,

Didn’t want to leave a mark.

Smile or frown, she liked to disappear into the dark.

Not giving a fuck is why she’s sane—

She continues with her pretty life.

She’s gone, and yet I love her—my caring is my pain.

I never knew someone so sane, so beautiful.

And this was because she didn’t give a fuck,

And I was expendable, another source of her rage;

She cared, like the rest, about looks, about age,

But to care that we care is what makes us insane;

And everyone knows love is the worst madness of all.

The good care, and this defines madness.

Not caring protects one’s happiness and gladness.

The bad can fall into ruin, it’s true,

But they ruin their body, and don’t lose their mind when they do.

The self-centered are sane—the things they care about are few.

The proof is seen in religion—don’t religions seem completely mad?

Fanciful, superstitious, yet strict, sadly seeking to make people less bad?

The good find it difficult to reconcile

The bad with the religious desire for good—since the world is bad all the while;

The world, which doesn’t give a fuck,

Makes those who care too much—simply out of luck.

By all that’s sane and beautiful! If only she would kiss me again!

Exactly as before! When she seemed to give a fuck, back then.

THE TROUBLE WITH JEALOUSY IS THAT IT LOVES

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“I’m just a jealous guy”–John Lennon

~

The trouble with jealousy is that it loves,

Holds on sweetly, sweetly as it loves,

Finds grace in the small spaces where it loves,

But it holds onto pictures, and spies

On things it should not spy on; who loves

Without jealousy, or looks into just one pair of eyes?

The trouble with jealousy is that it knows

Love is not love; love constantly pretends

Love loves, love is loyal, and loyalty never ends.

Jealousy loves, even as it looks

Into homes, gardening tools, trash compactors, books.

Jealousy holds aloft the pulled weed,

Calculating necessity and speed

Of putting gardens in order; nature’s high need

Is thick in the margins of every property,

Where jealousy looks, as far as the eye can see.

 

 

 

FEELINGS AND FACTS, OR: OTHELLO FIGURES IT OUT

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Feelings, such as jealousy and fear, are extremely common, and those who say all sorts of negative feelings don’t exist in their heart from time to time are lying.

There has been a tendency in our day to give subjective feelings a great deal more importance than they deserve. 1. We sometimes get so worked up about our feelings about feelings, we make them more important than actual crime—slander, for instance. 2. We work up such a hatred for negative feelings, which are nonetheless very common, we often mistake negative feelings for negative actions; we mistakenly believe feelings permanently mark someone’s character—they do not.

Feelings are ephemeral—they only have the potential to influence our actions; and negative feelings are common; they belong to everyone. So why do we assume feelings are more important than they are? Ironically, if you believe the falsehood that negative feelings are highly influential and corrupt, you give feelings more influence, just with your belief.

But here’s the truth.

Laws—rules which govern and punish negative actions—form the essence of a fair and just society.

And laws are based on facts, not feelings.

Hard evidence is necessary to convict.

If you hate X, this is not proof that you have harmed X.

Negative feelings—let’s take the most obvious one—hate:

Hate is not only common feeling, but it may reflect a good: as when we hate what is bad or disgusting.

Let’s look at a typical example using a negative emotion: jealousy. We are all jealous, and, depending on information, vague or otherwise, which may come our way, we all can be very jealous from time to time. Feelings of jealousy, however, like hate, or other negative feelings, are just feelings. It is not a crime to feel jealousy, and, if you have jealous feelings, this does not mean that you are a “jealous person.” Someone may be making you jealous. The only thing which feeling jealous means, is that you are having jealous feelings. It does not mean you will harm or attack or stalk or harass anyone.

And further, if anyone accuses you of harassment, simply because you express feelings of jealousy, the feelings of jealousy which you express are not proof of anything.

The accusation of harassment, however, is actually something far worse—it is a crime. Slander.

Laws—based on actions, hard evidence, investigated and proven—have nothing to do with feelings. The phrase, “cold-blooded killer” comes to mind. In a just society ruled by “laws, not men,” facts are observed, and arguments are based on facts; feelings have little importance. A jealous lover can make an accusation, and the jealousy of the accuser is not the issue; only the facts surrounding the accusation matter. And if the accused is jealous? This doesn’t matter, either. In the law, subjective feelings do not count.

Ideologies which pre-judge—feminism, for example—increase the tendency to radically over-estimate feelings as signs of truth. Men who happen to have negative feelings for a certain amount of time are tagged negatively forever, as the ideology “proves” its case, as generalized, unexamined slander expands and grows. Another example (gaslighting) would be if a man were cheating on his wife and he made her feel like a jealous person, simply because she had jealous feelings.

Feelings can be very powerful things. When people begin to believe that having a few jealous thoughts is proof that one is a permanently “jealous person,” one can easily see the potential for mass psychological harm.

 

 

 

CAN A POEM BE HAPPY, AND TELL THE TRUTH, TOO?

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Can a poem be happy, and tell the truth, too?

Love, there is no truth except as it relates to you.

So this poem must find a way to make you happy

And praise is what love loves; the world, flattery.

So I’ll ask love how to praise you best

Before my eastern poem travels sadly to the west.

A poet only praises if the poet has seen, or heard,

A sensory delight, and can turn it into a word.

A poet praises—so happiness can also be true;

The sun, light, word, earth—turning in you.

A poet can only praise what love in love has done.

Love, tell me, as the horizon in the west ascends to the sun,

How does love look to you? Look! Cloudy, hungry, skies

Cover the sun. Mother! Accept what’s seen by your child’s eyes.

Praising mother cannot be done.

The origin of love and words are hers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FOLLY

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I saw the folly of others—

And said what I saw.

I hated law breakers.

I loved the law.

I rebuked the folly

Of others drinking wine.

I was perfect.

But now the folly is mine.

I fly to folly, and sing with folly.

And all the times I couldn’t,

I could, with Molly.

Molly showed me folly.

Molly showed me wine.

I break laws with Molly,

And folly and Molly are mine.

 

POETRY MAKES ME UNHAPPY

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Poetry makes me unhappy.

It makes me not me.

It’s easy to imagine and say

Night lives in the beautiful day.

Like a hypnotist, poetry can tell

Me I’m sleeping, and things are not well,

And I should remain sleeping

And in my imagination end all horror and end all weeping.

I’m happy after the poem is done;

I slept beneath a sleeping sun.

I danced—and the people saw

The poem and its poet are a law

Unto themselves. I still dance.

I still love. I still laugh. In a trance.

 

 

 

THE BEST

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Honor the best.

The best saves us all.

It appalls you to experience it?

Let it hypnotize you and appall.

Let it murder your pride, individual.

The best saves us all.

I was forced to admit she was beautiful,

Breasts, hips, large; oh! waist small;

A face unparalleled; I cannot turn away,

Ashamed to know a sight wins my heart,

A truth unable to admit, and only in a poem, say.

We only live because of the best.

It kills the pride in all the rest,

Making them run to the banal,

Which has its place, like the beautiful.

The king of kings made me see

I’m not that great. And now I’m free.

I NEVER GIVE OUT MY TRUE LOVE’S NAME

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I never give out my true love’s name.

Is love my god? My god is shame.

In the dreaming garden I walked along,

Too ashamed to sing a song.

Love may be the moon, smooth and bright.

But shame rules the details of the night.

All I whisper when no one’s there

From my true heart? Shame doesn’t care.

The sad images which lie in my heart

Belong to love. But shame rules my art.

Shame rules all I see and hear.

Love hides. Never spoken. Though here.

Shame lives with millions. Do I blame

Love? Shame is not afraid of love. Shame

Is an army of poetry. Shame is not afraid.

Do not love your love, he said. And I obeyed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

THIS POEM NEEDS MUSIC

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This poem needs music,

Beautiful and new,

If this poem would say

All it wants to say to you.

A melody is what it wants—

A melody that haunts,

A melody making sure

Thought is profound and pure

In presentation and intent,

Like a meadow harmonized with a tent.

There is food within,

And water and wine

And in birdsong and shadow you and I may dine.

The harmony of melody

And words, saying

“I love you,” needs a quartet playing.

The scene I paint might be

A shore with trees, to aid the melody,

As you and I speak of the beach

(Love, sweetly, just out of reach)

Where figures of betrayal stand. Do we stay?

And leave Shelley where he lay?

 

 

 

NOBODY WANTS WHAT THEY WANT

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I’ve changed my mind—I don’t need all the freedom I had.
I wanted fun, but why is fun always seen as bad?
I’ve changed my mind—I don’t need all the freedom I had.

I guess I don’t want to go out and see everybody there.
I made one little joke—and now everyone has to stare?
I guess I don’t want to go out and see everybody there.

I really don’t like him now; I thought he was funny at first,
But now I see humor which turns ugly is absolutely the worst.
I really don’t like him now; I thought he was funny at first.

Love will upset you if it lives in your mind, even if it goes in peace.
If I dump my boyfriend and he still loves me I will call the police.
Love will upset you if it lives in your mind, even if it goes in peace.

I want to get out of this but I love him so much.
I have trouble with words. I have trouble with touch.
I want to get out of this but I love him so much.

I think I love winter. I don’t want it to be spring.
I want this color, and I want to say this thing.
I think I love winter. I don’t want it to be spring.

I’ve been a little unsure since he removed his hat.
I wanted to take from this hour and I wanted to give to that.
I’ve been a little unsure since he removed his hat.

I need to leave. This scene is too urban and loud.
Thinking of safety in numbers, I selected this crowd.
I need to leave. This scene is too urban and loud.

I had a chance to take off my clothes. But now I want them on.
I followed him into the clouds. Now the mountain and the sun are gone.
I had a chance to take off my clothes. But now I want them on.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I WAS GENTLE AND TRUE

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I was gentle and true.

But she was not.

So pardon me that I’m not as gentle with you.

She was untruthful and unkind

So I’m not saying what’s exactly on my mind.

She was someone I cannot forget

So I’m not able to love you yet.

I was upright and true.

I don’t know if I can be so with you.

Through her love I learned

To hate. I would perish if I burned;

Feeling love again with that fire,

I would only mock my highest desire

With that which never loves as it should,

Because she was bad—and I was good.

If I love you, I will not call her,

I will only call out your name,

But it can never, never be the same,

And our love will be a little smaller.

Our love will have an understanding

And, when under the trees we kiss,

It will be a yearning for love both of us miss,

And the kiss for that will be the kiss for this.

Under those scented trees, will a great love stir,

When you kiss madly what is gone, and I think of her?

What will you feel as I lean in to kiss you?

That love is sad? And can never be new?

 

YOU CAN’T DEFEAT THE PATRIARCHY

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You can’t defeat the patriarchy.

It takes too many forms, it lives

In too many ways, the forms

Zeus used invade you innocently enough,

Crowning your sight with objects and vistas,

Animals, scenes, sunsets, infinite,

A funeral pyre’s burning death

Closing your eyes, shortening your breath,

The empty ache of all desire never

Satisfied, except when hate and fear

Run you far away from here

Where never-ending change

Decides how far desire may range,

Which otherwise remains in bed

Curled up with flesh, sleepy and fed.

 

 

 

 

WHY DID YOU LOVE ME ONCE

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Why did you love me once, and never again?

Love should be like the sun and send

Light interminable. First you loved me as a friend,

And friendship is so close to love, love

Thinks friendship is what love is, but if it was,

I did not know. A thief is called a thief because he steals,

But I wanted you to take from me. The lover feels

Everything is stolen, as light steals away from the sun,

The orb of all light giving out its light to only one,

Giving, giving, giving. And still it is the sun.

But add to this blind burning, one belief,

The sun becomes responsible. And you became a thief.

They told me you missed my light when you were in your bed.

In the knowledge of your window you saw the moon instead.

They said as you were walking down the avenue

You smiled. To be speaking. And the speaking wasn’t you.

The sun can be everywhere, but I was asleep.

Love can be everywhere. Lights into the libraries creep.

As friends, our next step was love—love is when friends touch

Out of their friendship—light isn’t light so much

As something slower and more solid, the mortal hit,

A palpable hit. We did this once, and then you quit.

You wanted the dark earth to be once more, the sun,

A light, only, a light, too light, shining its light on everyone.

 

 

 

 

REALITY

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Reality becomes a play

As soon as you say

Anything about it. In that room

Is the consciousness of war, death, the doom

Of innocents, all in that room.

As soon as you take a picture of the ape,

You can say the human is just something on tape.

The rumor of the image

Is true, once you film the mirage.

The moment Cleopatra hated a man

Who loved her, map-making began.

Isn’t this poem true?

Now that it’s been read by you?

By the time you see the video, sorrow

Will exist, or not exist, tomorrow.

Here is the building. Now you can prove

Anything can be built. Even love.

 

 

 

 

WHY DO I THINK

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Why do I think of you
When I am dead to you,
Having done something terribly wrong?
Why does this fetid pond keep singing a song?
Why do I keep thinking of you,
My thoughts as numerous as drops of dew?
Your kisses were fresh water to me, but now I get nothing from you.
How is this swamp living?
My love is a spring which keeps giving,
And you, who hate,
Will love me again, just wait.
What I did wasn’t really that wrong.
You think of me, I know you do, and my song.
Away from each other, our love festers,
Or maybe it ages, like wine.
And one day, we’ll get massively drunk—
And you and I will be fine.

 

THE LOOKED AT

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The looked at never look;

For looking is a lonely thing.

If you are looked at, you have friends,

Awards come after you, and a ring.

But the eyes look on horror when you are trapped and only see.

Looking is a trapped state. It isn’t free.

The looked at are blessed, and it’s why

You take so long at the mirror and even your eye

Is looked at—even your eye doesn’t look.

Your eye is beautiful. And blind words grace this book,

Triumphant, for every reader looks this way:

Into night’s book, which posits lovers in the day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE INFORMER

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Now that I’ve told you everything,
I presume you will use more care.
No need to thank me. I informed you because I trust you.
You seem to understand by now the transfer of information
Is as important as the information,
And I’m happy to see you coming to that understanding.
I think we can be happy, because as important as our jobs are,
Happiness is still important, and I mean that sincerely.
We have many important things to accomplish,
But the burden need not kill us; we can occasionally have a drink,
And I promise I’ll always be as honest with you as I can.
You don’t have to share everything you’re thinking,
But I hope you’ll share what’s important,
And I pray you’ll try to understand my eccentricities;
I promise to keep it as simple as I can when I tell you what makes me happy.
I don’t have anything more to say. Do you?  Cool.

~

[note: this is not a “found poem,” but entirely original—the reader may find it vaguely corporate or evil—or funny]

HATE IS A RIGHT

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The Left in the U.S. today has sought to justify its increasing extremism by calling whatever it disagrees with “hate speech.”

The terrifying lack of logic (the Left drips with hate for Trump—so is it censoring itself?) is easily parried.

Hate is a right.

There is no loving without hating.

Feelings of disgust (hatred) contribute, directly, or indirectly, to all valid aesthetic responses.

This aesthetic truth—that feelings of hate and disgust are requirements for appreciating art—is self-evident.

Aesthetics is based on liking certain things—and to dislike certain things belongs to the same coin.

Truth in art (since everything we mean by the word “art” is what is practiced by human beings) easily translates into truths of other social activities—such as politics.

Art influencing politics (and science) does not happen often, these days—the general public doesn’t trust art since Modern Art’s inscrutability became the rule.

The condescending platitudes of the 20th century art professor (think of John Dewey telling us “convention” gets in the way of “experience”) don’t help.

Poets (Milton) once contributed to statecraft.

Painters (da Vinci) were once scientists, and understood the connection between astronomy, geometry, and painterly perspective.

Artists and poets these days profess freedom, and that’s it—pleasant enough, but good for neither science nor statecraft.

Aesthetics cannot exist without disgust.

Love needs hate.

Hate is never a danger in itself. Violence and specific threats, yes. Hate speech is protected (by the Constitution) and should never be seen as dangerous. The free expression of hate is healthy.

If we give in to the temptation to hate hate, then hate becomes bad, and since hatred of bad things is in everyone’s heart, hate itself should never be seen as bad.

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WHEN I DISAPPEARED

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“Death of one eye is loving. Death of both is love.”  —Daipayan Nair

“Ashes & diamonds, foes and friends, are quite the same in the end.”  —Sushmita Gupta

~~~

First I disappeared, caring for myself less and less,

As I fell madly in love.

Oh God I loved you more and more and more

And everything certain became a guess,

As my known self was replaced by you.

You triumphed in love which really is a war

One wins: love, singular, alone,

Made one where there had been two.

Love has no opposition or borders; it is Eden all around,

Dissolving in one person. Shapeless bliss!

My whole self hung on the valley of your kiss,

Until a snake entered with a certain sound.

 

Then you were gone.

And loving one became none.

Then, once loving, I knew love: sad, blind, profound.

Paradise itself, in every feature,

Was now its own hell. Punishment because I needed you, and you were a creature.

How sweet and friendly and nice we were, when we were casually, two—

But now there is nothing.  No friend. No foe. No you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

YOUR BITTERNESS, MY LOVE

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You can have your bitterness

And I will have my love.

These days lovers are criminals

And haters are victims. Well, fine.

I will let my poetry in the crevices shine.

You can have your gossip in the shade;

Whatever comforts you,

Whatever little dangers the rumor mill has made,

Hold dearly in your heart, as you go, austerely,

Less happy, hourly, yearly.

Sorry. You cannot take the love I feel away.

Every day, love is what I choose.

But you won. You’re much safer than I.

The bitterness you have none can have, or want, or protect, or lose.

NEW SCARRIET ESSAY: THE CONSERVATIVE IMAGINATION

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The imaginative does not produce a series of images.

Imagination builds coherently upon—what?

The only thing it can build on—the fact.

And the fact exists as fact in only one place—the past.

“The sun will appear tomorrow” is a fact. And its truth may point to the future—but it exists, as facts do, in what has happened.

So it is with revealed religion.  For believers: Christ is sacred because He is gone.  The divinity of Christ, His future glory, depends on the fact that what He did is done.

But let’s not get led down the path of religion too far.

The important scientific point here is that fact, too, exists in what has happened.

The imaginative is conservative.

If the imaginative partakes of the new, it does so by virtue of its connection to the past.

The imagination does not produce a heap of disconnected images.

Chaos is antithetical to the imagination.

Imagination transforms the factual past into the ideal future.

The present is the framed moment of the imaginative work.

The present is over-valued: it is what the unlearned see.

This populist, hyped, over-valuation of the present is why the sacred, sublime truth must stoop to be seen.

The fact, and the rule which the fact expresses, can never be a quirky exception, or a radical new thing, for the past to be the past must be the rule, the fact (what has happened), the cause.

The cause must be substantial and obey rules—and results are just that, effects, and wholly dependent on the cause, the past, the fact—and nothing can be imaginative as a mere effect—the imaginative is that which creates images, effects, feelings—and all that we associate with the imaginative work.

Imagination, therefore, the imaginative faculty itself, is always conservative. Not by choice, or morals, or whim, but existentially so; by all the laws of the universe, the artist who is imaginative is inspired by the factual past.

Every present fact which we casually see (without our imaginations) has a fact hidden in the past which explains it—the present fact we casually see.

The imagination is this fact in reverse. The imaginative work of art explains the past with the present.

Imagination is that which explains the past with some arrangement in the present—the arrangement is the bridge—which makes past and present one, informing the temporal mind.

Ordinary facts, experienced in the present—unlike works of the imagination—hide the past from the the eye which is not expert, or highly discerning. We are fooled by the present fact—react to it only as fact. The imagination is the corrective to this.

What the imaginative loses in present factual-ness it gains in its conservative attachment to cause—to an a priori existence of a past understood precisely because it is the past. Imagination literally creates from fact even as the imagination is not the fact, because imagination takes its identity by the fact that it is not the fact.

We can see by this reasoning that the imagination is what we use to grasp factual reality.

For if one keeps adding present facts to the receiving mind, or the senses, in the present, one will never reach an explanation of the facts—one just keeps adding facts. Adding facts does not get to the fact behind the fact—only the imagination, the faculty which takes the past and leaps with it into the future—with a resting, stop-over discreetness in the present (the art work)—knows and grasps and understands the reason for the facts. Only the imagination is able to glimpse, through hypothesis, what the factual past planned.

TOO MUCH TALK RUINS LOVE

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Too much talk ruins love.

Does she let you keep talking?

Be quiet. Or you’ll be walking.

If you unfurl all you have to say

Love, who looks, who loves looking, will silently turn away.

Love is wordless.

Look more. Speak less.

Love is the deer in the shade.

Love is not what a man with a camera made.

Love is not the swelling music and the try.

Love is the deer who in silence ambles by.

Love is not something you did.

Love is not how you lecture, or kid.

Love is the mist of ignorance

Where she laughed once and you haven’t seen her since.

Love is the shape hidden in a book

Taking her gaze. And there, for a long while, she will look.

The eye is the avenue of love.

And what travels down that avenue

Is her face, when she turns away from you.

 

LOVE ONLY LOVES

Image result for the mountains in renaissance painting

Darling, describe your stubbed toe,

Not your success. Your success everyone will know.

Talk to me about your minor pains,

The sad ones no one understands.

Love only loves when it is low.

Your smile and your goodness belong

To the world. Look at all your photos.

The world has written you a song.

Darling, I will listen to your saddest woe,

The smallest mishaps which make your sadness grow.

The festivities are over. You’re famous. Let’s go

Into the mountains where no one is famous.

There is fresh air

Where none care.

Kiss me. Don’t mention your success.

Or my success. No one needs to know.

Love only loves when it is low.

 

 

 

SEX ROBOTS GO TO WAR

Image result for CYBORGS BLADE RUNNER

I’d rather have a Paper Doll to call my own than a fickle-minded real live girl

“Paper Doll” —Lyrics written by Johnny Black 1915, recorded by The Mills Brothers 1942

Get this. The song “Paper Doll” (“when I come home at night she will be waiting, she’ll be the truest doll in all the world”) was composed during WW I and recorded during WW II—two of the more famous international wars of mechanical ferocity—which killed people in great numbers on one hand, and killed chastity in a great number of people on the other—in the western, 20th century disruption of simple, misty, village existence.

The automobile, the cinema. Also hordes of young, robust male soldiers far from home occupying men-depleted foreign towns.

Wars promote murder—and sex.

The man who sleeps with many women, or who desires many women, is not looking for the elusive one, for you don’t need to search for love sexually.  The man who sleeps with many women is escaping the heartbreak of losing “the one.”  “The one”—love and sex living together in one person.

Men all want one love—after the mother, the wife.  All men treasure monogamy with the woman of their dreams.

It is often said humans are not monogamous. This is a falsehood. They are monogamous. They always behave monogamously, even when sleeping around.

The Casanova is a former saint—whose heart was broken by a “fickle-minded real live girl.”

Men, then, are monogamous, and faithful marriage, reflecting what men want, is not a prison, but a paradise.

Unfortunately, war—promoting murder and sex—invades the garden and ruins the dream.

Women, angels who pity and care for men as part of their love for all, mercifully do what they can—to improve the lot of males crushed by circumstance.

Some women genuinely pity males—those males whose ideals have been ruined and who cry out for “paper dolls.”

Or, as we hear in the news today, not “paper dolls,” but “sex robots” (!!) which are said to be just around the corner, if not already here. (!!)

Seductions—by real women, paper dolls, robots, fantasies in the head, or pictures on the wall.  It really doesn’t matter. These are merely the effects of the tortured, miserable, heart-broken male.

Women, for the sake of these devastated men, invented Fickle-ism, a set of accepted behaviors in which women get to be fickle, and not virtuous.

Fickle-ism was invented to save men’s pride: “she left you, not because of your shortcomings, but because women are like that—they are fickle, they can’t be true, they sleep around, they have the attention span of a child. So don’t blame yourself. Go ahead and sleep around yourself. Hurt a woman, in turn. It’s okay. People sleep around. They like sex. That’s what they do.”

Fickle-ism soothed the male ego, a male ego crushed by ruined idealism—the belief in faithful marriage and monogamy.

If the ideal—the “woman of your dreams”—is impossible, at least salvage a little pride for those boys, those idealists, those good men, who really did want love, and who have tasted profound despair.

Fickle–ism often goes by another name.

Feminism.

This month two important Feminist Zeitgeist books have arrived on the market:

Camille Paglia, a pro-porn, anti-feminist, warhorse (the genders are different—Rousseau is wrong: nature, not society is the most important trope when it comes to genders—feminism wrongly makes women “equal” to men while at the same time pushing them into danger) has published a new book (a collection of old essays, actually) called Free Women, Free Men: Sex, Gender and Feminism

Laura Kipnis is a film professor at Northwestern, who recently got into some Title IX trouble where she teaches.  Her just-released book, Unwanted Advances: Sexual Paranoia Comes To Campus, documents today’s “sexual paranoia on campus.”  According to Kipnis, women on campus are being turned into helpless victims, into easily-triggered children, and feminism, which seeks to empower women, is, in the name of advancing women’s rights, actually turning back the clock to an era of women as helpless damsels in distress—-and she pins much of the blame on the Department of Education’s hyper-feminist Title IX funding reality (no school will bite the hand that feeds it) expanded to a hyper-sensitive degree in 2011 by the Obama administration.

Kipnis points out that males are fighting back, in court, with lawsuits, against current, repressive, paranoid, feminism in the universities.

Kipnis is a Freudian. She believes in repression as Freud defines it. Taboo sex with siblings and parents is something she’ll explore in her classroom. She admits to sleeping with “a professor or two” as a student. All part of student life, as she sees it.

Kipnis thinks it’s okay for professors and students to have sex.

A male professor at her university lost his job—he got drunk with a female student (who was below the legal drinking age) on an art gallery “date” and the student stressed out afterwards (she ended up at his apartment) and brought a complaint.

Kipnis defends the professor.

The stories by professor and student of what happened on the night in question differ. But both agree they were at a jazz club, at midnight, and they were drunk, and kissing. Kipnis spends a lot of time on minor details of the evening and feels the student lied about some things.

The basic facts, however, clearly point to a professor’s behavior not in keeping with the idea of a university.

It’s a mystery how anyone can condone professors drinking, or sleeping with, students.

Let’s ask: What is a university?

Simply it is this: Professors assigning work and grading students for that work.

There is no university worth the name if professors don’t do this job.

A student may attend college and not do school work. That’s her choice. The university still exists if a student attends, and chooses not to be studious.

But if the professor drinks with the student—what is that?  That’s no longer a university.  It’s something else.  And if a professor has sex with a student?  That’s not a university, either.  How can a transcript of grades from that university be trusted? How can we trust any grade the professor awards that student?

As a Freudian, Kipnis believes there’s always a danger to forbidding something—you make it more alluring.  Perhaps murder (or sleeping with your mother!) has a certain attraction for some, because it’s forbidden—but that’s no reason not to have laws against it.

Kipnis writes that it was not until 2012—very recently—that her school forbid professors from dating students.  This is pretty shocking.  Should it be okay for professors to date students?  Really?  And Kipnis doesn’t like the new rule.  She thinks college students are old enough to date whom they choose, and that young women should not be treated like vulnerable, helpless creatures. Kipnis, believing herself a good feminist, doesn’t think women need to be protected from men, except, of course, when the man is a criminal rapist.

Paglia is different.  She believes all men are rapists at heart. This is how nature made them. Paglia believes women do need to be careful.  She believes women are powerful femme fatales with sexual allure. They are not, nor should they try to be, just like men.  Paglia laughs at the idea that gender is a social construction.  Nature, red in tooth and claw, rules the night, according to Paglia.

On college campuses, the following is definitely on the rise: a woman (often drunk) will sleep with a guy, and then decide he “raped” her, and accuses him—and the guy’s life is destroyed.

Kipnis believe this is what happened to the professor—in the case she examines in her book, Unwanted Advances, the case which she referenced earlier in a Chronicle of Higher Education article—which brought feminist protests against her, fueling the eventual publication of Unwanted Advances.  Kipnis is reasonable—she concedes the professor made some poor choices, and can see why the university had to let him go; but she does go to a lot of trouble, a great deal of trouble, it seems, to defend him, and makes the case that a troubled, man-hating, feminist student used the college rules to destroy him.

Kipnis believes the feminists who hate men and cry rape at every chance are out of control.  No one would disagree that false cries of rape and abuse are wrong.

As a feminist, Kipnis believes feminism has gone too far, and is making women weak.

Kipnis thinks women should be strong, independent, curious, and ambitious—and sleep and drink with whomever they want.

Paglia would say this is naive.

There are three things at play here.

One, Actual rape, or whatever is objectively and measurably criminal—which everyone condemns.

Two, Sex, and the whole range of regrets, recriminations, doubts and misgivings which might come to light afterwards—and the question of who is having sex with whom.

And finally, Institutional Integrity.  Which cannot exist if professors sleep with students.

Number two (Sex)—and, with Kipnis,  Number three (Institutional Integrity) is where Fickle-ism, or Feminism strongly gets involved, and tends to mess everything up.  Women are feminist—that is, they are fickle.  Free and unpredictable.  Just like guys.

People tend to be free and unpredictable.  Sure.  Agreed.  But this is not the point.  Free to do what?  Unpredictable in what ways?  Only the context makes the “free” good or bad.

The fickle is never, in itself, good.

To repeat.  Women were being good to men when they invented Feminism—or Fickle-ism.

Fickle-ism, as we’ve seen, salvages men’s pride.  You got your heart broken? She left you? Don’t feel bad.  Women are free agents. Women are not passive flowers for men’s enjoyment. They have their own minds. They are wanton, indecisive, free, and fickle.

But men don’t need this.

Men need to accept it if they are rejected by a woman.  There’s always a good reason why.  It’s not because women are fickle. Or stupid. Or bad.

Not that men and women will not be fickle sometimes, make bad choices, or make cowardly choices.  But when it comes to laws and rules, feminism and fickle-ism should never be a factor.  Laws should not promote bad behavior, but good behavior.

Bad people making mistakes and bad choices will always be a problem.

But bad laws are far worse.

Kipnis is correct to push back against the excesses of police-state feminism.

She is utterly wrong, however, to object to the rule which forbids professors from sleeping with students—and therefore her entire argument collapses.

Fickle-ism will tend to do that to any argument.

Image result for laura kipnis

THE FALL FALLS

Image result for autumn misty hill in renaissance painting

The fall falls and the leaf is dry.

All your reflected beauty, Cynthia,

Is beautiful, but will die.

Look! The mist drowses.

The breeze blows your belief back into your eyes.

This is love—if you let me lie.

All the mists that sit upon the hill

Are drowsy, slumbering, and still.

The evening holds you, Cynthia.

The day is bright, but has no will.

The night should be peaceful

If you take the precarious pill.

The fall falls and the leaf is dry.

Love was always convincing the eye

While lips were content to lisp and lie.

Love was always convincing the face

Love is water, and has no place.

You have decided

The world was right when it derided.

You have desires none can fulfill.

Look at the mist on the misty hill.

Look at the sunset going down in the grasses.

The fall falls.

What is beautiful is beautiful, but eventually passes.

ANY SONG

Image result for pink sunset in renaissance painting

Any song you hear with him

You can hear with me.

Any thought you have,

Any connection or memory

You have with him you can have with me.

The favorite things you count on, or like to do

Are yours. They belong to you.

And my studied indifference and his are the same.

You can be angry with him, or have me to blame.

We can erupt into laughter, or you can laugh with him,

You can kiss the cloudy pink darkening rim

Of the evening the way the horizon kisses the sun.

It’s not really you. But you decide which one.

 

 

THE CHARMS OF WOMAN

Image result for MAE WEST

The charms of woman are not that many

And are easily bought—by a pretty penny.

If they have charms, they are human charms:

Conversation, eyes, comforting arms.

If you want to insult a woman

Praise her as a female human,

Ass, tits, cunt: things common to her

Are insulting and vulgar.

How can insults be praise?

Whether steamy nights or plain days?

So what are the charms we find?

There’s no such thing as a female mind,

Since all humans have them; none

On earth could see without the sun

Or think without a mind.

To say “the sun is male” would be unkind,

And “the mind” has no gender exactly the same;

So “female mind” is just a term to blame.

What is a female charm?

Can we say? Without doing harm?

Children have charms, soft things have charm, true,

But these insult. Littleness won’t do.

The soprano ability to sing

Might be the only thing,

But even that is done by a man;

Whatever she can do, he can.

Female animals are needed on a farm,

But how can we name a female charm?

We cannot say anything at all.

And finally, they love men. Ah. Ironic fall.

 

 

YOUR DISAPPOINTMENTS AND YOUR TEARS

Smile that gleams like a star.

Smile that seems to be everything you are.

I knew you before I loved you,

And then my loving grew,

My love became pleased at all my imagination could do:

To walk by your side, even though I didn’t know you, in the past,

With perfect admiration, not worrying whether things would last.

Love was easier when the first quiet admiration knew

To build a world and a place for it and a sky

And love, lovely in its wings, tumbled with ease after flying very high.

To be lighter than air

Was the aim of my love, to dwell softly in your soft hair,

To be shadow and light—kissing you everywhere.

Did I know you long ago, in those sad years,

When you lived in your disappointments and your tears?

 

Smile that gleams like a star.

Smile that seems to be everything you are.

I loved you before I knew you

After seeing you in a picture or two.

I felt I knew everything. I was pleased at what your eyes and smile could do.

My heart departs in an hour,

I am in, and I’m looking forward to meeting you;

Were I to hold you, and understand your power:

To make everything seem immediately new,

I would not feel the need to go

Into the inner regions. And your poem tells me: you know.

I admire you, living inside your beauty,

And I love, with certainty,

Your smile—as I know you smiled—smiling in all those years

Despite your disappointments and your tears.

 

Smile that gleams like a star.

Smile that seems to be everything you are.

I decided to love you madly.

Was it because every time you smiled, you smiled somewhat sadly?

The smile that smiles sadly is the smile that sees me.

You saw me with your smile, your paintings, your poetry,

And I felt, though it wasn’t, your smile looking directly at me

And without a thought whether it was wrong or right

I found myself thinking of you before I fell asleep at night,

And waking up, in love, the morning entirely new.

I am in love with you.

Your smile confronts my enemies and my years—

Your smile ends my disappointments and my tears.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SCARRIET SUCCESS

We are busy at Scarriet—publishing new posts on almost a daily basis: original essays, poems, epigrams, Scarriet March Madness Poetry contests—in its 8th year, going on right now, Scarriet Poetry Hot 100’s, you tubes of poem readings, and even song compositions.  And one day we would like to repeat our successful Scarriet Poetry Baseball Leaguein 2010 (when I was teaching English Composition as an adjunct professor and working full time at my real job) Blog Scarriet ran an entire season with 16 teams of all-time poets with entire lineups, pitching staffs, trading deadlines, statistics, pennant races, and a world series—Philadelphia Poe defeated Rapallo Pound.

Scarriet Poetry Hot 100 allows us to bring attention to poets who are not famous yet, but who have written wonderful things: Daipayan Nair, Stephen Cole, Sushmita Gupta, Payal Sharma, Mary Angela Douglas, Nalini Priyadarshni, Philip Nikolayev, Paige Lewis, Valerie Macon, George Bilgere, Kushal Poddar, Joe Green, Cristina Sanchez Lopez, Merryn Juliete, Chumki Sharma, Stephen Sturgeon, Simon Seamount, Lori Desrosiers, and Noah Cicero.

This is a personal note to just say THANK YOU to all our readers—as we head towards a million views since our founding in 2009.  “The One Hundred Greatest Hippies Songs Of All Time” (published in February 2014) still gets over 2,000 views a week.  “The Top One Hundred Song Lyrics That Work As Poetry” (published in 2013) still gets 1,000 views a week.  And posts like “Yeats Hates Keats: Why Do The Moderns Despise The Romantics?” (published in 2010) are constantly re-visited.

A poet (who I’ve never met) on Facebook, Linda Ashok, originally from Kolkata, today requested her FB Friends share “what’s happening to your poetry” and, without thinking, I quickly wrote a post—and realized your friendly Scarriet Editor has been up to quite a lot, lately, and Scarriet readers might as well hear about it:

*******************

Shohreh Laici  who lives in Tehran and I are working on a Persian/Iranian poetry anthology—in English.   (See Laici’s translations of Hessamedin Sheikhi in Scarriet 11/26/16)

My critical study of the poet Ben Mazer will be published by Pen & Anvil Press.

My review of Dan Sociu’s book of poems Mouths Dry With Hatred  is in SpoKe issue 4

Also in SpoKe issue 4: is my review of the Romanian poetry scene (after attending Festival de Literatura, Arad, 9-12 June 2016, Discutia Secreta)

Thanks to poet and professor Joie Bose, I participated in Kolkata’s Poetry Paradigm Coffee for a Poem on World Poetry Day, March 21, in Cambridge MA.

Charles River Journal will be publishing chapters of my Mazer book.

Facebook and Scarriet is where it all happens: so I’m actually not that busy—the literary world comes to me!

Below: the new family dog.  If I don’t walk her, she pees in my bed.  Seems fair.

Image may contain: people sitting, dog, living room, table and indoor

 

 

THE LIQUID BLACK

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I remember her face,
Classical and long,
Like a Mediterranean song.
I remember her neat lips
Always had a faint smile,
For she knew I wanted her all the while.
I remember her nose.
Any woman going to a plastic surgeon would cry
“I want one of the those.”
My praises didn’t lie.
Her breasts I pressed against
Could not be fenced.
When I praised her, she would half-agree;
My praises brought out a dull modesty.
She was not a poet; the praises I spoke
Would produce from her, at best, a self-effacing joke.
She wouldn’t love me back
In the same way.
A few times she blurted out
Her love. The rest of the time I was in doubt.
Why was she unsure? I cannot say.
I remember her head flung back,
The divine liquid black
Which made her face divine,
Failing for a moment to cover
Her face gracefully, a sign
She could be ugly,
The first sign: I didn’t love my lover.

 

I SURRENDERED

Image result for trees in painting

I held my breath under the New England trees.
The grass was soft where I bent my knees,
By the broken twigs and flowers, and I wept openly in the park
Until large buildings were immersed in the evening and the puddles after the rain were dark.

A thought came into my heart difficult
To forget. Could I forget what I felt?
I couldn’t. I couldn’t forget cold numbers or the old address,
Or what it seemed to be, and loosely what it was attached to, historically, or less.

I made my way into a patch of woods
Where the shadows had hidden us. The moods
Of love are many, and some of those moods are pain.
I walked with a fistful of flowers out of the woods to the lane.

I remember thinking I remembered
That I had been good, though I couldn’t remember,
And I made inside myself a thousand pacts
That I would be good and safe: my remembrances, my acts.

You want me to surrender. But I surrendered long ago.
You wonder if I love you. Was it so difficult to know?

MAKE ME WANT YOU

Image result for hidden lighthouse in renaissance painting

Make me want you, but don’t give in

To my poetry, my poetry of desires;

The best poems burn with helpless fires;

A poem wins if the poet doesn’t win.

For my poems as poems to grow

Lead me on and on and then say no.

Let me see your twinkling breast,

So in my mind I get no rest.

Let me see your face

So I slow down my pace.

Give me your sweetest laugh

So I make gaffe after gaffe after gaffe,

And finally, in a sweat,

Write a poem they can’t forget.

Get me into my swimming head

By keeping me out of your bed.

Lure me down countless, countless roads

Covered by vegetation, thick and green,

Snaking along turbulent waters by lighthouses unseen,

Where barking Brahms harmonies call in secret codes,

And the passing night is punctuated with fog and mist.

Leave me on a Saturday,

So that I ponder for a week that’s grey.

And if we did, deny we ever kissed;

Get me to believe you will never

Hold me or kiss me, again, ever, ever;

Or much better, please don’t ever kiss me

And get me, when you see me, to think

You might possibly get on to me;

Get me believing the possibility there might be a link

To a figure made of cloth, gems, or stone,

Who cannot think, but thinks it thinks, when it is alone,

Turning in its orbit as if hope lived yet

To hope. Be disdainful, but not too cold. Get

Me to feel my fond desire for you

Could be a long series of poems. Resist. That’s all you have to do.

I think about you day and night.

You didn’t know?  Now you know why poets write.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PORN IN MINIATURE

Image result for john ashbery

John Ashbery has been fooling around with girls on the side.
Do you believe this? Decide. Decide.
If you need attention,
It pays to be outrageous and get a mention
In whatever forum supplies
Notice to paint brushes, arms or eyes.
They will end up asking where you have been,
Maybe even ask about the tears your tears have been splashing in.
Life can be sentimental and real
But poems need to be reticent, and not really show how you feel.
The gypsy can stomp and shout,
But please don’t tell the modern reader what your poem’s about.
Otherwise, you know, the charge
Of sentimentality will be leveled at your Cleopatra on the barge;
Her look, as you’ve described it here,
Is too much like a diamond shining in a diamond-shaped tear.
So look to your necklace, your locket, your phone
Which is calling you now, in a frail, low moan.

 

WHEN YOU EXPRESS YOURSELF LIKE THIS

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When you express yourself like this,

What can you say to me?

I guess all I can do is kiss

You and hug you and let you sleep.

Everyone reads your poetry.

Looks at your paintings divine.

You make men pause and women, weep.

There is no bottle that holds such a wine.

There is no city that contains

A gift I could give you. I go outside. It rains.

I march around between ten and two

And maybe some people wonder what I do,

Or wonder if there is a moon in the sky

That’s also a sun, and can I explain why

The revolution in the mountains

Has not spread to the sea.

When you express yourself in art,

What can you say to me?

 

 

 

 

 

IF YOU VISIT ME

Image result for mozart in painting

If you visit me, I will kiss you with music and compliments;

Not real kisses, for those belong

To her, nor can I give you actual song,

For I am no Mozart mathematician,

Or his modern variation, Beethoven,

Who can build and smoothly confer

Pleasure—as pleasing as kisses from her.

But you will get compliments from me,

On your learning and your beauty,

In the form of the kindest poetry

If you visit me.

I will compliment your beauty

Which only compliments like mine,

As they remove all doubts, affirm

Thoughts which will otherwise die.

If you visit me

Poetry will come, without even having to try.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WRITE HER POEMS

Image result for lost in the woods in renaissance painting

The woman is offended, and the man cannot come near.

The man remains alone to cry his unmanly tear.

The woman is offended and must remain apart

As the man penetrates in sorrow the caves of his sorrowful heart.

The woman is offended, and would be offended more

If the man wept, ashamed, a little distance from her door.

The man must never show his repentant, weeping face.

The loving man fades—and the lawyer takes his place.

Understanding tears will not water the garden again.

The profit of the lawyer needs women—to hate men.

The gardens of love, with their flowers divine,

Are watered by love, but a lawyer draws the line:

The woman is offended, and the man cannot come near.

The man remains alone and cries his unmanly tear.

Love—wise but fragile, life’s glory—is easily ended.

It ends. In pain, she remains—forever offended.

Innocent heart. Write her poems. Make them good.

Young lover! Worship her! But walk carefully in this wood.

 

 

 

 

WHY DON’T YOU?

Image result for a strong woman in painting

The filthy meaning of woman’s love

Ostracizes me. When I was a boy, a boy a boy could shove;

I never touched a girl—as evil as the male, maybe more,

Kissing, not kissing—provoking men to war.

The weak is what we love:

Tender. Delicate. Wayward. A cooing dove.

When you have children, you see

A girl is not really dainty.

That’s the illusion which the illusion is permitted, as an illusion, to mock.

But nothing is soft, only moving; every single heart is shale, granite, rock.

Child mortality makes females strong.

Women are practical. It’s the man who sings the heartbroken song.

The greatest strategy of the strong is to appear weak.

She will produce children, poetry—and the strong are unable to speak.

In the weak position, the offended take revenge.

Her poetry has vanished. Out of the mist, Stonehenge.

Here is the religion which washes up on the shore,

Asking for submission. And more. And more.

Tell me I am weak, because I write verse,

And I will write verses even more.

I’ll write a thousand poems and send them off to war.

 

 

 

 

 

THE LOST CHILD

Image result for underworld in renaissance painting

Because you are gone, lost to love and all,
And not even your shadow remains,
I must talk to everyone when I talk to you, little one.
You and I both belong to remembrance:
You, remembered, I, the one who remembers,
The saddest thing the living do,
The mourner walks in a sorrowful trance towards you.
Your little grave is larger than a star
Which holds me, and our planet, and all we are
In its starry burning;
Time, the world turning,
And that motion
The thing that started things, not time.
Because you do not move I must move towards you in my rhyme.
You no longer die. I do.
I am false unless I die towards you.
Down into the unfathomable, I ride,
Like the ancient heroes who swam in hell’s tide,
The shadowy undersea light of Hades
With wavering shadows of dead souls on every side.
Strange valley that waves under the sea
Under the growth of death which cries
Like the crying of cries in luminosity.
But you are not there.
Only the seaweed which waves like softly drifting hair.
Only the darkness which runs
Like fish running, a million underwater suns.
Only a fear
Which is merely a tear.
Only the folly
Of falling citizens who are still jolly.
Only the partially gone
Who wander on.
Only the listening ear
Of a little one forced to hear my song,
Who is not here.

 

THE BUSINESS PROFESSOR

Image result for silly professor

The business professor has been talking of things

Understood by the businessman in the pit.

Government money flows freely.

Only after the student graduated, did he get it.

Now you see him hanging around the school.

He has an investment strategy designed for the fool.

The working class pays for liberal arts at the college,

Liberalism distorting debt and knowledge.

Psychology courses are embarrassing, private, thin.

Admissions wants you. Later you’ll understand why you got in.

The deans are worried. They need more deans.

The plan is for more money.  Soon you’ll see what that means.

 

 

 

THE BEAUTIES ARE ASLEEP

Image result for beauties sleeping in painting

The beauties are asleep; lone, tired,

Having, at length, succumbed to love,

In some late, moonlit hour, when sweet defense

Fell. The early part of the evening was tense.

Old loves were argued and renewed half-heartedly

As if they could live again, but always the past is mired,

Always the old waves look documented and strange,

Once looking fresh and new, the sea

A painting now, quiet, unsure of its range.

But here in the café at eight in the morning I remember something new

And confident because of that, the moments

Moving into each other. Or, isn’t that you?

That was you; gravity, yes, but something else is changing you.

This one always looks the same, and yet, by slow degrees

Love creeps on, but this one renews her look ingeniously,

Until, when she looks her best, I fall utterly.

But these are passing observations. Why can’t I say

What is literary and meaningful? I can spend an entire day

Irritated with others, needing to work on my poetry alone;

Solitude is especially attractive after the hunt,

When the environment was controlled by a river breeze,

The attractive types smiling in the early evening

Before the onslaught of quiet disappointment, more grief

Than the giddy ones were prepared to feel

When the facts of the littered park stood out in contrast

To the drunk’s swelling, failed, embittered, belief

That it really is okay, it is okay,

ah, intoxication! But now it’s another day,

And the swarms of highly unattractive and loud

Women are ordering breakfast, the café

Is ruined, old men with silly hats have so much to say.

But the beauties are asleep, except this waitress,

Dressed simply in black; she is awake,

Patient and beautiful, for everyone’s sake.

HATE IS BETTER THAN LOVE

Image result for abstract painting hate

Mad with desire, madly in love, hungry, unable to keep still,

Love makes me restless and unhappy,

Thanks to love, I lack accuracy and will.

Love makes me pitiful, sad, unmanly, creepy, sappy,

Untrustworthy, discontent, unable to sleep.

Love? It sends me to the ends of the earth. To weep.

All wisdom tells us love is better than hate,

But the wise are not even partially right—they are wrong.

And in love, and loving love, I excoriate love in my song.

My beautiful love, the one whom I love, is angry every day.

Her hatred makes her content; sick of my desire, she feels

The emotion which triumphs in itself; because she hates,

She doesn’t need, or want, the crushed lover, who waits.

She hates the lover, the lover’s needs, hates his desire,

And therefore her hate is a steady, patient, fire

Which desires nothing, for love is desire;

Anger, her steady, calm, bright, and purging fire.

In her anger, she is happy to close the door and be alone.

Hate is the army playing cards, the queen blessed, the solid throne,

Anger, the triumph of the warrior, the male winning his way

Into the valley of the dark which hides the redundant day.

Love whines and cries, pins all on hope, and is too lazy to pay his bills.

Love is poverty and debauch and it’s love, not hate, who, furious with desire, kills.

 

 

 

 

THE CURTAIN

Image result for the entrance curtain

“I learn from people” —Socrates, The Phaedrus

Of one thing I am certain:

The secret to life is the curtain.

In the blizzard of facts

You have to notice how the person acts.

Love and desire depends

On the curtain, and when love ends

With its union, the curtain’s division,

The fact between here and there broken,

Clothing comes off and we see what’s there,

Behind the curtain, pleasurable, embarrassed sighs,

The secret, delicate hair.

The allure of what’s hidden by the curtain

Drives everything that’s mysterious, and finally, certain.

In triumph, we part the curtain and walk

Into the mystery. And then we talk,

And in our talk, more curtains arise,

Curtains in the world and curtains in the eyes,

Until the couple who thought they had become one

Find their passionate, unified love is cruelly undone;

Suddenly all that was loved, is hated.

We broke the curtain. But these holy, happy ones? They waited.

THE FLOWER WILL THINK

Image result for flower by the painter chardin

The flower will think itself a stem.

The flower will cling to roots—and listen to them.

The flower will fear the light

And let the message of the stem ignite

Fear and trepidation, as the role

Of different parts confuses the whole.

The way your stem sways

Is a boon to my days.

The gathering your roots do

Is surely a benefit to you.

But I want your flower to see

How beautiful your flower is to me.

Your flower, in the light,

Is better than the root and its night.

Your face is the reason for nothing but clothes,

The reason for every root and every stem—

Your face is much better than those.

Your beautiful face embarrasses them.

 

 

 

THOUGHTS ON LOVE

Image result for abstract painting fire engine red

My love sent 20 fire trucks when I burned the toast.

My love hunted me down and jailed me when I crossed the border by accident.

My love sent me from the university when I wrote the wrong word.

My love arranged to have me married to her.

My love blew herself up after crying out in adoration my holy name.

My love waited in the dark, ambushed me and imprisoned me to stare at me.

My love aborted me for a good reason as I cried out in the dark.

My love had me, held me up to the light, and then devoted her life to me.

Afraid I might be hit by a fire truck, I told my love goodbye.

THE TRAIN PICKS UP THE CROWD. AND ME.

train-station-pic

The Scarriet editor’s morning commute.

Do you care about others? Sucker.

Oscar Wilde’s father had three illegitimate children when he married Oscar’s mother—they were raised as cousins by other family members. Wilde’s family, Irish Catholic, was despised by the ruling Brits. Oscar Wilde had two children with a beautiful woman who was courted by Bram Stoker, author of Dracula.  Oscar Wilde’s U.S. tour made him famous and loved. The trial in England which ruined him was due to class, not homosexuality—Wilde threatened violence to an English aristocrat who left him a calling card with the word “sodomite” on it, seen by one other person; Wilde brought the slander suit, which sealed his doom, unable to see his wife or children at the end of his life.

My heavy thoughts keep my laughter aloft.

Islam and Feminism will fall in love and save mankind.

Lana Del Rey’s “Video Games” is a poem—with discrete rhymes. Poetry has no public. Wait. It does. 143 million views on You Tube for “Video Games.”

I didn’t talk to you because I love you. Because I wanted to.

You’re so miserable, I can tell exactly what you’re thinking.

Happiness hides thoughts. Misery reveals them.

You don’t know someone by their mind. The mind is what you never know.

No one knows what anyone else is thinking. Happily.

Remember when the Rolling Stones were good?  “2,000 Light Years From Home”

I was at the Grolier bookstore in Harvard Square on the evening of February 17 for the SpoKe issue no. 4 reading, Kevin Gallagher, editor.  I have two pieces in the issue on Romanian poetry, one on the poet Dan Sociu—both solicited by Ben Mazer.

Jeff Bezos, owner of Washington Post, does business with the CIA, through Amazon—a recent $600 million contract. Holy crap.

Politics is hearsay, science observation.

 

MY EMOTIONS CONQUERED ME

Image result for a cold glass of water

I don’t think it was you. I don’t think it was me.

Were you blind, too? Did you see?

My emotions conquered me.

I remember, before a kiss, drinking a cold glass of water;

In all my love adventures, that strange contrast is what I most remember.

That sudden cold drink. I don’t remember her.

I changed my mind a thousand times

In those years when I was beautiful, and making rhymes

And had curls and curls of dark brown hair

And woke, forgetting her.  And nothing was fair.

It is the greatest joy

When girlish qualities inhabit a boy

Who is yet a man and poetry

Gets you through it all even when you are a jerk and that’s what happened to me.

I made too much of those vain attempts. I wept thoroughly

For others’ verse. I derided and left it for dead in my poetry.

I suffered in the brown rooms

But recovered in well-lit ones.

You should have seen those rectangular rooms! And the furniture!

The women came and went. Even her.

Emotions! But love is not these things!

Love flowed away in the advice they gave me.

Love lies in the cold and icy springs.

 

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