Saturday, February 28, 2009

Goodbye Train

chasing a train like way back when across Kansas sixty miles an hour on the straight wire sets dipping between poles creosote bleached in the dry wind a sudden viaduct lifts us up and over the speeding train we race on companionably on the other side now this night I run along the Willamette this road not straight visibility diminished other cars with their own agendas bright blinding coach car seats bleak miserable train slows I blow by hit Canby lights say goodbye train it barrels through the town

Friday, February 27, 2009

A New Friend

from "Frederick the Great" by Nancy Mitford Another new friend, who joined him at the beginning of 1758, was a Swiss, Henri de Catt. They had met two years before in Holland, where, anxious to see the picture galleries of various rich Dutchmen, Frederick had gone, in a round black wig, disguised as 'the King of Poland's finest musician'. This character does not seem to have inspired much confidence in the collectors, and doors remained shut, but on his way to Utrecht in a ship he picked up Catt and they had an interesting philosophical discussion. The next day Catt learnt that this musician who was so well-informed, lively, pugnacious, and sure of himself was the King of Prussia. Presently he got a letter from Potsdam saying that if he would like to renew acquaintance with the traveler who had made him so angry he would be very welcome. But Catt could not go; he was ill. 'One was kind enough to sympathize.' Now, having fallen out with his reader, Frederick remembered the young Swiss and engaged him. When he arrived the King said, 'Would you have recognized me?' 'Yes.' 'But how? I am so thin.' 'By your eyes.' He said he only asked for honesty and discretion—Eichel would see about Catt's salary. Catt was soon put in the picture. D'Argens: Our philosopher likes you very much—he makes up his mind about people once and for all. Don't get flustered or get involved with jokes and teasing, or seem too much interested when he talks about his family. Above all, don't criticize his writings. Never be familiar. Mitchell: The King likes you very much and I think you will like the post. You should talk chiefly about literature, philosophy, metaphysics, and French poets, but let him do most of the talking. Only criticize his verse if he asks you to. (Mitchell told Lord Holderness that, of all the authors he had met, the Philosopher of Sans Souci bore criticism the best.) Frederick gave his own advice: People will be after you the whole time to try and find out what I am saying. The A.D.C.s are all right but one is jealous, another bloody-minded, and the third discontented and gloomy. If they make trouble you must tell me. Don't lend them money or gamble with them or go to their wild parties if you can help it. Mitchell is perfect. He asked what impression he had made at their first meeting. Catt said he had thought he must be a French nobleman. Almost at once he was faced with a tricky situation. Frederick had been making unkind fun of Quintus Icilius and asked Catt what he thought of the absurd Major. Catt said he seemed learned. 'Yes, but he has no usage du monde.' 'But Your Majesty, who loves letters, ought to be indulgent to behavior which is not exactly that of high society.' Frederick went off at a tangent but no doubt felt the rebuke, as he always would when Catt scolded him. 'The greatest genius,' he said, 'is useless without virtue and good character—it is but sounding brass and tinkling cymbals (you see, I know the Scriptures). The world has never seen a greater genius than Voltaire, but I have a sovereign contempt for him because he is not honest." Then he showed Catt how to dance a minuet, saying he wished Daun and Prince Charles could see them now. Catt, who was a prig and had no sense of humor, felt sorry that the King should make such a fool of himself. But he came to love Frederick very much and his account of the next few years spent in his company throws a good deal of light on the nature of the King. When Catt became engaged to a girl in Berlin, Frederick told d'Argens that it seemed madness. D'Argens said he couldn't live without his wife. Then the King wrote love poems for Catt to give to his fiancée, as though they were his own.

Lingering Shiver

what comfort espresso inspiration chocolate Vivaldi cool architecture spring laughs at lingering shiver who needs ideas we have words as long as there is air emerging instants never exactly the same meaning will if tired more naps and down time whatever it takes

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Every Note

nothing in spite of everything imagine finger muscles hitting every note exactly compulsive typing typical American writer would I go more places if we had high-speed trains surely not still it's a shame we don't more choice prima face good assumptions banish thinking concepts only tools enclosing better thought other decisions if not who I am then who am I

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Multiple Lines

the Klondike lesson cheat just a little and you'll win more often groovy move Mayflower context needs to express multiple lines practical prose nonsense impossible charts puzzle continental drifts decline without English furniture who we are then tracing real accidents of history purpose our emigration

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

La Vie

what where stimulation flag me down I'm what's the word I'll do it talk me down I'm not at Yale anymore recreating Caffè Cino coffee cannoli cute waiter and all I wasn't there Bob Heide was and told me about it what a coincidence further panels missed poetry festival meeting Christopher music coffee with Kelley at Molly's instead la vie

Monday, February 23, 2009

After the Opera

When I came out after the opera, my brother was gone. I walked on down the stairs and out into the center of the beautiful space under the great dome. The air was so murky I couldn't see. What is this trembling?

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Youthful Joy

flickering light nominal silence itches fans voices raised songs behind closing windows doors half a generation later forgets whether we talk it will happen persimmons for example wild honey complicated scheduling easily adapts into youthful joy

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Don't We All

do plays solve anything exuberant down-home wacky at Brush Creek incoherent earnest at high school my own effusions suffer from self- consciousness ah don't we all now rise above it try to make the best as ever answer question unasked

Friday, February 20, 2009

Among Cousins

meaningless mayhem neutralized by harmony perhaps a quiet word exhanged among cousins missing meals unimagined hardships who can excuse our impermeable cool what passes for comfort dries our tears heals all wounds imperfectly fast like seasons changing clothes like imaginary fortunes lost amid starry fields eager to grow weeds

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Say More

more naps help recovering else awake since five mental functions thought feeling movement art desire arising hidden customs defuse distress creative action replaces taste chosen words say much more

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Sincere Effort

uh oh I hope I'm not catching a cold my studio was chilly but I ignored it a faint throat scratch a sudden chill whenever you think you are you are quick vitamin C yin chiao echinacea I will tap for it maybe that will help tai chi is catching on again dubious antiquity family Yang what is China what is real matters little just do it class approaches ten sincere effort all anyone can ask all are welcome an ideal world alive in every move

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Vanishing Wealth

what a relief my play is fixed one more actor a few small improvements ready print scripts a tragedy inside a comedy I like it very much the past is not dead it is not even past said Faulkner is there time to reread Faulkner he was one of the greatest as I was growing up whatever the hype of the moment grabs me another stimulus package vanishing wealth plus ça change hope for the best and go on

Monday, February 16, 2009

Panic Bar

how much do I have to care others do it for my presence is no benefit taste at issue what I like result of history abreaction livelihood loves so meaning self-respect in private anyone else grabs panic bar quick I came went wondering that poets validate volunteer beyond shyness

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Beauty All the Time

Everybody loves beauty in the beans. Did you say things roundabout and didn't know the difference? There isn't much except between a sufficient, volcanic rockingchair and a regular curb which is one step up or down and a baby's place to sit. The lamp at night lit over it is because of beauty all the time in light. Mexican Jumping Light. —Soren Agenoux (1966)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

One Language

I believe in butter coffee chocolate only Americans think good things are bad for you and I'm stuck here bred born raised to one language helpless in France Italy Portugal Spain Greece that's all I consider suitable committed to stay home do what it takes to civilize myself

Friday, February 13, 2009

Wayward Breeze

if you don't move it doesn't hurt that's not what I wanted to say stay oh stay the wayward breeze invites a drift of petals on speed wait for me while I play through this Beethoven sonata describes a storm of love today and every harmony squeeze later released silence or the radio murmuring to itself inside the fan's whisper souls aroused action impelled tell me again none of it counts

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Lick It

again and again slowly then slowly faster fix fissures finger slowly faster again and again until I finally know it well enough to play it as if my fingers own it as if natural that way day after day slowly I will lick it

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

High Road

delirious extravaganza cheer the kind rationality of nurses profoundly better now if only the President were brave and took the high road instead he does the necessary all is lost operation patience exhausted my knees dizzy with plugging yet the music soars with love remade intention nerves ooze positivity gravity balances air whooshing through the void

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Bad Jokes

strobe awake asleep awake which is less real forget psychology only act verbal visual exchange project sold practical good will beats bad jokes this is the birthday month I knew it in my heart overwhelmed with love routine for surgeon not the patient once too much but must be borne the moon rises regular unlike wind one moment among millions won

Monday, February 09, 2009

Further South

dreaming morning afternoon and nights not working fright is worse than strange man arriving wet desirous again when I gave so much moved further south then west a swirling family history revealing who we came to be where or even why people needed nourishment dry goods drugs religion law servants risen early meet on stairs cross rivers live and die

Sunday, February 08, 2009

First Light

nothing changes is an illusion seeming stuckness inevitably temporary some a little less this or that as if growing up knowing Brahms was never young nor Eliot even Joyce had dignity at least certain greats great from first light go on beat your breast be envious of larger lives and better art as if ill disposed to be more than you really

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Stolen Time

no one knows and if they did who would believe them that is we all know too much and won't admit the fact adheres to every moment stolen time wasted trying to step around the visible abyss laughing at any opportunity for pleasure

Friday, February 06, 2009


programmed attitudes who can you trust hardly yourself no one immune protected filters distort senses dubious manipulated for others' gain even though it's warming up I shiver no turnaround in sight brrrrr!

Thursday, February 05, 2009

All the Way

tempo slowing au contraire assumed name goes all the way back to France he says call if you think of anything I answer quickly he is in Antwerp of all places coming here if I don't go there tell me what to say or I will dig it up everything still possible yet unlikely more beginning a cycle short books hold up your hand if it's clear at last

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Pastoral Dances

don't worry or care just forget it won't matter the big picture pastoral dances in the park I know the old lemon go ahead hit him with a dead flounder for example Jane or Roberta has lost a hundred pounds or more lest anyone forget

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Staying Put

communicate something simply open the tap out it comes dear friend(s) deserve attention if we can't be together no we can't I'm too far away they are too here is not there boo hoo I'm not going and they come rarely if at all so there amid sweeping movements of peoples this the staying put time thank heaven I can think dream suddenly awake I open my eyes

Monday, February 02, 2009

Missable Events

many hundreds of poems make no sense to me at all or the others wishful familiarity replacing dull duets likewise his tone of voice conveyed nothing but will drily grafted onto otherwise contemptible carpentry periodic emails remind me of missable events even writing that falls between gestures thanking everyone

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Many Moves

Warren Dunyan flies through the garage his chair on wires beating a drum brass raggedy brilliant names across the floor generations of cousins family patterns diluted many moves marriages amours neither a farmer nor a businessman I'm still bouncing redefining in Italian verse statistics and macroeconomics another kind of nerd emerging at the next level