Thursday, April 29, 2010

A Good Idea

am I carrying non-judgmental too far
with myself I mean of course with others
it's a good idea at least up to a point
let them do what they like but some are
bad hurt others or at least self-destructive
you ought to say something about that

and personally I could have done better
I mean we were seriously fucked up in
the sixties I don't want to regret anything
but face it how could I think straight
live intelligibly in the only world staying
up all night smoking pot listening to Mahler

don't mention it it's just behavior like
any other that's what I mean we knew
and didn't know what we were doing
making it up as if from scratch that is
with no technique you learn eventually
but then it's too late your life is over

of course everyone said I shouldn't
or would have if I had let them but I
couldn't hear them it was what was
happening I wanted to be young it
was a way of seeming to stop time
good to know time is entirely elastic

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Be Patient

enough questions tell me something
I can use technique for anything new
defeats convention this "Hamlet" for
example "awful" I can do better and
I will be patient a few more months

how shall I begin a painting thanks
it works not what I expected can I
continue on my own possibly not a
good idea go ahead touch it I don't
mind I still have to do what it is I do

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Real Ink

how is the typewriter different
it hums each letter is separate
it waits impatiently for another
word it stops in the middle

it puts real ink on real paper
if anything is real what is ink
made of what is paper today
it makes a single page

why is it better than writing
easier to read less personal
obsolete technology where
are we now

Monday, April 26, 2010

Pouring Down

learning playing teaching the day
goes forward anything is possible

that's the good news even now
I still can write a novel if I do it

pouring down rain wind howling
lucky to have a warm dry house

I'm lucky to have this human life
never take anything for granted

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Good Boy

wearied by weeding already weary
last night I dreamed of death after
brilliant pancakes I tried but failed
napped precautionarily gallery-sat
read Banville wrote emails lunched
tai chi pleasant visitors drew lilacs
badly finally weeded before dinner
raked after brain fizzing good boy

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Mind Alive

I don't know anyone who drives a Hummer
or is rich
or desperately poor
or Republican
what would we talk about

for Gide existence is a moral adventure
truth matters
courage is required
to the point of exhaustion
mind alive

what ideas would we talk about
unjust distribution
warped lives
that history informs
that culture is all we have

Friday, April 23, 2010

One Aspirin

finishing a good book is like death
but who dies hero or reader does it
matter is the question I keep asking

thought resembles a slight headache
one aspirin will knock it out reliably
as antiviral combats everything else

finishing a letter is being more exact
the mail unforgiving weeds like age
catching up unacknowledged quotes

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

That's What

my own time is surplus now
nothing is at stake anymore
so let me be more generous
not that nothing can matter
I care as much as I ever did
but I am not in competition
don't need to prove a point
I want it to work out for you
that's what I'm trying to say

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Right Here

drawing is a function of time
but looking is instantaneous

reading is faster than writing

word's meaning is right here
but echoes deep time-space

the line explores the shape
other eyes can recognize it

but the word is unreliable
meaning whatever it likes

your lake my chair his love

Monday, April 19, 2010

One Way

six o'clock in the morning
up from a frightening dream
vicious thugs took over the house
this house is warm the light crepuscular

nothing changes but time
goes one way cycles repeating
as each life rises and slowly falls
I savor the rhythm even uncomfortable

silence as planets revolve
dichroic colors unpredictably
brighten in the morning dimness
anticipate possibilities of a promising day

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Do More

"A single noisy motorscooter driving through Paris in the middle of the night can wake up as many as 200,000 people."

is only the private worth poetry now
only nature imagination word play
who will say it is weapons and war
bankrupting us read the numbers

instead we are subtle doing forms
remembering innocence our harms
our own mothers dying or not our
sensibilities preciously meted out

not to deny my delight in aesthetic
strategies how to go deeper feelings
exquisitely limned delightful humor
my own pleasure is not enough

this is writing it should bite Whitman
wants us to do more having words
cry out truths with consequence be
real we are desperately needed

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Broken Doors

that the wars do not touch me is no excuse
they touch my heart soul conscience that I
am well fed and safe no excuse it goes on
without me I cannot not mention it telling
poems of war bad taste reserved directly
experienced suffering damaged the dead
can't speak they accuse us silently I hear

permission not to revise the little machine
clicks or not as if I knew better than to lie
not truth but truly there are few soldiers
here I like it especially well but no excuse
not to notice acknowledge broken doors
humiliation fear hate waves from around
the world drench us in the blood of others

Friday, April 16, 2010

New Moon

poets understandably appreciate appreciation
who are these people who show up listen raptly
buy books rattle the air with excited talk it's fun

beyond points the purity replaces ruined worlds
we all grew up lost mothers loves remembering
recaptures immediate wit without compromise

I am not seeking perfected form too late that
path exhausts my salvaged stamina repairing
to the bed before the new moon sets in glory

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Moving Story

call me anytime I'm up or if I'm not
wake me I don't mind I like it tell me
anything I won't remember later but
the moment is precious just connect
like in the movies the camera moving
the landscape of France is deep well
worn the long pan the moving story

time is not empty whatever else it is
the answer never final as long as life
goes on dreaming of a kiss but who
is kissing me I reluctantly open eyes
ah yes as I thought I get up anyway
and other things happen according
to plan exactly as decided long ago

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

What Then

do I do too much or too little what
is do or think is thought necessary
is belief trump even if stupid when
can I relax and enjoy spoils if any
if everyone felt this way what then
is feeling better why am I so wired

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

You Too

notice the different daffodils say what
I meant whenever spring arrives late
in spite of quick words winds will you
still love me yes thank heaven you too

who else is going dogs cough machine
roaring spares no ears harmonic buzz
cuts through enviably glowing tulips
on the corner where we meet again

the same thrill never fades unless it
does time unaccountable in millions
like luxury travel to suffering realms
darkness reveals what might become

Monday, April 12, 2010

Magic Fingers

"The really good things in life will happen if you just show up and share your natural enthusiasms with people." (Clark Martin)

check writing becomes you moving
money around who is more serious
certain subtle substances transform
what you thought mattered most I
can be impressed without envying
anyone else would be spoken for

another tiresome meeting enables
fun later smoothly unrolls as if by
magic fingers frolic on the keys a
German opera in the single mind I
love it shows why shouldn't it be
here with me when colors return

Sunday, April 11, 2010

My Butter

your favorite knife's too bendy
for my butter still you choose it
you watch CNN I well never mind
tell me about it if I can bear it we
are two different people but not
too different to agree about that

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Too Beautiful

the poetry festival begins
I'll read Donne and try not
to cry it is too beautiful it
takes me home to heaven

months of meetings going
over everything once again
balancing our personalities
different ideas similar goal

poets telling what they can
make words work confront
judgment show style poise
courage welcome who care

Friday, April 09, 2010

Mysterious Marks

underlining is a form of writing this word
this turn of phrase this thought distinguished
from the rest you have chosen it

preference is not required but I have to choose
the milk is either organic or lactose-free
though it might be both

which do you prefer you don't have to answer
why "beacons" I will never know who you were
making these mysterious marks

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Where I Am

I am here I don't want to think about Iraq
all the time or Afghanistan it's not my war
I am profoundly sorry or the health care
system or the truculent Republicans or the
Supreme Court the mighty walnut puts out
leaves it may survive another spring flowers
or Kansas which is where I'm from like Bill
Stafford or Kansas City or even New York or
Stonington Taos Santa Barbara where I lived
here is me the someplace I have to be real
its own history (short) position in the world
(far corner) lingo ("spendy") seasons land
excuse me please I am living where I am

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Crystal Balls

wake me up I'm fading a fog falling
slowly a deluge of numbers no help
up for hours a morning nap seems
too silly false realities invading day

wrench myself back from the brink
still sluggish mind veiled in murk I
sink as it rises grinding crystal balls
predict one day fit for high mowing

here is my story absorbed wherever
I was prepared local names abound
refer to hidden states of mind what
they meant cannot again be known

Monday, April 05, 2010

Natural Rhythm

reason for despair the wars go on
for joy the seasons come and go

how far we are from natural rhythm
warped by decisions from above

wrong reasoning momentum its own
excuses nothing changes overdue

like books we read alone out loud
impossible to reveal our feelings

static news failing systems slow
growth better than fast or none

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Smart Writing

bad hands can't be helped
turn the page let some days
slip away unmourned like
artificial flowers on a grave

go back often reconsider
what you might have said
if you thought you had to
know better and be right

so much smart writing for
money or something to do
or be can't think itself past
supposedly fun trivialities

yes it hurts don't forget it
is only music even if good
only what you choose to
pay attention in the dark

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Second Helping

coming down words about any one
think after you know better than I
do too far apart for cucumber dill
well if you must I will too if I can

eat the last of the second helping
never quite as good as the first as
if you knew how to stop and shop
when the sale has not yet started

I told her what I meant she said
I know already the rain started
falling the fragmentary rainbow
reaffirms what I thought before

Friday, April 02, 2010

Essential Artifacts

two birds down is it too much to ask
whether firing off emails is enough
or patience is called for always hard

yoga breakfast ablutions come first
calmly allow health and happiness
books to follow as essential artifacts

Thursday, April 01, 2010

No Answers

one got by what happened
all questions no answers is
that an answer well sort of

am I hungry of course it's
time for wine cheese book
ritual snack before dinner

a book published tai chi a
normal family homework
pie girlfriend father's art

enough he said to himself