Friday, December 31, 2010

Other Traps

that's about enough of 2010
oh we don't suffer much our
little aches and pains befit
our age and peculiar habits
she has her barn and garden
I my studio and books but
what a misery in the world
if you believe the news at all
there is a downward trend
not what anyone expected
I was schooled in optimism
after all we had won the war
without any personal damage
but latterly war is permanent
and the planet mocks control
if we don't blow ourselves up
other traps we set will spring
earthquake floods eruptions
to consume our pitiful works
meanwhile lucky lives go on
beauty has its seasons too
such grace to be unafflicted
praise light that will return
and we still alive to see it

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Good Work

I only wanted to have a good time
and so I did you may doubt the so
but it matters what the intention is
assuming this of others maybe not
they seem so dimly serious as if to
fly is dubious earnest about games
which reality is the actual world
that's not what I mean clear away
all preconceptions open your eyes
by all means do stuff help people
build things pitch in make better
good work the greatest pleasure

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Delicious Drudgery

friends if interesting are more
interested in their own posting
mutual appreciation reliably
sweet continuity someone to
come back to or come back

my own ideas less persuade
than plod delicious drudgery
requires someone to witness
and if they respond so better
not too much don't tweet me

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Books I Read in 2010

Summer and Love by William Trevor
Parallel Play by Tim Page
First We Read, Then We Write: Emerson on the Creative Process by Robert D. Richardson
The Crying Tree by Naseem Rakha
Matisse the Master by Hilary Spurling
Summertime by J.M. Coetzee
Touching by Gwen Davis
Hamlet by William Shakespeare (part)
Eminent Victorians by Lytton Strachey (on Kindle)
The Unknown Matisse by Hilary Spurling
The Andre Gide Reader (part)
Memoirs of an Invisible Man by H. P. Saint
A Few Corrections by Brad Leithauser
Out of Sheer Rage by Geoff Dyer
Molecules of Emotion by Candace Pert
Reality Hunger: A Manifesto by David Shields
Homer and Langley by E. L. Doctorow
The Loser by Thomas Bernhard
Maps to Anywhere by Bernard Cooper
Noise by Bart Kosko
Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi by Geoff Dyer
Yoga for People Who Can't Be Bothered to Do It by Geoff Dyer
Darlington's Fall by Brad Leithauser
The Limits of Power by Andrew Bacevich
Await Your Reply by Dan Chaon
Itinerary by Octavio Paz*
The Biology of Belief by Bruce H. Lipton
Giovanni's Room by James Baldwin
Empire of Ice by Gretel Ehrlich
Embers by Sándor Márai
The Savage Detectives by Roberto Bolaño
The Book of Evidence by John Banville
The Pregnant Widow by Martin Amis
Bad Marie by Marcy Dermansky
Losing Our Cool by Stan Cox
The Bradshaw Variations by Rachel Cusk
Open by Andre Agassi
Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
War by Sebastian Junger
Old School by Tobias Woolf
Decoding Reality by Vlatko Vedral
Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You by Peter Cameron
Brilliant: The Evolution of Artificial Light by Jane Brox
Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
Accidental Masterpieces by Michael Kimmelman
City Poet: The Life and Times of Frank O'Hara by Brad Gooch
The Tanners by Robert Walser
England's Child: The Carillon and the Casting of Big Bells by Jill Johnston
The Mysteries of Pittsburgh by Michael Chabon
Something to Tell You by Hanif Kureishi
Poems Retrieved by Frank O'Hara
Quaker Guns by Caroline Knox
Solar by Ian McEwan
The Only Question by Muriel Spark
The Anthologist by Nicholson Baker
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens (aloud)
Human Smoke by Nicholson Baker
Memento Mori by Muriel Spark (aloud)

Monday, December 27, 2010

Too Shy

deliberate bullshit is all too doable
and fun and means as much as any
if you look between the topicalities

no one talks likes this and nor do I
not crazy not particularly nervy too
shy even to know just what I mean

I know better but can't fix anything
art action keeps my dismay at bay
nourishes integral universal spirit

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Nothing Else

how can I cheer myself up well
the usual ways and by love and
good work there is nothing else

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Free to Fly

I have enough it isn't true
that everyone wants more
biologically I am satisfied
if spirit yearns ever higher
it is free to fly only think

beyond the bounds of time
the speck in the swirl has
context existing everything
connecting its essence is
wholly distributed energy

so it goes on beyond all
individual moment making
waves hiss and harmonize
gigantic patterned chaos
exquisitely wrought detail

must I go on as long as I
can say everything there
is no end any fragment
contains a world echoes
eternally returning words

true wealth having choices
can exist between changes
choose beauty compassion
satisfaction rising to meet
allies good will companions

nothing better to do than
this Bach sang continuous
ecstasy pouring forth as
in vibrational fusion give
it all you have deserved

Friday, December 24, 2010

Old Story

am I missing some significance long since sapped
meaning something to others means nothing to me
how does it matter that I have lost what I imagined
I did what was expected its factual basis to emerge
later faded softly into not so harmless make-believe
not even not existing not an idea just an old story
running on empty promises flattery accommodation

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Warm Skin

good but hard to eat comes
out without a honk or snort
smelling better than anyone
imagined possible summer
a resort a family excursion

it gave him the shivers who
dressed in rags what nines
layered over warm skin bit
a tangerine come this way
again if I may still be here

one has to wonder whether
anyone bothers to undergo
the necessary trouble just
to be warm or happy doing
the little it takes to be free

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Stay Here

if it is not going do not go
but stay here is better any
way I prefer to be at home

we are here and being with
each other being ourselves
the way we wanted it to be

being each complete more
completed blessed season
turning toward another one

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Dark Enough

if this is the low point it's
not so bad I like the night
staying put getting up in
the dark but dark enough
I'm ready for longer light
coming just in time kiss it
in again we have survived

Monday, December 20, 2010

Only Fragments

How can I think about anything anyone is interested in while I am leading such a perfectly placid life?
How can I imagine exciting events when all I know is weather?
I have suffered but only neurosis and a broken heart, which seemed quite serious at the time.
What do I know of anyone else's inner life except that we all have one?
My principal stimulus is memory, apart from the blowhards on the airwaves, who are worse than useless.
What people tell me is only fragments. What do you mean? Could you be more specific?
Pip suffered but stayed buoyant, himself, and everything worked out.
Something terrible is sure to happen, but in the meantime what am I to do?

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Only Old

chickens are on the way a coop
to build lost carpentry practice
returns like everything ever was

for years you imagine you want
and then you don't anymore and
then only might it happen to be

Italy a farm a theatre publishing
a dog a sailboat luxury chickens
reincarnated as myself only old

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Military Fun

if noticed rejoice if you imagine
someone cares maybe they do
for reasons of their own creation
springs unbidden from the soul
attention is required something
happens other people do exist
after all parties agree serving
gays allowed to be themselves
have their own gay military fun

Friday, December 17, 2010

Possible Meaning

never apologize never explain words
only good for entertainment the real
transactions happen on another level
acting means do it before it's too late

remember me even if you forget all I
say and write what possible meaning
in a word or turn of phrase or turn in
the park beneath a benevolent moon

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Nothing Denied

come back to yourself by yourself
bring yourself along when you come
poet producer of art and love welcome
leave the mechanical consumer at home
look around do you really want to do that
nothing denied because nothing admitted
reality is grim but positivity itself wins out

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Good Enough

no tai chi for Chan works sixteen hours
still a market for his tired but tasty wares
glad home wrapping Dickens crossword
enzymes and my usual late-night snack

I don't want to go anywhere anymore I
wish I had lived in Europe I briefly did
no more desire for different places this
is good enough at peace plenty to eat

and relatively secure a frame for living
as we like deprived of certain stimuli
rich in others ragged chevrons of geese
honking overhead weather each other

Monday, December 13, 2010

Deep Green

every time I lay out the cards it's new
anything can happen sometimes I win

she is better living in a gale of oxygen
ninety-six enough but who am I to say

rain song tickles night Persian turquoise
deep green flaws essential to character

the little we can tell each other precious
but there is infinitely more I want it all

Long Arms

insouciant Indians itch to make poem
real that is "the" real always immanent
otherwise all hollow surface glittering
sodden repetitions opening long arms
Wagner realizes minutes bliss unfolds
creaseless solid seriously beautiful if
you let it define the actual experience

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Too Soon

old and tired as I want to be no
spark struggling into flame stop
if you can it is never too soon or
short or thin you can't go wrong

Friday, December 10, 2010

Carried Away

now we know too late to do anything
braver voices spoke vainly at the time
Blair smaller Churchill one example
stop think what you are doing do not
get carried away do not let reasoning
persuade you fast talker sell anything
no sane person would want attention
reveals what's real we all know better

Thursday, December 09, 2010

No Smoke

what was I thinking
now my sarong is wet
the punchline enough

opera news is good
let's all go together
thick action no smoke

food drink a birthday
visitor from far away
the special thing done

rain stops of course
how pleasant driving
visible dry pavement

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Another Pie

why should I why not if I can
drift lightly on unpatterned air
quit or go on playing solitaire

nothing needs to be done in
public opinion irredeemable
misspent youth useless now

in the stanzas women come
and go and Michelangelo is
branded like another blog

I'm not complaining hunger
not my fault fixable by me
or anything I might not do

give me a reason to go on
I probably will anyway can't
help myself to another pie

Monday, December 06, 2010

Going On

everything you need is here what
are you going to do with it what
are the criteria for good living who
knows without possible perfection
what is the point of even going on

everything happens again as if you
were mechanical only wearing out
sweeping washing dishes clothes
bodily functions cars kids houses
service departments for our lives

another Obama sellout makes me
sick since when does compromise
mean giving up two more years
staff justifiers to justify anything
craft him words to forgive himself

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Keeping Up

pleasure pleases not nor part my person
if you ask I will tell you anything I can do

certain movements not too painful come
easily the body knows mind keeping up

if I could tell I would so I keep trying in
my own way be clever as I meant to be

again again insist on certain braidings
because I can because you know I must

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Dream Real

Beethoven in his many voices
charming playful stern relentless
comes again wherever you are

flowers in the face of human
smoke dream real against all
hope sanity dawn awakening

unbelievable that it should be
too stupid cursed disbelieving
waste of pain and possibilities

Friday, December 03, 2010

Pay Up

techno living subject to breakdown
hardly surprising always a surprise
expecting everything to work fine
and it usually does then it doesn't
inconvenient frustrating expensive
what to do no satisfactory solution

bodies too let us down wear out
eventually after miracle self-repair
do we blame the factory or dealer
who can fix transmission far away
time to buy new car ashtray is full
call ask pay up hope for the best

Thursday, December 02, 2010

The Good

if one state of mind means anything
it ought to be typical or emblematic
but nobody is typical we each insist
on being different if seldom unique

disagreeing about the most obvious
principles no one's taste respected
as if none know better nothing can
be learned we are stuck wtih selves

formed by forces beyond our ken
all the more reason to try to think
beyond positions personality hope
to reconcile reality with the good

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Perfect Moment

normally I wait for the perfect moment
someone might tell me when to go on
but no one says anything about it alas
I rest on my innocent laurels try harder
to remember my name and what I said
before the standards were recalibrated
one became two or the other way round
no one can tell you since no one knows