Thursday, January 31, 2013

Bright Promises

you training horses in your arena
me practicing tai chi in my studio
lights shine across the early night

now the sun lingering in the west
peeks under the blanket of clouds
bringing bright promises of more

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

No Excuse

if I don't do it who will
fortunately others do what has to be done
care for ill and needy
manage public services

I should have done something more useful
no harm is harm enough
I have no excuse
too late now

what is demanded of persons
but to give themselves to life
love beauty and each other and be true
God is satisfied that we exist

ambition I have none
admire those driven to succeed by excellence
envy nothing anymore
doing exactly what I can

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

My Fingers

too hard or not hard enough I don't
have to play as fast as the masters do
amateur as I am I am not compelled
to earn an audience by showing off

speed can make it hectic unhearable
composers happily sing more slowly
every nuance allowed plenty of time
as mind grasps heart slowly melts

and my fingers can do it my brain
scrambling to keep up sometimes
succeeding for pages Beethoven
prepared us for just this moment

Monday, January 28, 2013

Local Peace

modeling a social ideal on the scale of two
barely knowing anyone does anything real
no practical mechanical only art-inclined
uncool to mention what one actually makes
too perfect by ourselves is it really enough

I don't know what else to do but be happy
who where even when I am and with whom
no good substitute for flesh and blood reality
open hearts accepting that it isn't difficult
rich soil abundant rainfall health local peace

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Still You

the sorting function goes before
who said it fades what what it

like sun breaks clarity survives
clouded desperate moments

no breath or physical malaise
occupies all space you may die

when that recedes you are still
you who knows better than all

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Other Worlds

dreaming of dreaming
other worlds revealed
to the sleeping mind
and again withdrawn
a taste of dementia to
forget where I've been
losing a precious time
knowing it is nothing

Friday, January 25, 2013


I am so here I can't imagine
wandering around like John

never did always identified
defined by being in a place

sometimes making moves
change reaffirming choice

then glad to be where I am
aiming to keep on forever

Thursday, January 24, 2013

At Completion

chocolate ice cream and the rest of a good book
relax it's raining the mare is restless in her stall
I am utterly at ease at completion of another day

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Faint Remnants

dreaming not doing disappears
perfect wording lost to comfort

sighs undo no damage if done
unwritten do no further harm

now day ends in fair embrace
faint remnants clinging pillow

more arise between other lines
ignite inconstant fire of wonder

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

I Am

if I were there
I would not be here
and I am
so I must not be

Monday, January 21, 2013

American Boy

Alicia Keys, Brad Paisley, Katy Perry, Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder, and Beyoncé will sing for Obama's second inauguration. How far I am from the center! How far from the American boy I was! How America has changed!

Art is kept in a box of marble. Art is taste in the costume colors and shapes of the women. Art is appeal to the greatest numbers. Art is at Sundance, hard to get to, hardly to be seen. Art is its own little world. Meanwhile the real world grinds, the powerful demonstrate dignity and luxe.

Art is the center. Life is artful play. Art and love are everything that matters: high art and the people I know and my readers and the suffering multitudes. I am grateful for the work that keeps us lucky ones comfortable and free and services our convenience. I will these blessings to extend to all!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Old Friends

all history bearing down on
all music pressingly present
boxes of books ready to leave
shelves still full of old friends
we have absorbed all we can
do is eat sleep work love play
not serious I mean seriously

whatever I do is for the fun
necessities inflected by style
as choice or self-expression
pleasures physico-mental as
art infuses viewpoint defines
experience this quantum be
one I actually live through

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Divine Unity

too much this too little that
toys love money pain griefs
joy satisfaction yearning we
want we get something else

no way out but not exist a
tunnel reeking paradisiacal
chaos ultimate fugue divine
unity waiting to be seduced

Friday, January 18, 2013

Freezing Fog

everyday life with
escaping chickens
murderous horse
quietly breathing
thinking it over

freezing fog again
frosts twigs wires
like the animals I
don't mind it dress
warmly stay inside

not to be gainsaid
I barely said what
I might have done
more to be clearly
without judgment

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Right Way

so this is how the other lives
each careful setting a distortion
of mother's received idea as if
instruction in some right way

we fit right in but inwardly
resist even criticize as bogus
imitation of some alien ideal
deep perfection seen through

that isn't pleasant still who else
shares context so thoroughly
means well blunder into ego
a competition long ago lost

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Well Fed

laugh at old griefs if we can
ever honor them enough to
go on beyond sorrow losses
joy that was and is the same
person though partly bionic

having said our prayers to
spiders chickens we can eat
and sleep at a normal time
given our arid culture well
fed rested ready for more

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Mother Love

we all love beauty don't
forget to tell her so she
comes back tomorrow

we are mesmerized by
singing voices we hear
when no one is looking

we want to be good if
we are not bad people
rend the sacred fabric

we are clothed in light
even in darkness if we
remember mother love

Monday, January 14, 2013

Feeling Good

if the only reality is experience
you better be feeling good

if the only criterion is taste
you better be paying attention

both are aspects of sensibility
can we be sensible enough

Sunday, January 13, 2013

The End

Death will be the end of my experience but not of my existence, which will continue to resonate and then be gradually absorbed into the hum of earthly life and cosmic consciousness. Some notes linger, essential to the greater harmony.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Hidden Value

I save everything just in case
its hidden value later is seen

posterity art's second chance
no longer is thought to exist

if I don't tell my story no one
will ever realize what it was

thus I continue my life as if
civilization still had a future

What Counts

"…it’s just whatever subject happens to interest me, and then I decide how I can best tell the story." —Evan Connell (1924-2013)

a mind flutters buzzes settles on a "subject"
after years of study you may know more or
less depending on what counts as counting
at least your thoughts are occupied busily
compiling what is known for being known
a hunger satisfied only to rise as ravenous
ravens calling in the tree "always" "again"

Thursday, January 10, 2013

After Waiting

day of doing feels better
apart from misery when
I forget to take one more
breath is utter awfulness
otherwise the pool a joy

decision acted on moves
toward hip replacement
actual some weeks away
ready after waiting years
further details to emerge

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

It's Hard

beyond that it's hard to say

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Wrong Waiting

what it feels like to feel calm
a gift of music embodied by
Bach himself busily making

affirmative acts on everyone
knows not to think about it
wrong waiting kills sleep

instead you slip into panic
throw off heavy covers tap
assured by the other body

dawn comes a little earlier
bed fled your sanity returns
sadness resumes its disguise

Monday, January 07, 2013

Actual Geography

night light bright sorrow cutting through
joy rising above it floating sailing serene

a mild breeze between storms of moment
brick-built without pressing moral need

dripping shining in my window's eyes
boldened by surviving comrades in love

they came closer than ever to knowing us
west beyond actual geography of wishes

Saturday, January 05, 2013

Other Times

the beautiful tree is gone I am
not sad will not think this may
be the last not get sentimental

normalcy is restored symbols
having done their work should
be packed well and put away

sweet linkages to other times
performing parenting prettily
present love is precious now

2012 Reading

"The Piano Shop on the Left Bank" by Thad Carhart
"When a Man's Single" by J. M. Barrie
"Becoming Dickens" by Robert Douglas-Fairhurst
"The Shock Doctrine" by Naomi Klein
"The Third Reich" by Roberto Bolaño
"The Prince" by Giuseppe di Lampedusa (aloud)
"Crooked Cucumber" by David Chadwick (bio of Suzuki Roshi)
"Notes from Underground" by Fyodor Dostoievsky (car)
"The Dead and Other Stories" by James Joyce (car)
"Chance and Circumstance" by Carolyn Brown (re Merce & John)
"The Farewell Symphony" by Edmund White
"The Singularity Is Near" by Ray Kurzweil (part)
"Chain" by Ronald Tavel (editing)
"By Nightfall" by Michael Cunningham
"More Than Human" by Theodore Sturgeon
"Clybourne Park" by Bruce Norris (play)
"The Map and the Territory" by Michel Houellebecq
"History of a Pleasure Seeker" by Richard Mason
"Life A User's Manual" by Georges Perec
"The Scapegoat" by Daphne du Maurier
"Music for Torching" by A. M. Homes
"Molloy" by Samuel Beckett
"Kate" by Joy Allesdatter (ms.)
"The Piscator Notebook" by Judith Malina
"Malone Dies" by Samuel Beckett
"The Wilshire Sun" by Joshua Baldwin
"The Unnameable" by Samuel Beckett
"Schmidt Steps Back" by Louis Begley
"Slam" by Nick Hornby
"The Artist of Disappearance" by Anita Desai
"Samuel Beckett: The Comic Gambit" by Ruby Cohn (skim)
"Ghostwritten" by David Mitchell
"New Ways to Kill Your Mother" by Colm Tóibín
"The Sense of an Ending" by Julian Barnes
"Amsterdam: A Brief Life of the City" by Geert Mak
"The Marriage Plot" by Jeffrey Eugenides
"The Empty Family" by Colm Toíbín
"Death of the Liberal Class" by Chris Hedges
"The Unnamed" by Joshua Ferris
"The Skating Rink" by Roberto Bolaño
"Zeitoun" by Dave Eggers
"Thinking with Type" by Ellen Lupton
"The Piscator Experiment: The Political Theatre" by Maria Ley-Piscator
"The Big Sleep" by Raymond Chandler
"The Wind in the Willows" by Kenneth Grahame (aloud)
"Emerson: The Mind on Fire" by Robert D. Richardson Jr.
"Mrs. Queen Takes the Train" by William Kuhn
"Crossing the Heart of Africa" by Julian Smith
"In Defense of Food" by Michael Pollan
"Paper Daughter" by Jill Johnston
"In a Strange Room" by Damon Galgut
"Democracy's Body: Judson Dance Theatre 1962-64" by Sally Banes
"The Thief's Journal" by Jean Genet
"Lionel Asbo State of England" by Martin Amis
"Tree of Smoke" by Denis Johnson
"A Purchase in the White Botanica" by Piero Heliczer
"E. M. Forster, a Biography" by Nicola Beauman
"The Fellowship of the Ring" by J. R. R. Tolkien (aloud)
The Complete Poems by Edwin Denby
"Angelica" by Arthur Phillips
"Silence" by John Cage

Friday, January 04, 2013

Real Proof

what does it take to be present
anecdotal evidence from one's
past reminiscences of India or
is it there all a time happening

intention lunch or ping-pong
this week or next or tomorrow
we will do it groping for what
might be learned from another

in India they do it all the time
but does it help their culture 1s
richer warmer livelier teeming
various and even they are lost

we keep bragging asserting our
self-realization as if one thing
is better than different or more
product the real proof of virtue

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Each Different

Christmas is over the crowd of animal
and human figures gone from the back
of the piano wrapped one by one boxed
for another year the tree still glittering
for two more days tomorrow evening
something else enough for one night

a special day a new horse Rosie joins
the herd of four each with a different
personality and set of issues animal
and human figures interact every day
this their life while inside the house
Bach humans each different interact

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Dumb Regret

the hour comes around and I am
here surrounded by my friends
alive or dead asleep or far away
they prove the virtue of existing
would they were still themselves
and I me as I am at least thus far

they don't talk back don't answer
questions or contribute opinions
I would probably disagree with
though I wouldn't want to argue
self-consciousness stops tongue
dumb regret it is better this way

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Without a Thought

what accounts for everything working out
as imagined planned executed flawlessly
you are exhausted but it is a good thing is
it luck experience grace what can it mean

the music went well people liked it we
love playing it even more by ourselves

why can't I talk to anybody they talk to me
and each other no end to rackety babble I
am surreally addressed or listen to their
conversation wander off without a thought

we are a practiced team everything restored
as if nothing happened possibly nothing did