Monday, February 29, 2016

Curled Up

I was young longer than I will be old
I have been well longer that I will be sick
as I am now vomiting last night curled up
on the bathroom floor feeling horrible
out of it all day hardly doing anything
barely better stumbling through Schubert
with no confidence or precision lying
paralyzed warm at last barely able to read
how long will this go on will I miss my trip
never again young but often well I hope

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Original Me

resolve to remember my dreams
past waking too soon forgetting
pure emotional openness closing
before I can absorb its meaning

I know there is no meaning yet
it is one's very insides speaking
wringing the heart in its sleeping
like a strange but familiar movie

I desire that aspect of my being
resonantly ringing in my hearing
bring me close to the original me
reveal my radiant heart of living

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Sitting Down

did I say that already
to myself was I sitting
down pretending not
to care as much as I do
that's the impression I get
from the video as always
regretted seeing myself
on the screen well almost
playing pingpong was okay

Friday, February 26, 2016

Baby Paul

we worship the baby
clustering around
as he tries to crawl

five months old he
smells sweet wiggles
twitches in my arms

his moods change
like Oregon weather
often sunny warm

it's all Baby Paul
everything to learn
not easy growing

A Reading

gradually warming but never cold
like Oregon winter I saw the eyes
receiving every word or thought
pattern not obliged to understand
quite all I may have meant seeing
it is in there just enough to satisfy
rhythm sound structure and sense
meshed invisibly to make it poetry

cognac afterward and nothing said
till the next morning when it's past

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

For Now

write for now not later
catch this very instant
leave it on the counter
like a crystal glowing
perfected by existing
complete unto itself

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Who We Are

nothing is in doubt
choices truly made
ours to play them out

no decision required
things are as they are
as we are who we are

occasional suggestions
may be entertained
but are rarely taken

no longer becoming
we already have been
our lives largely lived

feelings follow fitly
without reservation
loving then and ever

Monday, February 22, 2016

Busy Enough

these are my favorite years
easy to enjoy without regret
of anything I did or didn't do
or anything anyone did to me
I might have had more luck
seized opportunities scored
then I'd be busier than I am
I am busy enough just living

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Wrong Word

one wrong move
and it's yours
to do over

one wrong word
and the poem
is ruined

one bad moment
soon forgotten

Natural Rhythm

three prunes six almonds
this night's bedtime treat
after poets readings (many)
and a late movie (reprise)
wending toward midnight
when I can go to my rest

this is my natural rhythm
sustainable with a nap
virtually every afternoon
I read NYR at breakfast
books at lunch at dinner
we come together and talk

I don't call these habits
but practices in balance
after years working on it
always meeting deadlines
Sunday pancakes my ritual
Bach cantatas in our ears

Friday, February 19, 2016

Other Poets

other poets tell stories
scrupulously recount
adventures in reality
describe flowers have
complex relationships
with seasons weather
expressing the locale
they chose to occupy
while I content myself
suggesting thoughts I
might have anywhere

Thursday, February 18, 2016

What Was

my whole life with me
tenderness unabated
rises warm within

letters of love sharing
intimate reflections
friends far away

not judging myself
indulge nostalgia
value what was

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Elementary (1965)

Potpourri in Chinese bowls on your left as you come in from the elevator hall. They are waiting between the tables. This causes distraction.
I spoke to him—
On the way to the theatre—
She isn't calling my name. We went out on the balcony. She poured him another Scotch. You had to come in a taxi. We were passing the Women's House of Detention. I was on my way home, like always.
Not uptown.
Like light among aspens.
Yes I do. I speak out, forwardly, so they will know I'm there—I mean here. Sheep are our friends. So are cows. Chickens are edible machines, and fish are swimming vegetables. Whew! I'm through with that.
I had Greek olives some years later and swollen glands. I staggered, and someone leapt forward to catch my arm. I recoiled violently, knocking against the piece of furniture the bowls of potpourri sat on, banging my forearm on the edge of it painfully, smiling, watching them come for me.
Oh, it was nothing.
Someone had loved someone once. We had all of us felt something intense and alarming, a huge extended throbbing pang, and fallen for its adhesiveness. Stuck.
We ran because it was raining. The car was locked and I had the wrong keys. We all ran back inside the house. Taking her coat off, Joan asked if anyone wanted tea. I said yes and took my coat off. Fred came in with the other keys. Charlie came in with an armload of wood and started building a fire. Jeremy and I had a conversation about plastic pipe. Someone rolled a joint. Fred and Gwen went out and got in the other car and drove away. Jeremy tried to take me down to the cellar but I wouldn't go. Joan brought me a cup of sassafras tea and sat beside me in front of the fire, resting her hand between my legs. There was no sound but the crackling of the burning logs. The full moon sparkled on the wet snow. I felt myself falling asleep and let myself go.
The sounds of someone taking a bath.
Then nothing.
Have you been out at all today? No, I'm sick in bed with a cold. I don't stay in bed but I don't go out of the house. Why not enjoy a disease? This is elementary.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016


publicity is a bore
but you have to do it
otherwise no one comes

Monday, February 15, 2016

Virtual Pages

if rewriting counts I'm O.K.
if not I'm sunk it's all I do
but this light versification
arising almost effortlessly
and of course diary letters
dreams when I remember

paper piles up as well as
virtual pages easy to read
if anyone has time to read
writing their own poetry
and memoirs or reluctant
to replace life with words

Saturday, February 13, 2016

I Knew

remembering ahead I knew
what I wanted to say not how

words inadequate to the task
reality precedes expression

the feeling needs to be now
completed while it happens

present time all that exists
between memory and hope

Friday, February 12, 2016

Old Phones

the champion of the new became
the cherisher of the old-fashioned
old phones the way we used to be

never stopped thinking he was hip
au courant so long it was himself
falling farther behind by decades

art dissolves time ignores history
if it can looks beyond the instant
circumstances not the real event

championed renewal of the means
to reach that other level aesthetic
divining a finer narrative sublime

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Being Spoken

all language virtual
not that is the thing
itself untranslatable

ideas are not things
trying to be real but
constructs of mind

they live in words
happy being spoken
better written out

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Occupying Space

come back if you can if you are not here
I can deal with it if I have to and I must
go on in good cheer and positive embrace

be with me when I think of being with you
came when I needed someone just like you
completing independence of a higher order

necessarily here I hardly go anywhere now
without taking myself along for the nonce
wishing I'd stay home where I'd rather be

you make it possible being here with me
occupying space time summing itself up
numbered physical all language is virtual

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Tet Again

Tet celebrated as always again
present depends on past or all
lost all is lost don't you feel it

it is now now not other years
round repeating never the same
Tet again celebrate something

Monday, February 08, 2016

In Sync

once you know who wins you lose
is it better if we go down together
a winner today may lose tomorrow
after its merry run the play closed

this applies widely if you will let it
be serious a while for the pleasure
mastery satisfying for its own sake
in sync with great genius of the past

Sunday, February 07, 2016


if I didn't say so
you wouldn't know
even if you thought you did

if I didn't speak
it wouldn't come true
unless I didn't want you to know

if I didn't know
how could I tell you
we would have to figure it out

Saturday, February 06, 2016

Whole People

hard to cheer up reading about
Tennessee Williams's poor sister
haunting him terrible things do
leave terrible scars on our souls

what we can make of our lives
is whole people open to heaven
peeping through like the moon
through clouds ever blowing in

Friday, February 05, 2016

Real Thought

goodbye before you arrive
you have to have left here
taking everything with you
as if you intended to stay

return sooner than expected
surprising results to follow
as if inexperienced travelers
left their documents at home

come back again sooner air
transport won't last forever
or the internet or anything
fine requiring real thought

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Fixed Intention

terrible subtractions stun the distraught merrymakers
if serious we are ruined if not shallow or perfunctory

I applaud but can't endorse corruption compromise
mendacity erupting from within the poisoned earth

frozen prophecies warmed over dinner still fulfills
what I believed was my fixed intention to be good

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

My Body

naked isn't what it was
sexy assertively natural
now all lumps and spots
I less like to see my body
looking better in clothes
fool everyone but myself

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Try Again

am I a significant modern type
I wonder Wilhelm Meister Faust
modeling what not to do I think
I understand what Goethe means

if not I understand almost nothing
glimpses forgotten when I turn a
page read several books at once
resolve to try again to understand

Monday, February 01, 2016

Who Died

it can't be uttered at the time the dread
and then thank God it's gone perchance
to dream to wake to feel the hollowness
inaccessible reason only makes it worse
inescapable awful horror realer than real
like a city reduced to rubble to be rebuilt
forget who died they are ever part of you
but not themselves nothing more all ends