Thursday, October 4, 2018

Staying the Night at a Mountain Temple with Li Bai

Staying the Night at a Mountain Temple, by Li Bai
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High tower high hundred feet
Hand can pluck stars
Not dare high voice speak
Fear startle heaven on person
The high tower is a hundred feet tall,
From here one's hand could pluck the stars.
I do not dare to speak in a loud voice,
I fear to disturb the people in heaven.





Staying the Night at a Mountain Temple with Li Bai

High tower high hundred feet

On the bridge of Is predicates will
join our names. Onto bridge of silk bow
or the hunter’s bow Li bai is leaning.
(Isn’t that closer to what ‘meaning’ means?)
A bridge with no stairs and stands
straight like a man. And when we were
these ribbons on the wind
we meant by our sentences
their flutter among unformed genders.

Hand can pluck stars

An open window on the little house
to let the big house look in.

Hand stirs the heart of things.
with names of friends,

addressed to them
the world is made of words.
I have heard the music of the stars 
longing to pluck me up again.





Not dare high voice speak

I dare not the high voice speak,

but through syntax the indirect lustral gleam
of messengers, whose orders knot
the communicative backside, the refracted
predicates and observances
indulged by the broad and deadly face.

Green shrieks of crows
paint within the brown of evening.
I lean on the moons growing quietly across the lawn.


Fear startle heaven on person

Remember yourself to me
as you lean against the sky.

Hand plucks person,
and a star is startled
in the other’s midst. 

Fear is an omen of the presence 
of the heavenly self. A name like crows, 

rising and comprising heaven.


Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Variations on a Poem by Kosztolányi Dezső

Variations on a Poem by Kosztolányi Dezső

This what autumn brought. Haughty fruit
on a glass tray. Heavy, smaragdine–dark
grapes, huge jasperglossy pears,
great riches of gleaming jewelry.
A drop of water strides down a plump curve
and rolls by, in a shared brilliance.
This pompous, unsympathetic, bright
selfward-turning perfection.
Better to live. But already beyond 
the trees signal to me with their golden hands.


1.
This autumn offering. Death’s glib
signature. Marble hall and glass busts
where the deep green of mind’s chess lurks,
the motion of shadows among enchanted wives.
Clarity outside the window in which my husband
make me doubt. The plump fruit he leaves
and the brilliant knife of its sour sleep enjoins me.
Everything speaks but one. 
This mysterious ear I. Hidden in my leaves
the trees assemble to let him pass.




2.
What I’m offering this autumn. Glass
hands for your fruits, the proud
genealogy of ui, grape sized Socrates
parked on tongue bed let tongue love you
with glassine embrace of word unspoken
turning brilliant across taught flesh.
Let light in, gleam wet and wet. Take this bridge
friend, the trees follow your golden looks.
Go where they want you to take them.

4.
Not autumn but silence. Everything has
its product, its glass tray
with whatever fruit is needed:
the spell in the apple, the sidewalk in the night
lines to keep the wild out, that shine
useful in its brilliance. There are other mirrors
too bright for us, that perfect
touch within the darkness.
Your face, she said, almost
reminds me. I wept as I turned away.

3.
The hostelry of Oz. Whose crumpled tourniquet
you vegetable. A haze, shouted smaragdine
soul lit, hit or miss, aspens faint fruit courted,
egg omlette duce, tuned or clove egg salad.
Fees chop a ramlike edge cover but you roll,
and will good rule, a car appliance.
A pompous, wrist-rattling, derelict,
megabus–bordeaux to keel in the shade.
Yup vulva ails me. I’m the tool of black bear
around guests you call intended necking.

4.
Ezt hozta az ősz. Hűs gyümölcsöket 
üvegtálon. Nehéz, sötét-smaragd 
szőlőt, hatalmas, jáspisfényü körtét, 
megannyi dús, tündöklő ékszerét. 
Vízcsöpp iramlik egy kövér bogyóról 
és elgurul, akár a brilliáns. 
A pompa ez, részvéttelen, derült, 
magába-forduló tökéletesség. 
Jobb volna élni. Ámde túl a fák már 
aranykezükkel intenek nekem.


ŐSZI REGGELI, 1929

(Remembering R.K.'s "Variations on a Poem by Stefan George")

Sunday, September 23, 2018

for Robert's birthday (tomorrow)

For Robert’s Birthday

Lend ear to the corner
conjurer’s chart this room

at angles to form names
bind them in
metaphors called from the sentence, snake
coiled around our world
some of that comes off too

the chair writhing on your
hips

there is another mind caught
on the outside of the body,

its thoughts concentrated,
willful, a labyrinth
going to Jerusalem

a wounded kingdom
us sad and hopeful youths are
the procession of its instruments

half pleasure half pain

the way any mirror is our own
cups, spears, stars

a word half spoken
to sculpt us

half unsaid
to say ourselves
saxifrage glad

into the presence of the semblance 
I am, amid my friends’ faces 
that bear the parts of speech I cannot bear.


The birthday boy with his birthday bell.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Bendita María

9.4

Bendita identity María
the long road home
to same, ordinal first
ever familiar
whose shape sounds
and angles temperaments
curving around our world
we live among unfolding
architecture of unending event
driving our fast cars
through the evening traffic,
the cat slips after a pigeon
on the fire escape: a heaven
startled wherever you turn,
a house we almost live in.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

19


1.

The grey king
fisher king
John the Baptist
waiting, early
for the King of kings
in full flower
the year bends forward
from the alloy of his 
knees, he comes and prays
and so he must be early.

The body of the year
waits to receive its soul,
among this great variety of things
the same two or three
or even one.
Or zero.

The monks in charge of summer
see what the sentence wants to say.

Stretch out your hands
and wait.
Be like the crickets,

there is no conjure without complaint.
Baptism in these lowest waters.





















2.

The Histories are symbolic,
an everlasting interior,
Indo-europeans bearing gold and silver
ivory, monkeys, peacocks
to the Levant of 
faithful transcription.

There is a record of everything. 
Even this.
Get it down and walk it
to the library – scrolls
in the beehived mud walls
that coil in, as the sun coils
red below the horizon.
The gates clang shut
and we saddle the camels
to be on our way. Our day.

Instructions for an elevator.




3.

Into the silence
evening fairies slam their doors.
For this good stew
the mind refuses to yield–
the poem is written anyway
and what comes forward,
reticent, motions back
deep into them hills.
Queen Maeve has not forgiven me
that is what this night means,
the outskirts of their revels.

Glowworms mock me
lights through the trees
let me say something else
just once slip into the automobiles
cruising on their spiral streets
where the leaves all stand still.

With the rest of the guests
they comb my beard
but no one leads me into church
passion of the goat
sweet thistle, mint,
the names of angels
growing outside the door.

Lay there with me, 
in Love nothing is made of.


4.

On St John’s eve
pick mugwort
from across the road.
In one eye Mars the 
other Saturn. Put the sun
on your hair, caterpillars 
asleep on the leaves.

Sacred decadence,
the arousal to prayer

clouds whirring
where we call ourselves the sky
run my fingers across
and into Chesapeake Bay

watch again as she jumps
over the fire,
another excuse to see:
to where the rains live.

The skies, thighs, part.

The page arrives
as finally our pens go dry.



5.

after Ada Langworthy Collier

The poem is an animal on human feet
Lilith on her tiptoes as I pass close
her white hand that nearly
reaches out

within the dead’s embrace
we call out their names

brush against the rose.

The roses that surround her
I brushed, the mistake of being
anyone.

I banished her.

Unfolding
point, star, speech
between the paradise
of empty bodies.

Any book
can only pretend to begin

embarrassed by the surprise
of paper coming close, contact

and for the scratch of an instant 
before the letter
when you read askance
see how the pen moved through silence
how to love without myself
what must always have been you.



6.

After H.D.’s Hippolytus Temporizes

This is the beach–
fireflies hovering in the ditch
the wood’s edge, Hyppolitus
pestering from a thousand shrines

the full moon, Artemis
there’s so much we yearn for
these many of me,

the size of the goddess
they pull down from her sleep.

This is the beach–
slow lights drag
and vanish from into night
and piece by piece

one’s person is endangered
under control

hears her intoxicant rimes
incest
death
the blossoming rod

that lives in the mist
that is only ever bare.

I worship the greatest first
(the white feet white of the dead
that live, an intoxicant moon
her dark magic draws from
herself, that paints us white).

I worship first the great–
(goddess leers uptempo death
where the lovers die and dance
beyond death’s Question.
Where the little lily grows)

I worship the greatest first
and the altar seeds
the arms of the arbutus
lash white lily flowers
the queen must eat
ah, the sky must eat

the lovers here and there
must repeat themselves 
to cauterize our wounds.


7.

Imagination sinks
heavy and cold
the queen of winter
casting from her hill
radiance, geometric
the first mark of the State
from the fire purified
at the pyramid’s tip
too perfect to be seen.

The bird to fly more quickly 
shuts its wings
through barriers of trees
reclaims his senses
the serpents who chant our names
gradually grow louder.

The poem cannot escape
ritual.

Trestle-boards
on the viewscape.

Dawn to dawn
noon is midnight,
witches climb the hill

splendid Thomas Cole
sleek beautiful black cat
the dancers high-step round the throne
Thomas Cole invisible
the fire’s seeds among us.



8.

The jaguar
so little fact in me
to see it with,

breathing sweetly
in the underbrush
white moths
dapple its coat.
The facts come to taste
Heaven’s secret honey

the days of the week
array themselves, swing open.

The priests in a circle
swing open.
Walls are doors.

Fact is sacrifice
we take off our clothes
your name your father’s name
the name Ismael

read the book to the beginning. 

Whirlpool or mountaintop
from which the sweet breath
slowly leaks.



9.


Birds defy today–
ever defines them

“let the crows into your poem”
that deal in all that shines
like gold and fate
the names of kings.

The next morning will be loud 
with chicks in the post office 
being mailed out,

the world manages
almost to be poetry.

But in this empire
nothing needs doing.
Beware the sunrise.

All action is magic.



10.

Unlike the moon
that changes positions around the sky
every time you look for it (so you claim)

the gods shake their heads
in the center
of our negotiations.

Listen to the paper,
the machines hidden everywhere
wood, steel, the whine of AC
everything wants it turn to speak

the sea roosts
in every direction
wave by wave.


11.

The earth identifies,
drags to itself

the other earth
inside of language
that we live on
drags the actual
into itself

St.Peter keep us

Saint Peter we draw
to get us home again.

I do not look forward
to the resurrection of the dead.
But the concession
of wave to wave,
the angelic chain
of each effect.



12.

Water runs down her body
this woman in a shower

what’s the heat waiting for
who’s it bringing forward
as it waits to break?

The scarlet woman
tanlined, red, painful
lets the water run
in ritual heat
eyes the sky
sits on porches.

Under Her.
Prepositions rule us.

The horseshoes fall short
and I almost know what it means.




13.

Summer in the caverns
of someone else

emulate,
cool off,
be like rock

and let water
seep
the smell of emerald,
recorded sounds.

Watch the fan spin
every angle packed
with roses, calligraphs
of the rampant eye

each image is written on.
The lord of sight
writes within the cave
the word of words.
The rock allows.
Animals, ochre men, 
scars from vaccinations
All are walking towards her
just try to stand still.



14.

Something to take home
shape of a tree
birds nest held
in the crook of your arm
these months

that’s all history is
being other
watching the myths fly

from your father’s arms
for no better reason than morning.

Such ordinary tools
sleep, sun, tree
equinox together

the end of days
the road 
through the desert
that flowers on its way to us.


15.

We’re mesopotamians, like Abraham
whose capital, head, forces itself shut–
the door to emptiness.

Words let the emptiness out.
Our other head 
that of Orpheus, where deer kneel, birds in flight
he does something
like sing 
fluttering free from mouthes

empty as the sky
but no end to rain.
I call this scholarship
patter on the roof
of someone else’s mind.

Tell me what you hear.



16.

There’s only revision
and then, at last, an original.

This is monkey testicles speaking.

To meet anyone is free-love,

to add animals to yourself
friends, forests of yesterdays lunch

watch the hand hang
its crystal in your bedroom

lines my reckless legs must walk
unborn coincidence

the effect of tomorrow
put off till today.


17.

In the empty bowl of a valley
the chisel workers who will make forms
where are no forms yet
scherenscnitt
cut away
from the folded napkin
of the horizon
almost symmetrical patterns.
Entireties rebound.
We multiply.

Unto zero

the sun the scissors
rise again.

So we photographs think
drawings of the light

in undeveloped darkness
where words flash
a greenish light
just enough to go by.

18.

Fireworks continue,
the sizzle of suns
far off continue

I cross myself
a deer

curled up in the woods
crickets howling

from the swamp back home

the road, curled up
that continues

one day we’ll begin

walk backwards from Irkalla’s
house,
scraping off the mud

mud in our mouthes
feathered

the entered who may never leave
the majesty of death

with our buzzing stones.

You can hear still
like somewhere you need to go

the great anywhere continued
language pumps into the body.



19.

Leafy rhubarb
grateful as rain
to be left alone.

The leopard will not share his mirror
with the elephants in the jungle.

For moon does not shine
it distills,

across sheep
and river
the husbands do not share

until each at last is a door.