Thursday, May 11, 2017

One Art

The art of losing isn’t hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother’s watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn’t a disaster.

—Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan’t have lied. It’s evident
the art of losing’s not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.

-Elizabeth Bishop

Monday, April 24, 2017

Whales

I read that whales jump
to communicate.
Supersonic claps
made by 200 tons of
bone and flesh
smashing against the water
again and again
in an attempt
to connect with those too far away
to hear their calls.
If I jump
would you hear the clap crash
of my heart
from so many miles?



Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Poem for November 1

6

Dearest, I never knew such loving. There
in that glass tower in the alien city, alone,
we found what somewhere I had always known
exists and must exist, this fervent care,
this lust of tenderness. Two were aware
how in hot seizure, bone pressed to bone
and liquid flesh to flesh, each separate moan
was pleasure, yes, but most in the other's share.
Companions and discoverers, equal and free,
so deep in love we adventured and so far
that we became perhaps more than we are,
and now being home is hardship. Therefore are we
diminished? No. We are of the world again
but still augmented, more than we've ever been. 

- Hayden Carruth

Monday, September 12, 2016

I admire the courage of nature in autumn
As plants slowly abandon their thrust toward
an ever-distancing sun
and softly retreat.
It takes real guts to back down for a season.
And trust that there will be another chance
at the end of the long barrel of another winter.
It takes courage, even if there isn't another choice.
Even if plants can't actually concede anything
being non-sentient
as they are.
Because they've evolved so many other defenses
Against insects and herbivores,
viruses, bacteria, us.
Against these, they reach deep inside
for poisons, for spiny shells, thigmonasty.
But few protest the withdrawal of the sun.
Even the intransigent pines and evergreens
slow their heartbeats
to survive the cold.
Acceptance is overlooked, yet one of the
most potent forms of bravery I know.












Saturday, April 23, 2016

Revenge



At times ... I wish
I could meet in a duel
the man who killed my father
and razed our home,
expelling me
into
a narrow country.
And if he killed me,
I'd rest at last,
and if I were ready—
I would take my revenge!

But if it came to light,
when my rival appeared,
that he had a mother
waiting for him,
or a father who'd put
his right hand over
the heart's place in his chest
whenever his son was late
even by just a quarter-hour
for a meeting they'd set—
then I would not kill him,
even if I could.

Likewise ... I
would not murder him
if it were soon made clear
that he had a brother or sisters
who loved him and constantly longed to see him.
Or if he had a wife to greet him
and children who
couldn't bear his absence
and whom his gifts would thrill.
Or if he had
friends or companions,
neighbours he knew
or allies from prison
or a hospital room,
or classmates from his school ...
asking about him
and sending him regards.

But if he turned
out to be on his own—
cut off like a branch from a tree—
without a mother or father,
with neither a brother nor sister,
wifeless, without a child,
and without kin or neighbours or friends,
colleagues or companions,
then I'd add not a thing to his pain
within that aloneness—
not the torment of death,
and not the sorrow of passing away.
Instead I'd be content
to ignore him when I passed him by
on the street—as I
convinced myself
that paying him no attention
in itself was a kind of revenge.
by Taha Muhammad Ali, 
translated by Peter Cole, Yahya Hijazi and Gabriel Levin

For Robert, Forever Ago



The good witch of the north
Once found caverns
In the deep hollows of her heart
And there, a campsite:
An old blanket and
a California king mattress.
And, since she was there,
Lay down a moment
to rest
under the starless sky.


Thursday, March 31, 2016

Dreaming in Pictures

In some ways it was never anything more than dreams.
Night vision
Self talk
Mirrors
Other times, I swear I felt the brush of human skin across my back.
Laughter seems more external than any sorrow
I remember small contests, shared secrets.
(Was our last caress against that red wall?)
I dropped it casually, as if hundreds would inevitably follow.
Then.
Why the small box of leftover moments
growing mold in my refrigerator?
Too many questions, I know.
I found your footprint in the desert a few weeks back
and took a photograph to show you
only to realize
image was our greatest illusion.