dressed in black
She is the shadow
of another planet
in a totally white room
Her face never changes
her page-boy hair
looks as if it were cut
from black surgical jade
Her lips are so red
they make blood
seem dull, a
May ?, 1976 (from ‘June 30th, June 30th’)
A light snow
Three Thousand Realms
Within those realms
Light snow falls
As the snow
Engulfs my hut
My heart, too
Is completely consumed
- Ryōkan Taigu, 良寛大愚, (1758–1831)
My heart’s aflutter!
I am standing in the bath tub
crying. Mother, mother
who am I? If he
will just come back once
and kiss me on the face
his coarse hair brush
my temple, it’s throbbing!
then I can put on my clothes
I guess, and walk the streets.
I love you. I love you,
but I’m turning to my verses
and my heart is closing
like a fist.
sick as I am sick, swoon,
roll back your eyes, a pool,
and I’ll stare down
at my wounded beauty
which at best is only a talent
Cannot please, cannot charm or win
what a poet!
and the clear water is thick
with bloody blows on its head.
I embraced a cloud,
but when I soared
That’s funny! there’s blood on my chest
oh yes, I’ve been carrying bricks
what a funny place to rupture!
and now it is raining on the ailanthus
as I step out onto the window ledge
the tracks below me are smoky and
glistening with a passion for running
I leap into the leaves, green like the sea
Now I am quietly waiting for
the catastrophe of my personality
to seem beautiful again,
and interesting, and modern.
The country is grey and
brown and white in trees,
snows and skies of laughter
always diminishing, less funny
not just darker, not just grey.
It may be the coldest day of
the year, what does he think of
that? I mean, what do I? And if I do,
perhaps I am myself again.
- Frank O’Hara, Mayakovsky, Meditations in an Emergency (1956)
“Watch birth and death:
The lotus has already
Opened its flower.”
I have the five poems
that I wrote earlier today
in a notebook
in the same pocket that
I carry my passport. They
are the same thing.
- Richard Brautigan
“… a stone, a leaf, an unfound door; of a stone, a leaf, a door. And of all the forgotten faces.
Naked and alone we came into exile.
In her dark womb we did not know our mother’s face; from the prison of her flesh have we come into the unspeakable and incommunicable prison of this earth.
Which of us has known his brother?
Which of us has looked into his father’s heart?
Which of us has not remained forever prison-pent?
Which of us is not forever a stranger and alone?
O waste of loss, in the hot mazes, lost, among bright stars on this most weary unbright cinder, lost! Remembering speechlessly we seek the great forgotten language, the lost lane-end into heaven, a stone, a leaf, an unfound door.
O lost, and by the wind grieved, ghost, come back again.”
- Thomas Wolfe, Look Homeward, Angel
I don’t know what it is,
but I distrust myself
when I start to like a girl
It makes me nervous.
I don’t say the right things
or perhaps I start
what I am saying.
If I say, “Do you think it’s going to rain?”
and she says, “I don’t know,”
I start thinking : Does she really like me?
In other words
I get a little creepy.
A friend of mine once said,
“It’s twenty times better to be friends
than it is to be in love with them.”
I think he’s right and besides,
it’s raining somewhere, programming flowers
and keeping snails happy.
That’s all taken care of.
if a girl likes me a lot
and starts getting real nervous
and suddenly begins asking me funny questions
and looks sad if I give the wrong answers
and she says things like,
“Do you think it’s going to rain?”
and I say, “It beats me,”
and she says, “Oh,”
and looks a little sad
at the clear blue California sky,
I think : Thank God, it’s you, baby, this time
instead of me.
- Richard Brautigan, It’s Raining In Love
‘I saw you coming from the cape,
way from Hyannis Port all the way,
When I got back it was like a dream come true.
I saw you coming from Cambridgeport with my poetry and jazz,
Knew you had the blues, saw you coming from across the river
Told you on the banks of the river, carried you across,
Loved you there and then,
and now like a sheep,
Sleep for love comes flowing streams of consciousness
Soft like snow, to and fro,
Let us go there together,
darlin’ way from the river
to here and now
and carry it with a smile, bumper to bumper
Stepping lightly, just like a ballerina.’
- Van Morrison, Astral Weeks Liner Notes
Long long I lay in the sands
Sounds of trains in the surf
in subways of the sea
And an even greater undersound
of a vast confusion in the universe
a rumbling and a roaring
as of some enormous creature turning
under sea and earth
a billion sotto voices murmuring
a vast muttering
a swelling stuttering
in ocean’s speakers
world’s voice-box heard with ear to sand
a shocked echoing
a shocking shouting
of all life’s voices lost in night
And the tape of it
somehow running backwards now
through the Moog Synthesizer of time
back to the first
And the first light
- Lawrence Ferlinghetti, A Vast Confusion
Facing west from California’s shores,
Inquiring, tireless, seeking what is yet unfound,
I, a child, very old, over waves, towards the house of maternity,
the land of migrations, look afar,
Look off the shores of my Western sea, the circle almost circled;
For starting westward from Hindustan, from the vales of Kashmere,
From Asia, from the north, from the God, the sage, and the hero,
From the south, from the flowery peninsulas and the spice islands,
Long having wander’d since, round the earth having wander’d,
Now I face home again, very pleas’d and joyous,
(But where is what I started for so long ago?
And why is it yet unfound?)
- Whitman, Facing West from California’s Shores
En robe de parade. Samain
Like a skein of loose silk blown against a wall
She walks by the railing of a path in Kensington Gardens,
And she is dying piece-meal
of a sort of emotional anaemia.
And round about there is a rabble
Of the filthy, sturdy, unkillable infants of the very poor.
They shall inherit the earth.
In her is the end of breeding.
Her boredom is exquisite and excessive.
She would like some one to speak to her,
And is almost afraid that I
will commit that indiscretion.
- Ezra Pound, The Garden