Thursday, December 31, 2009

Research Regarding Poetry and Driving

Recently received: A great New Year’s gift lovingly sent and signed by my old friend and author, John Levy. Half a dozen new prose poems in a three-color foldout from Bob Arnold’s excellent
Longhouse. Reminiscent of Michaux at times but without the French writer’s pervading sense of terror, these pieces are Levy at his unpredictable, whimsical best. Highly recommended. Available in both signed ($15) and unsigned editions ($7.95).

Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Near brimming candlelit cemetery
Under a waning winter moon—

Ring of barrels emptied of lime
Next to an ashen shovel, light.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Chair Contemplating Colossus of Cyprus

In the Museum garden

Empty chairs:
the statues have returned

to the other museum.

--George Seferis, from “Sixteen Haiku”

Four days on a guided tour of Cyprus during the Christmas holiday (courtesy of the Greek Agricultural Pension Fund) were not enough to fully appreciate this beautiful and still tragically divided island, nor am I well-enough informed to know what really happened there so many years ago; still, the sight of a huge crescent and the flag of the illegal Turkish pseudo-state of "Northern Cyprus" provocatively carved on the mountainside overlooking Nicosia and the barricades dividing the city make me wonder if there will ever be a viable solution to the Cyprus problem. For those interested, you can read what the island has gone through
here. Sadly, another tragic story that time is slowly but inexorably erasing.

As for the photo of the gigantic (10m!)
statue of Archibishop Makarios situated about 500 meters from his grave, it’s a shame that such a beautiful spot high up in the rugged Troodos mountain range should be defaced by such a monument to bad taste. How the plastic chair found its way up here is anybody’s guess but it makes a fitting complement to the kitsch atmosphere pervading the scene.

George Seferis wrote a great number of poems while on his first visit to Cyprus in 1953; published in 1955, they were included in his Collected Poems 1924-1955 as Logbook III.

NBB: Seferis' haiku should look like this:

In the Museum garden

Empty chairs:
the statues have returned
to the other museum.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Friday, December 25, 2009

Xmas in Limassol, Cyprus

In lieu of an appropriate card from Cyprus, here's a picture taken a few years ago during an exceptionally severe winter in Meligalas--where we shall return to on the 28th!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Standing One's Ground

In the end meaning may well mean many things to many,
But may it never mean not budging an inch when

Everything crawling becomes suddenly deathly still.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Clotho at Work

In this instance, my sister-in-law’s long-departed grandmother. Photo taken in the early 70s outside the back entrance to our old house. Judging from the three or four layers of clothes she’s wearing and the fact that she’s huddled in the southwest corner taking in all the sunshine she can get, it must have been a sunny winter's day. Apart from that, this picture also reminds me of how large her hands were and how effortlessly they worked at unraveling the ball of yarn and twisting it onto the spindle until she came upon a knot and had to stop to untangle it. Utterly engrossed in what she was doing, she never realized I was three feet in front of her, never once looked up, never heard the shutter click, never even saw the picture afterwards before her fate called her away.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Samizdat Revisted

Where one poet confesses 
To writing reams 
Of clandestine literature, speechless 
Others have nightmares 
They hand out pieces of his tongue 
And dream, dream, dream. 

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Hassle number 8

Recently received from the author: Hassle number 8, featuring David Miller, Hassle Press: 27 Treverbyn Rd, St. Ives, Cornwall TR26 1EZ UK,

Poet, editor, art/lit critic, and accomplished clarinetist, see
The Mind Shop, this is Series 5, #5 of Miller’s Spiritual Letters. A short biography, plus information about David’s many publications and some succinct appraisals of his highly demanding but always satisfying work can be found here. My thanks to David for sending me this “Spiritual Letter” under the guise of a plain black-and-white pamphlet. Much appreciated!

Sunday, December 13, 2009


“The commune of Poetry becomes so real that [the poet]
sounds each particle
in relation to parts of a great story
he knows will never be completed.”

--Robert Duncan, Bending the Bow

The Sung, tangible as
The word sounds.

In this instance, poet,
A small round

Reddish-orange object plucked
From a mandarin’s bough.

Saturday, December 12, 2009


Nothing substantial, a revenant
Forever taking us back to where

We thought we were relevant.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Southern Exposure

In a stretch of winter sunshine,

Against a harsh weather-
Worn veranda wall,

Soft blue slippers up-
Right in the afternoon,

Next to a beckoning
Red-pillowed chair.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Monday, December 7, 2009

Starship Earth

Beam us up, Scotty—

Our captain was dead right when he told us
There’d be enough light

Years here for only
One night.

Saturday, December 5, 2009



One imagines himself,
As in that line
Of Oppen’s,

Addressing his peers,
Or one does not. If he does,
He may well wonder how;

If not, he may fancy himself
Lost in reflection,

Wondering why.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Bird in the Hand

im. Kurt Vonnegut (1922-2007)

One crow cawing in the luminous
Distance remains

Never so ominous
An omen

As one groping in desperation
For the next one waiting

To hand him over
To despair.

(Thanks to Annie Wyndham, whose blog post here inspired the above.)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Token of Appreciation

Love, here’s a penny for your thoughts—
The word I gave you had a hole in it,

Not worth a plugged nickel—now tell me
When are you going to give it back?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Dummy, you still don’t get it—
To reach the truth, death must

Pretend to lie about it through your teeth.
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